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Friday, October 17, 2014

Mmoh, Bellis Reach Pro Circuit Semifinals; Division I Regional Championships in Full Swing; Macon's Wild Cards; Dimitrov's Pair of Hot Shots

Sixteen-year-old Michael Mmoh reached his first semifinal on the Futures circuit today, defeating University of Oklahoma sophomore Andrew Harris 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 at the $15,000 Mansfield Futures in Texas. Mmoh, a wild card who went straight from winning Saturday's final at the ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed in Tulsa to Mansfield, is the only surprise semifinalist.  Top seed Liam Broady of Great Britain will play No. 3 seed Henrique Cunha(Duke) of Brazil, while Mmoh will take on former Texas All-American Dimitar Kutrovsky of Bulgaria, the No. 4 seed, in the other semifinal Saturday.  All those close calls for Mmoh in Tulsa may have helped with his confidence in this week's tournament, the ninth Futures level tournament he has played.

CiCi Bellis, who also came away with a champion's trophy last week, hers at the $25K in Rock Hill, has now won eight straight matches in South Carolina.  She defeated Duke freshman Samantha Harris 6-2, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the $25,000 tournament in Florence and the 15-year-old will play 34-year-old Petra Rampre of Slovenia, also unseeded, in the semifinals.  Nineteen-year-old Bernarda Pera of the US and No. 6 seed Ysaline Bonaventure of Belgium are in the other semifinal.  No. 2 seeds Jamie Loeb and Sanaz Marand(UNC) have reached the doubles final.

Next week's Macon, Georgia $50K marks the beginning of the USTA's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge for women, so wild cards into the event are of even greater importance than usual.  They were announced yesterday as going to Lauren Embree(Florida), Jennifer Brady(UCLA), Katerina Stewart and Ellie Halbauer.

Three ITA Division I regionals were completed last week, but the other 21 are underway right now at sites across the country.  I will have a complete list of results for both singles and doubles finals, I hope by next Tuesday, when the last of the regionals are expected to wrap up. In the meantime, you can follow individual draws at the ITA website.

I've been following the Stockholm ATP event a little bit closer than usual this week, intrigued by the bottom half which featured three US Open boys champions in the quarterfinals: Bernard Tomic(2009), Grigor Dimitrov(2008) and Jack Sock(2010).  Dimitrov beat Sock 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 today to set up a semifinal against Tomic, but all the talk was of these two incredible Dimitrov shots, back-to-back, off bullet returns from Sock.  Watch here at the ATP site.