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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mmoh Saves Match Points, Advances to Brownsville Futures Final; Fritz Reaches Final at Grade A Osaka Mayor's Cup

Sixteen-year-old Michael Mmoh has reached his first Futures final after a dramatic 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(2)win in today's Brownsville semifinals against 18-year-old Deiton Baughman.

Mmoh breezed through the first set, but Baughman fought back to force a third. leading most of the way in the final set.  With Mmoh serving at 3-5 in the final set, he saved two match points, held and then broke Baughman at love to make it 5-all.  After a love hold by Mmoh, who won 12 consecutive points from match point down, Baughman had to hold just to reach the tiebreaker, which he did, after saving a match point at 30-40.  Mmoh started the final tiebreaker with an ace and dominated from there to earn his place in the final.

Mmoh will meet No. 3 seed Dennis Novikov, the former UCLA star and 2012 Kalamazoo 18s champion, in the final.  Novikov defeated top seed Henrique Cunha, the former Duke All-American from Brazil, 6-3, 6-3.  Novikov is seeking his third singles title in a $15,000 Futures this year, with the 20-year-old at a career-high of 417 in the ATP rankings.

Borna Coric's run in the ATP Swiss Indoors in Basel came to an end at the hands of David Goffin 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, and at the $10,000 ITF women's event in Colombia, qualifier Nicole Frenkel lost to top seed Andrea Koch-Benvenuto of Chile 7-6(1), 6-2.

At the $50,000 Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Macon, No. 4 seed Grace Min defeated No. 8 seed Irina Falconi 7-5, 6-3 to advance to the finals.  The 20-year-old Min will face former WTA Top 30 player Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine, who is coming back to the tour after the birth of a daughter and has been winning a ton of qualifying matches this year, including two this week.  The doubles final Sunday in Macon will be between two unseeded American pairs; Ashley Weinhold and Anna Tatishvili against wild cards Alexa Glatch and Madison Brengle.

The Macon tournament is the first of the USTA's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge for the women, the men's first opportunity to collect ATP points in the race is this coming week's Charlottesville Challenger. Qualifying began today and continues through Monday.  Sam Groth of Australia and Tim Smyczek are the top seeds.  Wild cards went to Stefan Kozlov, Ernesto Escobedo, Mitchell Frank and Mac Styslinger.

Mmoh won the Osaka Mayor's Cup last year, his first big ITF junior title and Taylor Fritz will be trying to do the same Sunday (later tonight, actually) when the No. 4 seed meets No. 3 seed Yunseong Chung of Korea.  Fritz lost his first set of the tournament in the quarterfinals against Seong Chan Hong of Korea but came back for a 5-7, 6-0, 6-4 win and cruised by Corentin Moutet of France 6-1, 6-4 in the semifinals.

The girls Osaka final will feature top seed Shilin Xu of China, who has remarkably dropped only one game in four of her five wins (in the second round Xu had a tough 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Emmanuelle Salas of France) and No. 3 seed Kimberly Birrell of Australia.

The boys doubles title went to No. 4 seeds Corentin Denolly of France and Johan Nikles of Switzerland, who beat No. 3 seeds Yusuka Takahashi and Jumpei Yamasaki of Japan 6-4, 1-6, 10-4.   The girls doubles champions are top seeds Xu and Sara Tomic of Australia, who beat No. 5 seeds Emily Arbuthnott of Great Britain and Emilie Francati of Denmark 6-1, 6-0 (again with that score for Xu).