October Aces; Shaffer, Riffice Win ITF Grade 4 Titles in Atlanta; Falconi Meets Brady in $50K Final; Sanchez Advances to Final in Toronto $50K
My look at the top performances of October is up today at the Tennis Recruiting Network. Teenagers were the story of the month, whether in junior or professional tournaments.
At the ITF Grade 4 in Atlanta, Kennedy Shaffer defended her title, defeating No. 15 seed Abigail Desiatnikov 6-2, 7-6(8) in the final. Although unseeded, she lost only one set in her six victories and defeated three seeded players.
Fifteen-year-old Sam Riffice picked up his second ITF Grade 4 title of the fall, with the No. 3 seed defeating No. 14 seed McClain Kessler 6-3, 6-2. Riffice, who won the Grade 4 in Wichita Falls last month, didn't drop a set in his six victories.
Neither singles champion managed a sweep however. Shaffer and her partner Chloe Ouellet-Pizer, seeded seventh, lost in the girls doubles final to wild cards Taylor Johnson and Carson Branstine 7-6(4), 7-5 . Riffice and Vasil Kirkov, seeded third, were beaten by unseeded Williams Howells and Johnathan Small 4-6, 7-6(5), 10-7 in the boys doubles final.
At the $50,000 women's tournament in New Braunfels Texas, Jennifer Brady has reached the final, beating Mayo Hibi of Japan 6-4, 6-4. The unseeded 19-year-old, who is taking the fall off from UCLA, served for the match at 6-4, 5-3, but at 15-all double faulted three straight times to give Hibi hope. But Hibi, who stuck to her net-rushing strategy throughout the match, was unable to hold in the next game, with Brady hitting two forehand winners from 30-all earn her place in the final. Brady will play former Georgia Tech star Irina Falconi, who trailed 3-0 in the first set and 2-0 in the second set against Julia Boserup, but won six games in a row each time, to post a 6-3, 6-2 win. The winner of Sunday's final, which will be streamed here, will have the lead in the USTA Australian Open wild card challenge with one tournament remaining.
The leaders in the men's wild card challenge both lost today in the Charlottesville Challenger semifinals, with Denis Kudla falling to Liam Broady of Great Britain and Alex Kuznetsov going out to James Duckworth of Australia. There are two more men's $50,000 tournaments remaining to earn points--at Knoxville next week and Champaign the week after that.
The doubles title in Charlottesville went to former Virginia star Treat Huey and his partner Frederick Nielsen of Denmark, with the top seeds defeating unseeded Marcus Willis and Lewis Burton of Great Britain 3-6, 6-3, 10-2. Huey--who grew up in the United States but competes for the Philippines--and former teammate Dom Inglot of Great Britain have ended their partnership (for more on that, see this BBC article). Huey has been named player/coach for the Manila Mavericks in the new International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) this fall. Andy Murray will also be competing for the Mavericks.
Unseeded Maria Sanchez defeated top seed (and doubles partner) Taylor Townsend 7-6(3), 6-3 in the semifinals of the $50,000 ITF Women's Circuit event in Toronto and will play No. 8 seed Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada in Sunday's final. Dabrowski downed Tatjana Maria of Germany 6-4, 6-3 in the other semifinal. Sanchez is looking for her first singles title since 2012.
The USTA Collegiate Clay Court Invitational finals are set for Sunday and will be streamed at ESPN3 beginning with the women's final at 9 a.m. Top seed Stephanie Wagner of Miami will play unseeded Joana Eidukonyte of Clemson. In the men's final to follow, top seed Hunter Harrington of Clemson will play unseeded Nick Crystal of Southern Cal, who upset teammate and No. 2 seed Max de Vroome in the quarterfinals this morning.
Host school Florida State will be represented in the men's final (both teams) and in the women's final.
For complete draws, see the Florida State website.