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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Potapova, Tseng Capture Les Petits As Championships; Vickery Wins Another Title in Florida; Donaldson Sweeps Singles and Doubles in Maui Challenger

Anastasia Potapova (photo courtesy Richard van Loon)
Top seed Anastasia Potapova defeated No. 4 seed Olga Danilovic of Serbia 6-4, 6-4 in the final of Les Petits As, adding the most prestigious of 14-and-under titles to an already glittering resume.  The 13-year-old Russian, who won the Eddie Herr and Junior Orange Bowl titles in December, has now won 30 matches in a row, and is the reigning European 14s champion.

In Sunday afternoon's final, which was streamed live with top notch production values, Potapova had a few anxious moments, but she was steadier when it counted against the emotional 14-year-old left-hander. Potapova failed to serve out the first set at 5-2, but she took her second chance, converting on her third set point.

Danilovic, who looks to be around six feet tall, ran out to a 4-1 lead in the second set, but gave the break back in the seventh game. Danilovic was broken in her next service game as well, with a costly double fault at 30-all giving Potapova a break point, and the opportunistic Russian immediately converted it for a 5-4 lead.  Playing nearly error-free tennis, while still looking for lines to hit, Potapova went up 30-0 in the final game.  At 40-30, she hit a forehand long, missing out on her first match point, but a good serve that Danilovic couldn't handle gave her a second, which she won with a deep forehand into the corner.

Potapova is the first girl to win the Eddie Herr, Junior Orange Bowl and Les Petits As titles back-to-back-to-back since Anna Orlik of Belarus did it in 2006-2007.

Chun Hsin Tseng (photo courtesy Richard van Loon)
In the boys final, No. 5 seed Chun Hsin Tseng of Taiwan defeated No. 2 seed Timofey Skatov of Russia 6-4, 6-1 to become the first player from his country to take a Les Petits As title in the tournament's 33-year history.

Tseng, who trains at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Naples, Florida, ran out to a 5-0 lead in the first set, but Skatov cleaned up his game and got both breaks back, only to get broken on a netted backhand at 4-5, 30-40.

Skatov looked to have found his form however, but after the first three games, the errors started to return, while Tseng simply did not give Skatov any points with mistakes. Going up a second break to make it 5-1, Tseng stayed focused and avoided any repeat of the first set, closing it out on his first match point.

Two American teens captured titles Sunday in Pro Circuit events thousands of miles apart, with 19-year-old Sachia Vickery winning at the $25,000 Sunrise, Florida tournament, and 18-year-old Jared Donaldson sweeping the singles and doubles titles at the $50,000 Maui Challenger.

2013 USTA National 18s champion Vickery, who won her first career title two weeks ago at the $25,000 tournament in Plantation, defeated 18-year-old Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 in the final. Vickery will be making a quick transition from clay to indoor hard for the $100,000 tournament in Midland, which I will be attending next week, if this current blizzard subsides.


2013 Kalamazoo 18s finalist Donaldson won his first Challenger title with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over qualifier Nick Meister this afternoon in Hawaii.  Donaldson, who was unseeded, didn't lose a set in the tournament, taking out four straight Americans from the second round on(Chase Buchanan(7), Dennis Novikov, Bradley Klahn(2) and Meister), and he will break into the ATP Top 180 with his win.

He then teamed with Stefan Kozlov, who turned 17 today, to win the doubles title, beating Chase Buchanan and Rhyne Williams 6-3, 6-4.

At the $10,000 Palm Coast Futures, Benjamin Balleret of Monaco won his second straight title, defeating Patricio Heras of Argentina 6-4, 6-4 in the final. Balleret and Romain Arneodo, also of Monaco, won yet another Futures doubles title, their fourth straight in these $10,000 Florida Futures tournaments that began the year.

In Guadeloupe, 16-year-old Nicole Frenkel fell short in the $10,000 ITF Women's Circuit final, losing to No. 2 seed Sherazad Reix of France 6-1, 6-3.

A new blog, College Tennis Today, is following the men's Division I college tennis scene and has accounts of several of the important dual matches that were played over the weekend.  It can be found here.

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