Arconada Wins Banana Bowl; Stewart Takes Gainesville $10K Title; Gosea Suspended, but Illinois Still Beats Texas and Texas A&M; Mississippi State Shocks Alabama Women
Usue Arconada had reached the finals in a Grade 4, a Grade 3 and two Grade 1s in her junior career, but until today, the 16-year-old from Maryland had not secured an ITF singles title. In her third final in a Grade 1, No. 1 seed Arconada got over that hump, defeating No. 9 seed Francesca Di Lorenzo 6-1, 6-7(6), 6-4 at the Banana Bowl in Brazil.
In four of her five victories this week, Arconada needed three sets, and twice she came from a set down. For Di Lorenzo, a 17-year-old who only began playing ITF junior tournaments regularly last year, it was her first appearance in a Grade 1 final; she won the Grade 4 in Plantation last spring.
The boys championship was won by top seed Orlando Luz of Brazil, who defended his 2014 title with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over unseeded countryman Igor Marcondes.
Like the girls Banana Bowl final, the championship at the Gainesville $10,000 women's Pro Circuit event was between two Americans, with the top seed again prevailing. No. 1 seed Katerina Stewart defeated unseeded qualifier Sonya Kenin 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Kenin was serving up 3-2 in the final set, but lost three straight games. Stewart was broken at love serving for the match, but Kenin went down 15-40 serving at 4-5 and Stewart converted her second match point to claim her fourth $10,000-level title.
At the $15,000 Canadian Futures, two college contemporaries met in today's final, with Ed Corrie(Texas) defeating Tennys Sandgren(Tennessee) 3-6, 6-1, 6-3. Corrie, the No. 3 seed, ended Sandgren's nine match winning streak in Canada this month. Former Georgia Tech teammates Kevin King and Dean O'Brien of South Africa, the No. 2 seeds, won the doubles title, beating top seeds Corrie and Dan Smethurst 6-4, 2-6, 10-5.
This week, the women are in Orlando for another $10,000 Pro Circuit event, and the men are in Bakersfield for a $15,000 Futures. Jonathan Kelley of On The Rise, spoke with former Georgia star Wil Spencer, who is the top seed in qualifying in Bakersfield, about his decision to play professionally again after choosing to take a break from competitive tennis for a couple of years after leaving Georgia.
Sunday at the BNP Paribas Open was good to Americans, with Donald Young, Jack Sock and Steve Johnson winning second round matches, while Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens advanced to a fourth round encounter on Tuesday. Young defeated No. 31 seed Jeremy Chardy of France 6-4, 6-2, Sock came back to down Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(7), saving a match point, and Johnson took out No. 21 seed Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 6-3, 7-6(5).
Top seed Williams defeated No. 21 Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-0, while Stephens held on for a 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-4 win over No. 22 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia.
In college tennis, the fourth-ranked University of Illinois men's team picked up two top 10 wins over the weekend, defeating No. 8 Texas 4-2 in Austin on Saturday and beating No. 9 Texas A&M by the same score today in College Station. Jared Hiltzik played No. 1 for the Fighting Illini, with senior Farris Gosea, who usually has occupied that spot this year, "suspended indefinitely" according to head coach Brad Dancer.
According to College Tennis Today, No. 10 Ohio State's 5-2 loss today to Tulsa means the Buckeyes will be out of the top 10 for the first time in 294 matches when they take on Texas Tuesday.
In Wake Forest's 7-0 sweep of Louisville, freshman Noah Rubin, returning from a wrist injury, picked up a 6-1, 7-6(1) win over Sebastian Stiefelmeyer, currently ranked No. 1 in the ITA singles rankings.
A shocker in SEC women's play today, with No. 41 Mississippi State defeating No. 6 Alabama 4-3 in Starkville, with the match coming down to a third set tiebreaker at line 4, with Louise Ronaldson winning it over Emily Zabor.
Another important SEC women's match saw No. 7 Georgia defeat No. 11 Vanderbilt 5-2 in Athens.