Har-Tru Wild Card Challenge Begins This Week in Sarasota; Sock Claims First ATP Title in Houston; Black Wins Second Straight ITF Grade 4
The USTA's annual competition to award its French Open wild card will take place over the next four weeks. The Har-Tru Wild Card Challenge begins for the men in this week's $100,000 Sarasota Challenger, followed by the $50,000 Challengers in Savannah and Tallahassee. The women's competition begins next week in Dothan, Alabama, with Charlottesville, Virginia and Indian Harbour, Florida, all $50,000 tournaments, the other two tournaments. The player who collects the most ATP/WTA points (best two results in three tournaments) will earn the French Open wild card.
Speaking of Sarasota, Frances Tiafoe qualified there, beating Alex Kuznetsov(5), Rhyne Williams and, today, Andrea Collarini of Argentina, and was drawn to play good friend Michael Mmoh, who received a wild card, in the first round of the main draw.
Two-time Kalamazoo champion Jack Sock won his first ATP title yesterday in a rain-delayed final, beating Sam Querrey 7-6(9), 7-6(2) at the US Men's Clay Court Championships. For more on Sock's title, see the ATP website.
Another Kalamazoo champion, Austin Krajicek, won the $75,000 Challenger in Leon, Mexico, beating top seed Adrian Menendez-Maceiras of Spain 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 6-4 in the final. Krajicek also partnered Rajeev Ram to the doubles title.
Also in Leon, Mexico, former University of Southern California star Danielle Lao claimed her first professional singles title at the $15,000 Women's ITF Circuit tournament there. Lao, seeded sixth, defeated No. 3 seed Aleksandrina Naydenova of Bulgaria 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the final. Lao also claimed the doubles title, with Maria-Fernanda Alves of Brazil.
At the $15,000 Harlingen, Texas Futures, former Pepperdine All-American and 2014 NCAA finalist Alex Sarkissian won his second career Futures title. The fourth seed defeated No. 3 seed Eric Quigley, the 2012 NCAA finalist while at Kentucky, 6-4, 6-4 in the final. Deiton Baughman and Hunter Nicholas (San Diego State) won the doubles title.
2014 US Open girls finalist Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine, the No. 5 seed, won the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Jackson, Mississippi, beating top seed Johanna Konta of Great Britain 6-3, 6-4 in the final. Rianna Valdes, a University of Southern California recruit, reached the semifinals. Alexa Guarachi(Alabama) and Caitlin Whoriskey(Tennessee) won the doubles title.
In junior news, 14-year-old Hurricane Tyra Black won her second consecutive Grade 4 in the Caribbean, taking the Trinidad and Tobago title, a week after winning the title in Barbados. The unseeded Black defeated No. 4 seed Nandini Das from India 1-6, 6-0, 6-4 in the final. Jada Robinson won the doubles title, with Ania Hertel of Poland.
Zummy Bauer won the boys title in Barbados, beating Sean Hill 6-3, 7-6(1) in the all-American final.
It was a crazy weekend in Division I college tennis, with upsets galore. I'll have more on that Tuesday, when the new rankings come out, but check out College Tennis Today for a recap of the men's results.