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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Kiick, Spencer Win Pro Circuit Titles; Rotsaert Claims First ITF Title at Grade 4 in Coral Gables

The women's race for the USTA's reciprocal wild card for the French Open will be decided this week in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida, the third and final stop on the Har-Tru Challenge.  Nineteen-year-old Allie Kiick kept her hopes alive by beating 17-year-old Katerina Stewart 7-5, 6-7(3), 7-5 in the $50,000 Charlottesville tournament final today,  in a match just as close as the score would suggest.

Kiick served for the match at 7-5, 5-3 and was broken, then earned a match point with Stewart serving at 4-5. She lost it when Stewart hit one of her devastating drop shots, and Stewart went on to hold.

At 4-all 30-all with Stewart serving in the third set, Kiick earned a break point with a perfectly executed drop shot-lob combination  and converted it with backhand short angle winner but she won only one point in her second attempt to serve out the match. She managed another break to take a 6-5 lead and serve for the match for a third time.  It wasn't easy, as Stewart saved two more match points at 40-15, but Kiick finally converted on her fourth match point, with Stewart netting a backhand.

Louisa Chirico, who won last week's $50,000 tournament in Dothan and lost to Stewart in the first round at Charlottesville, is in qualifying at Indian Harbour Beach, which she had previously not planned to play. Kiick and Stewart are also in the field, as is defending champion Taylor Townsend, so it should be an interesting final week with Chirico, Kiick and Stewart battling for the French Open wild card.

In the doubles final, unseeded Francoise Abanda of Canada and Maria Sanchez defeated Irina Khromacheva of Russia and Olga Ianchuk of Ukraine 6-1, 6-3.  Sanchez also won the doubles title in Dothan, with Johanna Konta of Great Britain.

In Sao Paulo Brazil, 2012 NCAA doubles champions Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola of Ohio State won their second Challenger title together. The unseeded pair defeated No. 4 seeds Guido Andreozzi of Argentina and Sergio Galdos of Peru 6-4, 6-4.

In Futures competition, Andre Dome, the former Cal Poly All-American, won his first ITF men's circuit at a $10,000 tournament in Thailand, coming through qualifying to do so. He beat Raymond Sarmiento 6-1, 5-7, 6-1 in the semifinals and 17-year-old Akira Santillan of Japan 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-1 in the finals. Alex Sarkissian made the finals of the $15,000 tournament in Mexico, and Deiton Baughman and Eric Quigley won the doubles at a $15,000 Futures in Nigeria.  Former Princeton All-American Matija Pecotic of Croatia won the singles title in Nigeria, beating Baughman 6-3, 6-4 in the final. It's Pecotic's first singles title on the ITF Men's Circuit.

In the $10,000 tournament in Vero Beach, Wil Spencer claimed his second career Futures title, with the unseeded former Georgia Bulldog beating No. 3 seed Facundo Mena of Argentina 6-3, 6-4 in final.

The first ITF Junior tournament of the trio making up the May Florida clay swing was last week in Coral Gables, Florida, with 15-year-old Alexsandre Rotsaert winning his first title at the Grade 4 Metropolia Open. Seeded 16th, Rotsaert dominated all week, losing only 15 games in six matches. He defeated No. 5 seed Jesus Santiago Rivas of Mexico 6-3, 6-1 in the final.  Two unseeded players met in the girls final, with 14-year-old Kamilla Kokeladze of Russia beating Madeline Meredith 7-5, 6-3.

Unseeded Caleb Chakravarthi and Oliver Crawford won the boys doubles title, beating top seeds Gabriel Nemeth of Brazil and Alvaro Regalado Pedrol of Spain 7-5, 6-4 in the final.  The girls doubles title went to the unseeded team of Jaeda Daniel and Stephanie Nemtsova, who beat No. 7 seeds Meredith and Anna Dollar 6-4, 6-3 in the final.

At the Grade 2 in Romania, Catalin Mateas won the doubles title with Benjamin Hannestad of Denmark.  The No. 2 seeds beat top seeds Lukas Klein and Patrik Nema of Slovakia 4-2, 4-2 in what was obviously a shortened scoring format due to the weather.  Maria Mateas, seeded third, reached the girls singles final, falling to No. 2 seed Ioana Minca of Romania 3-5, 5-4(4), 4-2. Hannestad, the No. 5 seed, won the singles title, beating unseeded Kacper Zuk of Poland 5-4(3), 4-5(2), 4-1.