Former Trojan Lao, Current Trojan Olmos Win Pro Circuit Titles; Battaglia Takes ITF Grade 5 in Bermuda; Excellent Start to Grass Season for US Boys
It was an excellent weekend for current and former Southern California Trojans, who picked up four titles in North American Pro Circuit competition.
Lao was joined in the winner's circle by Giuliana Olmos of Mexico, who was a freshman on the USC team when Lao was a senior. Olmos, a rising senior, won her third $10,000 title in Mexico yesterday, avenging her only loss in the four consecutive tournaments she played in Manzanillo. Former Texas A&M star Nazari Urbina of Mexico defeated Olmos in the second round last week, but wild card Olmos avoided her until the final this week, posting a 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 win. Olmos is 16-1 this month since bowing out of the NCAAs in the second round.
Olmos's teammate Zoe Scandalis, also a rising senior, won the doubles title in Manzanillo, teaming with Camila Fuentes of Mexico for a 6-3, 5-7, 12-10 win over Carolina Betancourt of Mexico and Daniela Seguel of Chile.
Emilio Gomez of Ecuador, who left USC after his junior year in 2013, won the $10,000 Rochester Futures event, winning two matches today to claim his sixth Futures singles title and his first outside of South America. Gomez defeated 18-year-old Alex Rybakov 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinal, which could not be played on Saturday due to rain. In the final, the No. 1 seed defeated former Florida star Sekou Bangoura Jr., the No. 2 seed, 7-6(3), 6-4. Bangoura had beaten qualifier Dominic Cotrone(South Florida) 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-3 in the semifinals. Cotrone and Quinton Vega(Wisconsin) won the doubles title, beating Jordi Arconada(Texas A&M) and Stephen Madonia 6-4, 6-4 in the final.
At the $15,000 Futures in Tulsa, Noah Rubin led top seed Darian King of Barbados 6-2, 5-2, but lost the final 11 games of the match to leave his record in Futures finals at 0-4.
At the ITF Grade 5 in Bermuda, 17-year-old Madison Battaglia won her first ITF title in only her second tournament. The unseeded New Yorker didn't drop a set, beating unseeded 15-year-old Kate Paulus 6-1, 6-1 in an all-American final. Katie LaFrance won the doubles title with Lillian Gabrielsen of Norway, beating Paulus and Cheyenne Lilienthal 7-6(4), 7-6(4) in the final. Top seed Stephan Koenigsfest of Bolivia defeated qualifier Lane Leschly of the US 6-3, 7-5 in the boys singles final. Nick Brookes and Harry Butler of Great Britain took the boys doubles title, defeating Sebastian Mermersky and Chase Burton of the US 5-7, 7-5, 10-5 in the final.
At the Grade 2 in Germany, Gabby Pollner and Meghan Kelley made the quarterfinals, with Raquel Pedraza reaching the doubles final. Unseeded Alexei Popyrin of Australia and unseeded Lara Salden of Belgium took the singles titles. At the Grade 5 in Denmark, Nicole Conard won the doubles title with a partner from the Netherlands.
This coming week's Grade 1 in Roehampton began well for the US boys, with seven of the eight getting first round wins today. Taylor Fritz(1), Michael Mmoh(3), Tommy Paul(4), William Blumberg(8), Reilly Opelka(16), Ulises Blanch and Nathan Ponwith all picked up wins. Blanch defeated No. 11 seed Nam Hoang Ly of Vietnam 7-6(9), 4-6, 6-3. Mmoh barely got past wild card Ryan Storrie of Great Britain, taking that match 2-6, 6-2, 7-6(4). Emil Reinberg, the eighth American boy in the draw, lost 6-4, 6-2 to Mikael Ymer of Sweden, who had to go through qualifying despite being the No. 10 seed once he reached the main draw.
The US girls posted four wins, with Ingrid Neel, qualifier Tornado Alicia Black, Kayla Day and No. 16 Caroline Dolehide advancing to the second round. Claire Liu, Francesca Di Lorenzo and Raveena Kingsley lost, with Kingsley again taking top seed Marketa Vondrousova to a third set, as she did in the first round of the French Open earlier this month, but falling 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. No. 8 seed Sonya Kenin had lost the first set to 15-year-old Olesya Pervushina of Russia and was at 5-5 in the second set when darkness suspended play in that match, along with several others.
Live scoring for Roehampton is available here.