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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Former College Stars Sweep USTA Pro Circuit Events; Nine US Juniors in First Round Action Monday at Wimbledon; Four US Juniors Take ITF Titles

©Colette Lewis 2015--

Wimbledon's Middle Sunday isn't really a break for the juniors, because only half of them have even begun the tournament, but it does provide me with an opportunity to catch up on what's gone on this week in the USTA Pro Circuit events and the lower level ITF tournaments away from SW 19.

NCAA champion Jamie Loeb won her first Pro Circuit event at the $25,000 tournament in El Paso today, defeating No. 2 seed Jennifer Brady 6-7(7), 6-4 6-2. UNC's Loeb, a qualifier, had lost to Brady, who left UCLA after her sophomore season ended in May, in the second round of the Sumter $25,000 tournament two weeks ago.  After losing in qualifying last week in Baton Rouge, Loeb won seven matches this week, beating top seed Taylor Townsend in three sets, Stanford's Carol Zhao(7) in three sets (a repeat of this year's NCAA final), and No. 3 seed Mayo Hibi in the semifinals.

Two other former college players, a bit farther removed from their university days, won the two men's Futures in Pittsburgh and Wichita.

Former USC Trojan Emilio Gomez of Ecuador(1) won his second straight title, following up his title last week in Rochester by defeating qualifier Mikael Torpegaard (Ohio State sophomore from Denmark) 6-4, 6-4 in the Pittsburgh $10,000 final today. Reigning Kalamazoo 16s champion John McNally made the quarterfinals before falling to Gomez 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

Former University of Virginia standout Sanam Singh of India claimed the title at the $15,000 Futures in Wichita, with the No. 5 seed beating No. 4 seed Mitchell Krueger 7-6(6), 7-6(4). Singh had avenged his loss to NCAA finalist Noah Rubin last week in the semifinals. Jared Hiltzik (Illinois senior) reached the semifinals at the Futures level for the first time in his career.  Singh also won the doubles title with Darian King of Barbados, with the top seeds defeating No. 4 seeds Gonzales Austin(Vanderbilt) and Max Schnur(Columbia) 6-3, 6-3.

The men's USTA Pro Circuit now moves to the Winnetka $50,000 Challenger, where qualifying has begun.  Frances Tiafoe is in the field, and Stefan Kozlov, Jared Hiltzik, Tom Fawcett and Mackenzie McDonald received main draw wild cards. Be sure to check Jonathan Kelley's On The Rise blog for onsite coverage; he is credentialed media for the tournament.

There are no USTA Pro Circuit women's events this week.

After an opening day of play in which the US juniors won eight of nine matches at the Wimbledon Junior Championships Saturday, Monday has nine more Americans on the schedule. Five of the US boys are scheduled for Court 9, so if you are on the grounds, you can probably find me there. Feel free to stop and say hello. I'll have my straw hat with a leopard print hat band on, and I'll have a notebook in hand.

US juniors in action Monday are in bold.

Qualifier Alex De Minaur (AUS) v Reilly Opelka
Taylor Fritz [1] v wild card Jay Clarke (GBR)
Tommy Paul [7] v qualifier Benjamin Hannestad (DEN)
Geoffrey Blancaneaux (FRA) v Michael Mmoh [4]
Qualifier Emil Reinberg v Federico Bonacia (ITA)
William Blumberg [10] v Djurabeck Karimov (UZB)
Ulises Blanch v qualifier Charles Broom (GBR)
Sofia Kenin [9] v Bianca Vanessa Andreescu (CAN)
Raveena Kingsley v qualifier Destanee Aiava (AUS)

The complete order of play is here and the draws are here.

Four US juniors won singles titles in lower level ITF events last week. Andrew Fenty won his first ITF title at the Grade 4 in Aruba, beating fellow 15-year-old and Junior Tennis Champions Center training partner Brian Cernoch 6-1, 6-0 in the final. Both were unseeded.  Fourteen-year-old Jordan Harris won the girls title in Aruba, her first ITF title, defeating No. 8 seed Zoe Spence 7-5, 6-2 in the final. No. 2 seeds Ally Miller-Krasilnikov and Spence won the doubles title, beating Harris and partner Safiya Carrington 6-1, 6-2 in the all-USA final.

At the Grade 5 in Cuba, No. 2 seed Naomi Waters won the singles and doubles titles. She downed No. 1 seed Saya Usui of Japan 6-1, 2-6, 6-1 in the singles final. The top seeds in doubles, Usui and Waters took that championship match, defeating No. 2 seeds Karen Alvarez of Mexico and Rut Galindo of Guatemala 7-5, 6-2.

At the Grade 5 in Greece, top seed Nicole Anderson won the singles title, the first for the 17-year-old, beating unseeded Vasiliki Karvouni of Greece 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(4) in the final.