Menguene, Dadaciu Earn More Titles on ITF Junior Circuit; Albuquerque $75K, Columbus Challenger Underway; Tennis Recruiting Network's Top Prospects
Last week was a slow one on the ITF Junior Circuit, with all tournaments the lowest levels of Grade 4 or Grade 5. But two young American girls took the opportunity to continue to build their rankings, with 14-year-old Sabina Dadaciu winning her second straight Grade 5 singles title in Honduras and 15-year-old Malkia Menguene claiming her third straight title in Africa.
Dadaciu has not lost a set in winning the singles and doubles titles two weeks ago and the singles title last week (she didn't compete in the doubles draw). For the second week in a row, Dadaciu, the No. 5 seed, beat top seed Rut Galindo of Guatemala in the final, this time by the score of 6-4, 6-3. She is now up to 368 in the ITF junior rankings, after getting her first points back in April.
Sixteen-year-old Fletcher Scott, the No. 7 seed, reached the final in Honduras, lost 6-3, 6-2 to top seed Juan Martin Ramirez Mejia of Colombia. Zachary Garner partnered Ryan Mueller of Guatemala to take the boys doubles title, with the No. 2 seeds defeating unseeded Thomas Guy of New Zealand and Xavier Oshinowo 4-6, 6-1, 10-6.
Menguene won two Grade 4s, one in Benin and one in Togo earlier this month. At last week's Grade 5 in Togo, the top-seeded Menguene defeated unseeded Chloe Cirotte of France 6-3, 6-3 in the final. Menguene was in the 2000s in the ITF rankings at the end of June; she is now at 265.
Two Grade 2s are on the schedule this week, with most of the Americans playing in Montreal. Jack Mingjie Lin of Canada is the top seed there, with Mwendwa Mbithi seeded second and Patrick Kypson seeded third. There are 17 US boys and 18 US girls in the 32-player draws, with the top three girls seeds from the US: Maria Mateas, Kariann Pierre-Louis and Abby Altick.
The other Grade 2 is in Uruguay, with six US girls and one US boy in the draws.
The USTA Pro Circuit hosts this week's largest prize money tournament on the ITF Women's Circuit, the $75,000 event in Albuquerque. An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium is the top seed, with Anna Tatishvili seeded No. 2. Robin Anderson, Sabrina Santamaria, Jacqueline Cako and Nadja Gilchrist are among the former college players in to the final round of qualifying. Main draw wild cards were given to Julia Jones, Julia Boserup, Jan Abaza and Vicky Duval.
The second biggest event in terms of ITF Women's Circuit prize money is also in North America this week, the $50,000 tournament in Monterrey, Mexico. Grace Min is in the main draw, and Kristie Ahn has qualified. Southern Cal's Giuliana Olmos, who won the Oracle Masters doubles title yesterday, received a wild card into the main draw.
The men's USTA Pro Circuit event this week is another $10,000 Futures tournament in California, this one in Costa Mesa. As was the case last week in Claremont, Marcos Giron and Deiton Baughman are the top two seeds. Baughman is a wild card entry, as is Virginia's Ryan Shane. The other two wild cards were won in competitions, with Australia's Ryan Agar and 16-year-old Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia earning those.
The $50,000 Columbus Challenger, which is not a part of the USTA Pro Circuit, features a nearly identical field as the one in Cary last week, with the exception of the top seed, Tim Smyczek, who did not play Cary. I can't recall ever seeing a draw without a wild card, but there are none in Columbus. Current Buckeye Hugo Di Feo and former Buckeye Peter Kobelt qualified; Blaz Rola, Connor Smith and Chase Buchanan are former Ohio State players who received entry on their own rankings. Dennis Novikov, the Cary champion, will play Stefan Kozlov in the first round.
In addition to Novikov, another college veteran, Tom Jomby of Kentucky, won a title last week--two actually--at the $10,000 Futures in Turkey, where he claimed the singles and doubles championships. Bobby Knight at College Tennis Today has more on the college men's performances last week.
The Tennis Recruiting Network has published its top prospects list, which is updated only twice a year, in the fall and in the spring. The blue chip designation is the highest accolade, but adding a star or two is also a notable achievement. Complete lists are available here.