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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Douglas, Hilderbrand Win ITF Grade 5 in Austin; Sah, Harvey Take Titles in Dominican Republic; ITA All-American Pre Qualifying Underway

The fall ITF junior circuit began this week in Austin, Texas, a new site for the Grade 5, which had been in Waco previously.  Two unseeded 15-year-old Texans, Ellie Douglas and Trey Hilderbrand, finished today as champions, winning their first ITF titles.

Douglas, the No. 3 seed, defeated unseeded Nadia Gizdova 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, while the unseeded Hilderbrand beat Brady Draheim, also unseeded, 7-6(6), 7-5 in the boys final.

Gizdova did get a title however, taking the doubles with Abigail Chiu. The No. 5 seeds beat unseeded Gabriella Cusano and Addison Guevara 6-2, 6-1 in the final. Hilderbrand went 1 for 2 in finals, losing in the boys doubles final, with Henry Cacciatore, to the fourth-seeded team of Mac Kiger and Sebastian Mermersky 6-1, 7-6(5).

At the Grade 5 in the Dominican Republic, Timothy Sah, who swept both titles at the Grade 5 in Puerto Rico last week, did it again. Seeded No. 15 in singles, the 16-year-old from California defeated 15-year-old qualifier Arnav Dhingra 6-3, 6-2 in the final. Sah and Zachary Garner, the No. 2 seeds, defeated No. 4 seeds Evan Bynoe and Vignesh Subramanyan 6-3, 7-6(4) in the doubles final.

Fourteen-year-old Kacie Harvey won her first ITF singles title in the Dominican Republic, with the No. 10 seed defeating unseeded 13-year-old Peyton Stearns 6-3, 6-3 in the final, taking all five of her victories in straight sets.  Harvey, who won a doubles title last month in Honduras for her first ITF junior title, also won as a team this week. She and Kianah Motosono, the No. 3 seeds, defeated top seeds Maria Yanez Diaz of Mexico and Jimena Rodriguez Benito 6-3, 6-3 in the final.

At the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup today in Madrid, the US boys finished seventh, defeating the Czech Republic 2-1.  The complete results of today's placement matches can be found here.

Boys 7th-8th place play-offs:
USA (3) defeated CZECH REPUBLIC (7) 2-1:
Patrick Kypson (USA) d. Michael Vrbensky (CZE) 64 63
Patrick Rikl (CZE) d. Vasil Kirkov (USA) 64 67(5) 60
Vasil Kirkov/Patrick Kypson (USA) d. Patrick Rikl/Michael Vrbensky (CZE) 76(5) 64

The semifinalists had the day off Saturday.  The US girls will play the Czech Republic for the Junior Fed Cup title.  The boys Junior Davis Cup final is between Canada and Germany. The finals be streamed here, beginning at 5 a.m. Eastern time Sunday.

The pre-qualifying for the ITA All-American Championships are underway for the men in Tulsa, and for the women in Pacific Palisades. The men's pre-qualifying draw is open to anyone who wishes to play, with the result a 512 draw this year (although there were actually "only" 266 players total). The women's pre-qualifying is a 64-draw. The women's PQ draw, along with the selections for the qualifying and main draw, can be found at the ITA tournament page.  Carol Zhao of Stanford and NCAA Most Outstanding Player in the Team Sweet 16 Astra Sharma of Vanderbilt are not among the participants, but the rest of the top women in college are scheduled to play.

As Bobby Knight has pointed out on his blog College Tennis Today, the participation in the men's All-American this year is disappointing, with the top four and eight of the top 15 in the preseason rankings skipping the tournament.  The increase in the number of Challengers in the fall here in the US could be one reason, and I agree with Knight that the no-ad format and the new Oracle Masters could also be contributing factors to the weak field this year. Or it may just be random. The fields at the Indoor next month may help determine that.

The men's pre-qualifying results and the selections for the qualifying and main draw are at the ITA's tournament page

Four Americans will play for USTA Pro Circuit singles titles on Sunday. At the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger, it will be top seed Denis Kudla and No. 3 seed Tim Smyczek in the final.  Kudla trailed wild card Mackenzie McDonald of UCLA 3-0 in the final set, but managed to come away with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 win.  Smyczek posted a routine 6-3, 6-1 win over unseeded 18-year-old Quentin Halys of France.

At the women's $50,000 tournament in Las Vegas, No. 7 seed Shelby Rogers will play unseeded Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands in the final.  Rogers defeated No. 3 seed Romina Oprandi of Switzerland 6-4, 6-4, while Krajicek, who won last week's $75,000 tournament in Albuquerque, beat No. 6 seed Nicole Gibbs 6-1, 7-6(6).  

In Laguna Niguel, No. 3 seed Wil Spencer will play No. 4 seed Nik Scholtz of South Africa for the singles title at the $10,000 Futures. Spencer defeated unseeded Lucas Gomez of Mexico 7-6(3), 7-6(6) in today's semifinals, with Scholtz advancing to the final with a 6-4, 6-2 decision over unseeded Phillip Simmonds. 

Rain has continued to keep any tennis from being played at the women's $10,000 tournament in Charleston, SC. A round of 16 match is still incomplete, and although the schedule shows matches including the semifinals on Sunday, the weather forecast continues to call for heavy rain the next several days.