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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Arconada Defends Grade A Title in Porto Alegre; Mmoh, Stewart Claim Pro Circuit Titles; 21 Americans in Miami Open Qualifying; Georgia Men Top Ohio State

Defending a junior title is difficult and rare, particularly if you drop the first set 6-0, but Usue Arconada handled all the challenges this week, beating Amanda Anisimova 0-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the final of the Porto Alegre Grade A today in Brazil.  Arconada, the top seed, made error after error in the opening set against the No. 3 seed, who had not lost a junior match in 11 contests this year.  But down 4-2 in the second set, Arconada found her form, while Anisimova's level dropped resulting in eight straight games for Arconada.  Up 4-0 and serving in the third set, Arconada lost her serve and Anisimova held to make it 4-2, and after the roller coaster nature of the match, it seemed another plot twist might be coming. But Arconada held for 5-2 and broke an error-prone Anisimova at love to keep possession of the title.

The boys title also went to the top seed, with Yosuke Watanuki of Japan beating unseeded John McNally 6-2, 6-0 for his first Grade A title.  McNally's first serve was absent throughout the match, while Watanuki faced only one break point, at 30-40 serving at 2-1 in the first set.

At the $10,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Orlando, 18-year-old Katerina Stewart won her second consecutive event, beating qualifier Grace Min 6-4, 6-3. It is Stewart's eighth career singles title on the ITF Women's Circuit.

Eighteen-year-old Michael Mmoh won his fourth career Futures title, and first of 2016 at the $25,000 tournament in Bakersfield, California. Last night, Mmoh defeated Germany's Sebastian Fanselow, the former Pepperdine star, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the final against 17-year-old Casper Ruud of Norway, who had beaten Dennis Nevolo 6-1, 6-7(8), 7-5 in the other semifinal.

Mmoh fell behind 3-1 in the first set of tonight's final, but came back to win it 6-4.  The second set had no breaks, with Mmoh unable to take advantage of any of his four break points, while Ruud didn't have any opportunities. Mmoh was up 4-2 at the change of ends, but immediately gave the mini-break back and Ruud went on to take the tiebreaker 7-6(5).

The third set began much like the second, with three holds, but Mmoh did convert his third break point to take a 3-1 lead and faced little resistance after that for a 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-1 victory.

The doubles title in Bakersfield went to former UCLA teammates Adrien Puget of France and Nick Meister. The No. 4 seeds beat No. 2 seeds Ruben Gonzales of the Philippines and Sekou Bangoura 7-5, 6-3 in today's final.

The qualifying draws for both men and women are out for the Miami Open, with play beginning on Monday.  There are 21 Americans--13 men and 8 women--in the draws.

The American men: Taylor Fritz(1), Alex Kuznetsov(WC), Alex Sarkissian, Bjorn Fratangelo, Austin Krajicek(5), Dennis Novikov, Jared Donaldson, Ryan Harrison, Ryan Shane(WC), Tommy Paul, Tim Smyczek(11), Christian Harrison(WC) and Noah Rubin(WC). Bakersfield finalist Ruud, who initially was mistakenly referred to as Christian in the draw (that's his father, a former Top 40 pro), also received a qualifying wild card.

The American women: Sachia Vickery(WC), Anna Tatishvilli, Shelby Rogers(22), Alison Riske(13), Samantha Crawford, Louisa Chirico, Lauren Davis(16) and Claire Liu(WC).  Wild cards also went to juniors Fanny Stollar of Hungary and Katie Swan of Great Britain. The women's qualifying draw is here.

The order of play for Monday is here.

The big match of the day in college tennis was No. 4 Ohio State against No. 19 Georgia in Athens, and it was the Bulldogs who came away with an important non-conference victory, defeating the Buckeyes 4-2. Georgia won the doubles point and got singles wins from Wayne Montgomery at line 2, Nick Wood at line 5 and the clinching point from Paul Oosterbaan at line 3.

At the Oracle ITA College Tennis event in Indian Wells, No. 15 Oklahoma defeated No. 14 Cal 4-3.  Oklahoma had lost to USC 4-1 at the event on Saturday.  Illinois' Pablo Landa and Cal's Florian Lakat had the thrill of their tennis careers when they warmed up BNP Paribas champion and ATP No. 1 Novak Djokovic for his weekend matches.


In Newport Beach said...

USTA and SCTA continue their corrupt ways. ITF Grade 4 Newport Beach, many wild cards given to players connected to USTA PD /SCTA over better players. With a qualifying draw of 64, an alternate list upwards of 80, they still manage to give a bye to the #1 seed from UK when so many players wanted to play.... No accountability....

Em said...

It seems you are right. 7 wild cards in just boys main draw? One of them 17 year old with no ITF ranking at all? Maybe these are good players but I just don't see the reasoning.

In Newport Beach said...

The boys draw was done twice because the two top USTA PD players were meeting each other two early. To what length will they go to make sure their players play and go deep every time???

There are only 3 ITFs in California, one at an exclusive place, Easter Bowl, which many people can't afford. That leaves 2 ITFs for players whose parents don't have enough money to travel worldwide to buy points. It seems the only players who even enter these ITF tournaments is players with rich parents or those who go to the USTA PD program. Where does that leave the talented but not-so-rich players who also have professional and high level aspirations?

No wonder American men tennis sucks. You can see the new crop of American boys - they belong to one of the two clubs - without belonging to these two clubs, good luck to you!

Brent said...

Wow. That is a really serious accusation. What is your source that they re-did the draw for that reason?

Also, I don't see any byes in the draw. Looks like lucky losers took all the spots so not sure where that came from.