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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Blanch Beats Crawford to Reach G1 Banana Bowl Final; Stewart, Kozlov Advance to Pro Circuit Finals; Nefve, Harvey Win G4 Panama Titles; Northwestern Men End Losing Streak to Illinois

Ulises Blanch will play for his second Grade 1 singles title Sunday at the Banana Bowl in Brazil after defeating unseeded Oliver Crawford 6-3, 7-5 in today's semifinals.  Blanch, the No. 2 seed, will face No. 10 seed Louis Wessels of Germany, who advanced to his first Grade 1 final with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 win over No. 1 seed Yosuke Watanuki of Japan. Blanch defeated Wessels in three sets last November in the third round of the Grade 1 Yucatan Cup.

Watanuki recovered from his semifinal loss to take the doubles title, partnering Blanch against No. 7 seeds Juan Carlos Aguilar of Bolivia and Bruno Britez of Paraguay.  The top seeds defeated the South American pair 7-6(4), 7-6(4) in today's final.

The girls final will be between No. 5 seed Panna Udvardy of Hungary and unseeded Emily Appleton of Great Britain. Udvardy beat No. 3 seed Lara Escauriza of Paraguay 7-5, 5-7, 6-1 and Appleton defeated No. 14 seed Mirjam Bjorklund of Sweden 6-4, 6-4.  The girls doubles title went to the Japanese pair of Mai Hontama and Ayumi Miyamoto. The top seeds defeated No. 6 seeds Bjorklund and Maria Jose Portillo Ramirez of Mexico 7-5, 6-4 in the final.

At the women's $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Weston, Florida, Katerina Stewart secured one title and will go for a second on Sunday.  Stewart, the top seed, defeated No. 3 seed Shilin Xu of China 6-1, 6-3 in the semifinals and will play No. 4 seed Chanel Simmonds of South Africa in the final after Simmonds downed Nina Alibalic of Croatia 6-4, 6-4.

Stewart won the doubles title with Tess Sugnaux of Switzerland, beating Julieta Estable of Argentina and Jasmine Paolini of Italy 7-6(2), 6-3 in a final between two unseeded teams.

At the $25,000 Futures in Sherbrooke, Canada, Stefan Kozlov reached the final with a 7-5, 7-5 win over qualifier Filip Peliwo of Canada. There were no break points for either player until 5-5 in the first set, when Peliwo was broken. In serving for the set, Kozlov went down 0-40, then ad out, but saved all four break points to secure the set.  Down 3-1 in the second set, Kozlov got the break back, went up 5-4, but was unable to serve out the match after having a match point at 40-30.  He broke the former ITF World Junior champion in the next game however and served out the match to reach his second $25,000 Futures final of the year.

Kozlov will play Great Britain's Lloyd Glasspool, who prevented an all-teen final with his 6-4, 6-2 win over wild card Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada. The 22-year-old Glasspool, who completed his eligibility at Texas last year, is looking for his first Futures title of 2016 after winning two $10,000 Futures titles last fall.

Two US juniors won singles titles at the ITF Grade 4 in Panama today, with both victories coming over fellow Americans.  Fifteen-year-old Axel Nefve, seeded No. 7, beat unseeded Fletcher Scott 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 to earn his second Grade 4 title, both coming in the past two months. Fourteen-year-old Kacie Harvey, also a No. 7 seed, beat No. 8 seed Dalayna Hewitt 6-2, 2-6, 7-6(4) for her second ITF singles title. Hewitt had beaten Harvey last week in the quarterfinals of the Grade 3 in Costa Rica.

Hewitt did get a title, taking the doubles in yet another all-American final. Hewitt and Alana Smith, the top seeds, downed No. 2 seeds Harvey and Kate Paulus 6-2, 6-4 in the final.

A noteworthy win for the No 11 Northwestern men today in Evanston, beating No. 8 Illinois 4-3.  The Wildcats' only loss of the season was a 4-3 decision to Illinois in the final of the kickoff weekend in January, but beyond avenging that loss, there was additional significance to the Northwestern program. The Wildcats had lost 27 consecutive times to Illinois, dating back to 1999, and had not beaten a Top 10 team since at least 1981, according to this account of the match at the Northwestern website.


News Fash! said...

Benard Tomic of Australia defeats Rajeev Ram , USA, 4,5 in second round of Indian Wells

ITA Ruining the Game said...

What direction is college tennis going? It's turning out to be a complete Circus with too heavy of an International presence.

This new ITA committee is making a mockery of college tennis. It's sad and pitiful.

The ITA is selfishly thinking only about the fans & marketing RATHER than the health of the student-athlete. It can't be about TV because of the high cost and filming on 6 courts. Most schools already have live video & the fans will come based on own school's marketing.

Are we really playing the same structure of junior tennis or that we see on TV with the pros? Absolutely NOT. Why does the College game have to be so different?

1) Higher percentage of Internationals - some rosters with ALL Internationals, most of at least 1/2 roster of Internationals.
2) No-ad singles format. Not in Pros or Juniors
3) No-Ad doubles format.
3) Shorter doubles point. (From 8 games to 6 games) Most fans WANT to see more doubles.
4) Service Nets are allowed (Men's side) - Not in Pros or Juniors
5) Teams have to be .500 in win/loss column - which promotes weaker schedules & Double/Triple headers in one day.
6) No Warmup for doubles. Not in Pros or Juniors
7) No Warmup for singles. Not in Pros or Juniors

Flash said...

A few weeks ago, beating Ram propelled Tomic along the road to the Acapulco finals. Can it happen again?