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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Blanch Saves Match Points to Win Grade 1 Banana Bowl; Kozlov, Stewart Take Pro Circuit Titles; Gibbs into BNP Paribas Round of 16, Tiafoe Falls Just Short Against Goffin

Ulises Blanch won his second Grade 1 title of 2016 today in Sao Paolo Brazil, beating Louis Wessels of Germany 6-4, 6-7(6), 7-6(6) in the Banana Bowl final. According to this account of the match, No. 2 seed Blanch saved two match points at 4-6 in the final set tiebreaker, winning the last four points of the match to claim the win over the No. 10 seed.

Three sets were also needed to decide the girls final, with No. 5 seed Panna Udvardy of Hungary beating unseeded Emily Appleton of Great Britain 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the championship match.

Qualifying for the Porto Alegre Grade A next week is complete and the draws are out.  Qualifiers Robert Loeb and Brian Cernoch make it 15 US boys in the main draw. The other 13 are: Brandon Holt, Zeke Clark(12), Vasil Kirkov, Alexandre Rotsaert, Nathan Ponwith(7), Nathan Perrone, Sam Riffice(11), Gianni Ross, Trent Bryde, John McNally, Oliver Crawford, Patrick Kypson and Blanch(2).

In the girls draw, there will be 17 Americans, after Lea Ma qualified. The other 16 are: Usue Arconada(1), Sabina Dadaciu, Najah Dawson, Abigail Desiatnikov, Caty McNally, Natasha Subhash, Julia Goldberg, Michaela Gordon(6), Jimena Rodriguez-Benito, Ellie Douglas, Katya Townsend, Amanda Anisimova(3), Maria Mateas(5), Camille Townsend, Hurricane Tyra Black(16) and Jada Robinson.  Arconada is the defending champion.

Top seed Katerina Stewart won the $10,000 Pro Circuit tournament in Weston, Florida, beating No. 4 seed Chanel Simmonds of South Africa 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the final.  Stewart also won the doubles title there yesterday.  The 18-year-old Floridian is entered in next week's $10,000 tournament in Orlando, and would again be the top seed. Grace Min, who has been struggling lately, took a wild card into qualifying, where she will be the No. 1 seed.

Stefan Kozlov won his second $25,000 Futures title of the year today in Sherbrooke, beating Lloyd Glasspool of Great Britain 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Trailing 2-0 in the second set, Kozlov won a 10-deuce, 25 point game to break Glasspool, and then got his second break of the set at 4-4 and held to force a third, after an hour and 45 minutes of play.

Kozlov, seeded sixth, went up two breaks, serving at 4-1 in the third set.  Glasspool got one break back for 4-2, but Kozlov held for 5-3 and had three match points in the next game, but Glasspool forced Kozlov to serve it out, which he did.

Glasspool then rushed to the Drummondville Challenger an hour or so away, to play his qualifying match against another former Texas Longhorn from Great Britain, Ed Corrie, with Corrie earning a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win. So after playing more than four hours of professional tennis in one eight-hour stretch, Glasspool, the 2015 NCAA doubles champion, went 0-2 on the day. But kudos to him for giving both matches his best efforts.

Another NCAA doubles champion had a better day.  Nicole Gibbs, who won both the singles and doubles title in 2012 while a sophomore at Stanford, reached the round of 16 at the BNP Paribas Open with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakstan this afternoon. It's the best showing at a WTA Premier Mandatory event for Gibbs, won also won the NCAA singles title in 2013, in her career. She will play No. 8 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic next.

Late last night, wild card Frances Tiafoe pushed No. 15 seed David Goffin of Belgium to the limit before falling 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(2). I wasn't able to stay up for the entire match, but I understand that Tiafoe had two match points with Goffin serving at 4-5 in the third set. Losses are losses, with no money and no points accruing from them, but Tiafoe has to take confidence from how close he came to a beating a Top 20 player.


News Flash! said...

M Raonic defeats B Tomic, 2,0 retired at Indian Wells