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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Wake Men Win Thriller over No. 1 Virginia; Florida Sweeps SEC Titles; Shapovalov Wins Another Futures; Fratangelo Takes Savannah Challenger; Ojai Results

An incredibly busy day in tennis today in the United States, with Pro Circuit events, two major Division I conference championships for men and women and The Ojai tournament all concluding.

The men's ACC final between top-ranked Virginia and No. 7 Wake Forest proved the most exciting of the four taking place today, with Wake's Dennis Uspensky defeating Virginia's Luca Corinteli 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 7-6(4) at line 6 to clinch the title and end the nine-year run of the Cavaliers as tournament champion.

Wake Forest took the doubles point with routine wins at 1 and 3 and went ahead 2-0 when Skander Mansouri defeated Ryan Shane 6-0, 6-3  at 1.  Virginia tied it with wins by JC Aragone at 4 and Thai Kwiatkowski at 3, and appeared to have the momentum when Collin Altamirano earned a three-set win at 2, with the other two matches also in third sets and Virginia needing only one. Henrik Wiersholm was up 3-0 in the the third set at 5 against Christian Seraphim and Corinteli had a 4-2 lead in the third over Uspensky, but both Deacons came back.  Seraphim made the team score 3-3 with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 win, his first win over Wiersholm after two losses in their previous meetings this season.

With all attention now on Corinteli and Uspensky, the pressure was now undeniable, but neither player appeared to feel it. After getting it back to 4-4, Uspensky had to save two break points to make it 5-4 and three to take a 6-5 lead. Corinteli was holding with much less drama, but that changed in the tiebreaker.  After getting a mini-break to start, Corinteli double faulted, and two consecutive double faults four points later gave Uspensky a 5-2 lead.  The Wake freshman was overruled on a Corinteli winner on the far sideline for 5-3, but a big forehand gave him a 6-3 lead.  Corinteli saved the first match point when Uspensky's return hit the tape and went out, but he double faulted on the second match point to give Wake Forest its first ACC title.

Earlier in the day in Cary, NC, the North Carolina women finished a perfect conference season with a 4-2 win over Miami.  Despite all the program's success over the past four years, the Tar Heel seniors had not won a conference tournament title until today. North Carolina took the doubles point and got wins from Hayley Carter at No. 1, Jessie Aney at No. 3 and the clinching point from senior Kate Vialle at No. 4. For more, see the North Carolina website.

The University of Florida swept the SEC championships, with the women defeating Georgia 4-2 and the men surprising Georgia 4-2. Florida was up 3-1 and had won the first sets in the three remaining matches, but Georgia fought back, forcing third sets, and getting a win from Mariana Gould at 5 to make it 4-2.  Both Kourtney Keegan and senior Brianna Morgan took leads for the Gators late in the third set, but Keegan failed to serve it out at 5-3, and Morgan needed a deciding point after a 40-15 lead to secure her 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Silvia Garcia at line 3. Like North Carolina in the ACC, Florida finished the year undefeated against SEC competition.

The Georgia men were also going for an undefeated conference season, but Florida ended that quest, reversing a 5-2 loss just two weeks ago. Florida won the doubles point and got wins from Alfredo Perez at 2, Chase Perez-Blanco at 4 before senior Gordon Watson clinched with a  3-6, 7-5, 6-3 win over Nick Wood at line 5.  It's Florida's first conference tournament title since 2011.

Last night in Ojai, the UCLA men added the PAC-12 tournament title to their regular season title with a 4-1 win over Cal, that was much closer than the score might suggest.

In the USTA Pro Circuit finals today, 17-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov won his third Futures singles title of his career, all this year, with a 7-5, 2-6, 7-6(6) win over 16-year-old Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia at the Orange Park Florida $10,000 tournament. Live scoring wasn't working for the match, so I can't comment on how it developed, but the score certainly suggests a great match. Shapovalov, who won the US Open boys doubles last year, also took the doubles title, his second at the Futures level. He and Hungarian Peter Nagy(Texas-Corpus Christi) defeated No. 4 seeds Dennis Nevolo(Illinois) and Ruben Gonzales(Illinois) 6-2, 6-3 in the final.

At the Savannah Challenger, Bjorn Fratangelo claimed his second career title at that level, beating Jared Donaldson 6-1, 6-3. With a semifinal in Sarasota last week and a title this week, Fratangelo is the heavy favorite to take the USTA French Open wild card, with only a Donaldson title in Tallahassee next week standing in his way.  In the doubles final, wild cards Brian Baker and Ryan Harrison defeated No. 3 seeds Purav Raja and Divij Sharan of India 5-7, 7-6(4), 10-8.

In Dothan's $50,000 women's event, qualifier Taylor Townsend lost the singles final to No. 2 seed Rebecca Peterson of Sweden 6-4, 6-2, but won the doubles title with Asia Muhammad by virtue of a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Keri Wong and Caitlin Whoriskey.

At the Ojai tournament, Cal's Maegan Manasse won the Pac-12 women's title, beating defending champion Catherine Harrison of UCLA 6-3, 6-2.

In the Pac-12 women's doubles championships, Arizona State captured its first conference doubles title when Ebony Panoho and Alexandra Osborne defeated Stanford's Melissa Lord and Carol Zhao 6-3, 6-1.

In the women's Open tournament, UCLA recruit Ena Shibahara defended her title, defeating Katherine Sebov of Canada 1-6, 6-3, 6-0. The men's Open title went to Deiton Baughman, who beat Brandon Holt 7-6(4), 6-2.  Holt got revenge on Baughman in the doubles, when Holt and Clay Thompson defeated Baughman and Riley Smith 1-6, 6-3, 10-4. Holt and Smith, both committed to USC, were doubles finalists at the US Open junior championships last September.  The women's doubles title went to Kaitlyn Christian and Megan McCray, who beat Shibahara and Jada Hart 6-4, 6-2.   All Ojai Open results can be found here.

Connor Hance won the boys CIF title, beating Bjorn Hoffman 6-2, 6-2 in the final. All junior results are available here.  Additional coverage of the junior tournament is availabe at the Ventura County Star.