My Conversation with Agent Sam Duvall; Sewing Wins ITF Title in Grade 2 in Canada; Mmoh Reaches Tiburon Challenger Semis; Kenin into Last Four in Las Vegas
My article this week for the Tennis Recruiting Network is my recent conversation with Sam Duvall, an agent at Topnotch Management. Duvall, who represents John Isner, Steve Johnson, Reilly Opelka and other professional tennis players, has had a decade of experience in the field, and is now head of his own boutique agency. In our talk earlier this month at the US Open, he answered my questions on what an agent does, what he looks for in potential clients, and what advice he would give to juniors and their parents, along with many other topics. Although I have been around agents at junior tournaments for years and I assumed I knew what their job entailed, I found myself learning plenty from Duvall. Please check it out; I think you'll find something of interest, no matter how you're connected to tennis.
The ITF Grade 2 singles finals were completed today in Canada, with 17-year-old Sofia Sewing taking the girls title, the second ITF singles title of her career. Sewing, the No. 4 seed, defeated No. 3 seed Maria Jose Portillo Ramirez of Mexico 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 in the final, after the two had won the doubles title yesterday. In the boys final, top seed Juan Carlos Aguilar of Bolivia, the US Open boys doubles champion, defeated No. 2 seed Trent Bryde 6-4, 6-3. The 17-year-old Aguilar now has two ITF singles title, having won the Grade 2 in his home country back in February.
In the USTA Pro Circuit quarterfinals around the country today, lots of young Americans picked up victories. Starting west and working east, Michael Mmoh reached his first Challenger semifinal at the $100,000 tournament in Tiburon, beating No. 2 seed Bjorn Fratangelo 6-0, 7-5.
The 18-year-old Kalamazoo champion, who had beaten Fratangelo earlier this year in the final round of qualifying for the ATP event in Memphis, broke Fratangelo at 3-4 in the second set, but was unable to serve it out. He did hold easily in his next service game however, putting the pressure back on Fratangelo. Fratangelo fell behind 15-40 to give Mmoh two match points, and although Fratangelo saved the first with a good first serve, forehand winner combination, Mmoh came up with the forehand pass on the the second match point to claim the victory.
Next up for qualifier Mmoh, who moves into the ATP Top 300 for the first time in his career with the win, will be No. 3 seed Tim Smyczek, who defeated Mitchell Krueger 6-2, 6-4.
Earlier this evening, wild card Mackenzie McDonald recovered from being a set and a break down to No. 4 seed Frances Tiafoe, earning a 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-5 win to return to the Tiburon semifinals for the second straight year. McDonald will play the only non-American left in the draw, Darian King of Barbados, who beat No. 5 seed Dennis Novikov 7-5, 6-2. Matches are streamed, with commentary, here.
In the $10,000 Fountain Valley, California Futures, Marcos Giron is the sole American in the quarterfinals, after he defeated No. 3 seed Markos Kalovelonis of Russia 7-6(8), 6-3. Giron, in just his second pro tournament back after two hip surgeries, will play No. 6 seed Sebastian Fanselow of Germany in the semifinals. Top seed and University of Virginia freshman Carl Soderlund of Sweden will face No. 4 seed Takanyi Garanganga of Zimbabwe in the other semifinal.
SMU seniors Hunter and Yates Johnson won their second career Pro Circuit title together, defeating Fanselow and Sebastian Bader of Austria 6-4, 7-5 in the doubles final. Neither team was seeded.
At the $50,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Las Vegas, wild card Sonya Kenin reached the semifinals with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 win over wild card Maria Sanchez. Kenin, 17, will play unseeded Nadia Podoroska of Argentina, who beat No. 8 seed Sachia Vickery 6-1, 6-2. The other semifinal will feature top seed Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium, a 6-1, 6-4 winner over No. 6 seed Taylor Townsend today, and 17-year-old qualifier Fanni Stollar of Hungary, who defeated Jovana Jaksic of Serbia 6-2, 7-5.
The semifinals of the Stillwater, Oklahoma $25,000 tournament feature two Americans, with qualifier Danielle Collins and 18-year-old Caroline Dolehide aiming to meet in the final. Collins defeated former WTA No. 21 Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 to set up a meeting with unseeded Yuliya Beygelzimer of Ukraine. The unseeded Dolehide beat qualifier Ronit Yurovsky 6-1, 6-2 to advance against lucky loser Bianca Turati of Italy, a freshman at Texas this fall. Turati moved on when No. 2 seed Ana Vrljic of Croatia retired down 6-3, 3-1.
At the $10,000 tournament in Charleston, SC, No. 3 seed Lauren Embree and No. 2 seed Nicole Coopersmith will meet in one semifinal, with recent Florida State graduate Yukako Noi of Japan facing Ingrid Gamarra Martins of Brazil in the other.