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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Shibahara and Matsumura Win Oracle Masters; Small College Oracle Cup Champions Crowned; Spencer Earns Futures Title in Houston; Escobedo Claims Monterrey Challenger

The second Oracle Masters was completed today in Malibu, with UCLA's Ena Shibahara and Kentucky's Ryotaro Matsumura winning the singles titles.

Shibahara, who just last week reached the finals of the Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships after going through qualifying and pre-qualifying, was the No. 2 seed in the 32-player draw.  In today's final, the 18-year-old freshman defeated top seed Luisa Stefani of Pepperdine 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, giving Shibahara 15 wins in 16 matches against the top collegiate players during the past two plus weeks.

The men's singles title also went to the No. 2 seed, with Matsumura defeating No. 20 seed Shawn Hadavi of Columbia 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the final.  Seeded by Universal Tennis Ratings, the men's draw saw early exits from most of the top seeds, including No. 1 Yuya Ito of Texas, No. 3 Arthur Rinderknech of Texas A&M and No. 4 Ryan Peniston of Memphis.

In addition to having representatives of all Division I conferences in singles this year and an expansion of the draw to 32 players from 16, a mixed doubles event was added to the schedule.  Hayley Carter of North Carolina and Chris Eubanks of Georgia Tech won the mixed doubles title, defeating Blair Shankle and Max Tchoutakian of Baylor 8-6 in the final.

A new Junior Masters event was held simultaneously with the collegiate one. Unseeded Rena Lin defeated unseeded Julia Deming 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 for the girls title, while unseeded Robert Baylon downed No. 3 seed Mason Beiler 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 for the boys title.

For more on today's collegiate singles finals, see the ITA tournament page.

What was previously called the Small College National Championships, now known as the Oracle Cup, wrapped up today in Surprise, Arizona, with two singles players and two doubles teams earning their places in next month's USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in New York.

The Division II, Division III, NAIA and Junior College divisions all determined a national champion, then played off for the overall winner.

D III men's singles champion: Aman Manji, Emory
D III women's singles champion: Bridget Harding, Emory

D II men's singles champion: Oliver Frank, Asuza Pacific
D II women's singles champion: Madeline Hill, Washburn

NAIA men's singles champion: Kevin Konfederak, Georgia Gwinnett
NAIA women's singles champion: Camille Gbaguidi, Savannah College of Art and Design

JUCO men's singles champion: Jorge Martinez, Tyler JC
JUCO women's singles champion: Maria Medina, State College of Florida

In the men's playoff, Frank defeated Martinez 7-5, 6-1 to earn his place in the NIIC draw, while Gbaguidi defeated Medina 6-3, 6-2 in the women's playoff to earn her entry to the Indoor.

Konfederak and Jordan Cox of Georgia Gwinnett won the men's doubles playoff, with Diana Bogolii and Rosalie Willig of Lynn taking the women's doubles playoff.  Both teams also made the NIIC field last year by winning the Superbowl, as it was then called.

A complete championship recap from the ITA is available here.

At the $25,000 Futures in Houston, unseeded Wil Spencer captured his third Futures singles title, beating wild card Aron Hiltzik 6-4, 6-3 in the final. The 27-year-old Spencer, who played at Texas A&M and Georgia, beat three seeds, including top seed Yuki Bhambri of India in the semifinals, en route to the final. The 20-year-old Hiltzik, a junior at Illinois, had never made it past the second round of a Futures prior to this week.  For more on Spencer's title, see this article from Northwest Florida Daily News.

Hans Hach of Mexico and Rhyne Williams won the doubles title in Houston, beating Hunter Reese and Jackson Withrow 6-3, 6-3 in the final.

The other USTA Pro Circuit event this week, the $100,000 Fairfield California Challenger, is not yet complete due to rain in Northern California. The final is between Santiago Giraldo of Colombia and Quentin Halys of France, with Tommy Paul the only American to reach the quarterfinals. NCAA doubles champion Mackenzie McDonald won his first Challenger doubles title, however, teaming with Brian Baker to beat Sekou Bangoura and Eric Quigley 6-3, 6-4 in the final.

At the $100,000+H tournament in Monterrey, Mexico, 20-year-old Ernesto Escobedo, seeded fifth, won his second ATP Challenger title, beating No. 3 seed Denis Kudla 6-4, 6-4 in the final.  Escobedo now climbs to a new career-high of 129 in the ATP rankings.

Kudla did get a title however, partnering with Evan King to beat Jarryd Chaplin and Ben McLachlan 6-7(4), 6-4, 10-2 in the doubles championship match between unseeded teams.

Although she had to withdraw due to illness prior to the semifinal this weekend at the WTA event in Austria, Madison Keys has qualified for the elite year-end WTA Finals in Singapore.  The 20-year-old Keys is now at a career-high of 7 in the WTA rankings.