Di Lorenzo, Redlicki Claim USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate Titles; Bellis Wins Toronto, Opelka Breaks Through in Charlottesville; Auger-Aliassime Captures First Pro Title
Ohio State sophomore Francesca Di Lorenzo defended her USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate championship Sunday at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center with a 6-1, 6-1 win over North Carolina's Hayley Carter, while Arkansas senior Michael Redlicki collected his first major by taking out top seed Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State 6-4, 6-3.
Top seed Di Lorenzo was outstanding on the crucial points of the final, winning all seven of the deciding deuce points, five of them in the first set. Carter had a bit of trouble with her backhand to start the match, but most of the credit goes to Di Lorenzo, who made few errors and found just the right balance between patience and aggression, especially on the deuce points.
In the second set, Di Lorenzo got her first break with Carter serving at 1-2. After a weak second serve that Di Lorenzo punished with a backhand return winner, Di Lorenzo won the deciding point on a forehand winner after a long rally. A break in the next game would have kept Carter in the match, but Di Lorenzo won her seventh and last deciding point when Carter sent a backhand long to make it 4-1. Another break of Carter in the next game, the only break that was not determined by a deciding point, gave Di Lorenzo a chance to serve it out, and she did, winning four straight points after losing the first. Di Lorenzo, who also won last month's Riviera/ITA All-American Championships, joins recent college standouts Danielle Collins of Virginia and Jamie Loeb of North Carolina with three collegiate majors. For more on Di Lorenzo's win, see the Ohio State website.
Exactly half of the games in the women's final were decided on deuce points; in the men's final, more than half came down to that seventh point of a game, and Redlicki won eight of the ten. The fifth deciding point of the first set was decidedly anticlimactic, with Torpegaard double faulting on set point. In the second set, in which Redlicki won all five deciding points, Torpegaard also double faulted on the deciding point in his first service game. The left-handed Redlicki, who served eight aces, came forward more and hit a bit deeper most of the time, with Torpegaard unable to raise his level on those keys points.
The 22-year-old Redlicki, who played two years at Duke, was out of tennis for a year, then transferred to Arkansas for his last two years of eligibility, is the third Razorback to win an National Indoor title, joining Joey Blake(1986) and Chip Hooper(1981). For more on Redlicki's win, see this article from the Arkansas website.
The women's doubles title went to last year's finalists Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi of Kentucky, who defeated UCLA freshmen Jada Hart and Ena Shibahara 6-3, 6-4. The unseeded pair, who are No. 1 in the ITA preseason rankings, claimed Kentucky's first National Indoor doubles title.
No. 2 seeds Skander Mansouri and Christian Seraphim of Wake Forest defeated Jeffrey Schorsch and Charlie Emhardt of Valparaiso 6-3, 7-5 to capture the men's doubles title. Mansouri and Seraphim join Cory Parr and Steve Forman(2008) as the only Demon Deacons to claim a men's Indoor title.
The second round consolation doubles finals saw Alfredo Perez and Johannes Inglidsen of Florida defeat Julian Cash and Arjun Kadhe of Oklahoma State 6-3, 6-2 and Kate Fahey and Alex Najarian of Michigan defeat Blair Shankle and Elizabeth Profit 6-1, 6-2.
The singles consolation tournaments, for those losing in the first round, were won by Sara Daavettila of North Carolina and Nicolas Alvarez of Duke. Daavettila defeated Sinead Lohan of Miami 7-6(3), 6-2 and Alvarez topped Tom Fawcett of Stanford 6-4, 6-1.
Bobby Knight has additional coverage of the NIIC at College Tennis Today.
Two American teens captured singles titles today, with 17-year-old CiCi Bellis taking the championship at the $50,000 ITF Women's Circuit event in Toronto. The top-seeded Bellis, who won her first $50,000-level tournament two weeks ago in Saguenay Canada, defeated No. 4 seed Jesika Maleckova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 in the championship match. Unlike the previous title, Bellis had to really grind to this week's title, winning four matches in three sets, two of them from a set down. Bellis has now won ten straight matches at the $50K level and has guaranteed herself a place in the main draw of the Australian Open, with her WTA ranking expected to reach a career-high 90 tomorrow.
2015 Wimbledon boys champion Reilly Opelka won his first event as a professional today at the $50,000 ATP Challenger in Charlottesville. Opelka defeated Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(5) in the final, hitting 28 aces, a career-high for him. The 19-year-old from Florida saved the only break point he faced in the third set with an ace, and in the tiebreaker managed just one early mini-break, but it was enough. After Bemelmans had saved two match points on his serve, Opelka converted the third with an unreturnable first serve. Opelka moved his ATP ranking from 276 to 208 with the title, meaning Australian Open qualifying is available to him if he doesn't win the USTA Australian Open Wild Card Challenge. He is now the leader, with still two tournament to go, but last year, Noah Rubin needed only that Charlottesville title to earn his place in the main draw in Melbourne.
At the $50,000 Scottsdale tournament, Kristie Ahn lost to Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 7-6(4), 7-6(2), which means she now must win Waco next week to pass Kayla Day for the women's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge. Ahn was up a break in both sets against the 20-year-old left-hander, but couldn't close it. After saving a match point in the second set serving at 4-5, Ahn held and broke, but Haddad Maia took a lengthy medical timeout for an ankle injury and Ahn could not serve out the set.
In the doubles championship earlier, No. 2 seeds Taylor Townsend and Ingrid Neel won the all-US final, beating unseeded Samantha Crawford and Melanie Oudin 6-4, 6-3. Neel has now won five pro circuit doubles titles this year, one $10K, one $25K, two $50Ks and a $100K, all with different partners. Townsend has now won seven doubles titles in 2016, two $25Ks and five $50Ks.
At the $10,000 Futures in Birmingham Alabama, 16-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime earned his first professional title with a 7-5, 7-5 win over Baylor sophomore Juan Benitez Chavarriaga of Colombia, the No. 7 seed. Auger-Aliassime, the No. 4 seed, lost only one set in his five matches (to Georgia freshman Alex Diaz) and the US Open boys champion is the seventh youngest player to win an ITF Men's Circuit event.
At the ITF Grade 5 in the Cayman Islands, US girls swept the titles. Unseeded 15-year-old Sanyukta Gawande won her first ITF title, defeating top seed Savannah Williams 6-1, 6-0 in the singles final, but Williams turned the tables in the doubles final. She and Catherine Broerman, the No. 1 seeds, beat Gawande and Luciana Kunkel of Australia 7-5, 6-4 to claim the title.
Tyler Zink made the singles and doubles final, but came up short in both championship matches.