Sponsored by IMG Academy

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Johnson and Douglas Meet for Grade A Title in Mexico City with McNally, Subhash and Fenty Claiming Doubles Championships; Grant and Malik Win Grade 5 Titles; More Early Signing Announcements

Sixteen-year-olds Taylor Johnson and Ellie Douglas advanced to the finals of the ITF Grade A Abierto Juvenil Mexicano today in Mexico City.

The eighth-seeded Johnson ousted No. 3 seed and defending champion Amanda Anisimova 7-5, 7-6(5), refusing to succumb to frustration after her 5-1 first set lead and 4-2 second set lead disappeared.  Johnson had a set point at 5-1 and another with Anisimova serving at 2-5, but unforced errors cost her, with Anisimova eventually pulling even at 5-all. Johnson had an easy hold to go up 6-5, and two more set points at 15-40, missing the third, but finally converting on the fourth with an aggressive backhand, followed by a drop shot that Anisimova couldn't track down.

Up 4-2 in the second set, Johnson lost three straight games, but Anisimova was able to close out the set serving at 5-4, with unforced errors proving her undoing.  Both players held for the tiebreaker, and again Johnson took a lead, going up 6-2, only to commit three unforced errors in a row.  Johnson didn't get her first serve in at 6-5, but she did make the second and Anisimova netted a routine backhand to end the match.

Interviewed after the match, played in what was apparently cold and damp conditions, Johnson said she had been injured after the US Open Junior Championships, which is why she didn't play any other junior events this fall.

A replay of the semifinal is available here.

Douglas's 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 win over No. 4 seed Claire Liu was not streamed, but if interpreting the live scoring, the final set was tense, with Liu coming from a break down to get back on serve at 3-4, only to drop her serve in that game.  Douglas, the No. 11 seed, closed out the win without further drama and she and Johnson will meet for the first time in ITF junior competition in the first Grade A final for both of them.

The boys final will feature top seed Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia and No. 10 seed Duarte Vale of Portugal(see below).  Kecmanovic, who has not lost more than four games in any of his five victories, defeated No. 11 seed Zsombor Piros of Hungary 6-4, 6-2.  Vale, who had played three consecutive three-setters, defeated unseeded Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi of Argentina 6-4, 6-4.  Vale and Kecmanovic met last year in the second round of the Eddie Herr, with Kecmanovic earning a 6-4, 6-4 victory.

In today's doubles championships, No. 4 seeds Caty McNally and Natasha Subhash captured the girls title, beating No. 3 seeds Malene Helgo of Norway and Claire Liu 6-2, 6-4.  The girls doubles final can be viewed here.

The boys doubles championship went to Yshai Oliel of Israel and Andrew Fenty.  The No. 7 seeds defeated unseeded Boris Kozlov and Karl Poling 6-4, 6-3.  The boys doubles final can be viewed here.

The girls final is scheduled for noon Eastern time on Sunday. Links to live scoring and live streaming can be found at the tournament website, which also features the always amusing sombrero photos of doubles winners McNally and Subhash.

At the ITF Grade 5 in Anguilla, 15-year-old William Grant and 14-year-old Tara Malik earned titles today. Top seed Grant defeated No. 2 seed Rafael Grovas of Puerto Rico 6-4, 0-6, 6-2 for his first ITF title. Malik, who didn't lose a set in her four wins, blanked top seed Dakota Fordham 6-0, 6-0 for her first ITF title.  Fordham and Jenna Dean won the doubles title, taking a 6-1, 6-2 decision over No. 2 seeds Renata Lombera of Mexico and Maria McKay, but the top seeds only had to win two matches to do so, with just six teams in the draw.

Both of the young Americans competing in the semifinals of the $10,000 Pensacola Futures lost, with wild card Patrick Kypson falling to unseeded Naoki Nakagawa of Japan 6-3, 6-3 and No. 7 seed Alex Rybakov beaten by No. 2 seed Gianni Mina of France 6-2, 6-3.

At the $50,000 Champaign Challenger, No. 2 seed Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland defended his title, defeating No. 6 seed Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium 7-5, 6-3.  The doubles title went to unseeded Austin Krajicek and Tennys Sandgren, who defeated unseeded Luke Bambridge and Liam Broady 7-6(4), 7-6(2).

I've collected quite a few early signing announcements since November 11, when I last posted on the topic, although there are many more still to come, I'm sure.  Bobby Knight at College Tennis Today has updated his list of signings here.  My first post with links to announcements, on the official signing day, Wednesday November 9, can be found here.

In coaching news, Tennessee's Mike Patrick is retiring after 30 years heading up the women's program in Knoxville. Additional information, including a video interview with Patrick, can be found at the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Alabama has signed Edson Ortiz, Zhe Zhou, Sam Fischer and Grant Stuckey, with Ortiz and Zhou starting in January.

Baylor has signed Roy Smith.

Clemson has signed Chambers Easterling, Beau Pelletier, William Van Gelderen and Carlos Kelaidis

Denver has signed Matt Summers and Eric Morris

Duke has signed Sean Sculley.

Florida has signed Andy Andrade, Oliver Crawford and Duarte Vale.

Illinois has signed Alex Brown, Caleb Chakravarthi, Mac Kiger and Fletcher Scott.

Indiana has signed Andrew Redding and Brandon Lam.

Iowa has signed Will Davies and Joe Tyler.

Kentucky has signed Kento Yamada.

Michigan has signed Teddy Oosterbaan.

Mississippi State has signed Florian Broska and Hunter Harrison.

North Carolina State has signed Morgan Lohan.

Ohio State has signed John McNally and JJ Wolf.

Oklahoma State has signed Luke Hammond and Thomas Unia.

Pepperdine has signed Max Mendelsohn.

Rice has signed Jacob Eskeland and Mohamed Abdel-Aziz.

San Diego has signed Alex Reyna.

TCU has signed Alistair Gray.

Washington has signed Jack Davis and Alexis Alvarez Varas.

Wisconsin has signed Robert Krill.

Arizona State has signed Lauryn John-Baptiste and Saša Klanecek.

Duke has signed Kelly Chen and Ema Lazic.

Florida State has signed Lucie Prochazkova.

Fresno State has signed Alessia Dario.

Georgia Tech has signed Ida Jarlskog.

Michigan State has signed Ava Thielman and Sara Kuuttila 

Mississippi State has signed Magdalini Adaloglou.

North Carolina has signed Alexandra Sanford.

North Carolina State has signed Taylor Bridges.

Rice has signed Michaela Haet.

SMU has signed Nicole Petchey.

South Carolina has signed Megan Davies and Nikolina Jovic.

Texas has signed Marta Perez.

Texas A&M has signed Tatiana Makarova.

USC has signed Sydney Van Alphen.

Wake Forest has signed Eliza Omirou.

Washington has signed Katarina Kopcalic and Lana Slavica, with Aleix Prokopuik transferring from Georgia Tech.