Mmoh Beats Kozlov to Reach Knoxville Challenger Final; Min Plays for Australian Open Wild Card in Waco; Hu, Johnson Win Evert ITF Grade 4 Titles, Kingsley Claims Grade 5 in Canada
Unseeded Michael Mmoh has reached his second Challenger final since the end of September, defeating fellow 18-year-old Stefan Kozlov 6-0, 6-3 in Saturday morning's semifinal at the $50,000 ATP Challenger in Knoxville. Mmoh, whose first Challenger final was as a qualifier in the $100,000 ATP Challenger in Tiburon, has not lost a set this week, beating No. 6 seed Tim Smyczek and No. 8 seed Kozlov for two of his four victories. Kozlov was required to play last night's final match and then before noon today, and although the live stream was out for much of the match, reports from those on site said he appeared to have little energy. Mmoh is now 3-0 against his friend this year in USTA Pro Circuit events, having won all six sets, although the other two matches were much more competitive.
Mmoh will face Canada's Peter Polansky in the final, with the 28-year-old Polansky defeating No. 3 seed Jared Donaldson 6-2, 6-4. With the title, Mmoh would take the lead in the men's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge with one tournament remaining next week in Champaign. If the stream is functioning, it will be available here.
At the $50,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Waco Texas, No. 6 seed Grace Min kept her quest for the USTA's Australian Open wild card alive with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 win over Robin Anderson. Min now just needs one more win to tie Kayla Day's points total, and because Min will have a higher WTA ranking on Monday, she will get the wild card. Her final obstacle is Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil, who defeated top seed Samantha Crawford 6-2, 6-4. Haddad Maia, last week's champion in Scottsdale, has a nine-match winning streak on the line in tomorrow's final. Live streaming for the women's final, at 3 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, is here.
There was no doubles final played in Waco, with Michaela Krajicek of the Netherlands and Taylor Townsend, the top seeds, awarded the title when Mexico's Renata Zarazua and Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu, the No. 4 seeds withdrew. For Townsend, who won with Krajicek in Macon two weeks ago and with Ingrid Neel last week in Scottsdale, it's her eighth title of the year, six of which have been at the $50K level.
The ITF Grade 4 at the Evert Academy in Boca Raton was completed today, with 16-year-old JanMagnus Johnson and 14-year-old Victoria Hu earning their first ITF titles. The unseeded Johnson defeated No. 12 seed Antoine Gbadoe of Togo 6-4, 6-4 in the final. No. 10 seed Hu, who had reached the final at the Atlanta Grade 4 two weeks ago, and the semifinals at the South Carolina Grade 2 last week, defeated Victoria Flores, the No. 14 seed, 6-2, 6-2 in their championship match.
Gbadoe and Ruslan Mugtasimov of Russia, the No. 4 seeds, won the boys doubles title, beating No. 3 seed Baoluo Zheng and Xinmu Zhou of China 6-3, 6-4.
Angelica Blake and Nikki Redelijk won the girls doubles title, beating unseeded Charlotte Owensby and Yashna Yellayi 3-6, 7-6(3), 10-5. The unseeded Blake and Redelijk had a memorable victory in the semifinals, beating No. 3 seeds Nicole Conard and Shelly Yaloz 4-6, 6-4, 21-19. That's six changes of ends before the match was decided.
At the ITF Grade 5 in Ontario Canada, unseeded 15-year-old Cannon Kingsley won his first ITF title, beating four seeds in six matches, including his 7-5, 6-3 win over No. 3 Malik Bhatnagar of Canada in the final. Unseeded 14-year-old Skyler Grishuk lost in the girls final to unseeded Viktoriya Tabunshchyk of Canada 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(3). It's the second consecutive Grade 5 final for the 2016 Easter Bowl 14s finalist. Tabunshchyk also won the doubles title, with Anca Craciun, also of Canada, beating Raphaelle Leblanc of Canada and Mackenzie Clark 6-3, 6-1 in the final.
At the ITF Grade 5 in Jamaica, top seed Blaise Bicknell lost to unseeded Daiki Yoshimura of Japan 7-6(5), 6-3 in the boys final. Yao Chen of China beat Brianna Tulloch 6-0, 6-2 in the girls final. The US did claim one title in that tournament however, with Callaway Clark and Eliot Spizzirri defeating Yoshimura and Alec Deckers of the Netherlands, 7-6(6), 7-6(1) in the boys doubles final.