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Friday, January 6, 2017

Ewing, Crawford and Kirkov Reach Coffee Bowl Finals; Davis Wins First WTA Title; Bellis Out of Australian Open; Pro Circuit Update

Semifinal day at the ITF Grade 1 Coffee Bowl was a long one, with Americans Salma Ewing, Oliver Crawford and Vasil Kirkov earning their places in Saturday's final.

The unseeded Ewing, 16, will make her first appearance in a Grade 1 final after taking out No. 6 seed and 2016 finalist Hurricane Tyra Black 6-3, 6-4 in the only semifinal that was completed in straight sets.

Ewing will play No. 2 seed Emily Appleton, who won her third straight three-set match in the semifinals, beating her doubles partner Sofia Sewing, the third seed, to prevent an all-US girls final.

An all-US final in the boys draw was already guaranteed, with all four semifinalist Americans.  No. 5 seed Oliver Crawford defeated No. 3 seed Trent Bryde 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 and No. 4 seed Vasil Kirkov beat No. 2 seed Sam Riffice 6-1, 7-5, with the last match finishing past 11 p.m. local time.  Like Ewing, Kirkov will be playing in his first Grade 1 final Saturday night.

The doubles finals are both between No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, an extremely rare occurence on the ITF junior circuit.  Top boys seeds Constantin Bittoun Kouzmine of France and Riffice will face No. 2 seeds Gianni Ross and Danny Thomas.  In the girls final, No. 1 seeds Appleton and Sewing will face No. 2 seed Ellie Douglas and Nicole Mossmer.

Matches begin at 5 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, with the girls doubles final, followed by boys doubles, girls singles and boys singles finals.  Live streaming is available here.

Congratulations to Lauren Davis, who won her first WTA title tonight in Auckland at the ASB Classic.  The 23-year-old from Ohio defeated Ana Konjuh of Croatia 6-3, 6-1 to earn her first title in her third final. Davis should move back into the Top 50 for the first time since 2014.  For more on her title, see this article from the WTA.

The Australian Open announced today that CiCi Bellis has withdrawn with an injury.  She said on twitter that it is a hamstring strain. Bellis was to have made her Australian Open debut after winning three straight tournaments to end 2016.

Two former collegiate rivals will meet in the semifinals of the $25,000 Futures Saturday in Los Angeles, with former USC Trojan Yannick Hanfmann of Germany, the No. 4 seed, facing former UCLA Bruin Mackenzie McDonald, the No. 5 seed. Tournament press aide Steve Pratt spoke to both about their previous meetings in the release below. The other semifinal will feature University of Virginia freshman Carl Soderlund of Sweden, the No. 8 seed, against No. 6 seed Evan King, the former Michigan All-American.

The doubles title went to Hanfmann and his former teammate Roberto Quiroz of Ecuador, who beat top seed Joe Salisbury(Memphis) and Luke Bambridge of Great Britain 3-6, 6-4, 10-8.  According to Bobby Knight at College Tennis Today, it was the 17th pro doubles title for Quiroz, the second for Hanfmann.

McDonald Beats Former USC Rival; Faces Another Trojan In Saturday
Semifinals At Southern California Pro Futures Tournament

LOS ANGELES (Jan. 6, 2017) – One Trojan down, one to go for Mackenzie McDonald to make the singles final at the Southern California Pro Futures Tournament, a $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event being played on the campus of USC.

The No. 5-seeded former UCLA Bruin All-American McDonald beat No. 2-seeded former USC star Roberto Quiroz of Ecuador, 6-3, 7-5, in the quarterfinals on Friday at Marks Tennis Stadium. He will next face former Trojan No. 1 player and Quiroz’ doubles partner this week Yannick Hanfmann, the No. 4-seed from Germany, in a 9 a.m. semifinal on Saturday morning.

In the other semifinal to be played at the same time, University of Virginia freshman Carl Soderlund of Sweden meets former University of Michigan standout Evan King.

McDonald said he faced Quiroz four times during his freshman year at the No. 3 singles spot with Quiroz winning two, McDonald one with the other match undecided. “I remember losing a devastating match to him right here on these courts,” McDonald said. “It was on Court 3 and he said before the match he requested Court 3, which was where we played.”

McDonald hopes to recall some better past memories of playing the Trojans today as he also played Hanfmann four times during his sophomore year in 2015 at No. 1 singles with McDonald winning three times and the fourth match ending after sets were split.

McDonald said it was tough playing his former doubles partner Marcos Giron in the second round on Thursday. “It was a super tough match,” he said. “There is a lot of outside stuff you can bring into the match, but I think both of us handled it well.”

McDonald, who is represented by Octagon, said he wouldn’t change much about his first seven months on the pro tour. ““I’m really happy the way things are going and I’m happy being a pro tennis player,” McDonald said.

Hanfmann and Quiroz teamed up to win the doubles title on Friday. The pairing beat the top-seeded team British team of Luke Bambridge and Joe Salisbury, 3-6, 6-4, 10-8.

After graduating from USC in 2015, Hanfmann said life as a pro tennis player has had its ups and downs, but he has mostly enjoyed the experience. He trains full-time in Munich, and isn’t looking forwarded to going back to Europe. “I just love it here,” he said. “It’s just great to be back. I love USC and this place. It’s like my second home and I’m just so happy seeing all the guys and my coaches.”

Friday’s Quarterfinal Singles Scores
q: qualifier;
Carl Soderlund, Sweden (8), def. Collin Altamirano, U.S., (q), 7-6 (7), 6-3
Evan King[6], U.S., def. Emilio Gomez, Ecuador (3), 7-5, 1-6, 7-5
Yannick Hanfmann, Germany (4) def. Sebastian Fanselow, Germany, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
Mackenzie McDonald, U.S. (5), def. Roberto Quiroz, Ecuador (2), 6-3, 7-5

Friday’s Final Doubles Score
Yannick Hanfmann, Germany / Roberto Quiroz, Ecuador, def. Luke Bambridge, Great Britain / Joe Salisbury, Great Britain (1), 3-6, 6-4, 10-8

Community Events for the USC Tournament include:
Saturday, Jan. 7: Youth Tennis Play Day; 10 a.m.-11 a.m., includes pizza and prizes.
Sunday, Jan. 8: USPTA Clinic – Preventing Injuries Presented by USC Coach Peter Smith; 10 a.m.-11 a.m.

There are two men's Futures next week, a $15,000 tournament in Plantation Florida and a $25,000 tournament in Long Beach California. Qualifying has begun in Plantation, where the draw is 128; it's a 64-player draw in Long Beach, with Hanfmann the top seed after receiving a wild card.

The women are in Daytona Beach Florida for a $25,000 tournament, with qualifying beginning there on Sunday.