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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Hiltzik Claims First Futures Title; Top Seeds Danilovic and Davidovich Win Grade 1 Titles in Spain; Rubin, Sandgren Qualify for ATP Clay Courts in Houston

Jared Hiltzik is in his first full year on the Pro Circuit after an All-America career at the University of Illinois, so he could hardly be frustrated by his lack of singles titles to date.  Prior to this week, he had made three Futures finals however, once while still in school and two since, and had lost all three. So the 22-year-old's 6-3, 6-3 win today in the final of the $25,0000 Memphis Futures over Takanyi Garanganga of Zimbabwe after a big comeback win over top seed Mackenzie McDonald Saturday must have been something of a relief. Hiltzik, who has won three doubles titles on the Pro Circuit, is now 12-7 on the USTA Pro Circuit in 2017, and is playing again this coming week, at the $25,000 Futures in Little Rock Arkansas. As the draw fates would have it, Garanganga and Hiltzik play in the first round in Little Rock, with both unseeded, as they were this week.

At the women's $25,000 Pro Circuit event in Jackson Mississippi, 19-year-old wild card Sophie Chang battled hard in her first Pro Circuit singles final, but fell to No. 2 seed Barbara Haas of Austria 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-4 in three hours and seven minutes.  Chang, who at 741 is ranked more than 500 places behind Haas, stayed in the match until the very end, despite 12 doubles faults.  Top seeds Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia and Anna Zaja of Germany won the doubles titles, beating Alexa Guarachi Mathison of Chile and Ronit Yurovsky 6-2, 6-0 in the final.

Danilovic and Davidovich Fokina, photo courtesy Richard van Loon
The champions at the ITF Grade 1 Trofeo Juan Carlos Ferrero in Alicante Spain were both seeded No. 1.  Sixteen-year-old Olga Danilovic of Serbia defeated No. 2 seed Eva Guerrero Alvarez of Spain 7-5, 6-3 to win her first Grade 1 title, while 17-year-old Alejandro Davidovich of Spain overtook No. 11 seed Simon Carr of Ireland 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 for his third Grade 1 title.

Danilovic, the 2016 French Open girls doubles champion, made it a sweep of the titles in Spain, winning the doubles title with Irina Cantos Siemers of Germany. The No. 2 seeds defeated No. 3 seeds Astrid Brune Olsen and Malene Helgo of Norway 7-6(4), 6-2 in the final.  The boys doubles champions are No. 8 seeds Jesper de Jong and Ryan Nijboer of the Netherlands, who beat unseeded Nicolas Alvarez Varona and Alberto Colas Sanchez of Spain 7-6(1), 7-5 in the final. 

Qualifying is complete at the ATP 250 US Men's Clay Courts in Houston, with Tennys Sandgren and Noah Rubin advancing to the main draw with wins today.  Sandgren defeated Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia 6-3, 6-2 to qualify for an ATP event for the first time in his career. He will play wild card Ernesto Escobedo in the first round. Noah Rubin defeated Bradley Klahn 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(2) to advance to a first round match against Nicolas Kicker of Argentina.  The entire US Davis Cup team, who just lost a 3-2 decision in the quarterfinals to host Australia yesterday, is entered in Houston and all have byes in the first round: Jack Sock[1], John Isner[2], Sam Querrey[3] and Steve Johnson[4].

And congratulations to 2014 French Open girls champion Daria Kasatkina of Russia, who won her first WTA title today at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston. Kasatkina defeated fellow 19-year-old Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, the 2014 Wimbledon girls champion, 6-3, 6-1 in the final.