Sponsored by IMG Academy

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Vondrousova Wins WTA Title; Anisimova Falls in Indian Harbour Beach Final; Johnson Claims Second ATP Title; No. 1 Florida, No. 2 Georgia Women Upset

Seventeen-year-old qualifier Marketa Vondrousova had played only one WTA event prior to this week, last year in her home country, the Czech Republic. As a wild card, Vondrousova earned her first WTA victory in her first attempt last April in Prague, losing in the second round to eventual finalist Samantha Stosur of Australia.  This year, Vondrousova qualified for a WTA event for the first time in Biel Switzerland, then ran the table, beating unseeded Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-4, 7-6(6) in today's final.  The former ITF junior No. 1, Vondrousova didn't lose a set in her five main draw wins and will see her WTA ranking go from 233 to around 117. That means she's certain to receive entry into the French Open qualifying, where she reached the junior semifinals in 2015.  For more on Vondrousova's title, see the WTA website.

Fifteen-year-old Amanda Anisimova fell short in her quest for a Pro Circuit title, falling to Olga Govortsova of Belarus 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in the final of the $80,000 tournament in Indian Harbour Beach Florida. There were 16 breaks of serve in the match, but it was the 28-year-old Govortsova who got the most important one, with Anisimova serving at 3-4 in the third set.  True to the theme of the day, Govortsova struggled to serve out the match, but she converted her fourth match point to win her first title since last September.

In doubles, unseeded Kristie Ahn and Quinn Gleason won their first title as a team, beating No. 2 seeds Laura Pigossi of Brazil and Renata Zarazua of Mexico 6-3, 6-2 in the final.  It's Ahn's first doubles title on the ITF Women's Circuit since 2010 and Gleason's first ITF Women's Circuit title of any kind in her first year on the pro circuit after graduating from Notre Dame in 2016.

Two-time NCAA singles champion Steve Johnson won his second ATP title in dramatic fashion today, beating Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5) at the US Men's Clay Court Championships in Houston. USC alum Johnson, the No. 4 seed, began to cramp down 2-4 in the third set, but he managed to get the break back, save his energy for the tiebreaker and gut out a win over the No. 8 seed with a blistering forehand winner on his third match point.  For more on the final, see the ATP website.

Former North Carolina All-American Brayden Schnur won his first Futures title of the year and the fourth of his career today at the $25,000 tournament in Little Rock Arkansas, beating fellow Canadian Philip Bester 7-6(4), 6-1 in the final.  The 21-year-old, who was seeded fourth, has now won his last two encounters with Bester, the No. 5 seed. Bester had won five of their previous six meetings, all of which took place in Canada.

The SEC regular season came to an end today and it delivered two big surprises on the women's side, with No. 1 Florida falling to No. 5 Vanderbilt 4-2 in Nashville and No. 2 Georgia losing to No. 21 Texas A&M by the same score in Athens.  Vanderbilt took the doubles point and got wins from Fernanda Contreras at line 6 and Astra Sharma at line 1 before senior Sydney Campbell clinched at line 2.  The win gave Vanderbilt the SEC regular season conference title for the first time in program history. The Commodores will be the top seed in the conference tournament, which they will host beginning on Wednesday.

Texas A&M also won the doubles point in their win over Georgia, with their three singles points coming from Rachel Pierson at line 1, Eva Paalma at line 6 and Rutuja Bhosale with the clinching point at line 2. It is the best win, by ranking, for any team in the program's history.


Johnson & Johnson said...

Congratulations to Steve Johnson on winning his second ATP Title. However, I wish these television announcers would stop repeating this complete myth that Steve was taught the slice backhand by Craig Boynton and the USTA coaching team as a way of trying to cope with his weaker topspin backhand. Anyone who watched Steve play in college knows that this was one of his signature shots starting his freshman year and before that. Obviously, his father, who is a teaching professional and his coach, taught him this shot. Steve’s father must laugh (or cry) every time he hears this garbage.
The announcers also don’t understand that this slice is probably the best slice on the ATP tour and it slides so low that it’s a weapon that creates many unforced errors like it did against Sock and Bellucci in the Houston tournament. They just call it a “weak” backhand and think Steve wins purely on his competitiveness to overcome his “weak” shot.