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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Current Collegians Rybakov, Eubanks and Lahey Earn Pro Circuit Titles; Flores Claims Grade 1 in Germany; Kopczynski Takes Grade 4 Title; Auger-Aliassime Wins Challenger; Kozlov Qualifies for Queens

Sunday was quite a day for current collegiate players, with TCU junior Alex Rybakov, Georgia Tech senior Christopher Eubanks and Pepperdine sophomore Ashley Lahey all unseeded, winning their first Pro Circuit titles.

Rybakov, who had reached two Futures finals, won the $15,000 Buffalo Futures with a 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 win over No. 4 seed and fellow 20-year-old Naoki Nakagawa of Japan.  The left-hander from Florida defeated the No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4 seeds for the title.

Eubanks took out fellow Yellow Jacket and doubles partner Kevin King 7-5, 2-6, 7-6(6) in a two-hour and 30-minute nailbiter at the $25,000 Wake Forest Futures.  Eubanks reached the semifinals of the Champaign Challenger last November, and qualified for the ATP tournament in Atlanta last summer, but has not competed often at the Futures level.  It has already been announced that Eubanks has received a main draw wild card for next month's BB&T in Atlanta.

Lahey, still just 17, had played in just one other ITF Pro Circuit event main draw prior to this week's $25,000 tournament in Sumter South Carolina, but she made the most of her wild card, beating Ohio State junior Francesca Di Lorenzo, the No. 4 seed, 6-3, 7-6(4) for the title. Di Lorenzo led 5-1 in the second set and served for the set three times, at 5-2, 5-4, and 6-5, but she couldn't close it out and Lahey took the tiebreaker by claiming the final three points.

At the ITF Grade 1 in Offenbach Germany, Victoria Flores followed up her doubles title on Saturday with her first ITF junior singles title, beating No. 15 seed Qinwen Zheng of China 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.  The 18-year-old Flores has had excellent results on clay this year, reaching two quarterfinals and a semifinal at Grade 1 tournaments prior to this week's title.  Top seed Rudolf Molleker won the boys title, beating No. 7 seed and fellow German Marvin Moeller 6-4, 4-3, ret.

At the ITF Grade 4 in Tunisia, 17-year-old Tomas Kopczynski[5] won his first ITF junior singles title, beating Will Grant[2] 7-6(5), 6-4 in an all-USA final.  No. 2 seeds Grant and Kopczynski lost in the doubles final to unseeded Harry Butler and Barney Fitzpatrick of Great Britain 6-4, 7-6(4).

US Open boys champion Felix Auger-Aliassime, still just 16, won his first Challenger title today in Lyon France, beating Mathias Bourgue of France 6-4, 6-1. At 16 years, 10 months, Auger-Aliassime is the seventh youngest player to win an ATP Challenger title and will be the youngest player to break into the ATP Top 250 since Juan Martin del Potro in 2005.  For more on Auger-Aliassime's place in the ATP record books, see this article.

The Next Gen American men haven't had much to show for the grass court season so far, but Stefan Kozlov has advanced to the main draw of next week's ATP 500 Queen's Club tournament in London.  The 19-year-old defeated No. 3 qualifying seed Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France 6-4, 6-2 in today's final round.  He will play Steve Johnson for a third time in the past 12 months, having beaten Johnson last year in 's-Hertogenbosch and lost to Johnson this year at Delray Beach.

TCU All-American Cameron Norrie of Great Britain received a wild card into Queens and will face Sam Querrey in the opening round. For more on Norrie's background and goals now that he has turned pro, see this article from The Herald.