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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Gibbs, Paul, Graham Win Pro Circuit Titles; 13 Americans in Wimbledon Men's Qualifying Monday; Seggerman Sweeps Titles at ITF Grade 4

Nicole Gibbs won her first title since 2014 today in Baton Rouge Louisiana, beating Francesca Di Lorenzo 6-3, 6-3 in the final of the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event.  Gibbs took a wild card into the tournament, and although she had several tough matches, particularly against Vicky Duval in Saturday's semifinal, the two-time NCAA singles champion has to be happy with her title and the number of matches she played as she prepares for the North American hard court season. Di Lorenzo, seeded No. 4, is now 0-2 in finals the past two weeks, but playing Gibbs, with a WTA ranking of 124,  gives the Ohio State rising junior an opportunity to assess how her game stacks up against the next level.

Had you told Christopher Eubanks he would get 81% of his first serves in and have eight aces and no double faults, he probably would have liked his chances to beat Tommy Paul to claim his second consecutive $25,000 Futures title in Winston-Salem.  But the Georgia Tech rising senior was able to get a break point against Paul only once, which he converted to pull even at 4-4 in the second set, only to get broken in the next game, with Paul serving out a 6-4, 6-4 victory.  It's Paul's first Futures title since January of this year, but after a first round loss to qualifier Felix Corwin at last week's Futures at Winston-Salem, it's especially gratifying for the 20-year-old from North Carolina.

North Carolina rising sophomore Alexa Graham won her second career title on the Pro Circuit today, with the unseeded New Yorker defeating No. 2 seed Tori Kinard 6-1, 6-4 in the final of the $15,000 tournament in British Columbia.  It's the 18-year-old's first title since she won the $10,000 Hilton Head tournament back in 2015.

At the $15,000 men's Futures in Rochester New York, top seed Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark added the singles title to the doubles title he won Friday.  The rising Ohio State senior defeated qualifier Samuel Monette of Canada 6-2, 6-4 in today's final to earn his third title, with the most recent title at the Challenger level last fall in Columbus. Torpegaard did not lose a set in his five singles and four doubles victories.

The men's qualifying draw was posted today at Wimbledon.com, with 13 Americans playing their opening round matches on Monday.

Two matches feature American vs American, with Tennys Sandgren, the No. 3 seed, playing Michael Mmoh and Reilly Opelka, the No. 17 seed, facing Rajeev Ram.  The other US men in qualifying are Taylor Fritz[21], Denis Kudla, Tim Smyczek, Bradley Klahn, Mitchell Krueger, Mackenzie McDonald, Bjorn Fratangelo[22], Dennis Novikov and Stefan Kozlov[32].

Watch ESPN is providing coverage of four qualifying matches each day for the first time this year.

In ITF Junior competition this week, Southern Californian Ryan Seggerman, a blue chip who will be playing for Princeton this fall, swept the titles at the Grade 4 in Fiji.  No. 12 seed Seggerman, whose only previous ITF junior competition was at the 2016 and 2017 Easter Bowls, didn't drop a set all week, beating No. 3 seed Hiroki Sakagawa of Japan 6-1, 6-3 in the final. Seggerman won the doubles title with Kiev Moores, with the No. 6 seeds beating unseeded Chen Dong and Philip Sekulic of Australia 7-5, 1-6, 10-4 in the final.

At the Grade 4 in Tunisia, Will Grant and Tomas Kopczynski won the doubles title, with the No. 2 seeds taking down top seeds Mert Alkaya and Bora Sengul of Turkey 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 in the final.

At the Grade 4 in Denmark, No. 2 seed Skyler Grishuk reached the singles final, falling 7-6(3), 6-1 to fellow 14-year-old Dasha Lopatetskaya of Ukraine 7-6(3), 6-1. Lopatetskaya won the Junior Orange Bowl 12s title back in 2015.

Rudolf Molleker of Germany claimed his second consecutive Grade 1 title in this home country today, with the No. 2 seed beating unseeded Stefan Palosi of Romania 6-4, 6-2 in the Berlin final.  The 16-year-old Molleker did not lose a set in capturing the title last week in Offenbach or in this week in Berlin.  No. 8 seed Jule Niemeier of Germany won the girls title, beating No. 10 seed Anna Laguza of Ukraine 6-1, 7-5.