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Saturday, September 23, 2017

US Teams to Play for Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup Titles; Bektas and Sanchez Reach $80K Final; Craig and Shane Meet for Futures Title; ITA Oracle Masters Finals Set

Both US teams trailed 1-0 today in the semifinals of the Junior Fed Cup and Junior Davis competition in a chilly Budapest Hungary, but both claimed No. 1 singles and the deciding doubles point to advance to Sunday's finals.

US Open girls champion Amanda Anisimova did not play today for the top-seeded US girls, so French Open champion Whitney Osuigwe moved into the No. 1 position.  After Caty McNally lost to Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 7-5 at No. 2 singles, Osuigwe had to win to keep US hopes alive, and she defeated Layne Sleeth 6-4, 6-2 to send the match to the deciding doubles. Osuigwe and McNally, who have played together often and reached the Wimbledon girls doubles final this year, beat Sleeth and Fernandez 6-3, 7-5 to send the USA girls into the final for the fourth consecutive year.  They will face No. 2 seed Japan, who reached their first ever Junior Fed Cup final with a 2-1 win over Ukraine. Naho Sato, who beat McNally at the Grade 1 in College Park last month and may face her again on Sunday, won at No. 2 singles, but Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine won at No. 1 singles over Yuki Naito to send it to the deciding doubles. Sato and Naito won over Kostyuk and Alina Tsyurpalevych 6-3, 6-7(7), 10-3. For more on the semifinals, see this article from the ITF website.

The third-seeded US boys were in a similar position to the girls, but they actually were down a set and a break in the deciding doubles match against No. 2 seed Argentina.  Will Grant lost to Juan Cerundolo 7-6(2), 7-5 at No. 2 singles, but Govind Nanda pulled the US even with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Thiago Tirante at No. 1 singles.  Tirante and Alejo Lingua took the first set 6-3 and broke Tyler Zink to open the second set, but Nanda and Zink dominated the second set and closed out a 3-6, 6-2, 10-5 victory.  The US boys, in the final for the first time since 2014, will face No. 1 seed Czech Republic in the final after they defeated No. 4 seed Croatia 2-0, with the doubles not necessary.  For more on the semifinals, see this ITF website article, which features a great photo of Nanda and Zink celebrating their doubles win. Streaming is available for the finals, accessed through the ITF junior website.

Two former college stars have advanced to the final of the $80,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Albuquerque New Mexico, with former USC star Maria Sanchez and former Michigan star Emina Bektas setting up an all-USA final.  Sanchez defeated Sophie Chang 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 to advance to her first $80K final since 2012. Sanchez won the Albuquerque title that year. Bektas, three years younger that Sanchez at 24, will be making her first appearance in a Pro Circuit final above the $15,000 level after beating Sherazad Reix of France 6-3, 7-6(3). The live streaming that was to be offered for the tournament by the USTA was cancelled due to technical difficulties.

Another all-US final between former collegians is set for the $15,000 Futures in Laguna Niguel, but that was guaranteed, with an all-US semifinal slate.  No. 4 seed Ryan Shane, the 2015 NCAA champion while at Virgina, will face unseeded Henry Craig, who is playing his first full year on tour after graduating from Denver last year.  Shane defeated TCU senior Trevor Johnson 6-4, 6-2, while Craig downed former Virginia star Collin Altamirano 6-4, 6-4. Yesterday, Shane won the doubles title with former North Carolina standout Ronnie Schneider, beating Johnson and Patrick Kawka(BYU) 7-5, 6-2 in the final.

At the $75,000 ATP Columbus Challenger, Dennis Novikov, the last American and last seed remaining was eliminated in the semifinals, with the No. 7 seed falling to Alexander Ward of Great Britain 6-1, 6-3. Ward will play alternate Ante Pavic of Croatia in the final, after Pavic beat Frank Dancevic of Canada 6-3, 7-5. Denis Kudla and former Tulane star Dominik Koepfer of Germany have advanced to the doubles final against Luke Bambridge of Great Britain and former Memphis standout David O'Hare of Ireland.

At the $25,000 women's tournament in Lubbock Texas, unseeded Alisa Kleybanova of Russia defeated doubles partner Vicky Duval, the No. 3 seed, 6-3, 6-0 to win the singles title.


The finals are set at the ITA Oracle Masters in Malibu, with Ena Shibahara of UCLA going for her second consecutive title in the women's tournament. The top seed defeated unseeded Lily Miyazaki of Oklahoma 7-6(6), 6-7(7), 6-2 to advance to the final, where she'll meet No. 6 seed Alexandra Sanford. The North Carolina freshman took out home favorite Mayar Ahmed of Pepperdine 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

The men's final will feature No. 2 seed Brandon Holt of Southern Cal against unseeded Victor Pham of Columbia. Holt defeated Johannes Schretter of Baylor 7-6(1), 6-0 and Pham surprised top seed Petros Chrysochos of Wake Forest 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-0.

Holt and Shibahara will play the mixed doubles final this evening, against Schretter and Samantha Harris of Duke.

Links to the draws, schedule and live streams are available at the ITA tournament page.

Women's semifinals:
Ena Shibahara(UCLA)[1] def. Lily Miyazaki(OU) 7-6(6), 6-7(7), 6-2
Alexandra Sanford(UNC)[6] def. Mayar Ahmed(PEPP) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4

Men's semifinals:
Victor Pham(COL) def. Petros Chrysochos(WF)[1] 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-0
Brandon Holt(USC)[2] def. Johannes Schretter(BAY)[3] 7-6(1), 6-0

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