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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Kostyuk, Ruusuvuori Claim ITF Masters Titles; Boyer Wins Grade 2; Kingsley and Broadus Earn Grade 4 Titles in Atlanta; Gadalov Prevails in Barbados; Kecmanovic Wins First Challenger

Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine and Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland won the ITF Junior Masters Championships today in Chengdu China, with Kostyuk finishing the tournament undefeated and Ruusuvuori avenging two recent losses.

Kostyuk, the 15-year-old Australian Open girls champion, defeated Kaja Juvan of Slovenia 6-4, 6-3 and will move to No. 2 in Monday's ITF Junior rankings.  Kostyuk, who beat Juvan in the third day of round robin qualifying, is still behind Whitney Osuigwe, who finished third with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Maria Carle of Argentina.

"This week's been great," Osuigwe told the ITF. "I've played pretty good tennis the entire time. Yesterday [against Juvan] I struggled a little bit but today I knew it mattered so I played free and I actually ended up playing really well. So it's been fun here this week."

"I think I probably started the week pretty strong," said Osuigwe, whose only loss in five matches was to Juvan. "My best match was my third against Rybakina and today was pretty good too. At this tournament I wanted to learn to better transition into the pros and I've learned a lot from the people here and the WTA people coming in to talk to us."

The ITF article about the girls final mentions the two Grade A tournaments remaining, which could give Kostyuk the opportunity to catch Osuigwe in the year-end race for World Junior Champion, but Kostyuk isn't entered in either of them, so she would need wild cards. She did say in New York, after winning the girls doubles title, that she was done with juniors, but that is always subject to change, and at age 15, she is a long way from being able to play as many pro events as she might like.

Ruusuvuori defeated ITF World No. 1 and US Open champion Wu Yibing of China 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(4) in the final, a match that was very similar to Wu's semifinal win over Ruusuvuori in New York, which also ended in a third-set tiebreaker.  Ruusuvuori had also lost to top seed Wu on the second day of round robin play, but unlike Juvan, the 18-year-old was able to reverse that result in the final.  Stanford freshman Axel Geller, the No. 2 seed, finished third with a 6-1, 6-7(9), 6-4 win over fellow Argentine Sebastian Baez.

Trent Bryde had been ill during the tournament, which is why he did not compete this weekend.

The ITF article about the boys final is here.

Elsewhere on the ITF Junior Circuit, 16-year-old Tristan Boyer won his first title at the Grade 2 in Japan. No. 14 seed Boyer, who reached the semifinals of the Osaka Grade A two weeks ago, beat unseeded Kazuki Shimizu of Japan 6-3, 6-3 in the final, and will make his ITF Top 100 debut on Monday.

At the Grade 2 in Uruguay, Niluka Madurawe and Shelly Yaloz won the girls doubles title.  The unseeded pair, who didn't drop a set all week, defeated the unseeded Japanese team of Natsumi Kawaguchi and Remika Ohashi 6-3, 7-5 in the final.

The Grade 4 in Atlanta had its share of weather issues this week, but thanks to indoor courts, it finished today, with 16-year-old Cannon Kingsley earning the boys title, and 15-year-old Savannah Broadus claiming her second singles title of the fall and capturing the doubles title as well.  Kingsley, the No. 3 seed, defeated qualifier JJ Mercer, the brother of University of Virginia's Cassie Mercer, 6-1, 6-2 in the final for his second career ITF singles title. Mercer had beaten No. 2 seed Tyler Zink in the quarterfinals.  Broadus won the Austin Grade 5 a few weeks ago, but still had to qualify for this week's event, so she was required to win eight matches for the title.  Broadus defeated USTA National 16s runner-up Nikki Redelijk, the No. 9 seed, 6-3, 7-5 in the final.

Broadus and Sophia Graver, the No. 8 seeds, won the doubles title with a 4-6, 6-3, 10-3 win over No. 7 seeds Maxi Duncan and Elizabeth Stevens.

Mercer and his partner Robert Cash won the boys doubles title, beating Phillip Jordan and Andres Martin 7-5, 7-5 in the final. Neither team in the final was seeded; Mercer and Cash finished the tournament without dropping a set.

At the Grade 5 in Barbados, 16-year-old Jennifer Gadalov won her second ITF singles title, losing only three games total in her four victories. Gadalov, the No. 1 seed, beat No. 2 seed Sydney Clarke of the Bahamas 6-0, 6-1 in the final.

Vicky Duval fell short in today's final of the $80,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Macon Georgia, losing to Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-1. I hope Duval receives a special exemption or wild card into next week's $80,000 event in Tyler Texas, the second of three tournaments that will determine the USTA's Australian Open wild card.  She is now the leader, with the best two results counting.

Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria, the 2013 NCAA champions while at USC, won the Macon doubles title, beating Sanaz Marand and Brazil's Paula Goncalves 6-1, 6-0 in the final.  Christian and Santamaria have won a pro title together before, back in 2013, but that was at the $10,000 level.  Christian won a $60,000 title with former teammate Giuliana Olmos earlier this month; Santamaria's biggest doubles title before this one was at the $25,000 level.

At the $75,000 ATP Challenger in China, Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia completed his impressive run with a title, beating No. 3 seed Radu Albot of Moldova 6-4, 6-4.  The 18-year-old 2016 ITF World Junior Champion didn't drop a set all week, and beat four seeds en route to his first Challenger title. He will now make the Australian Open qualifying with a current ATP ranking of 209.