Saturday, November 4, 2017

Finals Set at ITA National Fall Championships; Collins and Ahn, Sandgren and Smyczek Face Off in Pro Circuit Events; Sock and Vandeweghe Reach ATP/WTA Finals

Seniors Andrea Lazaro of Florida International and Samantha Harris of Duke have advanced to the women's final of the inaugural ITA National Fall Championships, while Nuno Borges of Mississippi State and Petros Chrysochos of Wake Forest will meet for the men's title Sunday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

The unseeded Lazaro, a semifinalist at last month's ITA All-American Championships, won a grueling battle with All-American champion Fernanda Contreras of Vanderbilt 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4. Lazaro, who celebrates her 23rd birthday today, was down a break in the seesaw second set, then went ahead 4-2 and lost that break. She played an outstanding tiebreaker however, using her forehand to dominate, and then kept the momentum going in the third set, taking a 3-1 lead.  That too disappeared, but at 4-all, the Barcelona native broke the No. 13 seed and went on to hold serve to secure the win.

No. 11 seed Harris's 6-4, 6-3 win over unseeded Bianca Turati wasn't streamed but it was much less complicated than Lazaro's.

Wild card Borges, the top seed, came from 4-1 down in the second set to defeat Martin Redlicki of UCLA 6-2, 6-4. The junior from Portugal won a deciding point with Redlicki serving at 4-all in the second set, then held at 40-30, with a drop shot skimming the net cord and dropping over on Redlicki's side.

Chrysochos, the 2016 All-American champion, will play for two titles on Sunday. The junior from Cyprus defeated No. 16 Thomas Laurent of Oregon 6-2, 6-2 to reach the singles final, then teamed with Skander Mansouri to advance to the doubles championship match.  The unseeded Chrysochos and Mansouri defeated No. 4 seeds Chris Kougoucheff  and Parker Wynn of Louisville 6-3, 6-1 to set up a meeting with No. 8 seeds Rodrigo Banzer and Leonardo Telles of Texas. Banzer and Telles had their hands full with unseeded Joseph Dodridge and Chema Carranza of Wisconsin, but converted their fourth match point to earn a 6-2, 3-6, 12-10 victory.

The women's doubles final will feature two unseeded teams, with Alexa Bortles and Arianne Hartono of Ole Miss facing Emily Arbuthnott and Michaela Gordon of Stanford. Bortles and Hartono defeated No. 7 seeds Paige Hourigan and Kenya Jones of Georgia Tech 6-2, 7-6(5) and Arbuthnott and Gordon beat No. 3 seeds Harris and Kelly Chen of Duke 6-1, 7-5 in today's semifinals.

The singles finals will be streamed, free, back-to-back on Sunday, with Kaitlyn Ray and Mark Bey providing commentary. With Chrysochos in both finals, I imagine the men's singles will be first on, at 10:00 am Pacific, 1 pm Eastern.  The stream is available at the ITA tournament page.

While no Americans are in the ITA finals, six are in professional level finals Sunday around the world.

At the $80,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Tyler Texas, unseeded Danielle Collins and No. 4 seed Kristie Ahn advanced to the final, with Collins taking out No. 3 seed Sonya Kenin 6-1, 7-6(10) and Ahn beating Irina Falconi 7-5, 6-3.  Collins has not won a title above the $25,000 level, while Ahn is looking for her second $60K and above title of this year.  Ahn beat Collins in three sets this summer in the quarterfinals of a $60K in Sacramento.  The winner will take the lead in the USTA's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge, but Ahn is getting close to the top 100 now, so she may qualify on her own ranking.

Taylor Townsend and Jessica Pegula won the Tyler doubles title today, beating Jamie Loeb and Sweden's Rebecca Peterson 6-4, 6-1. It is the second title of the year for Townsend and Pegula as a team.

At the $60,000 ITF Women's Circuit event in Toronto, Ohio State junior Francesca Di Lorenzo fell in the semifinals to No. 2 seed Patty Schnyder of Switzerland 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.  Two-time NCAA doubles champion Erin Routliffe(Alabama) won the doubles title, with former Crimson Tide star Alexa Guarachi Mathison.  They defeated Victoria Rodriguez of Mexico and Ysaline Bonaventure of Belgium 7-6(4), 3-6, 10-4 in today's final. Bonaventure will play Schnyder for the singles title on Sunday.

The final of the $75,000 ATP Challenger in Charlottesville will feature top seed Tennys Sandgren and unseeded Tim Smyczek.  Sandgren, who has been dominant all week, beat No. 7 seed Michael Mmoh 6-4 6-4, while Smyczek took out No. 6 seed Stefan Kozlov 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.  The winner of tomorrow's match will take the lead in the men's USTA Australian Open Wild Card Challenge, with two more weeks to go.

Unseeded DJ Thomas and Denis Kudla advanced to the doubles final with a 7-5, 6-1 win over former UVA stars Thai Kwiatkowski and Alexander Ritschard. They will face former Tennessee teammates Jarryd Chaplin and Mikelis Libietis, the No. 4 seeds, for the title.

Two former US Open junior champions will play for big pro titles on Sunday.  CoCo Vandeweghe reached the final of the last significant WTA tournament of the year in Zhuhai.  The No. 2 seed defeated Ashleigh Barty of Australia 6-3, 6-3 in today's semifinal and will face No. 7 seed Julia Goerges of Germany for the title. Vandeweghe, currently at a career-high ranking of 12, is looking for her first title of the year, after reaching both the Australian Open and US Open semifinals.  She won the US Open girls title back in 2008.

Jack Sock, who won the US Open boys title in 2010, reached his first ATP Masters final in Paris, defeating French wild card Julien Benneteau 7-5, 6-2.  Sock, seeded 16th, will face qualifier Filip Krajinovic of Serbia in the final, after Krajinovic defeated No. 9 seed John Isner 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-6(5). Sock will earn a spot in the ATP World Tour Finals in London and his first appearance in the Top 10 if he wins the title.