Sunday, November 12, 2017

Kypson Wins Niceville Futures; Townsend Claims Waco Title; US Women Capture First Fed Cup Since 2000

A first Futures title is a milestone for any tennis player, and today at the $15,000 tournament in Niceville Florida, 18-year-old Patrick Kypson met the challenge of his first Futures final, beating top seed Sekou Bangoura 7-5, 5-7, 6-1.  The reigning Kalamazoo 18s champion and 2015 Kalamazoo 16s champion had needed nearly three hours to advance in his second round and quarterfinal matches, and today he approached that length again, but a 29-minute third set ended the suspense sooner rather than later.  Kypson is entered in the $15,000 Futures in Pensacola Florida that begins Tuesday.

At the $80,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Waco Texas, Taylor Townsend won the biggest title of her career, with the top seed beating unseeded Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.  Townsend made more than 80% of her first serves in the opening set and that was just too much for the 24-year-old Tomljanovic, but Tomljanovic played much more aggressively in the second set to even the match.  Townsend held on to her break in the third set, but not without saving numerous break points, then broke Tomljanovic, who was up 40-0 in the game, to claim the title. The 21-year-old Townsend will win the USTA's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge, but she will move into the WTA Top 100 tomorrow, so she will not need it. Kristie Ahn will finish in second place and will receive the wild card if she needs it when the December 4 Australian Open main draw entries are announced.

Canadian Filip Peliwo won his first ATP Challenger title today at the $75,000 tournament in Knoxville, beating Denis Kudla 6-4, 6-2. Peliwo, the 2012 ITF World Junior Champion, had never reached a Challenger final before, but even though he had three qualifying matches just to reach the main draw, the 23-year-old looked fresh and determined throughout the hour it took him to claim the title. The 2012 Wimbledon and US Open boys champion will move into the ATP Top 200 for the first time. With Kudla's loss, Tim Smyczek will retain his lead in the men's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge, with one week left.

Top seeds Leander Paes and Purav Raja of India won the doubles title, beating former Tennessee Volunteer JP Smith of Australia and James Cerretani, the No. 2 seeds, 7-6(4), 7-6(4).

Former Stanford star Carol Zhao won the biggest title of her career Sunday at the $100,000 ITF Women's Pro Circuit event in Shenzhen China.  The 22-year-old Canadian, who was unseeded, defeated No. 4 seed Liu Fangzhou of China 7-5, 6-2 in the final.  The 2015 NCAA singles finalist will move into the WTA Top 200 for the first time with the title, assuring her a place in the Australian Open qualifying next January.

Former Arizona State star Jacqueline Cako won the doubles title, with Nina Stojanovic of Serbia.  The No. 2 seeds defeated top seeds Shuko Aoyama of Japan and Yang Zhaoxuan of China 6-4, 6-2 in the final. Cako and Stojanovic also won a $60,000 title last month in China, and Cako made a third final with Laura Robson of Great Britain two weeks ago at another $60,000 event in China.  Cako's doubles ranking, already in the Top 100, will continue to rise.

Kathy Rinaldi, CoCo Vandeweghe, Sloane Stephens, Shelby Rogers, Alison Riske
photo courtesy USTA
In Belarus, the USA Fed Cup team captured its first championship since 2000, beating the host country 3-2.  CoCo Vandeweghe was the star of the United States' entire year in Fed Cup, going 8-0, and she won both her singles matches this weekend, then clinched the title with Shelby Rogers in the deciding doubles match.  Kathy Rinaldi, in her first year as Fed Cup Captain, made all the right choices throughout the year and her experience as a Junior Fed Cup Captain in previous years helped make her transition to the senior version a smooth one. For more on today's matches, see the Fed Cup website.