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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Lilov Wins Les Petits As; Di Lorenzo Earns Title at Wesley Chapel; Collins, Fritz Take Titles at Newport Beach

Victor Lilov won Les Petits As title today in Tarbes France, defeating top seed Mikhail Gorokhov of Russia 6-4, 7-6(1).

Lilov, who was seeded fifth despite his title last week at Bolton, was serving down 1-4 15-40 in the first set.  He recommitted himself to move aggressive tactics and closed the net often and Gorokhov was making too many unforced errors to hang with the 13-year-old from Raleigh, NC.  Lilov actually won six games in a row, breaking Gorokhov to start the second set, but he gave the break back immediately and fell behind 5-3. But Gorokhov couldn't get to a set point, and in the subsequent tiebreaker, Lilov played well, while Gorokhov made error after error, eliminating the possibility of a third set.   Lilov is the fourth American to win both Bolton and Les Petits As in the same year. The others are Frances Tiafoe (2012), CiCi Bellis(2013) and Donald Young(2003).  The only loss for Lilov in the two major Tennis Europe events was in the final of the Bolton doubles, as he and Evan Wen won the Les Petits As doubles title yesterday.

Unseeded wild card Alexandra Eala of the Philippines became the first player from her country to win a Les Petits As title, beating No. 7 seed Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(5). Noskova served for the match at 5-4 in the third, but Eala crushed two second serve return winners and her way to an easy break.  In the final set tiebreaker, Noskova went up 2-0, then lost six straight points, with a double fault among the points she donated.  But the 13-year-old fought back, saving three match points before she finally sent a forehand wide.

At the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Wesley Chapel Florida, 20-year-old Francesca Di Lorenzo defeated 15-year-old qualifier Whitney Osuigwe 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.  It is the former Ohio State star's third Pro Circuit title, the second at the $25,000 level, while Osuigwe was playing in her first Pro Circuit final at any level.

At the Oracle Challenge series in Newport Beach California, Danielle Collins and Taylor Fritz took the titles with come-from-behind victories.

Collins, the two-time NCAA champion while at Virginia, defeated qualifier Sofya Zhuk of Russia 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, after trailing 5-0 in the first set and 2-0 in the second set.  It's the biggest win of the 24-year-old Floridian's career and will move her WTA ranking to around 120, a career high.

Fritz, the No. 3 seed, defeated Bradley Klahn 3-6, 7-5, 6-0 in the men's final.  Fritz wasted several opportunities to take control of the second set, but he finally seized one with Klahn serving at 5-6, and rolled through the third.  Klahn had 10 double faults and only three aces, while Fritz had 8 aces and two double faults. Fritz will rise to around 76 in the ATP rankings.

Collins and Fritz now take the lead in the Oracle Challenge, which is a competition for American players for a main draw wild card into the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.  The American man and women with the most points accrued in this tournament and the next one late next month in Indian Wells will be awarded a main draw wild card.