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Sunday, February 4, 2018

Brengle Wins Midland; McDonald Falls to Nishikori in Dallas; Kostyuk Claims $60K Title in Australia; Stanford Men Beat USC, UCLA in Dick Gould Challenge

No. 3 seed Madison Brengle continued her blitz through the $100,000 Dow Tennis Classic today, defeating unseeded Jamie Loeb 6-1, 6-2 in 54 minutes.  Brengle, who lost only 16 games in her five victories this week, missed only 2 first serves in entire first set and made very few errors in the rest of her game.  Loeb wasn't sharp, and Brengle's defense has always been a problem for Loeb, who is now 0-4 against Brengle, but Brengle was mostly on another level all week.  Brengle collects $15,200 in prize money and 140 ranking points in her biggest professional victory, and her ranking, 90 at the start of the tournament, will move back into the 70s again.   Loeb earns $8,108 for her first appearance in a $100,000 event final and will move to a new career high of 132 with the addition of the 85 finalist's points.

2013 NCAA doubles champions Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria won their biggest title as a team, beating Jessica Pegula and Maria Sanchez 7-5, 4-6, 10-8 in the women's doubles final.  The 26-year-old Christian and the 24-year-old Santamaria, who dominated women's collegiate doubles while at USC, do not play doubles as most opponents or fans expect to see it played on the WTA tour, but they are great fun to watch, and the Midland crowd was very appreciative of the unpredictability they bring to the game.  Prior to today's win, Christian and Santamaria's best title came last October at the $80,000 Macon tournament.

The $125,000 Dallas Challenger ended late Saturday night, with top seed Kei Nishikori defeating Mackenzie McDonald 6-1, 6-4.  Nishikori, who has taken wild cards into ATP Challengers the past two weeks as he returns from a wrist injury, took advantage of McDonald's errors early in the match, and although McDonald had four break point opportunities in the match, he failed to convert on any of them, with Nishikori getting the only break he needed in the second set. It was a great week for McDonald however, with the former UCLA Bruin now moving his ATP ranking into the Top 150 for the first time.  See the ATP website for more on the final.

Fifteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine won the $60,000 ITF Women's Circuit tournament in Burnie Australia, continuing her outstanding play to start the year. The unseeded Kostyuk, who qualified for the main draw at the Australian Open and reached the third round, defeated top seed Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland 6-4, 6-3 in the final. She moves into the WTA Top 200 now, after starting the year at 523.

Vania King and Laura Robson won the doubles title, with the No. 3 seeds beating Japan's Momoko Kobori and Chihiro Muramatsu 7-6(3), 6-1 in the final.

The Stanford men were outside the Top 10 to start the season, but that's about to change after the Cardinal beat No. 5 USC 6-1 on Friday and No. 6 UCLA 4-3 this afternoon in Palo Alto.  The matches were part of the inaugural Dick Gould Stanford/SoCal Challenge, which honors the legendary Stanford men's coach.  In today's match with UCLA, Stanford took the doubles point and got wins from William Genesen at line 6, Axel Geller at line 2 and Sameer Kumar at line 3 to clinch the win. Martin Redlicki beat Tom Fawcett at line 1 for the only UCLA point before the clincher; Logan Staggs and Maxime Cressy won the final two points for UCLA at lines 4 and 5.