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Saturday, February 3, 2018

Price Wins Grade 1 in Ecuador; Loeb and Brengle Reach Midland $100K Final; Vanderbilt Women Blank No. 1 Stanford; US Men Beat Serbia in Davis Cup

Fourteen-year-old Gabby Price won her first ITF Grade 1 title today in Ecuador, beating No. 3 seed Maria Rivera Corado of Guatemala 7-6(5), 6-4.  After reaching the semifinals at last week's Grade 1 in Colombia, Price, the No. 9 seed, will enter the ITF Top 100 for the first time.  Emilio Nava, the No. 6 seed, fell in the boys singles final to No. 3 seed Facundo Diaz Acosta of Argentina 7-5, 6-3.

The finals are set at the $100,000 Dow Tennis Classic in Midland, and it will feature nothing but Americans.

No. 3 seed Madison Brengle , who has marched through the draw this week, handled top seed Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania 6-4, 6-1 in the afternoon semifinal.  In the night match, unseeded Jamie Loeb defeated No. 2 seed Jennifer Brady 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 to advance to the biggest final of her pro career.  After Brady took the second set by breaking Loeb serving at 4-5 30-40, Brady appeared to have seized the momentum when she held to open the third set and then went up 0-40 in the the next game.  But Loeb fought back to hold, and they continued on serve until Loeb got the only break of the third set at 3-all.  Loeb went down 0-30 attempting to consolidate the break, and had to save a break point with a excellent first serve at 30-40, but she held for 5-3.  Brady won the next game quickly leaving Loeb to serve out the match. At 30-all Loeb's backhand just caught the far sideline to give her a match point, but she netted a backhand to give Brady new life.  A good first serve gave Loeb another match point and another excellent first serve ended the considerable suspense.  Loeb and Brengle have played three times, with Brengle winning all three matches, two of which were last year.

The doubles final will feature 2013 NCAA doubles champions Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria, who took out top seeds Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia and Maria Irigoyen of Argentina 5-7, 7-6(5), 10-4 in a very entertaining semifinal.  The former USC stars led 5-3 in the first set and served for the second set, but once they reached the third set tiebreaker, those missteps were put aside and they dominated play.

Christian and Santamaria will be across the net from another USC star in the final, when they take on Maria Sanchez and her partner, Jessica Pegula.  Sanchez and Pegula, the last team to receive entry into the draw, beat wild cards Sanaz Marand and Whitney Osuigwe 6-4, 1-6, 10-8 in the last match of the evening at the Greater Midland Tennis Center.

In Division I college tennis, the top-ranked Stanford women traveled to No. 2 Vanderbilt, and the home team made a statement, beating the Cardinal 7-0.  Stanford played without junior Melissa Lord, and three matches went to three sets, but it was still an impressive performance by the Commodores.  For more on the match, see this article from the Stanford website.

The United States Davis Cup team advanced to the 2018 quarterfinals with Steve Johnson and Ryan Harrison winning the doubles point to give the USA a 3-0 sweep of Serbia.  Johnson and Harrison defeated  Nikola Milojevic and Miljan Zekic 6-7(3), 6-2, 7-5, 6-4. The US team will play the winner of the Belgium - Hungary tie, which is currently 2-1 in favor of Belgium.  For more on today's match, see this article from usta.com.