Sunday, April 29, 2018

Eubanks Wins Leon Challenger; Division I Conference Tournaments Conclude; Molinaro and Alvarez Claim Grade 1 Titles in France; Top Seeds Prevail at Ojai Open

Christopher Eubanks reached his first Challenger final last week in Guadalajara, losing in a third set tiebreaker. He advanced to his second Challenger final this week and this time he won that 13th game, beating former University of Tennessee star JP Smith of Australia 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(4) at the $75,000 tournament in Leon Mexico. The former Georgia Tech standout, who turns 22 next week, wasn't seeded in either tournament, but his results during the past two weeks have moved him into the ATP Top 200.  I believe the cutoff for qualifying for Roland Garros is next week, so he will easily make that after less than eight months as a pro.

In the doubles in Leon, former Texas Tech star Gonzalo Escobar of Ecuador won the title, with partner Manuel Sanchez of Mexico. The unseeded wild cards defeated the 1, 2 and 4 seeds en route to the title, beating No. 3 seeds Smith and Bradley Mousley of Australia 6-4, 6-4 in the final.

The next stop in Mexico is at the $75,000 Challenger in Puerto Vallarta, where Eubanks is the No. 4 seed. Alex Sarkissian[6], Kevin King[3] and Austin Krajicek are also in the main draw.

In the United States, the ATP Challenger circuit moves from Florida to Savannah Georgia, where Denis Kudla is the top seed in the $75,000 tournament. Tallahassee champion Noah Rubin received a special exemption into the main draw.  Trent Bryde, Strong Kirchheimer, Sam Riffice and Canada's Frank Dancevic received the main draw wild cards.

At the $80,000 tournament in Charlottesville, No. 4 seed Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia took the singles title, beating No. 5 seed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine 0-6, 6-1, 6-2 in today's final.  No. 3 seeds Sophie Chang and Alexandra Mueller won the doubles title, beating teens Whitney Osuigwe and Ashley Kratzer 3-6, 6-4, 10-7.

The USTA Women's Pro Circuit moves south to Charleston next week, for another $80,000 tournament, with the first round of qualifying completed today.

There are no Futures in the upcoming week, with the $15,000 tournament in Vero Beach concluding today.  Former Baylor standout Juan Benitez of Colombia, who left the program after his sophomore season last year, won his second career Futures title with a 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 win over Ricardo Rodriguez-Pace of Venezuela. The 22-year-old Benitez, the No. 5 seed, won his first Futures title last July.

Nick Chappell(TCU) and Harrison Adams(Texas A&M) won the doubles title, with the No. 2 seeds beating No. 4 seeds Junior Ore(Texas A&M) and Miles Seeman(UC-Santa Barbara) 6-4, 7-6(7) in the final.

There was lots of excitement today at the Division I conference tournaments, with NCAA berths and seedings, not to mention conference titles on the line.  Slam Tennis and College Tennis Today have all the results; my links below are to the websites of the Power 5 conference schools that won titles today.

ACC Men:  Wake Forest defeats North Carolina 4-0.

ACC Women: North Carolina defeats Duke 4-2.

Big Ten Men: Ohio State defeats Illinois 4-0.

Big Ten Women: Michigan defeats Northwestern 4-3.

Big 12 Men: Texas defeats Baylor 4-2.

Big 12 Women: Texas defeats Texas Tech 4-1.

SEC Men: Mississippi State defeats Texas A&M 4-3.

For the second time in two days, Michigan's Chiara Lommer won the last match on to clinch for the Wolverines.  North Carolina's Sara Daavettila saved a match point in her clinching win, and Mississippi State's Trevor Foshey saved two match points to clinch the Bulldogs first SEC tournament title since 1996.

The NCAA selection show is Tuesday, May 1st, with the women's draw being revealed at 5:00 pm EDT, with the men to follow at 5:30 pm.

At the ITF Grade 1 in France, No. 6 seed Eleonora Molinaro of Luxembourg won the girls singles title, beating Varvara Gracheva of Russia 7-6(2), 6-4 in the final.  No. 13 seed Nicolas Alvarez Varona of Spain defeated No. 10 seed Jonas Forejtek of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-0 to take the boys singles title.  The boys doubles title went to No. 5 seeds Yanki Erel of Turkey and Admir Kalender of Croatia, who beat No. 8 seeds Natan Rodrigues and Gilbert Soares Klier Junior of Brazil 6-2, 2-6, 10-8 in the final.  No. 3 seeds Anri Nagata and Naho Sato of Japan won the girls doubles title with a 6-4, 6-2 win over unseeded Daniella Medvedeva and Veronika Pepelyaeva of Russia.

The 118th Ojai tournament wrapped up today in Southern California, with top seeds Hanna Chang and Sebastian Fanselow taking the Open division titles.  The 20-year-old Chang defeated unseeded Denise Starr, the former Cal star, 6-4, 6-1 in the final, after Starr had eliminated 2017 champion Salma Ewing in the semifinals.  Fanselow, the former Pepperdine star from Germany, downed No. 2 seed Philip Bester of Canada 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 in the final.

In junior competition, Stefan Dostanic, who lost in last year's boys CIF final to Jake Sands after holding a match point, experienced a better ending to his 2018 tournament, beating Benjamin Gollin 6-4, 6-3 in Saturday night's final.  For more on the Woodbridge High School junior's victory, see this article from the Orange County Register.

The girls 18s title went to Eryn Cayetano, the No. 5 seed, who beat No. 2 seed Charlotte Chavatipon in the quarterfinals, No. 3 seed Elle Christensen in the semifinals and top seed Nicole Mossmer in the final. The junior from Corona California defeated Mossmer 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in the championship match this afternoon.

Complete results for the 14s and 16s, as well as the 18s doubles, can be found here.

Links to all draws are available at the Ojai website.