Saturday, April 28, 2018

Rubin Wins Tallahassee Challenger, Eubanks into Challenger Final in Mexico; All Four US Teams Qualify for ITF Team Finals; Cassone Captures ITF Grade 5 Title in Martinique; Stanford, UCLA Claim Pac-12 Titles

Former Wake Forest star Noah Rubin won his second ATP Challenger title of the year today in Tallahassee, outlasting Australian Marc Polmans 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.  The final game was a classic, with Polmans, serving at 4-5, coming from 0-40 down and saving two more match points before Rubin finally converting on his sixth chance to end the match.  Rubin will move back into the ATP Top 200 with the $75,000 title and he has the lead in the USTA's Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge with one week left.

Robert Galloway (Wofford) and Denis Kudla won the doubles title, with the unseeded pair defeating No. 4 seeds Enrique Perez Lopez of Spain and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (Washington) of India 6-3, 6-1 in the final. It's the first Challenger title for the 25-year-old Galloway, who won seven Futures doubles titles last year.

At the $75,000 Challenger in Leon Mexico, Christopher Eubanks has reached the final, the second week in a row the former Georgia Tech star has made the championship match. The unseeded Eubanks defeated former USC standout Roberto Quiroz of Ecuador 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinal and will face another college star in Sunday's final: JP Smith of Australia. The former Tennessee star defeated Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia 6-4, 6-3 to reach his first Challenger final since August of 2015. 

Both Americans in the semifinals of the $80,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Charlottesville lost, with No. 3 seed Taylor Townsend falling to No. 5 seed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine 6-3, 7-6(5) and No. 2 seed Jennifer Brady going out to No. 4 seed Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia 6-4, 6-2.  But it's an all-American final in the doubles Sunday, with No. 3 seeds Sophie Chang and Alexandra Mueller taking on unseeded teenagers Ashley Kratzer and Whitney Osuigwe for the title.

The US teams for the ITF's North/Central America and Caribbean qualifying all finished at the top of their groups, meaning all four teams--Junior Davis Cup, Junior Fed Cup and boys and girls World Junior Tennis--will be competing in the 16-team world finals later this year.  The Junior Davis Cup team of Toby Kodat, Marcus McDaniel and Alex Lee went undefeated in their three matches, winning each one by a 3-0 score, as did the 14-and-under World Junior Tennis boys team of Evan Wen, Bruno Kuzuhara and Victor Lilov.  The girls teams had a bit more difficulty, with the Junior Fed Cup team (Alexa Noel, Fiona Crawley and Gabby Price) needing to win the doubles today against Canada to remain undefeated. They also dropped the doubles in the first match, against Puerto Rico, but they had already won both singles match in that tie. The girls World Junior tennis team of Robin Montgomery, Katrina Scott and Reese Brantmeier also needed to win doubles today to take their tie with Canada.  Canada, who finished second in all four competitions, also will qualify for the World Junior Tennis in August and the Junior Fed and Davis Cups in September.

For complete results during the three days of qualifying, see the ITF tournament page.

At the ITF Grade 5 in Martinique, 15-year-old Murphy Cassone won his first Junior Circuit title. The No. 4 seed beat top seed Milledge Cossu 7-5, 2-6, 6-1 in the all-American final. 

It was a busy day in college tennis, with most of the conference semifinals taking place today.  The Pac-12 crowned its champions today, however, with the Stanford women defending their team title with a 4-2 win over UCLA.  Emily Arbuthnott clinched the match with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 win over Abi Altick  at line 4. Stanford also won the regular season conference title this year.  As usual, Stanford is peaking at the right time and now with Melissa Lord back in the lineup, they are certainly a team to watch in the NCAA tournament.

The UCLA men avenged their 4-3 loss last year to USC in the tournament final, beating the Trojans 4-1 tonight.  The Bruins, like the Stanford women, won the regular season title as well.

In the other Power 5 conferences here are Sunday's finals:

ACC Men:  Wake Forest v North Carolina
ACC Women: Duke v North Carolina

Big Ten Men: Ohio State v Illinois
Big Ten Women: Northwestern v Michigan

Big 12 Men: Texas v Baylor
Big 12 Women: Texas v Texas Tech

SEC Men: Texas A&M v Mississippi State

Probably the biggest surprise of the day was Baylor's 4-2 win over TCU. The Horned Frogs, ranked 7th to Baylor's ranking of 27, had beaten Baylor 4-1 just nine days ago in conference play. 

For more on the other conference finals and semifinals today, see Slam Tennis and College Tennis Today.