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Saturday, May 5, 2018

Rubin Clinches USTA's Roland Garros Wild Card, Harrison Makes Savannah Challenger Final; Alshon, Sorokko Win Titles at Delray Beach ITF Grade 4; Brengle and Townsend in Charleston $80K Final; Tiafoe Reaches ATP Estoril Final

Michael Mmoh and Reilly Opelka had an opportunity to keep the pressure on Noah Rubin, the leader in the USTA's Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge, but both lost today in the semifinals of the $75,000 ATP Challenger in Savannah Georgia, so Rubin has earned a place in the main draw in Paris.  Mmoh, the No. 5 seed, led No. 7 seed Hugo Dellien 3-1 in the final set, but lost the last five games of the match to hand the Bolivian a 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory.  Opelka fell to Christian Harrison 7-5, 6-2, putting the 23-year-old Harrison in his first Challenger final.  Rubin, who won the USTA's reciprocal wild card for the 2016 Australian Open, won the Tallahassee Challenger last week to secure this year's main draw entry into the French Open. He has only played Roland Garros as a pro once, losing in the first round of qualifying in 2016.

At the ITF Grade 4 in Delray Beach, Christian Alshon and Michelle Sorokko took the singles titles, with both beating higher seeds.  No. 11 seed Alshon, the USTA Winter Nationals 18s champion, defeated top seed Axel Nefve 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 for his first ITF Junior Circuit singles title.  No. 14 seed Sorokko, who, like Alshon, is 17, defeated No. 2 seed Elli Mandlik 6-3, 6-2 for her second career singles title in the ITF juniors.  Sorokko had beaten top seed Hurricane Tyra Black in the third round.

The top two seeds at the $80,000 Charleston South Carolina USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament will meet in Sunday's final with No. 1 Madison Brengle facing No. 2 Taylor Townsend.  Brengle defeated Poland's Iga Swiatek, a qualifier, 6-1, 6-1, while Townsend downed qualifier Katerina Stewart 6-4, 6-1.  Brengle and Townsend have never played.

Former University of Alabama stars Alexa Guarachi of Chile and Erin Routliffe of New Zealand won the doubles title, their fourth of the year and second at the $80,000 level.  The top seeds defeated unseeded Allie Kiick and Louisa Chirico 6-1, 3-6, 10-5 in today's final.

Mackenzie McDonald is through to the final of the $100,000 ATP Challenger in Korea after a 6-4, 7-6(4) win over No. 8 seed Tatsuma Ito of Japan. The 2016 NCAA singles and doubles champion, seeded fifth, will play No. 3 Jordan Thompson of Australia in the final.

2015 Kalamazoo 18s champion Frances Tiafoe has reached the second ATP final of his career after the 20-year-old defeated defending champion and No. 2 seed Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 6-2, 6-3 in today's Estoril semifinals. Tiafoe, who won the title at the ATP in Delray Beach earlier this year, will face unseeded Joao Sousa of Portugal in the final.   For more on Tiafoe's victory, his fourth over an ATP Top 20 player, see this article from the ATP.