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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Rybakov Reaches Second Straight Futures Final; All-US Finals in Canada and Winston-Salem; McDaniel, Edwards Win WCs at USTA College Combine; Wimbledon Wild Card Update

Alex Rybakov defended his title at last week's $25,000 Futures in Buffalo and has now extended his winning streak to nine matches by reaching the final at the $15,000 Futures this week in Rochester New York.  The 21-year-old rising senior at TCU, seeded No. 4, defeated Florida rising sophomore Andres Andrade, a wild card, 6-1, 6-4 in today's semifinal.  Rybakov, 2-2 in Futures finals, will face unseeded Markos Kalovelonis of Russia in the final, after Kalovelonis defeated qualifier Gianni Ross 7-6(6), 7-5.

Michael Redlicki will also be appearing in his second consecutive Futures final, with last week's runner-up advancing to the championship match in the second of two $25,000 Futures at Wake Forest with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over wild card Skander Mansouri of Tunisia.  The 24-year-old Redlicki, who lost in the final to Mansouri's teammate Petros Chrysochos last week, will meet top seed Tommy Paul, making his return to competition this week after months off with an injury.  Paul came back to defeat unseeded Henry Craig 6-7(3), 6-2 6-4 to earn a shot at defending the title he won in Winston-Salem last year.  I didn't realize when I mentioned Wimbledon qualifying in a post a few days ago that Paul had withdrawn from that earlier this month, and will instead play the $25,000 Futures in Tulsa next week.

Another all-US final is scheduled for the $15,000 ITF Women's Pro Circuit event in Victoria British Columbia, with Gail Brodsky facing Maegan Manasse.  Brodsky, a semifinalist last week in Sumter South Carolina, defeated No. 7 seed Alexa Graham 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 to reach her first Pro Circuit final since she won the Victoria event, then a $10,000 tournament, back in 2015.  Manasse, who served as an undergraduate assistant coach at Cal this past season after completing her eligibility in 2017, will be playing in her first Pro Circuit singles final. 

At the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Baton Rouge, 18-year-old Maria Mateas will face recent Vanderbilt graduate Astra Sharma of Australia in the final.  No. 5 seed Mateas will be making her first appearance in a Pro Circuit final after defeating unseeded Ashley Lahey 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Sharma, the No. 7 seed, beat No. 8 seed Nika Kukharchuk of Russia 6-3, 6-2 to reach her sixth Pro Circuit final. She has won three single titles, two of which came last year.

Hayley Carter and Ena Shibahara won the doubles title in Baton Rouge, with the unseeded pair beating Sharma and her partner Gabriela Talaba of Romania 6-3, 6-4 in the final.  Carter and Shibahara didn't drop a set all week, with Shibahara, a rising junior at UCLA earning her first Pro Circuit title. For Carter, who is returning to competition after a season as an assistant coach at Oklahoma State, the doubles title is her second, with the first coming back in 2014.

In other doubles news, Stanford's Emily Arbuthnott won a $25,000 title in Sweden, Maria Sanchez(USC) and Asia Muhammad took the title at the $100,000 tournament in Ilkley and Austin Krajicek(Texas A&M) and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan(Washington) of India were the men's doubles champions at the ATP Challenger in Ilkley.

At the $25,000 Futures in Calgary, Thai Kwiatkowski(Virginia), Paul Oosterbaan(Georgia) and Bolivia's Juan Carlos Aguilar(Texas A&M) are through to the semifinals, as is top seed Steven Diez of Canada. Rain delayed the completion of the quarterfinals, so the semifinals and finals are on Sunday's schedule.

Canadians Benjamin Sigouin(North Carolina) and Alex Galarneau(NC State) won the doubles title in Calgary, with the unseeded pair defeating No. 2 seeds Alexios Halebian and Canada's Samuel Monette(Indiana) 7-5, 7-6(4) in the final.

The USTA's second annual All-American College Combine was completed Thursday, with 16-year-olds Marcus McDaniel and Sophia Edwards the overall winners, who will receive a main draw wild card to a $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit event.  Several photos of the event are available here. All results are available at the UTR's tournament page.

Wimbledon released another wild card statement today, but there are still several TBAs on it despite qualifying beginning on Monday.  They did release four of the men's main draw wild cards to the next direct acceptances, which included Mackenzie McDonald, who will be making his Wimbledon main draw debut, and Alex DeMinaur of Australia, who had been given a wild card, but no longer needed it.  That still leaves two men's main draw wild cards open, but Denis Kudla, who lost to Roger Federer today 7-6(1), 7-5 in the Halle semifinals, was not announced as a recipient.

The pre-qualifying tournament that was to determine two of the qualifying wild cards for both men and women finished yesterday, with former Texas star Lloyd Glasspool and former Northwestern star Samantha Murray now in the qualifying fields. Freya Christie and Dan Evans also are in qualifying based on their performance in that event, with one women's qualifying wild card still to be announced. There is also one women's main draw wild card still to be determined.  The up-to-date wild card list is available here.