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Saturday, July 28, 2018

My Conversation with Mackenzie McDonald; Ma and Bolton in Evansville $15K Final; Qualifiers Manasse and Brodsky Meet for Title at Ashland $60K; All American Final Again in Atlanta

While I was at Wimbledon earlier this month, I had an opportunity to talk with 2016 NCAA singles and doubles champion Mackenzie McDonald after he reached the second week of his first Wimbledon main draw. Now at a career high of 77 in the ATP rankings, McDonald and I talked about the achievements that gave him the confidence to succeed on the pro tour, what the NCAA titles meant to him, what he's encountered at the top level of pro tennis that he didn't see at the other levels and resetting his goals after reaching two of them already in 2018 in this article for the Tennis Recruiting Network.

At age 15, Connie Ma has reached already reached a USTA Pro Circuit final, with the Californian beating No. 8 seed Pam Montez 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 in Saturday's semifinals of the $15,000 tournament in Evansville Indiana. She will face 18-year-old Elysia Bolton, the No. 3 seed, who will begin her career at UCLA this fall. Bolton defeated Savannah Broadus 6-1 6-4.

Even before Sunday's final, Ma has secured her first pro title, winning the doubles in Evansville with 16-year-old Gianna Pielet. Ma and Pielet defeated Meghan Kelley(Virginia) and Bianca Moldovan(NC State) 6-3, 7-5 in Saturday's championship match.

An American qualifier is guaranteed to take the title at the $60,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Ashland, Kentucky, with Maegan Manasse and Gail Brodsky advancing to the final with wins today. Brodsky defeated Jovana Jaksic of Serbia 6-2, 6-4 for her sixth win in the past six days, while Manasse won her seventh straight match, beating Misaki Doi of Japan 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-2. The winner will take the lead in the USTA's US Open Wild Card Challenge.

The doubles title in Ashland went to No. 3 seeds Jaksic and Mexico's Renata Zarazua of Mexico, who defeated unseeded Sanaz Marand and Whitney Osuigwe 6-3, 5-7, 10-4 in the final.

At the $25,000 Futures in Champaign Illinois, rising Florida State senior Aziz Dougaz of Tunisia won his first Pro Circuit singles title, with the No. 4 seed defeating No. 2 seed and reigning NCAA champion Petros Chrysochos of Cyprus 7-6(3), 6-4.

Sunday's final at the WTA International tournament in Moscow will feature two 17-year-olds, with wild card Anastasia Potapova of Russia taking on lucky loser Olga Danilovic of Serbia.  Potapova defeated Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia 3-6, 6-4, 5-2 ret. to reach her first final, while Danilovic took down No. 5 seed Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-2, 5-7, 7-5.  Danilovic and Potapova met in the final of Les Petits As in 2015 and twice on the ITF Junior Circuit in 2016, with Potapova winning all three contests.  For more on this rare all-teen WTA final, see this WTA article on Potapova and this WTA article on Danilovic.

Sunday's final at the BB&T Atlanta Open will be a repeat of last year's, with John Isner taking on Ryan Harrison in an all-American contest. Isner, the top seed and defending champion, beat No. 4 seed Matthew Ebden of Australia 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-1 in this afternoon's semifinal, with No. 8 seed Harrison defeating former TCU star Cam Norrie of Great Britain 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. It's Harrison fourth consecutive victory from a set down this week. Harrison and partner Rajeev Ram have also advanced to the doubles final, where they'll meet JP Smith of Australia and Nick Monroe.