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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Holt Wins First Futures Title at Claremont; Pegula, Anisimova, Opelka and US Davis Cup Team Fall Short; 30 US Juniors Begin Play at Grade 2 in Montreal Monday

USC junior Brandon Holt earned his first singles title on the professional circuit today, beating recent UCLA graduate Martin Redlicki 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 at the $15,000 Claremont California Futures. The 20-year-old son of Scott Holt and Tracy Austin had lost to Redlicki three times last year when they played at the No. 1 line, including a three-set win clinching the Bruins place in the NCAA team semifinals back in May, but today Holt came through, beating the 2017 Claremont finalist, who was also seeking his first pro circuit singles title. For more on the final, read this recap from Press Aide Steve Pratt, who also reveals the tournament will not be on the schedule in 2019.

Redlicki joined a raft of Americans who lost in the finals, or in the case of the US Davis Cup team, in the semifinals. After Sam Querrey beat Marin Cilic  6-7(2). 7-6(6), 6-3 6-4 in the first singles match to pull the US even with Croatia, Frances Tiafoe got the call for the deciding match. Tiafoe took a two sets to one lead--after trailing 5-1 in the third set, he won a tiebreaker 13-11--but Borna Coric closed out the American as the light faded, taking a 6-7(0), 6-1, 6-7(11), 6-1, 6-3 decision. Croatia will play France in France November 23-25, in the last Davis Cup under the old format. The ITF has announced a new format for Davis Cup for 2019 and as a semifinalist this year, the US will not have to play in the February's qualifying.  This article explains the new format.

Amanda Anisimova lost 6-2, 6-2 to No. 2 seed Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan in the final of the WTA International tournament in Japan, and Jessica Pegula, like Anisimova a qualifier, lost to No. 8 seed Pauline Parmentier of France 7-5, 6-2 at the WTA International tournament in Canada.  An American team did win the doubles in Quebec, with unseeded Asia Muhammad and Maria Sanchez(USC) defeating No. 2 seeds Darija Jurak of Croatia and Xenia Knoll of Switzerland 6-4, 6-3 in the final.

At the $50,000+H ATP Challenger in Cary North Carolina, unseeded James Duckworth of Australia defeated No. 4 seed Reilly Opelka 7-6(4), 6-3 in today's final.  Opelka also fell in the final of last week's Challenger in Chicago.  The doubles title went to the unseeded American pair of Hunter Reese(Tennessee) and Evan King(Michigan), who beat top seeds Hugo Nys and Fabrice Martin of France 6-4, 7-6(6). It's the fourth title for the pair, with the first two at 2017 Futures and both titles this year at Challengers.

This week's lower level ITF Junior Circuit tournaments produced only one American winner, with 17-year-old Ashley Vielma taking the doubles title at the Grade 4 in Chile. Vielma and her partner Josefa Fernandez of Chile won via walkover with top seeds Lorena Medeiros Cardoso of Brazil and Antonia Samudio of Colombia.

The ITF Grade 2 in Montreal begins tomorrow, with Americans holding the top two seeds in both the boys and girls 32-player draws.  Eliot Spizzirri and Ronan Jachuck are No. 1 and No. 2 in the boys draw and Chloe Beck and Emma Navarro and No. 1 and No. 2 in the girls draw. Alexandra Yepifanova and Sophie Hatton qualified for the main draw with wins today, giving the US 19 girls in the draw. With more than half the entries, three Americans have to play each other: Jennifer Gadalov drew Navarro, Jenna Dean plays Rachel Gailis and Zoe Hitt faces Sanyukta Gawande[6]. The boys draw has 11 American entries, so they can, via ITF rules, all be separated in the first round.