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Saturday, October 27, 2018

Nakashima Faces Tseng for ITF Masters Title, Burel and Osorio Serrano Meet in Girls Final; UCLA Sweeps Waco Futures Titles; Stephens Advances to WTA Finals Championship Match

Brandon Nakashima earned his first straight-sets victory Saturday at the ITF Junior Masters in China, beating Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria 7-6(4), 6-3 to advance to Sunday's final.  The 17-year-old from San Diego will face two-time junior slam winner and ITF Junior No. 1 Chun Hsin Tseng of Taiwan for the title, after Tseng overcame Youth Olympic Games gold medalist Hugo Gaston of France 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the other semifinal.  Nakashima and Tseng have not played despite both having competed in the last three junior slams.  For more from Nakashima and Tseng, see this article from the ITF Junior Circuit website.

The girls final, on the other hand, will feature two players who have already met three times in the past two months. Clara Burel of France defeated Maria Camila Osorio Serrano of Colombia in the semifinals of the US Open Juniors and the semifinals of the Youth Olympic Games earlier this month, before beating her 6-2, 6-2 in the round robin stage of the competition.  Burel defeated En-Shuo Liang of Taiwan in today's semifinals, returning to the court up 6-2, 2-1 after a lengthy rain delay. Liang got the break back immediately upon returning to the court Saturday night and led 5-4 in the second set, but Burel broke at love for a 6-5 lead then brought some big serving into the next game to claim the 6-2, 7-5 victory.  Osorio Serrano defeated Clara Tauson of Denmark 6-7(6), 6-2, 6-4 to reach her first final at a Grade A or above. For more on the girls semifinals, see this article from the ITF Junior Circuit website.

Live scoring is available here.  There is a live stream now up as well at the ITF You Tube channel.  The order of play is here.

The $25,000 Futures tournament in Waco Texas concluded today, with UCLA junior Evan Zhu claiming his first singles title on the Pro Circuit. The 20-year-old, who won the NCAA doubles title this year with Martin Redlicki, did not drop a set throughout the week, and today had to play only one set, with Baylor sophomore Roy Smith retiring after dropping the first 6-3.

In Friday's doubles final, UCLA senior Maxime Cressy of France and former Bruin Nick Meister won their third straight title in the $25,000 Texas Futures. Cressy and Meister, seeded fourth, defeated No. 2 seeds John Paul Fruttero and DJ Thomas 6-1, 6-4 in the final. It's the third time that Fruttero has come out on the losing end in doubles finals this month in Texas, with three different partners.

Varvara Lepchenko, who has a career-high WTA ranking of 19, fell out of the Top 100 this summer, and is now ranked 162. The 32-year-old is back on the ITF Women's Circuit for the first time since early last year this week at the $80,000 tournament in Macon Georgia and she will now take the early lead in the USTA's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge after reaching the final with two wins today.  Lepchenko defeated Danielle Lao(USC) 6-2, 7-5 in the quarterfinals and Allie Kiick 6-4, 6-2 in the semifinals, with a rainout yesterday pushing the quarterfinals into today.  Lepchenko's opponent in the final will be Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay, who beat Hailey Baptiste 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals and Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 2-0 retired in the semifinals.

At the $50,000+H ATP Challenger in Las Vegas, former Ohio State star and 2013 NCAA singles champion Blaz Rola of Slovenia has advanced to the final. Rola defeated Australian JP Smith(Tennessee) 6-3, 7-5 to reach his first Challenger final since April, with tournament press aide Steve Pratt explaining in this article the illness behind Rola's slump. He will face another unseeded Australian, Thanasi Kokkinakis, for the title Sunday. Kokkinakis defeated No. 3 seed Casper Ruud of Norway 6-4, 6-1 in today's semifinal.

In Singapore, Sloane Stephens has advanced to the WTA Finals championship match, where she will face Elina Svitolina of Ukraine. Stephens, the No. 5 seed, defeated Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 0-6, 6-4, 6-1 in today's semifinals after going undefeated in her round robin group earlier in the week. For more on today's semifinal matches, see this article from the Associated Press.