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Monday, November 5, 2018

Anthrop, Kalieva, Benabraham and Daehnke Claim ITF Junior Circuit Singles Titles; Master'U Teams Announced; Dick Vitale's Guest Appearance in Lake Nona

Two 15-year-olds earned singles titles at the ITF Junior Circuit Grade 4 in South Carolina Saturday, although Jack Anthrop wasn't 15 at the time, with his birthday today.

Anthrop, the No. 16 seed, didn't drop a set in his six victories, beating No. 8 seed Spencer Whitaker 7-5, 6-0 in the final for his first ITF title in his third singles final on the circuit this year.

Elvina Kalieva, the top seed in the girls draw, won the second singles title of her career, beating No. 8 seed Katrina Scott 7-5, 6-1. 2017 Junior Orange Bowl 14s champion Kalieva, who won the Grade 4 in Newport Beach back in March, has now broken into the ITF Junior Top 200.

Top seeds Cleeve Harper of Canada and Phillip Jordan took the boys doubles title, beating No. 4 seed Quinn McLeod and Colombia's Daniel Salazar 6-0, 6-1 in the final.  The girls doubles title went to No. 8 seeds Julia Andreach and Rosie Garcia Gross, who beat unseeded Allie Gretkowski and Ruth Marsh 4-6, 6-3, 10-6 in the final.

Americans swept the singles titles at the Grade 5 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with Daniella Benabraham adding to her winning streak after earning a title at the Grade 5 last week in Barbados. The 14-year-old New Yorker defeated No. 4 seed Hannah Chambers of Barbados 7-5, 6-2 in the final for her third career title, all coming in Grade 5s.

Sixteen-year-old Californian Griffin Daehnke claimed his first ITF Junior Circuit title as a qualifier, beating four seeds in his five wins, including the No. 2 seed in the semifinals. In the final, Daehnke prevailed when top seed Luka Petrovic of Great Britain retired trailing 6-2, 4-0.

Katherine Teng made it three titles for Americans in St. Vincent, taking the doubles title with Adele Fernandez Lecaroz of Puerto Rico. The top seeds defeated Chambers and Chloe Weekes of Barbados, the No. 2 seeds, 6-1, 7-6(4) in the final.

At the Grade 5 in the United Arab Emirates, Rutuja Chaphalkar won the doubles title, with Priyanshi Bhandari of India. The No. 3 seeds defeated No. 2 seeds Caroline Cook of the US and Vipasha Mehra of India 6-3, 7-5 in the final.  Chaphalkar also reached the singles final as the No. 3 seed, losing to No. 7 seed Kylie Bilchev of Great Britain 6-3, 6-3.

This week the hard court portion of the ITF Junior Circuit in the US concludes at the Grade 4 in Boca Raton, with Kalieva and Salazar the top seeds.

A contingent of Americans have made the trip to Peru for this week's Grade 2 Inka Bowl, played on clay. Kacie Harvey, seeded No. 4, leads the US girls, with Zane Khan, the No. 2 seed, the top American boy.

The USTA announced the teams for Master 'U BNP Paribas, the annual collegiate international team competition that begins late this month in France. Representing the United States, which will be trying to recapture the title it lost last year to Great Britain, are: Ashley Lahey(Pepperdine), Maria Mateas(Duke), Jada Hart(UCLA), Brandon Holt(USC), Oliver Crawford(Florida) and Emil Reinberg(Georgia).  Holt and Lahey were on the team last year; coaches will be Greg Patton, formerly of Boise State, and current women's head coach at Cal, Amanda Augustus, both of whom have led the team often over the years.  For more on this year's edition of the competition, see this article at usta.com.

The college baskeball season begins tomorrow, so it's a perfect time to feature ESPN announcer Dick Vitale. Vitale, who sponsors a collegiate clay court tournament in his hometown of Lakewood Ranch Florida every fall, is also the proud grandfather of four national level juniors: Sydney Sforzo and Jake, Connor and Ava Krug.  Andy Gladstone of USTA Florida sent me this link to a Lunch and Learn he and Vitale did  at the Lake Nona Campus last week. Check out the video of the discussion here.

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