Saturday, February 23, 2019

Damm Reaches ITF Grade A Porto Alegre Final; Defending Champion Emory, Top Seed Chicago Meet for D-III Men's Indoor Title; All-Stanford Final in Rancho Santa Fe $25K

Martin Damm ended last year with a ITF Junior ranking of 312. But the 15-year-old has posted impressive results the past two months, going 15-3 at the major Central and South America tournaments, including a Grade 1 final in Costa Rica and a semifinal in Colombia, both on hard courts.  The circuit then moved to South American clay, and after an second round exit last week at the Grade 1 Banana Bowl, where he was forced to qualifying, Damm has had his best ITF Junior Circuit results this week at the Grade A in Porto Alegre Brazil.

Unseeded, the powerful left-hander has yet to lose a set, with wins over No. 12 seed Harold Mayot of France, No. 5 seed Holger Rune of Denmark, No. 2 seed Keisuke Saitoh of Japan, and in today's semifinal, No. 16 seed Carlos Alcaraz Garfia of Spain, with that decision coming by a 6-4, 6-4 score.  Damm's string of wins over seeds will end regardless of the outcome of Sunday's final, with his opponent, 17-year-old Thiago Tirante of Argentina, also unseeded. Tirante thwarted an all-American, all-IMG final when he defeated No. 13 seed Toby Kodat 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Damm and Kodat, the No. 8 seeds, fell in the doubles final to top seeds Saitoh and Shunsuke Mitsui of Japan 6-4, 6-1.

Girls top seed Diane Parry of France saw her win streak this month end at nine, when this week's breakout star, 15-year-old qualifier Ane Mintegi Del Olmo of Spain, came back to record a 0-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory. Mintegi Del Olmo will face No. 4 seed Natsumi Kawaguchi of Japan, who beat No. 2 seed Alexa Noel 6-1, 7-5.  Kawaguchi has already claimed one title in Brazil, partnering with Shavit Kimchi of Israel for the girls doubles crown. The No. 2 seeds beat the unseeded team of Sake Imamura of Japan and BoYoung Jeong of Korea 6-1, 4-6, 11-9 in the final.

The final is set at the ITA Men's Division III Team Indoor Championships with three-time defending champion Emory, the No. 2 seed, facing top seed University of Chicago Sunday in Cleveland.  Emory rolled past No. 6 seed Pomona-Pitzer 9-0 in today's semifinals, while Chicago had a battle on its hands with No. 4 seed Washington University-St. Louis. Chicago eventually posted a 5-4 victory, although Washington's fourth point came after Chicago had clinched the win.

See Slam Tennis for links to the live streaming and live scoring for Sunday's final, scheduled to begin at noon Eastern time.

Sunday's final at the $25,000 Women's ITF World Tennis Tour tournament in Rancho Santa Fe California will be an all-Stanford affair, with No. 2 seed Nicole Gibbs taking on former teammate Kristie Ahn, the No. 5 seed, for the title.  Gibbs came back to defeat unseeded Ann Li 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, while Ahn had an easier time with likely fatigued qualifier Usue Arconada 6-1, 6-1.  Gibbs has won all five of their previous ITF meetings, dating back to the juniors in 2008, but they have not played in the pros since 2015.

Speaking of Stanford, a Top 10 non-conference women's Division I match today was played in Palo Alto today, and it was a rematch of the 2018 NCAA team final, although not nearly as dramatic. Rather than coming down to the last match, which the Cardinal won, No. 4 Stanford soundly beat No. 7 Vanderbilt 6-1 today.  Stanford won the doubles point, then got wins from Melissa Lord at line 2, Emma Higuchi at line 6, and the clinching point from Emily Arbuthnott at line 4.  The matches were played out, with Vanderbilt's only point coming at line 1, where Fernanda Contreras beat Michaela Gordon 7-6(6), 0-6, 14-12.  For more on the match and the full box score, see the Stanford website.