Sunday, April 21, 2019

Kenin's Win Keeps US in Fed Cup World Group; Paul Claims Sarasota Challenger; South Carolina Women Beat No. 1 Georgia to Win SEC Conference Tournament Title, Top-seeded Longhorns Fall in Both Big-12 Finals

Sonya Kenin had played valiantly in her previous two Fed Cup appearances, but the 20-year-old Floridian had lost both her matches in the final last year against the Czech Republic and her one match in this year's quarterfinal against Australia.  Today, with the US team leading Switzerland 2-1 thanks to Sloane Stephens two victories this weekend, Kenin was called on by captain Kathy Rinaldi to substitute for Madison Keys, who had lost the first singles match Saturday. Kenin came through, beating Timea Bacsinszky 6-3, 7-6(3) to keep the US in the World Group for 2020. For more on Kenin's clinching victory, see this article from the Fed Cup website.

Tommy Paul won his second career ATP Challenger today in Sarasota, with the No. 15 seed beating No. 2 seed Tennys Sandgren 6-3, 6-4 in the 100 level tournament. The 21-year-old Paul, playing in just his second tournament since January, moves to 158 in the ATP rankings, just nine spots below his career high of 149. He takes the lead in the USTA French Open Wild Card Challenge, which continues for two more weeks. Both Paul, seeded ninth, and Sandgren, seeded second, are scheduled to compete in next week's Tallahassee tournament, an ATP 80 Challenger. For more on Paul's win, see this article from the ATP website.

Lauren Davis will lead the women's USTA French Open Wild Card Challenge, but the No. 6 seed lost today in the final of the $80,000 ITF World Tennis Tour event in Dothan Alabama. Qualifier Kristina Kucova of Slovakia defeated Davis 3-6, 7-6(9), 6-2.

At the $15,000 ITF Men's World Tennis Tour tournament in Orange Park, Dmitry Popko of Kazakhstan won his second title in as many weeks on the Florida clay. The unseeded 22-year-old defeated No. 4 seed Agustin Velotti of Argentina 6-0, 5-7, 6-3 in the final. In the doubles final, Velotti and Juan Ignacio Galarza, also of Argentina, beat No. 3 seeds and former Texas A&M Aggies Harrison Adams and Junior Ore 7-6(6), 6-7(3), 10-5 for the title.

Of the three Power Five conferences holding their tournaments this weekend, only the ACC saw the top seeds win the titles.  The North Carolina women won their fourth straight conference title, beating No. 2 seed Duke 4-2, with freshman Cameron Morra clinching for the Tar Heels at line 4.  The Wake Forest men won their second straight tournament title, defeating No. 2 seed Virginia 4-2, with Bar Botzer clinching at line 3 for the Demon Deacons.

Mississippi State, the No. 2 seed, won the men's SEC title, with the Bulldogs taking out No. 4 seed Tennessee 4-1 for their second consecutive tournament title. Nuno Borges clinched for Mississippi State at line 1, coming back from a set down against Timo Stodder.

The top-seeded Georgia women, undefeated this season, lost to South Carolina 4-3, with the match coming down to No. 1 singles. Georgia's Katarina Jokic, who has been the top-ranked woman in Division I for most of the year, had clinched the Team Indoor title for the Bulldogs in a third set tiebreaker, but she could not get there in today's high-pressure situation, getting broken on the deciding point serving at 4-5 in the third set against Ingrid Gamarra Martins.  South Carolina, the No. 2 seed, had never won the SEC tournament prior to today.

In the Big 12, top seed Texas fell to No. 2 seed Baylor 4-1, with Adrian Boitan clinching for the Bears at line 3. It's the ninth conference tournament title for Baylor and the first since 2014.  The news was no better for the Longhorn women, with the top seeds falling 4-2 to No. 3 Kansas on the Jayhawks home courts. Maria Toran Ribas clinched for 20th-ranked Kansas at line 6.

For scores from all today's conference tournament finals, see the SLAM tennis website.


Brent said...

Any idea what happened with Roy Smith at Baylor?

Colette Lewis said...

I've seen a tweet that says he has turned pro.