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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Sandgren, Paul Meet in Sarasota Challenger Final Sunday; Davis Advances at Dothan $80K; Catanzarite Sweeps Grade 5 Titles in Guadeloupe; Tennessee Men Upset Florida in SEC Conference Tournament

The lead in the USTA's French Open Wild Card Card Challenge will go to the winner of tomorrow's final at the ATP 100 Challenger in Sarasota Florida, after wins today by No. 15 seed Tommy Paul and No. 2 seed Tennys Sandgren.

Sandgren, who is the tenth alternate for the main draw of the French Open, defeated No. 11 seed Marcos Giron 7-6(2), 2-6, 6-2 on a windy day at the Laurel Oak Country Club, while Paul had considerably less trouble getting past unseeded Andrea Collarini of Argentina 6-1, 6-3. Paul, who is playing in only his second tournament since January, is currently 204 in the ATP rankings, so would definitely need to win that wild card to avoid French Open qualifying. Paul won the French Open boys title in 2015.

The women's final at the $80,000 ITF World Tennis Tour event in Dothan Alabama will feature just one American, with No. 6 seed Lauren Davis advancing to the final with a 6-1, 7-6(3) win over unseeded Gabby Ruse of Romania. Davis, who has not lost a set all week, will face qualifier Kristina Kucova of Slovakia, the 2007 US Open girls champion, in the final. Kucova defeated Francesca Di Lorenzo 7-6(3), 7-5. Regardless of the result tomorrow, Davis will lead in the women's French Open Wild Card Challenge.

The doubles final was played this afternoon in Dothan, with Usue Arconada and Caroline Dolehide taking the title, their second in as many weeks. The unseeded Americans, who won the doubles at the $25,000 in Pelham last week, defeated the unseeded Australian pair of Destanee Aiava and Astra Sharma 7-6(5), 6-4 in today's final.

Sixteen-year-old Ava Catanzarite won her first ITF Junior Circuit titles this week at the Grade 5 in Guadeloupe, taking the singles championship unseeded, and partnering with Sonya Macavei for the doubles crown.  Catanzarite dropped only 11 games in her five wins, with half of the 10 sets she won earned with 6-0 scores. She defeated unseeded Jade Psonka of France 6-0, 6-2 in the final. In doubles, No. 4 seeds Macavei and Catanzarite also did not drop a set, beating unseeded Emma Jouy and Tiantsoa Rakotomanga Rajaonah of France 6-2, 6-1 in the final.

The other Americans to win a title in ITF Junior play this week are No. 4 seeds Maryam Ahmad and Sasha Wood, who took the doubles at the Grade 4 in Barbados. The No. 4 seeds beat top seeds from Great Britain, Jasmine Conway and Charlotte Russell 6-3, 6-3 in the final. Unseeded Carrington Hayes made the girls singles final, falling to top seed Conway 6-0, 6-7(5), 6-2.

The finals of the conference tournaments in the ACC, Big 12 and SEC are set for Sunday, with 1 vs 2 seeds meeting in four of the six. The ACC women's final will be between No. 1 North Carolina and No. 2 Duke. The ACC men's final will pit No. 1 Wake Forest and No. 2 Virginia. The SEC women's final has No. 1 Georgia against No. 2 South Carolina and the Big 12 men's final has No. 1 Texas facing No. 2 Baylor.

The Kansas women, seeded No. 3, beat No. 2 Oklahoma State 4-2 and will face top seed Texas in Sunday's final.

The most surprising result came in the men's SEC semifinals, where No. 4 seed Tennessee defeated host and top seed Florida 4-3 to advance to the final against No. 2 seed Mississippi State. Down 3-1, with the their only point from doubles, the Volunteers won at lines 3, 4 and 2, with Adam Walton getting the clinching point for Tennessee in the third set against Sam Riffice.

For all the other action today in conference tournaments, see the SLAM tennis website.