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Monday, September 9, 2019

Tommy Paul Claims ATP Challenger in New Haven; Oracle Announces New US Pro Series; Ngounoue Sweeps Titles in ITF Grade 5

I'm back home and this will be a short update, because after a long stretch of late night writing at the US Open Junior Championships, I need to go to bed early tonight.

With the US Open going on last week, the only other event in the United States was the WTA 125 and ATP 125 Oracle Challenger in New Haven Connecticut.  No. 6 seed Tommy Paul won the title in an all-American final, beating No. 9 seed Marcos Giron 6-3, 6-3 in yesterday's championship match. Paul, 22, did not lose a set all week, and with his second ATP Challenger title of the year, Paul has broken into the ATP Top 100 for the first time, at 92.  With his run to the final, former UCLA star Giron, the 2014 NCAA singles champion, has moved to a career-high ATP ranking of 126. Both are entered in this week's ATP 80 Challenger, with Paul the No. 2 seed and Giron seeded No. 4. They could meet again in the semifinals.

I heard at the US Open that Paul will be working with Brad Stine this fall, now that Kevin Anderson has announced he will not play the rest of the year due to his knee injury.

The men's doubles title in New Haven went to unseeded Nate Lammons (SMU) and Rob Galloway (Wofford), who added to the excellent results of collegiate men in ATP doubles this year. Americans Lammons and Galloway defeated top seeds Sander Gille(East Tennessee St) and Joran Vliegen(East Carolina) of Belgium 7-5, 6-4 in the final.

The women's title in New Haven went to Anna Blinkova of Russia. The No. 7 seed defeated unseeded Usue Arconada 6-4, 6-2 in the final. With her run to the final, Arconada has now reached a career-high of 145 in the WTA rankings. Blinkova also beat Arconada in the doubles final. Blinkova and Oksana Kalashnikova of Georgia, seeded No. 2, beat unseeded Jamie Loeb(North Carolina) and Arconada 6-2, 4-6, 10-4 in the championship match.

Last week, Oracle announced a new series of men and women's pro events in the United States that will range in prize money from $25,000 to $108,000. Six dates are set for this fall, and all are joint events, although the men and women are at different locations in Dallas October 20-27. More than 20 combined events are expected to be scheduled for 2020. For more on Oracle's new initiative, see this press release.

With no ITF Junior Circuit events in North America last week, the only titles for US players came from a Grade 5 in Togo, where 13-year-old Clervie Ngounoue won both the singles and doubles titles. Ngounoue was the No. 7 seed based on her first round Grade 1 win in College Park last month, her first ITF tournament. Ngounoue had the most trouble in her semifinal match with 16-year-old American Ariel Johnson, winning that one 7-6(2), 0-6, 6-1. In the final Ngounoue defeated top Linda Claire Eloundou Nga of Cameroon 6-2, 6-3. She and Nga teamed up for the doubles title, with the No. 2 seeds beating Carmine Becoude of Benin and Bohoussou Blanche Lili-belle Minet of 
Cote D'Ivoire 6-3, 6-1 in the final.

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