Sunday, November 10, 2019

Texas's Ito and North Carolina's Daavettila Win Titles at Oracle ITA National Fall Championships; Mmoh Takes Knoxville Challenger Title

Top seed Yuya Ito of Texas came from a break down in the third set to defeat unseeded Damon Kesaris of St. Mary's 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, earning his second consecutive ITA major title. North Carolina senior Sara Daavettila, seeded No. 8, won her first major singles championship, avenging her recent loss to No. 6 seed Anna Turati of Texas with a 7-6(5), 6-1 victory in the women's final at the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships in Newport Beach California.

Ito couldn't hold onto the break he earned in the opening set, but at 5-5 in the first he broke Kesaris for a second time, and converted his third set point with an overhead winner.

Kesaris dropped the first game of the second set, and it appeared the senior from South Africa was in trouble, but he got the break back and held, with the first three games of the second set all going to a deciding point. Kesaris broke for a second time and that was all he needed, with Ito, a senior from Japan, committing more unforced errors than usual. 

Kesaris broke in the third game of the final set, but after holding for a 3-1 lead, he didn't win another game. Ito got back on serve by breaking Kesaris on a deciding point for 3-3, and on Kesaris's next service game, he could not convert either of his two game points from 40-15 up and Ito forced an error on the deciding point to earn the break. Kesaris, the first player from St. Mary's to appear in major final, kept fighting and had three chances to get the break back with Ito serving for the match, but two good serves and a forehand winner on another deciding point gave Ito the title.

Ito, who was the Most Outstanding Player at the NCAA National Team Championships in May, is the first player to win both the All-American Championship and the Fall Nationals (formerly the Intercollegiate Indoor Championships) in the same year since Virginia's Mitchell Frank won both in 2011.
Daavettila had lost to Turati 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(7) in the quarterfinals of the All-American Championships last month, but once she took the first set, the Michigan native's pace was too much for the senior from Italy. Daavettila plays with little margin of error, aggressively going for lines, and she made almost no unforced errors in the second set. Serving for the match she went up 40-15, but a rare unforced error and some world class defense from Turati sent that game to a deciding point. After missing her first serve, Daavettila surprised Turati with an underhand serve and then took Turati's return and directed a forehand past her on the line for the title.

I wrote an article for the Tennis Recruiting Network about Daavettila's commitment to North Carolina more than four years ago, which can be found here.

UCLA's Elysia Bolton and Jada Hart won the women's doubles title, with the No. 5 seeds defeating top seeds Anna Rogers and Alana Smith of North Carolina State 6-4, 6-3.  No. 2 seeds Dominik Kellovsky and Matej Vocel of Oklahoma State won the men's doubles title, beating Ohio State's Robert Cash and John McNally, the No. 8 seeds, 6-4, 1-6, 10-4.

St. Mary's Mariia Kozyreva won the women's consolation title, beating Georgia's Vivian Wolff 6-5, 7-6(7) and Gabriel Decamps of Central Florida won the men's consolation title, beating South Carolina's Raphael Lambling 6-4, 6-4.  Wolff and Eleni Christofi of Georgian won the women's doubles consolation title, beating Yale's Jessie Gong and Samantha Martinelli 6-1, 2-6, 10-8. Michigan's Andrew Fenty and Mattias Siimar won the men's doubles consolation title, beating Iowa's Will Davies and Oliver Okonkwo 6-1, 6-1.

Ito and Daavettila were the recipients of the sportsmanship awards.

The Turati twins went one for two in finals today, with Bianca taking the title at the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Malibu. Bianca defeated 17-year-old Katie Volynets 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in a three-hour and 15 minute final for her second $25K title of the year. Down 4-1 in the third set, Volynets got it back to 4-all, but she was broken in her next service game and Turati closed it out.

At the men's $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Malibu, No. 2 seed Daniel Altmaier of Germany defeated Alex Sarkissian(Pepperdine) 6-2, 6-4 in the singles final. Top seeds Junior Ore(Texas A&M) and Alejandro Gomez(Kentucky) of Colombia won the doubles title, beating No. 4 seeds Austin Rapp(UCLA) and Martin Redlicki(UCLA) 6-3, 6-7(14), 10-7.

Mayo Hibi of Japan won the $60,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Las Vegas, beating Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 in the final. No. 3 seeds Olga Govortsova of Belarus and Mandy Minella of Luxembourg won the double title, beating unseeded Sophie Chang and Alexandra Mueller 6-3, 6-4 in the final.

Michael Mmoh won his first title of year today at the ATP Challenger 80 in Knoxville Tennessee, with the 2016 Kalamazoo 18s champion defeating No. 8 seed Christopher O'Connell of Australia 6-4, 6-4 in the final. Mmoh, who was out more than three months due to injury this year, moves his ranking to 237 with the title, improving his prospects for the Australian Open qualifying. He also now has a significant lead in the USTA's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge with one week to go. Mmoh is entered in next week's Oracle Challenger series tournament in Houston. 

The doubles title in Knoxville went to the unseeded team of Hans Hach Verdugo(Abilene Christian) of Mexico and Adrian Menendez-Maceiras of Spain, who defeated unseeded Bradley Klahn(Stanford) and Sem Verbeek(Pacific) of the Netherlands 7-6(6), 4-6, 10-5 in the final.