Monday, November 4, 2019

Yu, Banerjee, Bhakta Win ITF Junior Circuit Titles; Stewart, Nakashima Lead USTA Australian Open Wild Card Challenge with Two Weeks Remaining

Eleana Yu, who turns 15 on Friday, won her second straight ITF Grade 4 title yesterday in Lexington South Carolina, after several days of rain led to abbreviated scoring and extended the tournament an extra day.
I have no idea why the scores of the singles finals have yet to be posted, but Yu did receive the winner's points, and I understand the No. 13 seed beat No. 4 seed Allie Gretkowski in three sets in the final. (Update: Yu d. Gretkowski 3-6, 6-3, 6-4). Yu, who won the ITF in Atlanta two weeks ago, also in a rain-plagued week, is up to 350 in the ITF rankings after being at 1333 in April.

Seventeen-year-old Samuel Paquette of Canada, seeded No. 3, defeated No. 2 seed JJ Tracy 7-5, 6-3 in the boys final. Paquette, who has committed to Cornell, and Tracy, who is signing with Ohio State, both train at the Smith Stearns Academy in Hilton Head South Carolina.

No. 3 seeds Ozan Colak and Hugo Hashimoto won the boys doubles title, beating No. 5 seeds Aidan Kim and Lucas Brown 6-3 6-2 in the final. Carson Tanguilig, who won the title two weeks ago in Atlanta with Gretkowski, earned her second straight doubles title this week, with Sophie Williams. The No. 5 seeds defeated the Swedish team of Ida Johansson and Agnes Mitteregger, seeded sixth, 6-0, 6-1 in the final.

At the Grade 5 in Curacao, 16-year-old Samir Banerjee swept the titles in just the third appearance in an ITF Junior Circuit event. The unseeded Banerjee did not drop a set in his five wins, beating unseeded Yannik Rahman 6-2, 6-3 in the singles final. Banerjee partnered with Jacob Lowen to win another all-US final in the doubles. The unseeded pair defeated top seeds Sam Scherer and Azuma Visaya 2-6 6-4, 10-7 for the title. Charlotte Cartledge gave the US three titles, partnering with Luana Avelar of Brazil for the girls doubles title. The No. 3 seeds defeated top seeds Cora Barber of Germany and Jingyi Li of China 5-7, 6-4, 10-3 in the final.

At the Grade 5 in Cancun Mexico, 14-year-old Ria Bhakta won her first ITF Junior Circuit title without much resistance. The unseeded Bhakta lost only 10 games in her five matches, beating three seeds en route to the final, where she beat unseeded Vanesa Suarez of Venezuela 6-1 6-3. Cecilia Alcobe Garibay won the girls doubles title with Ana Paula Chavez Sanchez of Mexico. The No. 2 seeds defeated Maria Elean Munoz Colin and Sofia Isabel Teran Rios of Mexico, the No. 4 seeds, 6-1, 6-2 in the final.

The final ITF Junior Circuit tournament of the month in the United States is this week's Grade 4 in Boca Raton Florida. Jack Anthrop and Charlotte Owensby are the top seeds.

The USTA's update on its Australian Open Wild Card Challenge went out today and the release follows.  Women's leader Katerina Stewart is playing the $60,000 event in Las Vegas as a wild card after taking last week off. After reaching the semifinals last week at the Charlottesville Challenger, men's leader Brandon Nakashima received a wild card into this week's ATP Challenger 80 in Knoxville and defeated Filip Peliwo of Canada 6-2, 6-2 in the first round tonight.

Francesca Di Lorenzo, Danielle Lao and Shelby Rogers All Within 35 Points of Leader Katerina Stewart in Women's Challenge

Brandon Nakashima Leads Men's Challenge After Week 1

November 4, 2019 -- Former college stars Francesca Di Lorenzo and Danielle Lao and 2016 French Open quarterfinalist Shelby Rogers have all positioned themselves to possibly overtake Katerina Stewart in the next two weeks to clinch the women's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge. 

All three players are within 35 points of Stewart, with the former Ohio State standout Di Lorenzo in second place after winning the singles title at the W60 event in Toronto last week. Di Lorenzo leads the former USC star Lao by four points and Rogers by eight, while former US Open girls' finalist Alexa Glatch banked 70 points and sits in fifth place thanks to a run to the singles final at the W80 in Tyler, Texas. Click here to view the full Challenge standings.

After Week 1 of the Men's Challenge, current University of Virginia sophomore Brandon Nakashima took advantage of familiar surroundings to put himself atop the table with a run to the semifinals at the Challenger 80 tournament in Charlottesville, Va. Former NCAA champion Marcos Giron is in second with two weeks left to play on the men's side. 

Americans who otherwise earn direct entry into the Australian Open are not eligible, nor are players ranked in the ATP or WTA Top 50 at the start of the Challenge. Should the player with the highest number of Challenge points earn direct entry into the Australian Open, the wild card will go to the next eligible American in the Challenge points standings. In the event of a tie, the player with the best ATP or best WTA singles ranking on November 18 will earn the wild card.

All USTA Pro Circuit tournaments will be streamed live on www.procircuit.usta.com. The Challenge will consist of the following events:

Women’s Events
  • Week of November 4: USTA Pro Circuit W60 Event: Las Vegas; ITF World Tennis Tour W100: Shenzhen, China.
  • Week of November 11: WTA $125,000 Series Events: Houston, Texas; Taipei; ITF World Tennis Tour W100: Tokyo.
Men’s Events
  • Week of November 4: ATP Challenger 110: Bratislava, Slovakia; USTA Pro Circuit / ATP Challenger 80s: Knoxville, Tenn.; Kobe, Japan.
  • Week of November 11: ATP Challenger 125: Houston; USTA Pro Circuit / ATP Challenger 80s: Champaign, Ill.; Helsinki, Finland; Ortisei, Italy; Pune, India.
The 2020 Australian Open will be held January 20-February 2.