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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Mi, Rodrigues Earn ITF G1 Coffee Bowl Titles, Americans Claim Doubles Championships; Blanch Wins Ann Arbor Challenger; Wolf Captures Second Straight Challenger Title

Lan Mi of China and Natan Rodrigues of Brazil won the singles titles late Saturday night at the ITF Grade 1 Coffee Bowl in Costa Rica, the first title at that level for both. No. 16 seed Mi, a 15-year-old who trains in the United States, defeated unseeded 14-year-old American Alexia Harmon 6-3, 6-2 in the girls final. Both Mi and Harmon were playing in their first ITF Grade 1 event.

The 17-year-old Rodrigues, the No. 2 seed, won an all-Brazil final, defeating No. 10 seed Pedro Boscardin Dias 6-3, 6-7(9), 6-2. It was the first time since 2013 that at least one American did not win a singles title at the Coffee Bowl.

Americans did pick up doubles titles however. Jaedan Brown partnered with Lauren Anzalotta of Puerto Rico to take the girls doubles title, with the No. 5 seeds defeating top seeds Julia Garcia and Alejandra Cruz of Mexico 6-3, 5-7, 10-4.

The boys doubles title went to No. 6 seeds Jack Anthrop and Max McKennon, who defeated No. 2 seeds Rodrigues and Bruno Oliveira of Brazil 6-3, 5-7, 10-8.

At the ATP Challenger 80 in Ann Arbor, unseeded Ulises Blanch came from 6-3, 4-1 down to capture the second Challenger title of his career, beating No. 4 seed Roberto Cid of the Dominican Republic 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. Once he found his range, the 21-year-old Blanch dictated play and proved too powerful for the former South Florida All-American. Blanch, who trains at the USTA's National Campus, will now move to a career-high ATP ranking of 265.

Robert Galloway (Wofford) and Mexico's Hans Hach(Abilene Christian) won the doubles title, with the No. 3 seeds defeating unseeded Alejandro Gomez(Kentucky) and Nicolas Barrientos of Colombia 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 in the final.

At the USTA Pro Circuit $25,000 tournament in Los Angeles, top seed Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina defeated No. 6 seed Alexander Ritschard(Virginia) of the United States 6-3, 6-3 for the title.

The final of the ATP Challenger 90 in Noumea was pushed backed a day due to rain, so it was Monday there when JJ Wolf won his third career Challenger title and second in a row. The unseeded 21-year-old, who left Ohio State last spring after his junior year, defeated No. 4 seed and ATP No. 100 Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-2, 6-2 to start 2020 how he ended 2019, with a Challenger title. I lost track of how many forehand winners Wolf hit, but the surprisingly large crowd (for a Monday morning) oohed and aahed on every one. Wolf, who won the Champaign Challenger in November, will not see his ATP ranking jump much, as he won the Columbus Challenger that Ann Arbor hosted this year last January, but he should still reach a career-high of 181. Wolf now enters Australian Open qualifying, which begins Tuesday, on a 11-match winning streak.


Jon King said...

I read the back and forth about how tennis is or is not skewed to the wealthy. Tell me it is not when you consider a USTA favorite such as Ci Ci Bellis. Ms. Bellis is from a wealthy silicon valley family.

They sent her to Boca Raton as a kid to take advantage of free training and facilities at the USTA high performance center when it was at Evert's academy. Then wildcards into all tournaments at age 15-16-17 so she could get good draws and WTA points.

Then she moves with family to Orlando, more free training and facilities. Gets injured, free rehab, training. Now ranked 838th in the world yet wildcard into main draw at Hobart while much higher ranked players had to qualify.

Hundreds of thousands and wildcards being spent on one player, from a wealthy family. If you spread all that money out on great athletes from poor families and making USTA tournaments organized and fair, way more results than supporting one player.

Alex Ho said...

Ci Ci Bellis parents are wealthy, she lives in one of the top most expensive cities in the US, she had the finances to give up the US Open pay check when she was still considering college option. Ci Ci has not at all lived on wild cards, she won the 18's Nationals to earn her way into the US Open. She also is one of the few juniors I believe who was #1 in every USTA age group? She was ranked 35 in the world and has had 3 surgeries on her wrist, so I think it makes sense to give her wild cards on her comeback.

Living at Lake Nona makes sense for training, she did not live at an academy as a junior, staying at home. Also the wild cards have monetary value to the player but not the USTA

Jon King said...

Ci Ci Bellis did indeed live at the dorm in Boca Raton at the USTA high performance academy for months at a time when she was a kid. We are friends with the lady who was the dorm mother at the time, who is now running a pro shop at a tennis resort in Boca Raton. Ci Ci received free training, housing, education.

The point is it does not make sense to try and hand pick a small number of players like high performance does. And it does not make sense to pay the way for wealthy kids.

The USTA should get out of high performance and strictly use the junior money to make tournaments fair and well organized. Bellis and her parents could have developed her just fine in California, on their own dime.