Zootennis

Friday, November 20, 2020

Australian Open Junior Championships Postponed; Ovrootsky Sweeps Titles at San Diego Grade 5, Brown Boys Winner; Nakashima, Eubanks and Krueger Through to Orlando Challenger Semifinals; More Women's D-I Signings

Players eligible to compete in the 2021 Australian Open Junior Championships were informed today that the tournament will not be held as it usually is during the second week of the professional event. This is not a surprise, with all the difficulties the pro tournament is having in its attempts to get players into the country, but it's certainly disappointing for those juniors who have now missed the opportunity to play the Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open junior championships in the past seven months. 

The email, signed by Craig Tiley and junior tournament director Francis Soyer, states that they will "work with the ITF on finding another appropriate time on the 2021 calendar to hold the AO junior tournament."

The Grade 1 traditionally held the week before the junior championships is also off, with junior events in Australia not returning until April.

The ITF Grade 5 in San Diego, an event added to the schedule this fall, has concluded, with 16-year-olds Vivian Ovrootsky and Lucas Brown earning the singles titles.  No. 5 seed Ovrootsky, who has verbally committed to Texas, defeated No. 7 seed Kimmi Hance, who has recently signed with UCLA, 6-3, 6-2. Ovrootsky didn't lose more than five games in any of her five singles victories. It's Ovrootsky's second ITF junior singles title, both coming in Southern California.  Ovrootsky and Hance, the No. 2 seeds in doubles, also didn't lose a set in earning that championship. They defeated No. 3 seeds Leyden Games and Katherine Hui 6-4, 6-4 in the final.

Brown, the No. 2 seed, collected his first ITF title, defeating unseeded Sebastian Sec 6-0, 6-2 in the final.  The boys doubles title went to No. 4 seeds Alexander Frusina and Mexico's Santiago Padilla Cote who defeated the unseeded team of Sec and Sebastian Gorzny 6-2, 2-6, 10-7.

It was another windy day at the ATP Challenger 80 in Orlando, with three unseeded Americans advancing to the Saturday's semifinals. Christopher Eubanks, the former Georgia Tech star, pulled off the biggest surprise, defeating No. 2 seed and Cary Challenger champion Denis Kudla 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-3 in just over three hours. Eubanks, who last made a Challenger semifinal over two years ago, was down a set and a break before taking his game to another level. Kudla didn't make it easy for Eubanks, who had to save four break points in a nine-deuce game serving at 4-3 in the third, but Eubanks was able to win the key points. He will play No. 4 seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran of India, who beat No. 7 seed Dmitry Popko 6-0, 6-3.

Brandon Nakashima, the former Virginia star, got off to a slow start against No. 8 seed Mackenzie McDonald, but was able to rebound, winning seven straight games at one stretch from the middle of the first to the beginning of the second. McDonald did get the break back in the second set, and had two set points, but Nakashima prevailed 6-3, 7-6(8). Nakashima will play Mitchell Krueger, who ended the run of qualifier Alexander Ritschard(Virginia) 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-1.

The latest women's Division I signing are below. My previous posts, with links to articles on the signings, can be found on November 11, November 16 and men's Division I yesterday.

Amber Lee, Croatia's Tara Wurth, and Latvia's Patricija Spaka have signed with Arizona State.

Jelena Lukic, a University of Portland graduate, is joining Arizona this spring as a graduate transfer.

Olivia Malm of Sweden has signed with Baylor.

Tyra Richardson has signed with Louisville. 

Sophie Luescher of Switzerland has signed with Oregon.

Elza Tomase of Latvia has signed with Tennessee.

Gianna Pielet, who had originally committed to Georgia, has signed with Texas A&M.

On Monday, I posted a link on Maxine Murphy's commitment to Washington State. Today I received a link to this article about how a serious snowboarding accident as a youngster led her away from soccer and toward tennis. 

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