Sunday, November 1, 2020

Li, Zamarripa Twins Capture Tyler $80K Championships; Colak, Fruhvirtova Win Grade 3 Titles in Turkey; French Open Winner Jacquemot Adds Grade 1 Title in Spain; Giron Qualifies for Paris Masters

The Zamarripas won the 16s Easter Bowl doubles title in 2018

Americans swept the titles today at the $80,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Tyler Texas, with No. 7 seed Ann Li taking the singles championship in three sets and 18-year-old twins Maribella and Allura Zamarripa saving two match points to claim the doubles title.

The Zamarripas, who have committed to the University of Texas for 2021, were on their way to the airport early in the week thinking they would not make the field, according to the Livestream commentator Ken Thomas. But with all the rain and several injuries, they heard at the last minute that they would be able to get in, and in the quarterfinals, they defeated top seed Caty McNally and Caroline Dolehide, before getting a walkover in yesterday's semifinals. The sisters have won titles at three $15,000 Pro Circuit tournaments, but an $80,000 level event, particularly with the limited playing opportunities these days, was a different level of competition.

They were breezing along in the final against No. 4 seeds Paula Kania-Chodun and Katarzyna Piter of Poland, leading 6-3, 5-1, when the wheels came off, particularly after they failed to convert on a deciding/match point with Kania serving at 2-5. The Zamarripas lost six straight games, giving the veteran team all the momentum heading into the deciding match tiebreaker, then fell behind 8-4 at the second change of ends, and then 9-7. Kania and Piter's errors allowed them back into the tiebreaker, but on the two match points, the twins stayed aggressive, with Maribella hitting two winners, a poach volley and a deep forehand, to save them. Piter's unforced backhand error gave the twins their second match point, and with Allura serving (out of turn, as she had served the 8-7 and 9-7 points) Kania missed a poach wide to give the sisters the title.

The singles final that followed did not have quite as much drama, but Li was able to recover from a similar stretch of poor play mid-match to defeat No. 8 seed Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine 7-5, 1-6, 6-3. Li was broken to start the third set, but got the break right back and with Kostyuk serving at 3-4, managed to keep her cool after a couple of tough line calls and broke. Serving for the biggest title of her career, the 20-year-old had to save two break points, but she again stayed calm and closed it out, with a good first serve on her second match point. Li now moves into the WTA Top 100 for the first time, while Kostyuk, 18, also will make her debut in the Top 100 after two finals in the past two weeks. 

Next up is the last USTA Pro Circuit women's event, a $100,000 tournament on clay in Charleston South Carolina

In ITF Junior Circuit action this week, Ozan Colak won the Grade 3 title in Istanbul, with the 16-year-old from Michigan defeating No. 8 seed William Nolan of Great Britain 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-1 in the final. Colak had taken out No. 2 seed Zsombor Velcz of Hungary in the first round.

Thirteen-year-old wild card Brenda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic won her second ITF Junior Circuit title in Istanbul without dropping a set. She defeated No. 7 seed Linda Klimovicova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-0 in the final. Clervie Ngouone, who lost to Fruhvirtova in the Les Petits As final early this year, reached the singles semifinals but retired to Klimovicova.

A second Grade 1 in two weeks, this one in Spain, drew an excellent girls field, with French Open champion and No. 1 seed Elsa Jacquemot of France defeating Australian Open champion and No. 3 seed Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(8) in the final. With Alexandra Eala of the Philippines, seeded No. 2, the tournament featured the top three girls in the current ITF junior rankings. The boys field was not as strong, with no Top 25 players. Unseeded Pierre Yves Bailly of Belgium won the boys singles title, beating qualifier Luca Van Assche of France 6-3, 6-4 in the final.

Orange Bowl entries end on Tuesday; it will be interesting to see if any of the top three who played in Europe will enter, with the ITF World Junior Champion title on the line.

Qualifying is complete at the ATP Masters in Paris, with Marcos Giron(UCLA) advancing to the main draw with a 7-6(5), 7-6(3) win over Laslo Djere of Serbia. The 2014 NCAA singles champion will face Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain in the first round Monday. 

And at the ATP 250 in Kazakhstan, former collegians Sander Gille(East Tennessee State) and Joran Vliegen(East Carolina) of Belgium won the doubles title, with the top seeds beating No. 2 seeds Luke Saville and Max Purcell of Australia 7-5, 6-3 in the final. Gille and Vliegen have now won four ATP titles in five appearances in a final. For more on their title, see this article from the ATP website.