Saturday, November 21, 2020

Nakashima Reaches First Challenger Final in Orlando; Colak, Slama Continue Winning Streaks with ITF Grade 4 Titles; Kentucky's Draxl Earns ATP Delray Beach Qualifying Wild Card

Brandon Nakashima has had an impressive climb up the ATP rankings since turning professional last fall, reaching his first ATP quarterfinal in February and winning his first main draw match at a grand slam at this year's US Open. The 19-year-old from San Diego reached another milestone today at the ATP Challenger 80 in Orlando, beating Mitchell Krueger 6-1, 6-3 to advance to his first Challenger final. 

Nakashima, who spent one semester at Virginia in 2019, will face No. 4 seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran in the final, after the 31-year-old from India defeated Christopher Eubanks(Georgia Tech) 6-4, 7-6(2) in the other semifinal. Gunneswaran reached the final of the Cary Challenger last week, where he lost to Denis Kudla. Regardless of the outcome of Sunday's final, Nakashima has risen to a career-high in the ATP rankings of around 177. He will be one of four players aged 19 or younger in the ATP Top 200 (Sinner, Musetti and Alcaraz).

The doubles final was played this afternoon, with No. 2 seeds Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov(Oklahoma State) of Kazakhstan defeating the unseeded team of Jackson Withrow(Texas A&M) and Krueger 7-5, 6-4. 

The final is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, with free live streaming and commentary by Mike Cation available here.

In addition to the Americans who won titles yesterday at the Grade 5 in San Diego, several others claimed championships today.

Ozan Colak, a 16-year-old from Michigan, posted his second consecutive sweep of the titles at a Grade 4 in Turkey. As the No. 2 seed in singles, he defeated unseeded Nikolay Nedelchev of Bulgaria 6-2, 6-2 in the final, and is now on a 10-match winning streak. He and partner Arda Azkara of Turkey, seeded No. 3, won their second straight doubles title, beating No. 4 seeds Nedelchev and Nicolas Cortes Campos of Colombia 5-7, 6-4, 10-7 in the final. 

Thirteen-year-old wild card Mirra Andreeva of Russia, who won the Junior Orange Bowl 12s title last year, won the girls singles title, her first on the ITF Junior Circuit.

While Colak has been on a roll, 14-year-old Floridian Mia Slama has crafted an even longer winning streak, winning her third straight singles title in Central America at the Grade 4 in Guatemala. Slama, the No. 3 seed, defeated fellow American Catherine Walker, a qualifier, 6-3, 6-2 in the final. Slama did not drop a set all week, and after titles at a Grade 4 and a Grade 5 in El Salvador, she now has a 15-match winning streak.

Unseeded Yannick Rahman lost in the boys final, to top seed Alvaro Guillen Meza of Ecuador, 6-0, 2-6, 6-2. 

Cooper Williams and Ekansh Kumar won the boys doubles title, with the No. 4 seeds beating top seeds Guillen Meza and Agustin Eduardo Cuellar Lorberg of Bolivia 6-3, 7-5 in the final. 

University of Kentucky freshman Liam Draxl of Canada won a wild card tournament earlier this week in Delray Beach, earning entry into the qualifying of the ATP event held at that location every February. Draxl defeated DJ Thomas 6-3, 6-2 in the final. Another Delray Beach qualifying wild card will be awarded to the winner of a UTR event scheduled for January 2-4. For more on Draxl's win, see this article from USTA Florida.


Guest said...

The picture of Mia Slama made me do a double take. With the flukey way the photo captures her facial reaction to finishing her swing while wearing sunglasses, a hat, and a wrist brace, you could argue she is a 40+ USTA League player. Hopefully, you guys find a more age appropriate snapshot for her next write up.

Boca Tennis Mom said...

Not sure why someone would say a junior player looks like an older women. Thats what the young lady happens to look like, we saw her about a month ago at a tournament. She happens to look mature for her age, so what?

I don't think saying she looks like a 40+ year old woman is nice to say. We make way too much about appearances these days. And she certainly is not a 40+ USTA woman's league player either. She is a solid player who will some day get a college scholarship.