Monday, November 9, 2020

Slama and Owensby Win ITF Junior Circuit Titles; Tropical Storm Delays Start of Orlando $25K; First US Challenger Since March Underway in Cary NC

Bad weather has been a theme during the last week or so at many events around the world.

The ITF Grade 4 in Daytona Beach managed to come off as scheduled, with five Americans claiming titles, but other US juniors playing elsewhere had much tougher circumstances to overcome for their titles, with Mia Slama winning the singles championship at the Grade 4 in El Salvador and Charlotte Owensby capturing the doubles title at the Grade 2 in Spain last week.

The tournament in El Salvador had huge problems with the weather, with short scoring implemented for the four rounds played in the last two days. The seventh-seeded Slama, a 14-year-old from Florida, won her first ITF Junior Circuit title with a 5-4(2), 5-3 win over No. 8 seed Maria Fernanda Martinez Hernandez of Mexico. 

In Spain, which also had weather issues that caused most of the matches played on the final two days, Owensby partnered with Portugal's Matilde Jorge for the title, the second of her career. The unseeded pair only had to post two wins, one with short scoring, to earn the title.

At the $25,000 USTA women's Pro Circuit event in Orlando this week, the approach of Tropical Storm Eta kept any qualifying matches from being played today, but the main draw has been released, with Anna Kalinskaya of Russia the top seed and Katarzyna Kawa of Poland seeded No. 2.  Main draw wild cards were awarded to Alexandra Yepifanova, Reese Brantmeier, Ellie Mandlik and Peyton Stearns. Robin Montgomery used a junior exemption for entry into the event at the USTA's National Campus.

Yet another tournament affected by bad weather is an unexpected one, with the USTA Southern California Sectionals unable to play their finals on Sunday. A date for completing the event has not yet been announced. To view the participants in the finals, see the TennisLink site

The first ATP Challenger in the United States since March began today in Cary North Carolina, with seven first round matches played in the Challenger 80 event. Thiago Monteiro of Brazil is the top seed, with Denis Kudla No. 2.  Wild cards were awarded to local collegians: Canadian Alexis Galarneau, who won the $15K in Arkansas yesterday, from North Carolina State; William Blumberg, the North Carolina fifth-year senior, and Garrett Johns, the Duke sophomore.  The first two are on Tuesday's schedule, while Johns picked up a big win today, coming from 5-2 down in the third set and saving four match points to defeat Noah Rubin 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in over two and a half hours. The 19-year-old Johns has an ATP ranking of 1154; Rubin's is 244.

Live streaming of the Cary Challenger is available here, with Mike Cation providing commentary.