Saturday, November 28, 2020

USTA Winter National Championships Seeking New Location for 12s and 14s; Colak and Banerjee Win Grade 3 Doubles Title in Turkey; 13-year-old Oluwadare Claims First ITF Junior Title

For the past several years, this weekend has been reserved for the USTA National Indoor Championships, but early last month those gold ball events, held at various sites across the country, were canceled. That means that the next USTA National Level 1 event held would be the upcoming USTA Winter Nationals, which would be a full year's worth of cancellations, with the last USTA major tournament also the Winter Nationals last December. 

A roadblock has been encountered for this year's event however, with the 12s and 14s tournaments in Tucson coming up against a county prohibition. According to the TennisLink site:

Pima County has canceled athletic events that involve interstate travel that take place in Pima County through Dec 31, 2020. Therefore, the National Winter Championships will no longer be able to be held at Reffkin Tennis Center in Tucson, AZ per this new county restriction. 
It is important to note that this Championship has not been canceled at this time. However, action is currently being taken to move the tournament to an alternate location. We thank you for your patience and more information will be provided in the coming days.

That statement is not dated, but I believe it was posted earlier this week, so I would expect the decision on a new site (perhaps Scottsdale?) soon. The deadline for entry is Thursday, December 3.  

The 16s and 18s Winter Nationals, which moved to the USTA National Campus in 2017, has the same entry deadline, but in a change from past years, no doubt due to the pandemic, the dates for the 16s and 18s will be staggered. The 18s will take place from December 27-January 2, with the 16s starting on December 31st and finishing on January 6. The 18s will be on hard courts and the 16s on clay courts. The TennisLink site is here.

The ITF Junior Circuit is quiet in this part of the world, but seven tournaments did take place in Europe and Asia this week, including two Grade 3s. The only titles for American juniors came in doubles, with Ozan Colak and Samir Banerjee taking the Grade 3 in Istanbul Turkey. The No. 3 seeds defeated unseeded Nicolas Cortes Campos of Colombia and Nikolay Nedelchev of Bulgaria 6-0, 6-2 in the final. Colak, the No. 7 seed in singles, lost in the semifinals to top seed Ilya Snitari of Moldova.

Rohan Belday and Alexander Karman won the doubles title at the Grade 5 in Pakistan, with the unseeded pair defeating unseeded Aarav Samrat Hada and Aki Zuben Rawat of Nepal 6-3, 6-1 in the final. Belday, the No. 5 seed in singles, lost to top seed Muhammad Shoaib of Pakistan 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the singles final. 

At the Grade 3 in Poland, Clervie Ngounoue reached the quarterfinals in singles and the final in doubles. 

Great Britain's Hephzibah Oluwadare turned 13 just a few weeks ago, which meant she could begin playing ITF Junior Circuit events, and last week she made a final in her second tournament, a Grade 5 in Israel. This week, again after qualifying, Oluwadare won her first title, defeating No. 2 seed Noa Major of Israel 6-3, 6-4 in the final of another Grade 5 in Israel. Oluwadare, who was a finalist at the Bolton U14 tournament early this year as a 12-year-old, is now 10-2 in the first month of her ITF Junior Circuit career.