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Sunday, January 29, 2012

American Tiafoe Completes Sweep of Boys Les Petits As Titles; Cristian Defeats Black for Girls Championship

I've just returned from Ann Arbor, where the University of Michigan women squeezed past Yale 4-3 to win the ITA Kickoff weekend regional and a place in the Team Indoor next month in Charlottesville. I'll have a complete account of the match for the Tennis Recruiting Network later this week, and on this site tomorrow, I'll try to wrap up all the results from the sites around the country. Several do not finish until Monday, if they hosted both men and women.

Today in Tarbes, France, American Frances Tiafoe completed his sweep of Les Petits As titles, winning the singles final from William Blumberg of the US 6-0, 6-2. Tiafoe, who turned 14 during this USTA-sponsored European trip, won the Teen Tennis singles title in Bolton last week, so he came into Les Petits As as a favorite, and a target. although he was only seeded No. 4. His toughest match came in the semifinals against fellow American Nathan Ponwith, the No. 10 seed, with Tiafoe dropping his only set of the tournament before recording a 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 win. Tiafoe won the doubles title on Saturday with partner Michael Mmoh of the US, beating Ponwith and Blumberg in another all-American final.

Tiafoe, who trains at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland, is the second consecutive American boy to capture the prestigious 14-and-under tournament. Henrik Wiersholm won the championship last year. This year's all-American final was only the second time the tournament's 30-year history that it featured two players from the same country. The previous one, in 2003, also was between two Americans, with Donald Young beating Leo Rosenberg. This year the United States made history with all four semifinalists, which had never been done.

In the girls final, 13-year-old Jacqueline Cristian of Romania, upset No. 4 seed Tornado Ali Black of the US 6-2, 6-3. Cristian, the No. 11 seed, hadn't had nearly as much success in the international junior tournaments in Florida last month that Black enjoyed, but the Bucharest resident brought her A game to France this week. For the 13-year-old Black, it was another disappointing performance in a final. In her last three major 14-and-under tournaments--the Junior Orange Bowl, Teen Tennis and Les Petits As--she has lost the final in straight sets, and although reaching three straight finals is a remarkable accomplishment, she hasn't been able to perform her best at the last hurdle.

Black did reach two singles finals and win two doubles titles with Nicole Frenkel on the trip, so she is just slightly behind Tiafoe on that scorecard.

For complete results, see the tournament website, which also includes an outstanding photo gallery.


Nancy Atlanta said...

Black needs to work on her serve. Its amazing how the rest of her game is world class but she serves like a weekend park player.

Austin said...

and drop the nickname...