Monday, November 12, 2012

Blumberg Sweeps, Carter Repeats at ITF Grade 4 in South Carolina; Keys, Buchanan and Russell Claim Pro Circuit Titles

After winning the ITF Grade 4 in Atlanta two weeks ago, 14-year-old William Blumberg followed with both the singles and doubles titles at the Grade 4 in Lexington, South Carolina, putting his current ITF junior winning streak at 12.

The No. 14 seed, Blumberg, who also won a Grade 4 in Waco in September, beat top seed and Kalamazoo 16s champion Henrik Wiersholm 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 in the final, boosting his ITF world junior ranking 201 points to 311.  Blumberg won the doubles title too, with Thomas Mayronne. The unseeded Blumberg and Mayronne defeated unseeded Catalin Mateas and Aron Pierce 6-3, 6-3 in the final.

Seventeen-year-old Hayley Carter doesn't play the ITF Junior Circuit regularly, but the Hilton Head resident does play her home state tournament, and for the second year in a row, she took the singles title in Lexington.  The unseeded Carter, whose only other ITF tournament was last year's Orange Bowl, where she turned her ankle in a first round match, defeated No. 4 seed Kaitlyn McCarthy 6-2, 6-4 in the final. McCarthy did get a title in doubles, teaming with Taylor Davidson to win all their matches in straight sets, despite being unseeded. Davidson and McCarthy beat 14-year-old Helen Altick and 13-year-old Catherine Bellis, also unseeded, 6-4, 6-0 in the final.

This week's stop on the ITF junior circuit is Evert Academy in Boca Raton, Florida, for another Grade 4. Dasha Ivanova of the US and Vadym Kalyuzhnyy of Ukraine are the top seeds.

Seventeen-year-old Madison Keys ended her WTA season on an upbeat note, winning two of the last three tournaments she played, including the $75,000 Phoenix Pro Circuit event, which concluded yesterday. The unseeded Keys, now ranked a career-high 138, beat former USC All-American and 2010 ITA Indoor Champion Maria Sanchez, the No. 8 seed,  6-3, 7-6(1) in the final.  For more on the championship match, see this article in the Arizona Republic.  The doubles title went to Arizona State's Jacqueline Cako and recent Tennessee grad Natalie Pluskota, who beat Eugenie Bouchard of Canada and Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway 6-3, 2-6, 10-4 in the final. Both teams were unseeded.

At the Knoxville Challenger, Michael Russell, making a late season push for direct entry into the Australian Open, picked up his record 22nd Pro Circuit title, beating another veteran of the Pro Circuit, No. 6 seed Bobby Reynolds,  6-3, 6-2 in the final.  Alex Kuznetsov and Misha Zverev of Germany won  the doubles title, beating South Africans Jean Andersen and Izak van der Merwe 6-4, 6-2 in the final. Neither team was seeded. For more about the singles final, see this article from the Knoxville News Sentinel.

The $10,000 Niceville Futures titles went to three recent college standouts.  Chase Buchanan, the 2012 NCAA doubles champion, won his second Futures title since completing his eligibility at Ohio State, beating 17-year-old Kyle Edmund of Great Britain in the final. Edmund, who had beaten Buchanan in the Birmingham $10,000 Futures final in a third-set tiebreaker, led 5-2 in the final set, according to this account by the Northwest Florida Daily News. I'm a little confused by the recap, as it says Edmund won the first five games of the final set, which means Buchanan would have won the last seven games of the match, not the five the story states he won elsewhere in the story.  It also says Buchanan saved three match points, but doesn't detail when that was.

The doubles title went to recent Stanford grad Ryan Thacher and former Michigan star Jason Jung, the No. 4 seeds, who beat top seeds Artem Sitak of New Zealand and Andrei Vasilevski of Belarus 7-5, 6-2. Thacher and Jung won all four of their matches in straight sets.

While the women are done for the year on the US Pro Circuit, the men have their final tournaments this week. Qualifying at the $50,000 Challenger in Champaign, Illinois was completed today, with Christian Harrison among those earning his way into the main draw. Michael Russell is the top seed, and there is live streaming available at the Pro Circuit page at usta.com.

There is a new $10,000 Futures event at the IMG Academy in Bradenton this week, with France's Florian Reynet the top seed.

For all the results from the men's tournaments, see the Pro Circuit page at usta.com.