Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kudla, Oudin Look for Back-to-Back Pro Circuit Titles; Bouchard Breezes in Tevlin $50K; Beck Rolls On

Denis Kudla and Melanie Oudin won the two big Pro Circuit events in the United States last week, with Kudla taking the $75,000 Charlottesville Challenger and Oudin claiming the title at the $50,000 event in New Braunfels, Texas.

Kudla, the No. 8 seed, lost only one set in his five wins, defeated defending champion Izak van der Merwe of South Africa in the semifinals, and dominated unseeded Alex Kuznetsov in the final 6-3, 6-0.  It was the 20-year-old Kudla's second challenger win this year, and it moved his ATP ranking to a career-high of 147.  He is the No. 8 seed at this week's Knoxville $50,000 Challenger, and plays former junior rival Jack Sock in the first round Wednesday. Sock had won their first three meetings (this doesn't include the two matches they split in the USTA's 2010 and 2011 Australian wild card tournaments, and they could meet again in this year's version as well), until this year in the first round of the SAP Open in San Jose, where Kudla  posted a 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-4 win.

Australians JP Smith and John Peers won their fifth challenger double title as a team in Charlottesville, beating the wild card pairing of Sock and current University of Virginia senior Jarmere Jenkins 7-5, 6-1 in the final.

Oudin, the No. 3 seed, cooled off Madison Keys 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinals and cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 win in the final against No. 6 seed Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia. Oudin, who is playing the $75,000 challenger in Phoenix this week, is not comfortably in the main draw at the Australian Open with a current ranking of 84.

Results and draws of the Pro Circuit events in the US can be found at usta.com.

The ITF Pro Circuit website notes that three of the four reigning girls junior slam champions are in the Phoenix field this week, with Australian Open champion Taylor Townsend and US Open champion Samantha Crawford receiving main draw wild cards, and Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, the Wimbledon champion entered as well.

Bouchard, who lost in the final two weeks ago to Keys, stayed in Canada for a $50,000 event last week, and she dominated the draw, losing only 15 games in five matches as the No. 4 seed. The 18-year-old Bouchard, now ranked a career-high 144 on the WTA computers, beat No. 5 seed Sharon Fichman, also of Canada, 6-1, 6-2 in yet another all-Canadian final, which have been common this fall.

The only girls junior slam champion not in Phoenix is Germany's Annika Beck, and she has been busy winning tournaments in Europe. After winning a $75,000 event in her home country two weeks ago, she picked up another title last week in the $75,000 tournament in England, beating veteran Eleni Daniilidou of Greece 6-7(1), 6-2, 6-2 in the final.  With that victory, the 18-year-old reached No. 78 in the WTA rankings, finishing the year as the youngest player in the Top 100.  For more on last Sunday's final, see the ITF Pro Circuit website.

In the men's $10,000 Futures in Pensacola, top seed Floria Reynet of France took the title, beating unseeded Sekou Bangoura Jr. 6-0, 6-0 in the final.  Juniors Liam Broady of England and Noah Rubin of the US reached the semifinals. Chase Buchanan won his fourth Futures doubles title with his fourth different partner, teaming with Daniel Nguyen to beat Montserrat's Benjamin Balleret and Germany's Peter Heller 3-6, 6-4, 10-7.

This week's Futures is also a $10,000 tournament in the Florida Panhandle.  Reynet is again the top seed in singles.