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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bellis Wins ITF Grade A in Milan; Austin Claims Sumter $10K; USC Men, UCLA Women Finish Season Atop Rankings

I've had a long day of travel, so this will be a short post to catch up on some of the action over the weekend that I missed while covering the NCAA Division I Individual tournament.

CiCi Bellis won the ITF Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan, Italy, beating unseeded Naiktha Bains of Australia 6-3, 6-4 in the final.  The seventh-seeded Bellis, who is now 28-1 in ITF junior competition this year, didn't drop a set last week, and avenged her only loss by beating Darya Kasatkina of Russia 6-2 6-2 in the semifinals.  With the win, Bellis has risen to No. 3 in the ITF Junior rankings and will probably be seeded No. 2 in the French Junior Champions, which begins on Sunday.  No. 6 seed Roman Safiullin of Russia won the boys title in Milan, defeating No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev of Russia 6-2, 6-3.  For coverage of the finals, with comments from the champions, see this article by Sandy Harwitt for the ITF Junior website.

This week's tournament on the ITF Junior European Clay circuit is the Grade 1 in Belgium, with four US boys and two US girls into the third round: Taylor Fritz, Michael Mmoh(3), Alex Rybakov and Dennis Uspensky are the boys, and Dasha Ivanova(11) and Katrine Steffensen(15) are the girls.

At the only Pro Circuit event in the United States last week, Brooke Austin won her first title at the $10,000 tournament in Sumter, SC. THe 18-year-old University of Florida recruit, who had been in the Sumter final in both 2011 and 2013, finally broke through for the title, beating qualifier Nadja Gilchrist, the former Georgia star, 7-6(5), 2-6, 6-1. Unseeded wild card juniors Andie Daniell and Sophie Chang won the doubles title, beating top seeds Caitlin Whoriskey(Tennessee) and Sonja Molnar(Iowa) 6-1, 6-3 in the final.

This week the women's Pro Circuit is in Hilton Head, for another $10,000 tournament. Qualifying is now complete, with the main draw beginning on Wednesday.

There were no tournaments for men in the US last week or this week, but in a Mexico $15,000 Futures last week, former UCLA Bruin Dennis Novikov won his second career Futures title.  Novikov defeated former USC standout Daniel Nguyen 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the final, with neither player seeded. Former Pepperdine player Alex Llompart of Puerto Rico took doubles title, his ninth Futures title and second this year.

Chase Buchanan(Ohio State) reached his first Challenger final in Uzbekistan, losing 7-6(2), 6-2 to Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia.  With his run to the final Buchanan is now at a career-high ATP ranking of 218.

The final team rankings were released today, with the NCAA team champion USC men and UCLA women taking the top spots.


1. University of Southern California

2. University of Oklahoma


4. University of Virginia

5. Ohio State University

6. Baylor University

7. North Carolina

8. University of Texas

9. University of Georgia

10. Texas A&M University


2. Duke
3. North Carolina
4. Georgia
5. Florida
6. Alabama
7. Virginia
8. Stanford
9. Texas A&M
10. Cal

For complete rankings, see the ITA ranking page.