Sunday, September 20, 2015

Norrie Defeats Alvarez to Claim Oracle Masters Title, Collins Takes Women's Singles Title in Walkover; Novikov Wins Cary Challenger; Baughman Takes Claremont Title; USA Beats Uzbekistan to Keep Davis Cup World Group Spot

TCU sophomore Cameron Norrie and Virginia senior Danielle Collins were crowned champions of the first Oracle ITA Masters event today at the Malibu Racquet Club, with Norrie defeating Nicolas Alvarez of Duke 6-3, 7-6(2) and Collins collecting her title without playing a point.

Danielle Collins of Virginia
Hayley Carter of North Carolina was to be Collins' opponent in the final, but the North Carolina junior injured her wrist in a match on Saturday and was unable to compete in the final.  This had to be doubly disappointing, as the match was scheduled to be featured live on the Tennis Channel after the men's final.  Instead, the women's doubles final was broadcast instead.

After a slow start, the men's final did provide some good tennis for those tuning in for one of the first live television broadcast of college tennis in many years.

Norrie led 5-0 in the first set, benefitting from Alvarez errors, particularly in games three, four and five, with Norrie winning all three games on deciding points in the no-ad format. Norrie, who is from New Zealand but represented Great Britain during most of his ITF Junior career, was unable to serve out the set at 5-1, but he did finish it on his second opportunity.

Cameron Norrie of TCU
The second set stayed on serve throughout the first six games, with Alvarez making fewer errors than he had in the opening set.  But at 3-3, 30-all, his mediocre approach shot resulted in a perfectly executed cross court forehand pass from Norrie, and he converted the break point when Alvarez sent a forehand wide.

Alvarez saved a match point with a big first serve on a deciding point at 3-5 and Norrie couldn't serve out the match in the next game. At 30-all, Norrie turned his ankle and fell, with Alvarez putting the ball away into the vacated court, followed by a shanked forehand which brought Alvarez even.

Norrie recovered to hold for 6-all, serving an ace on game point, and he was, as Tennis Channel's Justin Gimelstob described him, nearly flawless in the tiebreaker. He moved well, came forward, served big and forced errors with his ground strokes.  The broadcasters made much of Norrie's previous loss to Alvarez at the Men's Team Indoor, where he held four match points, but if that was in Norrie's head, it didn't show in the tiebreaker.

Ryan Shane & Luca Corinteli of Virginia
The men's doubles title went to the second-seeded Virginia team of Luca Corinteli and Ryan Shane, who beat unseeded Guilherme Hadlich and Gabriel Sidney of Pepperdine 7-5, 6-4 in the final.  Shane won the men's consolation singles, beating Axel Alvarez of Oklahoma 6-4, 6-3.

Giuliana Olmos & Gabby Smith of USC
The unseeded team of Giuliana Olmos and Gabby Smth of Southern Cal won the women's doubles title, defeating the unseeded Kentucky team of Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi 6-2, 6-2.  The women's consolation singles final saw Cal's Klara Fabikova defeat Miami's Stephanie Wagner 6-2, 6-3.

Complete results can be found at the ITA tournament page.

Former collegians took the titles today at the $50,000 Cary Challenger, with UCLA's Dennis Novikov winning his first singles title at that level with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Ryan Harrison.  Novikov will reach a career-high in the 160s when Monday's ATP rankings are released.

The doubles title went to Ohio State's 2012 NCAA doubles champions Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola, who defeated top seeds Austin Krajicek and Nick Monroe 6-4, 6-7(5), 10-4.  It was the second Challenger win of the year for Buchanan and Rola.

At the $10,000 Claremont Futures, No. 2 seed Deiton Baughman defeated unseeded UCLA junior Mackenzie McDonald 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 to claim his third Futures title of the year. When the points are added in another week, the 19-year-old from Carson, California will be in the ATP Top 400 for the first time in his career.

With the US in Tashkent, Uzbekistan for Davis Cup, the matches were all played in the middle of the night here in the Eastern time zone, but the result was positive, with the US defeating the hosts 3-1 to remain in the World Group.  Jack Sock, playing No. 1, defeated Denis Istomin 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 to clinch the win for the United States.  See the Davis Cup website for more on the US win.  The draw for 2016 will be held on Wednesday and the US will find out then who and where they'll play in next winter's first round.

Great Britain defeated Australia and Belgium got by Argentina and will be the unlikely participants in 2015 Davis Cup final in November.