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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Anisimova, Wolf Win Coffee Bowl Titles; Fritz Claims Third Challenger Title in Australia; Kozlov Reaches Final at LA Futures

Amanda Anisimova won the battle of the 14-year-old Americans Saturday evening in Costa Rica, defeating Hurricane Tyra Black 6-2, 6-2 in the final of the ITF Grade 1 Coffee Bowl.

Anisimova, who won the Grade A Abierto Juvenil Mexicano in November, dominated the opening set, going up 4-0 over Black, also just 14 years old. Anisimova's big ground strokes can go off, as they did in the first set against Ellie Douglas in the semifinals, but she was not showing any sign of nerves and pressured Black into error after error. Black began to show signs of shaking her nerves, holding for 4-1 and breaking for 4-2, but Anisimova broke and held to secure the set.

Black began to force Anisimova into playing her game in the early part of the second set, keeping the ball deep and eliminating the errors she committed in the first set.  Anisimova appeared to lose some of her focus, falling behind 2-0, with Black having two chances to take a 3-0 lead before losing that game, and the next five.  Black showed signs of an abdominal injury midway through the second set, and although she continued to serve with her regular motion, it seemed to affect her most on that shot.  In less than an hour, Anisimova had closed out the match, and she will continue her rise up the ITF junior rankings and into the Top 25.

In the boys final, also an all-US contest, No. 10 seed JJ Wolf came out playing the same way he left off in his 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 win over No. 3 seed Zeke Clark, defeating Ulises Blanch, the No. 2 seed, 6-3, 6-3. Blanch, who usually can get free points from his serve or use it to set up his forehand, had an off night, but Wolf played extremely well, showing no sign of nerves in front of the packed stands and TV cameras.

Wolf went up an early break in the opening set, then saved two break points to take a 4-1 lead, but Blanch held and got the break back to make it 4-3.  Blanch was broken again, quickly, in the next game however, and Wolf held at love to take the first set.

After two holds to open the second set, Wolf broke for a 2-1 lead, then broke again and held to go up 5-1.  Blanch just couldn't string together points consistently, while Wolf was returning well, and converting defense into offense quickly.  Closing out the title proved a bit more difficult however, as Blanch held for 5-2 and saved two match points with big forehands before breaking Wolf to make it 5-3.  Blanch hit a rare ace to go up 40-30 in his service game, but a backhand return by Wolf brought him to deuce and Blanch made two unforced errors to end the match.

Blanch didn't leave Costa Rica without a title however, as earlier in the day he won the doubles championship with Manuel Aguilar of Bolivia. The top seeds defeated No. 7 seeds Dan Added and Matteo Martineau of France 6-1, 6-3 in the final.

The girls doubles title went to No. 7 seeds Federica Bilardo and Tatiana Pieri of Italy, who defeated No. 6 seeds Astrid Brune Olsen and Malene Helgo of Norway 7-5, 6-1.

Complete draws are available at the tournament website.

Taylor Fritz won his third ATP Challenger title since October Sunday at the Happy Valley $75,000 tournament, beating top seed Dudi Sela of Israel 7-6(7), 6-2.  Fritz saved a set point at 6-5 in the first set tiebreaker with an ace and got an early break of serve in the second set to put the match away.  The next stop for the 18-year-old Californian is the Australian Open men's qualifying.

Stefan Kozlov has reached the finals of the $25,000 Futures event at the University of Southern California, beating top seed Tennys Sandgren 6-1, 6-1 in today's semifinals.  The 17-year-old, seeded sixth, will be aiming for his second career Futures title when he takes on No. 4 seed Philip Bester of Canada, who defeated Clay Thompson 6-3, 6-3.  Steve Pratt talked with Kozlov and Bester after their wins today.

Evan King and Raymond Sarmiento won the doubles title, with the No. 4 seeds, who won the Kalamazoo 16s title back in 2008, beating unseeded Dennis Nevolo and Jean-Yves Aubone 6-4, 3-6, 11-9.  King has 14 professional doubles titles now, but this is his first with Sarmiento, who now has three.

TCU sophomore Cameron Norrie and Illinois sophomore Aleks Vukic were unsuccessful in their attempts to qualify for the main draw in the Auckland and Sydney ATP tournaments, but 2014 NCAA finalist Alex Sarkissian did reach his second ATP main draw.  The former Pepperdine All-American followed up his win over Ernests Gulbis on Saturday with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Lukasz Kubot of Poland to earn a place in the Sydney main draw. Sarkissian is the only player to take a set from Fritz in the Happy Valley Challenger, losing 6-3, 6-7(0), 7-6(5) in the second round.


tank said...

just read the article by steve pratt…kozlov-sandgren semi final match in so cal….sounds like tennys had several reasons he lost 1,1….:)