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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Quarterfinals Set at USTA Spring Team Championships; Emory Women Claim Division III Team Indoor Title; Potapova Wins Brazil $25K;Pro Circuit Update

©Colette Lewis 2017--
Mobile, AL--

The first day of the 2017 USTA National Spring Team Championships was a new experience for many players and coaches, yet even those who were veterans of the event, now in its fourth year, still needed to acclimate themselves to new teammates and a new coach.

The boys, who played at 9 a.m. on a mostly cloudy but rain-free day, had four of the eight matches finish 4-3, but only two of those came down to the last match on. The Broncos' Connor Krug defeated Andrew Chang of the Panthers 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 at the 16s line 2 to put his team into the quarterfinals, while it was the two 14s who delivered for the Saints in their 4-3 win over the Cowboys. Trailing 3-2, Sam Reichbach defeated John Lasanajak 6-2, 6-3 at line 2 and James Corsillo beat Griffin Daehnke 6-3, 7-5 at line 1 to clinch the match. The Saints had lost all three doubles matches, but won four of six singles matches to advance.

The Falcons defeated the Buccaneers 5-2 after dropping the doubles point, and their coach, Francisco Montoya, was able to joke about the length of the match, which is extended until all singles matches are completed.

"We had a four hour match, so it’s a rough start, but we won, so that’s good," said Montoya, who is coaching a team at this event for the first time.  "The kids put a great effort out there. It’s funny how only one day of mingling, they feel like teammates. Just one day of not knowing each other, having to shake hands and introduce themselves and already cheering for each other in the third set, so that’s very cool."

Montoya, who is director of the MAC Academy in Boston, said he had heard good things about the tournament from his colleagues at MAC and decided to apply.

"A couple of the coaches who work with me have done it, and they love it," Montoya said. "Plus, we’re in the middle of winter out there, so I was looking forward to spending a few days with 70 degrees, and I’m totally fine with that."

Montoya said melding six junior players who have probably never met before into a team within 24 hours could have been a challenge, but Saturday's practice day and the banquet proved sufficient.

"In practice yesterday, I did a ton of rotating around, so that would all hit with each other, even the 14s with the 18s," Montoya said.  "I’m actually learning from other coaches that I see that they have some better activities.  My roommate Andy [Findlay], he had all these games he was doing with the girls to have them interact with each other in different ways, so I’m taking notes. But so far so good."

The Falcons play the Saints in the quarterfinals.

The girls also had four 4-3 finishes, and, as with the boys, only two of those came down to the last match on court.

Kolie Allen of the Stingrays defeated Maia Sung of the Firecrackers 1-6, 6-1, 7-6(2) at line 1 of 18s singles to send her team to the quarterfinals, and the Tornados' Julia Andreach outlasted Lauren Anzalotta of the Devils 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 at 16s line 2 to do the same.

In contrast to Montoya, Tornados coach William Brown is a veteran of the tournament, having coached a team all four years.

"It's a fantastic event," said Brown, who guided the Angels to the girls title in 2015. "I've had pretty good luck, with my teams 11-2 in three years, and I generally focus on doubles in the practices. It's usually them against the world in a tournament, so I try to reverse that as quickly as possible here. I get them thinking outside themselves, about the team, something bigger than themselves, and I actually think it takes a little pressure off, and I think they tend to play better."

Andreach and Anzalotta were evenly matched, with Andreach able to get a late break after a lengthy 4-all game in the third set and serve out the victory as dusk descended at the Mobile Tennis Center.

"It swayed back and forth," said Brown, who sat on the bench encouraging Andreach throughout the third set. "One girl was a little more aggressive sometimes, and then back up and the other one would pick it up and become more aggressive, start to dictate. It was just a great match."

The Tornados will play the Sharks in the quarterfinals, with the Stingrays taking on the Lightning.

With rain in the forecast for the next several days, the decision was made to play the second round's doubles this evening.

Updated draws are here, and results for all the day's matches can be found at the TennisLink site, which has the option to select results by player.

Another big team event, the ITA Division III Women's Team Indoor Championships, was completed today, with No. 1 seed Emory defeating defending champion and No. 2 seed Pomona-Pitzer 5-4 to join the Eagles' men's team, who won the Indoor title last Sunday, at the top of the Division III tennis world.  Daniela Lopez defeated Mae Coyiuto 5-7, 6-3, 6-0 at line 3 to clinch the win for the reigning NCAA champions. The ITA recap is here.

The battle of two 15-year-olds searching for their first Pro Circuit title ended with Anastasia Potapova of Russia defeating qualifier Amanda Anisimova 6-7(7), 7-5, 6-2 at the $25,000 tournament in Curitiba Brazil. Apparently rain forced the match indoors late in the second set, with Potapova getting a late break after the move to even the match. In the third set, Potapova got 2/3 of her first serves in, didn't face a break point and had three aces, quite a contrast from the first set in particular, when she was broken four times, twice when serving for the set.

At the $15,000 Futures in Orlando, former Tulane star Dominik Koepfer of Germany defeated Tommy Paul 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 to claim his second career Futures title.  Koepfer, who graduated last year, was unseeded, while Paul was the No. 3 seed.

2016 Wimbledon boys champion Denis Shapovalov won the $25,000 Futures in Canada today, with the No. 2 seed downing top seed Gleb Sakharov of France 6-2, 6-4 in the final. It's the fourth career Futures titles for the 17-year-old.  The doubles title went to former Tennessee star Mikelis Libietis of Latvia and Hugo Nys of France, with the No. 3 seeds defeating unseeded Gregoire Barrere and Laurent Lokoli of France 7-6(4), 6-3 in the final.

And congratulations to Sam Querrey, who beat four Top 20 players en route to the title at the ATP 500 tournament in Acapulco.  Querrey took out David Goffin, Dominic Thiem, Nick Kyrgios and, in the final, Rafael Nadal.  It's Querrey's ninth ATP title and second at the 500 level. For more on his title, see the ATP website.