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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Harrison, Sarkissian Win Futures Titles; Top Boys Seeds Fall at Roehampton G1; US Juniors Win ITF Titles in Fiji, Cuba, Canada and Germany; Eight Americans Begin Play at Wimbledon Monday

Americans had opportunities to win four titles in North American competition today, with Christian Harrison and Alex Sarkissian succeeding in their championship matches, while last week's champions Nicole Gibbs and Tommy Paul fell short, as did first-time Futures finalist Nathan Pasha.

Harrison, now 23, won his third Futures title and his first since last summer, at the $25,000 Tulsa tournament, beating Paul 3-6, 6-2, 6-1. The opening set of today's final was the only set Harrison, seeded No. 4, lost during the tournament.

Gibbs and Pasha both fell to Japanese players.  No. 5 seed Miharu Imanishi took out top seed Gibbs 6-3, 6-2, in the final of the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Auburn Alabama. The 25-year-old from Japan claimed her fourth Pro Circuit title and her first since 2014.  Gibbs, who won last week in Baton Rouge, had her win streak stopped at nine.

At the $15,000 Futures in Pittsburgh, former Georgia star Nathan Pasha came close, but he could not close out No. 4 seed Kaichi Uchida, dropping a 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 decision in the final after leading 2-0 in the third set.

Sarkissian had overcome Raymond Sarmiento in a third set tiebreaker in last night's semifinal in the $25,000 Futures in British Columbia, but despite that two-hour contest, the former Pepperdine star had little trouble in the final.  The No. 1 seed, who reached the NCAA singles final in 2014, beat No. 3 seed Filip Peliwo of Canada 6-2, 6-4 in the championship match. Sarkissian really stepped up his serving in the second set, hitting six aces, including four in succession in the sixth game, and getting his first serve in over 80 percent of the time.

At the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton today, American girls went 7-6 in the first round, as did the American boys.

Both US boys seeds were beaten, with Trent Bryde[6] and Oliver Crawford[8] eliminated, but two US boys defeated seeds, with Brian Cernoch taking out No. 7 seed Rudolf Molleker of Germany, who had won two consecutive Grade 1s on clay, 3-6, 7-6(0), 6-2.  Vasil Kirkov advanced past No. 2 seed Yibing Wu of China 2-6, 5-2, ret.  Other US boys reaching the second round are Danny Thomas, Alafia Ayeni, Alexandre Rotsaert, Patrick Kypson and Sam Riffice.

The big shock of the day was the loss of top seed and ATP 337 Corentin Moutet of France, who was beaten by qualifier Hamish Stewart of Great Britain 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.

Girls top seeds Whitney Osuigwe and Claire Liu won their opening matches, as did wild card Cori Gauff. The 13-year-old made her ITF junior circuit debut a successful one, defeating British wild card Esther Adeshina 6-1, 6-2.  Sofia Sewing, the No. 12 seed was ousted, but Caty McNally beat No. 9 seed Xin Yu Wang of China 6-4, 6-3.  Other US girls advancing to the second round: Elysia Bolton, Taylor Johnson[5] and Ann Li.

In the lower level ITF Junior Circuit events this week, Americans picked up titles in four different tournaments.

Elle Christensen won the ITF Grade 5 in Fiji, the second career ITF junior event for the 16-year-old. In her first event last week, also in Fiji, Christensen reached the semifinals.  This week the unseeded Christensen beat top seed Carol Youngsuh Lee of the Northern Mariana Islands 6-2, 6-3 in the final, and didn't lose more than three games in any set.

The boys doubles title went to the American pair of Ryan Seggerman and Kiev Moores, who won the doubles championship the previous week too. Seggerman and Moores, seeded No. 4, defeated No. 6 seeds
Ryota Ishii and Ryotaro Koshiba of Japan 5-7, 6-4, 10-8 in the final.

At the Grade 5 in Edmonton Canada, Americans claimed three of the four titles.  Fifteen-year-old Stefan Leustian won his first ITF Junior singles title in an all-US final, with the No. 4 seed outlasting No. 6 seed Niroop Vallabhaneni 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.  Marlee Zein swept the girls titles, with the top-seeded 17-year-old winning another all-US final against 15-year-old Anika Yarlagadda 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Zein and Emma Decoste, the top seeds, won the doubles title with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Taylor Gruber and Canada's Kirsten Prelle.

Michelle Sorokko won her first ITF junior singles title at the Grade 5 in Cuba and also collected the doubles title.  The 16-year-old, seeded third, claimed the singles title when top seed Najah Dawson retired trailing 2-1.  Sorokko and Zoe Hitt, the No. 2 seeds, won the doubles title with a 3-6, 6-4, 10-8 win over No. 3 seeds Camila Andrade of Colombia and Renata Lombera of Mexico.  Elliott Spizzirri, the No. 2 seed, fell to top seed Isaac Arevalo of Mexico 6-3, 6-2 in the boys singles final.

At the Grade 2 in Germany, Ryan Goetz and Axel Nefve, who won last week's Grade 1 in Berlin, captured another doubles title.  The unseeded pair, who did not drop a set all week, beat No. 3 seeds Igor Gimenez and Matheus Pucinelli de Almeida of Brazil 6-1, 6-3 in the final.

Shelly Yaloz is in the final of the Grade 5 in Aruba, but final results have not yet been posted.

Wimbledon begins Monday, with ESPN TV coverage and WatchESPN streaming.  Eight Americans--Venus Williams[10], Madison Keys[17], Steve Johnson[26], Madison Brengle, Sam Querrey[24], Jennifer Brady, Donald Young and CiCi Bellis--are scheduled to play their first round matches Monday.  Monday's order of player is here.