Saturday, August 18, 2018

American Juniors Win Titles on Four Continents This Week; NCAA Doubles Champions Redlicki and Zhu Claim Boston Futures Title

The ITF Junior Circuit featured 15 tournaments on its schedule this week, with the Grade B2 Oceania Closed providing the most points.  Restricted to those from Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific Island, that tournament didn't have any Americans (Top seed Rinky Hijikata and No. 3 seed Amber Marshall of Australia won the singles titles), but they were represented in many of the other tournaments, and picked up titles on four continents.

Sasha Wood won her fourth ITF junior doubles title of the summer, with her third different partner at the ITF Grade 3 in Zimbabwe.  The 16-year-old from Massachusetts, who reached the singles semifinals, partnered with Weronika Baszak of Poland this week. The top seeds defeated unseeded Pimrada Jattavapornvanit of Thailand and Delien Kleinhans of South Africa 6-0, 6-4 in the final.

At the ITF Grade 4 in Monterrey Mexico, Jenna Defalco won an all-US girls singles final.  The 15-year-old, seeded No. 10, defeated No. 5 seed Elizabeth Stevens 6-2, 6-2 in the final for her second singles title, both coming this summer.  Stevens, partnering with Russian Anfisa Danilchenko, won the doubles title, with the No. 2 seeds beating top seeds Rut Galindo of Guatemala and Lizette Reding of Mexico 6-4, 6-3 in the final. Unseeded Benjamin Kittay lost in the boys singles finals, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to No. 16 seed Pedro Boscardin Dias of Brazil.  Jackson Ross, playing with Guillermo Castaneda of Mexico and seeded No. 6, fell in the boys doubles final to top seeds Alan Magadan and Marcelo Sepulveda Garza of Mexico 6-4, 4-6, 10-8.

The ITF Grade 5 in Romania produced an American champion in 16-year-old Andrew Puscas, who won his first ITF junior singles title with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 win over No. 3 seed Dragos Popeanga of Romania. The unseeded Puscas has only played in Europe junior events, with no results in the US.

At the ITF Grade 5 in Peru, Jennifer Kida won the doubles title, with partner Pilar Traiber of Argentina. The No. 2 seeds defeated No. 3 seeds Fiona Pepper and Daniela Ramos of Peru 6-2, 6-2 in the final.  Ryan Johnson, seeded No. 3 with partner Carlos Aguiar of Chile, lost 6-1, 6-2  in the boys doubles final to top seeds Oscar Mendoza Govea of Ecuador and Esteban Penagos of Colombia.

The final round of qualifying for the ITF Grade 1 in College Park Maryland, which I'll be covering beginning Monday, is scheduled for Sunday morning at the Junior Tennis Champions Center.  Draws, Sunday's order of play and a photo gallery are available at the tournament website.

At the only USTA Pro Circuit event this week, the $25,000 Futures in Boston, American Sekou Bangoura(Florida) has advanced to the final. The No. 3 seed defeated No. 2 seed Andrew Harris(Oklahoma) of Australia 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in today's semifinal, and will face top seed Antoine Hoang of France for the title. Hoang beat No. 7 seed Alejandro Gomez(Kentucky) of Colombia 6-2, 6-2 in the semifinals.

The doubles title went to 2018 NCAA champions Evan Zhu and Martin Redlicki. The UCLA Bruins defeated Paul Oosterbaan(Georgia) and Felix Corwin(Minnesota) 7-5, 6-7(13), 10-1 in the final between two unseeded teams. Redlicki has won three other Futures doubles titles with former teammates Karue Sell and Mackenzie McDonald; Zhu has one other Futures title, with Finland's Harri Heliovaara. Zhu beat partner Redlicki in the second round singles earlier in the week and also took out No. 4 seed and 2015 NCAA singles champion Ryan Shane.