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Saturday, November 10, 2018

McNally Claims First Pro Singles Title; Fahey and Jokic Reach ITA Fall Nationals Women's Final, Chrysochos and Cukierman Vie for Men's Title; Gibbs, Opelka, Fratangelo and Kirchheimer Advance to Pro Circuit Finals; Tsitsipas Champion at ATP Next Gen Finals

Sixteen-year-old qualifier Caty McNally won her eighth match in the past eight days at the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Lawrence Kansas, beating lucky loser Catherine Harrison 6-2, 6-2 in today's final for her first singles title at the pro level.  McNally needed exactly an hour to get past the former UCLA Bruin, who also played a match every day since last Saturday. Unlike Harrison, who had fashioned two comebacks to win three-setters in the quarterfinals and semifinals, McNally won all eight of her matches in straight sets. She is listed in the qualifying for the $25,000 tournament in Norman Oklahoma next week, and with that not starting until tomorrow, special exempts may not be offered.

The finals are set for the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships in Surprise Arizona, with men's top seed Petros Chrysochos advancing to the championship match for the second consecutive year. The Wake Forest senior defeated No. 5 seed Thomas Laurent of Oregon 6-1, 6-2 to set up a clash with No. 6 seed Daniel Cukierman of USC, who had a considerably tougher semifinal. Cukierman, a sophomore, defeated No. 8 seed Nicolas Moreno de Albano of UC-Santa Barbara 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 to reach his first ITA major final.

The women's final will feature No. 11 seed Kate Fahey of Michigan against No. 10 seed Katarina Jokic of Georgia. Fahey, a senior, dropped her first set of the tournament in today's semifinal against No. 10 seed Makenna Jones of North Carolina, but came through on a deciding point with Jones serving at 4-5 in the third set for a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 win. Jokic, a sophomore, breezed past unseeded Christina Rosca of Vanderbilt 6-1, 6-0 for her fifth consecutive straight-sets victory.

The women's final is scheduled to be shown on ESPN3 and the ESPN app on Sunday, beginning at 1 p.m Eastern, although the ESPN schedule is showing a 2 p.m. start. The men's final will follow.

The doubles finals are also set, with all four teams in the men's and women's championship matches unseeded.

Ashley Lahey and Evgeniya Levashova of Pepperdine will face Marie-Alexandre Leduc and Fernanda Navarro of Clemson for the women's title, while Oli Nolan and Henry Patten of UNC Asheville meet Bjorn Thomson and Parker Wynn of Texas Tech for the men's title.

An all-American final is on deck Sunday at the $75,000 ATP Challenger in Knoxville Tennessee, with No. 8 seed Reilly Opelka taking on unseeded Bjorn Fratangelo.  Opelka hit 18 aces in defeating unseeded Nikola Milojevic of Serbia 6-3, 6-4; Fratangelo downed Chris Eubanks 7-6(4), 6-4 to reach his eighth Challenger final. The 25-year-old, who won the French Open boys championship back in 2011, keeps his quest for the USTA's Australian Open wild card alive with a title, as he is entered in the Oracle Houston Challenger next week.  Opelka is not.

Photo credit-Tracey Lee
Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and Nicole Gibbs(Stanford) will meet in Sunday's final at the $80,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Las Vegas after each picked up straight-sets wins in today's semifinals. Bencic, the top seed, defeated unseeded Kurumi Nara of Japan 6-1, 6-4, while No. 8 seed Gibbs downed qualifier Giuliana Olmos(USC) 6-2, 6-4. Gibbs is also in the running for the USTA's Australian Open wild card, with next week's WTA 125 in Houston likely to decide the winner. For more on today's semifinals, see tournament press aide Steve Pratt's recap here.

At the $15,000 Futures in Niceville Florida, No. 2 seed Strong Kirchheimer will attempt to complete the task he fell short of last week, when he lost in the Futures final in Birmingham. Kirchheimer defeated No. 4 seed Justin Butsch(LSU) 6-1, 6-3 after completing his quarterfinal win, interrupted by rain Friday, this morning. The 23-year-old former Northwestern star will play unseeded 18-year-old Nicolas Mejia of Colombia, who has not lost a set all week. Mejia defeated top seed Fabrizio Ornago of Italy 6-2, 6-4 this afternoon. Both Kirchheimer and Mejia are looking for the first Pro Circuit title of their careers.

The doubles title in Niceville went to Trevor Johnson(TCU) and Patrick Kawka(BYU), with the unseeded pair beating No. 2 seeds Butsch and Julian Bradley(North Florida) of Ireland 7-6(5), 6-4 in the final. It's Johnson's first Pro Circuit title; Kawka has earned one other Pro Circuit doubles title.

Twenty-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece won the ATP's Next Gen Finals competition, beating 19-year-old Alex De Minaur of Australia  2-4, 4-1, 4-3(3), 4-3(3) in today's championship match. Tsitsipas, currently at a career-high of No. 15 in the ATP rankings, did not lose a match all week.  For more on today's final in Milan, see this article from the ATP.