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Monday, December 10, 2018

Burel and Tseng Named 2018 ITF World Junior Champions; Cressy Wins Tallahassee Futures; Racquet Club of Memphis, Site of USTA Girls Clay Courts, to Close

The ITF Junior Circuit (note the new look website, part of the ITF World Tennis Tour) has concluded for the year, with the next tournaments scheduled to begin three weeks from now. Although no one could catch the current No. 1s, Clara Burel of France and Chun Hsin Tseng of Taiwan, the ITF waits until after the Orange Bowl to announce its ITF year-end world junior champions.  The 17-year-old Burel, who reached two junior slam finals, won the Youth Olympic Games silver medal and claimed the ITF Junior Masters title, finished just under 400 points ahead of Coco Gauff, who won the French Open and Orange Bowl titles. For more on Burel's run to No. 1, see the ITF website.

Tseng, who won the French and Wimbledon boys titles and reached the Australian Open final and the US Open semifinals, finished more than 1300 points ahead of Youth Olympic Games gold medalist Hugo Gaston of France. For more on Tseng's rise to the top of the junior game, see the ITF website.

The United States had two players in both the girls and boys year-end Top 10: Brandon Nakashima[5], Sebastian Korda[10], Coco Gauff[2] and Caty McNally[9].

The last USTA Pro Circuit event of the year was the $25,000 Futures in Tallahassee, with UCLA senior Maxime Cressy capping an impressive fall with his first Pro Circuit singles title. The unseeded 21-year-old from France, who defeated former Memphis standout Ryan Peniston of Great Britain 6-4, 7-6(4) in the final,  reached the final last week at the Waco $25K and the semifinals in the Columbus $25K the week before that. His ATP ranking will be inside the Top 500 when the points are added.  Unseeded Jordi Arconada(Texas A&M) and Michael Geerts of Belgium(Arizona State) won the doubles title, beating unseeded Felix Corwin(Minnesota) and Jacob Dunbar(Richmond) 6-3, 7-6(0) in the final. Geerts, who won the Waco Futures singles title two weeks ago over Cressy, now has eight Pro Circuit doubles titles, while Arconada now has four.

A couple of weeks ago the news came out that the Racquet Club of Memphis is closing, leaving the Girls 16s USTA National Clay Courts without a home.  Prior to 2018, the Racquet Club was the site of the Girls 18s USTA National Clay Courts, and I covered eight of those tournaments there, from 2008 to 2016. Although the heat in July was brutal, I enjoyed the tournament, and they worked hard to make the experience special for the girls and the college coaches who flocked there. Once the club lost the WTA (and ATP) event held there in February, the tournament could no longer offer a coveted WTA wild card to the Clay champion, and last year, the 18s moved to Charleston, where the winner now gets a wild card into the Volvo Open there. Aside from the loss to the USTA junior circuit, this is a major blow to tennis in general, as the club had a long and impressive history in both pre- and Open era professional tennis.  

I spoke to both the 16s tournament director and the USTA about the news while I was here in Florida, and as of now, a new site for the girls 16s is still up in the air, but I have been told it should be in place in the next month.


Marty Bench said...

Burel plays from 10 feet behind the baseline and blocks everything back. Perfect for winning everything in juniors, but a dead end game in the pros. I look for her pro game to be a huge disappointment compared to her jr results.

AR Hacked Off said...

very disappointed hearing that Memphis RC is closing officially, really hurts the Memphis Tennis Scene, heard it will not close fully though until the 2019 ITA Season for University of Memphis is finished.