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Thursday, January 3, 2019

Finals Set at USTA 16s and 18s Winter Nationals; Brooksby Downs Nakashima Again in Los Angeles M25; Three Americans Reach Orlando Challenger Quarterfinals

Gold balls will be distributed Friday at the USTA 16s and 18s Winter Nationals, when the singles championships are decided at the USTA's National Campus in Lake Nona Florida.

The boys 18s final will feature No. 9 seed Zachery Lim and Ishaan Ravichander after Lim defeated No. 14 seed Daniel Milavsky 7-6(4), 6-2 and Ravichander won the day's toughest contest, beating No. 4 seed Logan Zapp 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

The girls 18s title will be decided by No. 4 seed Connie Ma and No. 3 seed Alana Wolfberg.  The 15-year-old Ma defeated No. 8 seed Carly Briggs 6-2, 6-1 and Wolfberg, an Oklahoma State recruit, got by India Houghton 7-6(4), 6-4.

In the 16s, No. 1 seed Leyden Games and No. 8 seed Nadejda Maslova will vie for the girls title, after Games defeated No. 7 seed Bridget Stammel 6-3, 6-1 and Maslova beat unseeded DJ Bennett 6-4, 6-1. 

No. 5 seed Luke Casper and No. 13 Quinn Snyder will meet for the boys 16s title after Casper beat No. 11 seed Samir Banerjee 6-1, 7-5 and Snyder defeated No. 17 seed John Kim 6-3, 6-0.

I had difficulty accessing the Playsight live feeds again today, but the 18s finals are scheduled to be broadcast on YouTube beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday.

Last year Jenson Brooksby and Brandon Nakashima met three times in junior tournaments, including the best-of-five Kalamazoo 18s final, with Brooksby winning all three in straight sets. Today they met for the first time on the Pro Circuit, at the M25 in Los Angeles, and the match was much closer, but again it was Brooksby getting the win, saving two match points in second set tiebreaker and coming from a break down in the third set to post a 2-6, 7-6(10), 7-5 second round win in just under three hours.

Neither player faced a break point in the second set, and Nakashima didn't face one until 2-3 in the third, but once he finally broke Brooksby to go up 4-3, Nakashima was unable to consolidate it. He went down 0-40, won the next four points, but lost the next three to put it back on serve.  In the final game, Nakashima went down 15-40, got it back to deuce, earned a game point, but didn't convert it, and after saving a third match point, he lost the next two to give Brooksby his fourth consecutive win in the rivalry that began only last March. Brooksby will play top seed Dmitry Popko of Kazakhstan in Friday's quarterfinals.

Five other Americans have advanced to the quarterfinals in Los Angeles: wild card Brandon Holt, who will face Daniel Nguyen in a battle of current and former USC Trojans; Patrick Kypson[5](Texas A&M), who plays No. 4 seed Martin Redlicki(UCLA) and UCLA freshman Govind Nanda, a wild card. Nanda, who has reached the quarterfinals of a Futures only once previously, will play former USC star Emilio Gomez of Ecuador, the No. 2 seed, next.

At the ATP 80 Challenger in Orlando, three unseeded Americans have advanced to Friday's quarterfinals: Marcos Giron, Ulises Blanch and Michael Redlicki(Arkansas), with Blanch and Redlicki playing each other for a place in the semifinals. Giron defeated No. 9 seed and former UCLA teammate Dennis Novikov 6-1, 6-2, while Blanch came back to beat lucky loser Brouwer of the Netherlands 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. Redlicki also came from a set down, defeating No. 11 seed Kevin King(Georgia Tech) 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.