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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Eala, Montsi Win Championships at Grade A in South Africa; Visaya Sweeps Grade 5 Titles in Puerto Rico; Qualifier Livianu and 18-year-old Tar Heel Hijikata Earn $15K Titles

Fourteen-year-old Alexandra Eala of the Philippines and 16-year-old Khololwam Montsi of South Africa captured the singles titles at the new ITF Grade A in Cape Town South Africa today, taking out higher seeds in straight sets.

No. 4 seed Eala defeated top seed Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-3 and No. 6 seed Montsi (the younger brother of University of Illinois sophomore Siphosothando Montsi) defeated No. 4 seed Terence Atmane of France 7-5, 6-1.  Montsi has now won four consecutive ITF junior events in Southern Africa since the first of August: a grade 4, a grade 3, a grade 2 last week and now this, and his ITF junior ranking should rise into the Top 30. Eala, who qualified for the US Open this month and won a round, should also move into the Top 30.

In doubles, the fifth-seeded team of Eliakim Coulibaly of Cote D'Ivoire and Pierre Malan of South Africa defeated No. 2 seeds Atmane and Arthur Cazaux of France 6-4, 6-7(6), 11-9 in the final. The girls doubles title went to No. 2 seeds Ziva Falkner of Slovenia and Matilda Mutavdzic of Great Britain, who beat top seeds Fruhvirtova and Weronika Baszak of Poland 3-6, 7-6(10), 10-7.

The three titles for American juniors came at the Grade 5 in Puerto Rico, with 16-year-old Azuma Visaya sweeping the boys competition. The blue chip from Hawaii, seeded No. 3, beat No. 4 seed Alejandro Gandini of the Domincan Republic 6-0, 6-1 to earn his second ITF singles title. Visaya and Sam Scherer won the doubles title, with the No. 2 seeds beating top seeds Rodrigo Montes de Oca Murillo of Peru and Samuel Sanchez of Mexico 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

Alexandra Centra won the girls doubles, partnering with Ariana Salgueiro-Estela of Puerto Rico. The No. 2 seeds defeated American Fiorella Bolona Medina and Chelsea Fontenel of Switzerland, the top seeds, 2-6, 6-4, 10-7 in the final. Fontenel, 15, won the singles title, beating No. 2 seed Gabriella Broadfoot of South Africa 6-2, 6-2 in the final.

Qualifier Jessica Livianu, who hadn't won a main draw match on the Pro Circuit prior to this week, captured the title at the $15,000 tournament in Lubbock Texas. The St. John's senior defeated 18-year-old Dalayna Hewitt 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 in today's final.

At the $15,000 men's tournament in Fayetteville Arkansas, North Carolina freshman Rinky Hijikata of Australia also won his first Pro Circuit title, beating No. seed Nick Chappell(TCU) 2-6, 6-2, 6-1. Hijikata is No. 5 in the ITA preseason Freshmen/Newcomers rankings.

No. 2 seed Hugo Gaston won the singles titles at the $25,000 tournament in Houston, beating unseeded Liam Caruana(Texas) of Italy 6-1, 6-3 in today's final. The 20-year-old Gaston, a former ITF Junior No. 2, now has two ITF Pro Circuit titles on his resume, both at the $25,000 level.

Florida teammates Sam Riffice and Oliver Crawford took the doubles title, beating Preston Touliatos(Tennessee) and Austin Rapp(UCLA) 7-5, 3-6, 10-3 in today's final. It's the first Pro Circuit doubles title for Crawford and Riffice; both have won a singles title in the past 12 months.

JJ Wolf fell in the final of the ATP Challenger 90 in Columbus, with the No. 13 seed beaten by No. 4 seed Peter Polansky of Canada 6-3, 7-6(4). Wolf didn't serve well all day, making just 46 percent of his first serves and double faulting eight times, while Polansky had 9 aces and just 2 double faults.