Sunday, July 5, 2020

Paul and Fritz, Subs King and Eubanks Lead Team Stars to All-American Team Cup Victory; Rogers Goes Undefeated in Kentucky Exhibition; Fery Captures LTA British Tour Title

Two former Georgia Tech standouts picked up big wins today for Team Stars, Taylor Fritz continued the Stars comeback and Tommy Paul took the deciding tiebreaker to earn a 13-12 victory over Team Stripes in the DraftKings All-American Team Cup Sunday in suburban Atlanta.

Chris Eubanks was called into service when Frances Tiafoe left the competition after testing positive for Covid-19 Friday after the first day of matches. Eubanks defeated Tennys Sandgren on Saturday, then returned today to beat John Isner 7-5, 4-6, 10-6. Kevin King, who was subbing for an injured Reilly Opelka, had beaten Sam Querrey 3-6, 7-6(2) 10-5 in Sunday's first match. With a win now worth three points, after earning just one point on Friday and two on Saturday, the match was now tied at 9-9, and the Stars took a 12-9 lead when Fritz beat Sandgren 4-6, 6-3, 10-7, but Steve Johnson forced a deciding tiebreaker when he beat Paul 7-6(2), 6-4 in the evening match.

In the event of a tie after three days of singles, the two players in the final match were to play a standard tiebreaker to decide which team was the winner, and Paul captured that 7-3. I think a doubles match might have been a more interesting method of breaking the tie, but it was an entertaining day, despite the anxiety that Tiafoe's test had injected into it yesterday.

Tiafoe is scheduled to compete for the Washington Kastles next Sunday in World Team Tennis, but I would not expect him to be able to fulfill that obligation now.  Others from this Atlanta event heading to The Greenbrier Resort are Fritz, Sandgren, Querrey and Johnson.
Shelby Rogers, photo courtesy Scott Gerber, Ohio Tennis Zone
The Young Kings Scholarship tournament this weekend in Nicholasville Kentucky concluded today, with only two matches completed, but Shelby Rogers finished the weekend undefeated, the only player to do so. Rogers defeated Jamie Loeb and Jessica Pegula in straights sets on Friday and Saturday, and today the 27-year-old, currently 113 in the WTA rankings, ran out to a 5-0 lead on Marine Partaud of France before Partaud retired in the day's last match. Leylah Fernandez gave CiCi Bellis a walkover in their match today; Genie Bouchard beat Loeb 6-4, 6-4 and Pegula beat the previously undefeated Caty McNally 7-5, 6-3.
Pegula, McNally and Bouchard now have until next Sunday to get ready for the start of their World Team Tennis seasons.

Last week's men's Battle of the Brits brought tennis back to Great Britain, with Dan Evans taking the title at that national competition. It was technically an exhibition, with no points at stake, but as we've seen throughout the world, players are looking for opportunities to prepare for the resumption of the ATP, WTA and ITF Tours next month.

This month, which of course in a normal year is devoted to primarily to Wimbledon, the LTA has organized a British Tour, four weeks of competition for men and women, most of whom are regulars on the ITF Circuit, although Cam Norrie is scheduled to compete in Week 2. Prize money is offered, free live streaming is available and it looks like a well-thought-out system to assist British players in dealing with the financial fallout of the past several months.

In the finals of the first week's tournament today, two teenagers who would no doubt be competing at Wimbledon in a normal year, Arthur Fery and Emma Raducanu, collected the titles. Raducanu, 17, defeated Jodie Burrage 6-4, 2-6, 10-4 in the women's final, and Fery, also 17, defeated TCU rising senior Alastair Gray 7-6(5), 6-4. Fery is scheduled to join the team at Stanford this fall. For more on the first week of competition, see this LTA article.