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Sunday, December 20, 2020

Orange Bowl Finalists Claim ITF Junior Circuit Titles in South America; Ramanathan Wins $25K UTR Event in Naples; ITF 2019 Junior Champion Wins First Title

Last week 16-year-olds Ignacio Buse and Adolfo Vallejo were competing in Orange Bowl finals, this week they ended the ITF Junior Circuit year with titles in their home countries of Peru and Paraguay.

Buse, who reached the Orange Bowl 16s final, losing to Jonah Braswell of the United States, won his first ITF Junior Circuit title at the Grade 5 in Lima yesterday. The top-seeded Buse defeated No. 2 seed Gianluca Ballotta, also of Peru, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in the final.  Fourteen-year-old American Patricia Grigoras, who was unseeded, lost in the girls final 6-2, 7-6(1), to No. 7 seed Lucciana Perez Alarcon of Peru.

Vallejo, who reached the Grade A boys doubles final at the Orange Bowl  after winning back-to-back titles at Grade 4s in Florida this fall, swept the titles at the Grade 5 in Asuncion. The top seed in both singles and doubles, Vallejo defeated No. 7 seed Juan Manuel La Serna of Argentina 7-6(3), 7-5 for the singles title. He and Martin Vergara, also of Paraguay, won the doubles title with a 6-0, 6-1 decision over No. 2 seeds Giovanni Branchetti and Thiago Messa of Argentina. 

The only American to claim a title this final week of 2020 ITF junior play is Monika Wojcik, who won the girls doubles at the Grade 5 in Bolivia.  The 15-year-old Wojcik and her partner, Yaelle Vaissaud of France, the No. 2 seeds, defeated the unseeded Bolivian team of Ana Fabia Holweg Bustillos and Masha Alexandra Vrsalovic Gimenez 4-6, 6-0, 10-6 in the final.

The $25,000 UTR Pro Series men's tournament in Naples Florida concluded today, with top seed Ramkumar Ramanathan of India taking the title. Ramanathan, who had beaten Dusty Boyer(Nebraska) 6-3, 6-4 in Saturday's semifinals, defeated Cristian Rodriguez of Colombia 6-2, 6-0 in the final of the playoffs that featured eight players who finished No. 1 in their round robin groups.  Rodriguez had trailed Cannon Kingsley by a set and a break in the semifinals, but the Ohio State sophomore fell 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.  

2019 Kalamazoo 16s champion Alex Bernard, who reached the quarterfinals at the Orange Bowl last week, finished in ninth place, after winning the playoffs for those that finished second in their round robin groups. Bernard, who lost to Ramanathan 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-1, in his round robin group, defeated Virginia Tech sophomore Matthis Ross of Great Britain 6-3, 7-6(4) in the final. The only losses for Bernard the past two weeks were to the tournament's champions, as he also lost to Orange Bowl champion Arthur Fils of France.  Bernard earned $600 for finishing ninth; Kingsley made $1200 as a semifinalist and Ramanthan received $4000.

Normally I would save this result for my monthly Aces column, but because it's her first singles title at the pro level, I wanted to highlight Diane Parry's performance tonight. The 18-year-old from France, the 2019 ITF Junior Champion, was the top seed at the ITF World Tennis Tour $15,000 tournament in Turkey, but she had never reached the final of a Pro Circuit event before, with many of her points coming from a French Open main draw win last year. Parry was dominant this week, losing just 15 games in her five victories; today she defeated No. 8 seed Berfu Cengiz of Turkey 6-3, 6-1 in the final.