Friday, January 29, 2021

Duncan Chooses Harvard; Three Qualifiers into Rome $60K Semifinals; Nakashima and Korda Advance to Challenger Semis; Rahman Wins Third Straight ITF Grade 4 Title

One of the last top national recruits yet to decide on a college was Maxi Duncan, who made her decision to attend Harvard. I spoke last week with Duncan and her father Gerald, who has been her primary coach, about her choice for this article at the Tennis Recruiting Network. Gerald Duncan had extensive connections in the world of professional sports, playing professional basketball, mostly overseas, and later became an NBA agent. But there was no family history of engagement with tennis, so they both had a lot to learn. They spoke to James Blake about his experience at Harvard, which Maxi chose over several other Ivys and the two tennis powerhouses near her Southern California home. 

The quarterfinals are complete at the $60,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Rome Georgia, with three qualifiers, plus Grace Min, moving into Saturday's semifinals.

Qualifier Emina Bektas(Michigan), who beat top seed Olga Govortsova yesterday, downed Katherine Sebov of Canada 7-5, 6-3 today and will face Min, who took out the last seed remaining, No. 5 Usue Arconada, 6-3, 7-6(5). 

Two qualifiers will meet in the bottom half, after Irene Burillo Escorihuela of Spain defeated qualifier Robin Montgomery 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and 22 minutes, and Ana Sofia Sanchez of Mexico beat Conny Perrin of Switzerland 6-0, 6-1 in 55 minutes. 

Bektas and her partner Tara Moore of Great Britain have advanced to the doubles final, where they will play Govortsova and Jovana Jovic of Serbia, who are also unseeded.

Two NextGen Americans are through to the semifinals of the ATP Challenger 100 in Quimper France, with 19-year-old Brandon Nakashima and 20-year-old Sebastian Korda picking up wins today.  Nakashima trailed wild card Constant Lestienne of France 5-2 in the second set, but won the final five games for a 6-4, 7-5 victory. No. 2 seed Korda, who had two tough three setters prior to today, moved on when Enzo Couacaud of France retired trailing 4-1.  Nakashima will play unseeded Filip Horansky in the top half semifinal, with Korda facing his fourth consecutive French player in Benjamin Bonzi. Korda should break into the ATP Top 100 with his results from this week.

Yannik Rahman won his third consecutive ITF Grade 4 title, with the first coming last month in Costa Rica, and the next two in the last two weeks in Nairobi Kenya. Rahman, who is now on a 15-match winning streak, and has lost only one set in those 15 victories.  The 16-year-old from Florida, who was seeded No. 2 this week, defeated unseeded Yua Taka of Japan 7-6(4), 7-6(5) in the singles final.

Fifteen-year-old Cooper Williams, who Rahman defeated in the singles semifinals, won the doubles title with partner Roy Keegan of Great Britain. The No. 5 seeds defeated No. 7 seeds Derick Ominde and Kael Shalin Shah of Kenya 6-7(6), 6-4, 10-2 in the final.