Sunday, January 24, 2021

Fifteen-year-old Eala Claims First ITF Pro Title; Rinderknech Wins Istanbul Challenger; Four More Teams Qualify for ITA Team Indoor Championships

Fifteen-year-old Alexandra Eala of the Philippines won her first ITF women's pro circuit event today, in just her sixth tournament on the Circuit. Eala, currently No. 3 in the ITF Junior rankings, played five tournaments last year, four at the $15,000 level and one at the $25,000 level. Most have been in Spain, because she has been training for some time at the Rafael Nadal Academy, and this week's $15,000 tournament was held on her home courts.  

Using a junior reserved spot for entry, the unseeded Eala defeated top seed Seone Mendez of Australia 6-4, 6-1 in the second round, and No. 5 seed Carole Monnet of France 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-4 in the quarterfinals. In today's final, she again came back from a set down, defeating unseeded 28-year-old Yvonne Cavalle-Reimers of Spain 5-7, 6-1, 6-2. 

Another prominent ITF junior won the doubles title, with 18-year-old Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia partnering with Angela Fita-Boluda of Spain to claim her fourth pro doubles title. The No. 4 seeds defeated No. 3 seeds Ylena In-Albon and Valentina Ryser of Switzerland 6-1, 4-6, 10-5 in the final. 

Two young Danish stars also won titles this weekend, Holger Rune of Denmark taking a $15,000 tournament in France and Clara Tauson claiming the title at the $25,000 tournament in United Arab Emirates. I'll have more on those two titles in my January Aces column at the beginning of next month.

Former Texas A&M star Arthur Rinderknech of France won his third Challenger title since leaving College Station, taking the ATP 125 in Istanbul Turkey as a qualifier. Rinderknech defeated unseeded Benjamin Bonzi of France 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-6(3) in today's final, to move his ranking to a career-high of 134.  The ATP provides a thorough recap of Rinderknech's career to date and his title this week in this article.

Another former collegian won the doubles title, with Cal graduate Andre Goransson of Sweden partnering with David Pel of the Netherlands for the championship. The No. 2 seeds defeated the unseeded pair of Lloyd Glasspool(Texas) and Harri Heliovaara of Finland 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 in the final. 

Four more teams booked their spots in next month's ITA Division I National Team Indoor Championships, with five more attempting to earn their places on Monday during the Kickoff Weekend.  When exactly the eighth men's team will be decided is currently not known, with the final between Baylor and Texas A&M postponed today at the Michigan regional, due to a shutdown of all University of Michigan athletics implemented Sunday morning due to a student-athlete's positive test detecting the recently discovered and more contagious strain of Covid-19. The Michigan women's team, at the Georgia Tech regional, were recalled without playing their consolation match.  Fortunately, Baylor and Texas A&M are in close proximity, so there shouldn't be too much of a problem getting that match played in the next week or so.  

The most exciting final of the day saw Georgia Tech defeat Duke 4-3 after dropping the doubles point. Freshman Ava Hrastar clinched at the No. 2 spot, beating Georgia Drummy 2-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(3). Several first round matches are still being played; I will update those later tonight.

Teams in bold have qualified for the Team Indoor Championships.



North Carolina Regional:

Mississippi[2] d. Old Dominion[3] 4-2

North Carolina[1] d. Notre Dame[4] 4-0

Final:  North Carolina[1] d. Mississippi[2] 4-1


Texas Regional:

Texas[1] d. Iowa[4] 4-0

Baylor[3] d. Arizona State[2] 4-2

Final: Texas[1] d. Baylor[3] 4-0

Ohio State Regional

Ohio State[1] d. Syracuse[4] 4-0

Virginia[2] d. Tennessee[3] 4-1

Final: Ohio State[1] d. Virginia[2] 4-2

Georgia Tech Regional

Georgia Tech[1] d. South Carolina[4] 4-3

Duke[2] d. Michigan[3] 4-1

Final: Georgia Tech[1] d. Duke[2] 4-3

UCLA Regional(rained out Saturday, moved to Sunday)

UCLA[1] d. California[4] 4-0

Texas A&M[2] d Washington State[3] 4-1


Pepperdine Regional (rained out Saturday, moved to Sunday)

Pepperdine[1] d. Wisconsin[4] 4-0

USC[3] d. Denver[2] 4-1



NC State Regional

Northwestern[4] d. NC State[1] 4-3 

Wake Forest[2] d. Central Florida[3] 4-3




Ohio State Regional

Ohio State[1] d. Middle Tennessee State[4] 4-0

Virginia[3] d. Iowa[2] 4-0

Final: Virginia[3] d. Ohio State[1] 4-2

NC State Regional

NC State[1] d. Alabama[4] 4-2

Tennessee[2] d. Mississippi[3] 4-2

Final: Tennessee[2] d. NC State[1] 4-1

Texas Regional

Florida[2] d. Arizona[3] 4-2

Texas[1] d. Liberty[4] 4-1

Final: Texas[1] d. Florida[2] 4-3


USC Regional

USC[1] d. UNLV[4] 4-0 (moved to Sunday)

UCLA[2] d. California[3] 4-0


Michigan Regional

Baylor[4] d. Michigan[1] 4-0

Texas A&M[2] d. Pepperdine[3] 4-0

Final: TBD

TCU Regional

TCU[1] d. Denver[4] 5-0

Oklahoma[3] d. Wake Forest[2] 4-0

Final: TCU[1] d. Oklahoma[2] 4-0


North Carolina Regional

North Carolina[1] d. Northwestern[4] 4-0

South Carolina[3] d. Duke[2] 4-1