Friday, January 15, 2021

How Junior Tennis Has Changed During Pandemic; Razeghi and Stoiana Win Manchester Grade 5 Titles; Semifinals Set at UTR Men's $25K in Naples

Although I wasn't able to cover last month's Orange Bowl in person due to a false positive Covid test, I did talk by telephone to quite a few players during the week, thanks to the efforts of the USTA. While I had that rare opportunity to talk with players, I asked them how they had coped with the long layoff due to the pandemic and what they missed most about competing in major national events in this article for the Tennis Recruiting Network

Alexander Razeghi at 2020 Les Petits As
photo credit: ©Richard van Loon/toptennis.photos

The ITF Grade 5 in Manchester Connecticut concluded today, with wild card Alexander Razeghi and unseeded Mary Stoiana claiming the singles titles. The 14-year-old Razeghi, a semifinalist at last year's Les Petits As, hadn't won a main draw match in the four ITF Junior Circuit tournaments he played the past two years, but he defeated the top seed in the first round and kept right on winning. In today's final, he defeated unseeded Louis Cloud, a University of Tennessee signee, 6-3, 6-3.  Cloud avenged his loss in the doubles final later in the day, with he and partner Quang Duong defeating Razeghi and Benjamin Kreynes 6-4, 7-5. Neither team was seeded.

Seventeen-year-old Stoiana, who has signed with Texas A&M for this fall, had an impressive run this week, beating top seed Reese Brantmeier in yesterday's semifinals 6-3, 7-5 and No. 2 seed Valencia Xu 4-6, 6-4 in today's final. Both Brantmeier and Xu are Top 100 in the ITF Junior rankings, while Stoiana, whose only previous title on the circuit was at a Grade 5 in Canada in 2019, is 931 in the rankings.

Both Stoiana and Razeghi are scheduled to compete in the Grade 5 next week in Medford New Jersey; Stoiana is in the main draw, while Razeghi is in qualifying.

Tomorrow will be an interesting day at the $25,000 ITF women's World Tennis Tour tournament in Germany, with three of the four semifinalists teenagers.  Eighteen-year-old Qinwen Zheng of China, who won four ITF WTT titles last year, again was forced to qualify despite a WTA ranking of 287, and will face unseeded 26-year-old Jesika Maleckova of the Czech Republic. Zheng has lost just six games in three matches this week. 

In the bottom half semifinal, 16-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic, who received entry based on a junior exemption, will face 17-year-old German wild card Noma Noha Akugue. Both have recently reached their first pro tournament finals, both at $15Ks; Fruhvirtova did that last month and Noah Akugue dit it back in August. 

The semifinals for the UTR men's $25,000 tournament in Naples Florida are set for Saturday, with top seed Stefan Kozlov facing Harris Walker and No. 2 seed Noah Rubin playing Benjamin Lock. Walker defeated 16-year-old Bruno Kuzuhara 6-4, 6-2; Rubin beat Aditya Vashistha 6-2, 6-2 and Lock defeated Matthew Segura 6-2, 7-5. Kozlov had defeated Strong Kirchheimer in a quarterfinal match played on Thursday.


Question said...

You generally indicate if a player has played or will play for a university, but I note that you’re not stating that Xu will be playing for Stanford starting next year, as reported by many others and as currently still noted on TRN. Do you know something the rest of maybe don’t? Has she de-committed?

Colette Lewis said...

Because she wasn't included in Stanford's recent announcement of their Class of 2021, I wasn't unsure how to handle that. Perhaps there will be a separate announcement for her, so I will add it in future references.

Question said...

Fair enough. I also noted that the Stanford release “only” included Ma and Yepifanova, which I thought was a bit odd. I was actually surprised to see the release at all, as Stanford historically doesn’t issue those, but I was happy to see this one (although a bit perplexed by Xu’s absence from it). Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Thanks for the quick response, as well as the fantastic blog!