Saturday, January 30, 2021

Min Advances to Rome $60K Final; Korda Earns Third Straight Final Appearance at French Challenger; Llewellyn Claims First ITF Junior Circuit Title; No. 1 UNC Women Hang on to Beat Georgia, Baylor Men Top Texas; Australian Tennis Summer Begins

Grace Min ended the run of qualifier Emina Bektas today in the semifinals of the $60,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament, reaching her second final since the restart with a 6-0, 6-3 victory over the former Michigan star. Min, the 2011 US Open girls champion, won a $25,000 tournament last September and was one of the last entrants into the Australian Open qualifying, where she fell in three sets to former Pepperdine star Mayar Sherif of Egypt in the second round.

Min will play qualifier Irene Burillo Escorihuela of Spain, who needed three hours to defeat qualifier Ana Sofia Sanchez of Mexico 5-7, 6-2, 7-5. Burillo Escorihuela led 5-0 in the third set before Sanchez fought back.

Bektas will leave Rome with a title however, as she and Tara Moore of Great Britain won the doubles championship today, beating Olgo Govortsova of Belarus and Jovana Jovic of Serbia 5-7, 6-2, 10-8. Its the third, and biggest, title for the pair. Bektas now has 16 ITF doubles titles in her career. 

Sebastian Korda has reached the final of the last three tournaments he's played, winning the title at a Challenger in Germany last November and falling in his first ATP final earlier this month in Delray Beach. Today at the ATP Challenger 100 in France, the No. 2 seed defeated unseeded Benjamin Bonzi of France 7-6(5), 7-6(1) to extend his Challenger winning streak to nine matches. An all-American NextGen final was thwarted by Filip Horansky of Slovakia, who defeated Brandon Nakashima 7-6(10), 4-6, 6-4 in the other semifinal. Nakashima was up a break twice in the third set, and was serving up 4-3, but Horansky broke back both times and got a third break to seal the win.

Korda now is certain to break into the ATP Top 100 for the first time regardless of the result on Sunday. Live streaming for the match will be available here

At the ITF Grade 5 in Costa Rica, blue chip freshman Sophie Llewellyn, playing in her just her fourth ITF Junior Circuit tournament, took the title, beating top seed Ana Grubor of Canada 6-0, ret. in the final. Llewellyn, who beat 16s Orange Bowl champion Valeria Ray in the second round, had reached the final of last week's Grade 4 in Costa Rica. 

16s Orange Bowl champion Jonah Braswell fell in the boys final for the second week in a row, losing to top seed Leo Borg, son of Bjorn Borg, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(4).

Ria Bhakta and her partner Ana Carmen Zamburek of the Dominican Republic won the girls doubles title, with the No. 2 seeds beating unseeded Steffy Jullian of Costa Rica and Sara Isabel Snyder of Puerto Rico 6-4, 3-6, 10-2 in the final. 

A couple of Top 10 contests in Division I college tennis today, with the No. 1-ranked North Carolina women defeating No. 7 Georgia 4-3 in Athens and the sixth-ranked Baylor men defeating No. 4 Texas 4-1 in Austin.

At line 5, UNC sophomore Anika Yarlagadda survived a comeback from Georgia's Elena Christofi, who trailed 5-2 but served for the match at 6-5 in the third, with Yarlagadda taking a 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(5) decision in the last match on.

Baylor's graduate transfer depth proved too much for the Longhorns, with the Bears taking lines 4, 5 and 6, as well as line 2, to recover from the loss of the doubles point. 

Quarantine is over for those competing in Australia, and the WTA's two tournaments at Melbourne are underway, with all of the players who qualified to compete at the Australian Open divided into two draws and designated as the Yarra Valley Classic and the Gippsland Trophy. There is also a separate event, the Grampians Trophy, for those players who were not able to practice during the 14-day quarantine due to a positive Covid test on their flight, which begins on Wednesday.

The two ATP 250s in Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road Open and the Murray River Open, start tomorrow, with the ATP Cup scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

Tennis.com has posted an overview of these six events here.