Sunday, February 21, 2021

Brooksby Claims First Challenger Title; Harrison, Anderson Fall in $25K Florida Finals; Lincer, Ford and Evans Win ITF Junior Circuit Titles

Jenson Brooksby, who decided to play college tennis, but spent more than a year recovering from a toe injury and so never actually competed while attending Baylor, won his first Challenger title today at the ATP Challenger 80 in South Africa. Brooksby, who started the year by winning a UTR $25K tournament in California, had played only three tournaments on the pro circuit since 2019, getting to the semifinals of a $25K in Spain before losing his first round match two weeks ago at the first ATP Challenger 80 in South Africa. This week the unseeded 20-year-old from Northern California found his form, with the 2018 Kalamazoo 18s champion defeating unseeded Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in today's final. 

Brooksby will move to a new career high with his title this week, cracking the ATP Top 250 for the first time. Brooksby joins Brandon Nakashima and Sebastian Korda as 20-and-under Americans to capture ATP Challenger titles in 2021.

The two $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournaments in Florida this week didn't produce an American singles champion, with both Christian Harrison and Robin Anderson falling in today's finals. 

At the men's tournament in Naples, 21-year-old qualifier Clement Tabur of France defeated the unseeded Harrison 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 in a two-and-a-half hour final. Great Britain's Katie Swan defeated Robin Anderson(UCLA) 6-1, 6-3 in another battle between unseeded finalists, this one in Orlando.

The US did pick up the doubles titles in the Florida tournaments, with Great Britain's Tara Moore and Emina Bektas(Michigan) winning in Orlando and the Johnson twins claiming the title in Naples.

Moore and Bektas defeated Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia and Conny Perrin of Switzerland 7-5, 2-6, 10-5 in the final between two unseeded teams. Moore and Bektas are now two-for-two in USTA Pro Circuit events, having also claimed the title last month at the $60K in Rome Georgia.

Hunter and Yates Johnson(SMU), the No. 2 seeds, defeated No. 3 seeds Junior Ore(Texas A&M) and Alejandro Gomez of Colombia(Kentucky) 6-1, 1-6, 12-10 to claim their 13th ITF Pro Circuit title. 

At the Australian Open, Rajeev Ram(Illinois) and Great Britain's Joe Salisbury(Memphis) fell one match short of defending their title, with Filip Polasek of Slovakia and Ivan Dodig of Croatia taking the men's doubles final 6-3, 6-4. It's their first slam title as a team, although Dodig won Roland Garros with Marcelo Melo in 2015.

Novak Djokovic collected his ninth Australian Open men's singles title with a 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 win over Daniil Medvedev. 

Americans added three more ITF junior singles titles to the Grade 1 championship Bruno Kuzuhara won in Paraguay, with Olivia Lincer sweeping the titles at the Grade 4 in Guatemala and Karsyn Evans and Zane Ford taking the titles at the Grade 4 in Cancun.

No. 6 seed Lincer, a 16-year-old blue chip from Connecticut, won her first ITF junior title on Friday, taking the doubles title with Ashton Bowers. The No. 3 seeds, who didn't drop a set in their run to the title, defeated unseeded Jacqueline Soloveychik and Monika Wojcik, also from the US, 6-1, 6-3 in the final. 

In the singles final on Saturday, Lincer defeated No. 5 seed Deborah Dominguez Collado of Guatemala 6-3, 6-2 for her second ITF junior title.  No. 4 seed Sebastian Sec of the US lost in the boys singles final to unseeded Christopher Li of Peru 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(10).

Texan Karsyn Evans won her first ITF Junior Circuit title in Cancun, with the unseeded 15-year-old defeating unseeded 13-year-old Maya Iyengar 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the final. Qualifier Zane Ford, a 16-year-old from Pennsylvania, won his first ITF Junior Circuit title in another all-US final, beating Alexander Frusina 3-6, 6-2, 7-5. It was Ford's eighth win of the week and that first set was the only one he lost in those eight victories.

Unseeded Luc Boulier Santelices of Chile and Zamaan Moledina of the US won the boys doubles title, beating No. 3 seeds Juan Carlos Prado Angelo of Boliva and Joseph Phillips of the US 6-4, 4-6, 10-6 in the final. 

No. 3 seeds Gracie Epps and Aubrey Nisbet won the girls doubles title, defeating unseeded Cecilia Alcobe Garibay of the US and Ana Paula Chavez Sanchez of Mexico 6-1, 6-2 in the final.