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Saturday, February 20, 2021

Kuzuhara Wins Grade 1 Asuncion Bowl; Brady Falls in Australian Open Final, Ram Claims Mixed Title; Brooksby into Challenger Final; Wake Forest's Response to Salon Article

Last year Bruno Kuzuhara reached the final of the Grade 1 Asuncion Bowl in Paraguay, and last week the 16-year-old from Florida advanced to the final of the Grade 1 in Ecuador. Today he got past those disappointments, winning this year's Asuncion Bowl title with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over No. 3 seed Pedro Boscardin Dias of Brazil. Kuzuhara, the No. 4 seed, who moved into the ITF Top 10 last week, did not drop a set in his five wins to earn his first Grade 1 title. His previous three titles were at the Grade 5 level.

No. 8 seed Petra Marcinko of Croatia, who turned 15 in December, earned her first Grade 1 singles title today, beating unseeded Solana Sierra of Argentina 6-4, 7-5. Marcinko, who made the semifinals last week in Ecuador, won five ITF Grade 4 and Grade 5 singles titles and won the doubles and reached the singles final of a Grade 1 in Serbia last September. 

Jennifer Brady, the first former collegian to reach a women's grand slam singles final since Kathy Jordan in 1983, fell to Naomi Osaka of Japan 6-4, 6-3 Saturday at the Australian Open. Despite a nervous start, Brady got back to 4-all in the first set and had a break point to serve for the set, but Osaka held and Brady was broken in the next game, with her usually reliable forehand shaky when she needed it. Osaka took a 4-0 lead in the second set, but again Brady got herself back in it, although she could get only one of those two breaks back, and Osaka served out her fourth slam title without any drama. 

The WTA website has a good recap from Brady's post-match press conference, touching on why she was disappointed in her performance, what she thinks she needs to improve, and how she'll spend the next few days before heading to her next tournament.

Rajeev Ram and Czech Barbora Krejcikova, the No. 6 seeds, won their second Australian Open mixed doubles title on Saturday, defeating the Australian wild card team of Matthew Ebden and Samantha Stosur 6-1, 6-4. Ram and Krejcikova won the mixed doubles title in Melbourne in 2019. Ram will go for his fourth grand slam doubles title, all in Australia, on Sunday, when he and former Memphis standout Joe Salisbury defend their men's title against Filip Polasek of Slovakia and Ivan Dodig of Croatia.

2018 Kalamazoo 18s champion Jenson Brooksby is into the final of the ATP Challenger 80 in South Africa, after he defeated qualifier Lucas Miedler of Austria 7-5, 6-2. The 20-year-old Californian will face unseeded, but former ATP Top 50 player Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia, who beat No. 4 seed Liam Broady of Great Britain 1-6, 6-4, 6-4. 

The top seeded South African team of Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse(Illinois) won the doubles title, beating unseeded Julien Cagnina of Belgium and Zdenek Kolar of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4 in the final. 

Wake Forest released a response to the recent Salon article about Sean Hannity and the Wake Forest tennis team, which can be found here.


Guest said...

Colette, not saying what Hannity/Wake did was right or wrong. But one has to wonder how do private schools truly compete in the era of 4.5 scholarships. Since the cost per student of having 8 players on a team is so completely different from public to private schools. This difference is even more pronounced when you compare the cost per student between a private school women’s team with 8 vs the guys with 4.5.

Jon King said...

The Salon article didn't say Wake Forest broke rules, they simply laid out the story and readers can form their own opinions about whether it was appropriate. It really just points out the comical nature of the NCAA. College football players from very poor areas have been suspended for getting a $20 tattoo which was deemed an illegal gift.

But connected people can use their private planes to fly the team and that is totally within NCAA rules. Give me a break.

If it smells like a fish.... said...

hopefully the NCAA will start looking at college tennis a little closer when it comes to recruiting. Don’t know how much about it now but when my son was looking for a “team” about 8 years ago..we were “amazed” by the offers some other players were offered, much lower ranked and not as active players, I don’t believe they were scholarships involved but just getting into certain schools and being “on” a team. Sounds familiar..huh? Oh yeah, some of these kids flew on private planes with private coaches to tourneys quite frequently. Am I bitter, no because my son did end up at a lower level D1, with a good scholarship and a great education..and is doing great in the business world..but let’s not be fooled..money talks and always will.