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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Eubanks Claims Orlando Challenger Title; Nanda Wins Wichita $25K; Tiafoe Beats Kudla in Nottingham Challenger Final; Anderson Captures $25K in Spain

Christopher Eubanks trailed qualifier Nicolas Mejia 6-2, 1-1 when rain sent the final of the ATP Challenger 80 in Orlando indoors. For the big-serving former Georgia Tech star, that was a break in both senses of the word, allowing him time to regroup and to get on a faster surface that favors his game style.

Eubanks didn't have a break point until 2-3 in the second set, which the 21-year-old Colombian saved, but he prevailed with just one service break in the match, earning a 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 victory and his first title since 2018 and second Challenger title overall. Mejia returned well despite Eubanks' 16 aces in the match, but it was Eubanks ability to stay in mid-length rallies that proved to be the difference in the match. After losing in the first round of French qualifying and the second round at last week's Little Rock Challenger, Eubanks got a much needed confidence boost for the summer, although with a ranking of 241, the 25-year-old from Atlanta is currently the ninth alternate for Wimbledon qualifying.

No. 4 seeds Christian Harrison and Canadian Peter Polansky won the doubles title in Orlando, defeating unseeded JC Aragone(Virginia) and Nicolas Barrientos of Colombia 6-2, 6-3 in the final.

At the USTA men's $25,000 Pro Circuit tournament in Wichita Kansas, UCLA junior Govind Nanda earned his third Pro Circuit title at the $25K level, defeating Patrick Kypson(Texas A&M) 7-6(6), 6-2 in today's two-hour final. The 20-year-old Nanda, who had lost his previous two meetings with Kypson, is now a perfect 3-0 in Pro Circuit finals, with his previous two titles coming in 2019. Before he made the Kalamazoo 18s final and then won his second $25K that fall, I spoke to him at Junior Wimbledon for this Tennis Recruiting Network article, and asked why he seems to produce his best tennis while competing in Pro Circuit.

The wild card team from Wichita State, Nicolas Acevedo Olmos of Chile and Murkel Dellien of Bolivia, won the doubles title, beating John McNally(Ohio State) and Canadian Benjamin Sigouin(North Carolina) 6-4, 2-6, 12-10 in last night's final.

With the grass court season starting before the completion of the French Open this year, many players are trying to get as many matches as possible, and two Americans got some valuable preparation this week at the ATP Challenger 125 in Nottingham. Frances Tiafoe won his first grass court title today, beating fellow Junior Tennis Champions Center product Denis Kudla 6-1, 6-3 in the final. Kudla, the No. 6 seed, defeated top seed Dan Evans of Great Britain 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in the quarterfinals, but after four consecutive three-set wins, he wasn't able to bring his best today against the No. 2 seed. 

Another American champion in Europe today was Robin Anderson, the former UCLA All-American, who won the title at the $25,000 ITF World Tennis Tour tournament in Madrid Spain. The 28-year-old Anderson saved a match point in her 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-6(8) win over Australian teenager Olivia Gadecki, earning first title since 2017. 

At the ITF WTT $15,000 tournament in Tunisia, LSU recruit Jenna DeFalco reached her first final of the Pro Circuit, but the unseeded 18-year-old lost to top seed Miharu Imanishi of Japan 6-0, 6-4.

Closer to home, at the women's WTT $25,000 tournament in the Dominican Republic, Emina Bektas(Michigan) reached the final in singles and won the doubles title with Quinn Gleason(Notre Dame). Bektas and Gleason, the top seeds, defeated the wild card team of Kelly Williford(Virginia Tech) and Ana Zamburek of the Dominican Republic 7-5, 6-4 in the final. Bektas, who was unseeded in singles, lost to No. 7 seed Ana Sanchez Palau of Mexico in a three-hour and 24 minute marathon final, 3-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(9). 

The women's doubles final preceded Novak Djokovic's 19th major men's singles title today at the French Open, with No. 14 seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Iga Swiatek of Poland falling to women's singles champion Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova 6-4, 6-2. The Czech team, seeded No. 2, have now won three slams in women's doubles, and Krejcikova is the first player since Mary Pierce in 2000 to win both titles in the same year at Roland Garros.