Thursday, July 29, 2021

Nakashima Defeats Top Seed Raonic to Reach Atlanta Quarterfinals; Mateas Joins Five Other Americans in Charleston WTA 125 Quarterfinals; Exsted and An Win Les Petits As USA Playoffs; New Endorsement for Montgomery

Brandon Nakashima decided to take advantage of his special exemption into the Truist Atlanta Open this week after reaching his first ATP final last week in Los Cabos, when he had to be tempted to take the week off to recover.  But there's a case to be made for momentum as well, and in Atlanta Nakashima got by wild card Trent Bryde(Georgia) 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-4 in the first round to earn a shot at top seed Milos Raonic of Canada, who took a wild card this week to play in his first event since March. The former Virginia star, who turns 20 on Tuesday, took advantage of Raonic's rust to post a 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(4) win late last night, which put him in his third career ATP quarterfinal. He will play Jordan Thompson of Australia on Friday. For more on Nakashima's big win, his first over a Top 30 player, see this ATP article.

The ATP Citi Open in Washington DC announced three of its wild cards for next week's tournament, with Nakashima, Denis Kudla and Feliciano Lopez of Spain receiving entry into the main draw.

At the WTA 125 in Charleston South Carolina, Maria Mateas, the former Duke star, advanced to the quarterfinals, defeating Aldila Sutjiadi(Kentucky) of Indonesia 7-6(5), 6-4. Mateas will face No. 2 seed Lauren Davis in the Friday's quarterfinals. An American finalist is assured, with the other quarterfinal in the bottom half featuring No. 4 seed Varvara Lepchenko and Hanna Chang. In the top half, Jamie Loeb(UNC) will face En-Shou Liang of Taiwan, and Emma Navarro(Virginia) will take on Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine. Davis and Lepchenko are the only seeds remaining.

At the $25,000 USTA men's tournament in Champaign, 18-year-old wild card Ben Shelton(Florida) advanced to his first quarterfinal on the Pro Circuit, defeating Christian Langmo(Miami) 6-4, 6-4. Shelton will face No. 8 seed and 2019 NCAA singles champion Paul Jubb(South Carolina) of Great Britain, who defeated qualifier Peter Bertran(South Florida) of the Dominican Republic 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-3. Shelton and Eliot Spizzirri(Texas) also advanced to the semifinals in doubles with a win today.

The Les Petits As USA playoffs concluded today in Boca Raton Florida, with Max Exsted and Claire An taking the titles. Exsted defeated Jacob Olar 6-4, 6-2 and An downed Emily Deming 6-3, 5-7, 6-2. All four finalists had already earned main draw entry into the prestigious 14U tournament in Tarbes France in September. The third place matches decided who would get the third main draw spot reserved for US players, with Darwin Blanch defeating Matisse Farzam 6-4, 6-2 and Riley Crowder beating Sasha Kilgour 6-2, 7-5. Farzam and Kilgour will receive spots in the qualifying draw.

The last chance for a US medal in tennis at the Tokyo Olympics is up to Austin Krajicek(Texas A&M) and Tennys Sandgren(Tennessee), who will play in the bronze medal match in men's doubles. After losing to top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic of Croatia 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals Thursday, Krajicek and Sandgren will play Michael Venus(LSU) and Marcus Daniell of New Zealand Friday.

Robin Montgomery, who signed with IMG last summer, has signed an endorsement contract with Fila. The 16-year-old has worn Fila throughout her junior career, with the Junior Tennis Champions Center, where she trains, affiliated with the sportswear company. For more on Fila's addition of Montgomery to their sponsored professional athletes, see this Tennis Connected article.