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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Kalieva One of Four Juniors Reaching ITF Pro Circuit Finals; Three Unseeded Champions at Tennis Europe 14U and 16U Masters Championships; Norrie Advances to BNP Paribas Open Final

It's a banner week when a couple of juniors reach finals in USTA and ITF Pro Circuit tournaments, but this week has seen four such achievements, with 18-year-old Elvina Kalieva leading the way.

Kalieva, the Easter Bowl finalist and US Open girls quarterfinalist, advanced to the final of the $60,000 tournament in Rancho Santa Fe by defeating No. 2 seed Fiona Ferro of France 4-6, 6-4, 3-0 ret.

Ferro, at 83 in the rankings, is more than 500 spots above Kalieva, who advanced to the main draw via qualifying. But Kalieva has now defeated the No. 4, No. 8 and No. 2 seeds this week, and will need to prevail over top seed Rebecca Peterson of Sweden if she is to claim her first ITF women's Pro Circuit title. Peterson defeated No. 3 seed Madison Brengle 6-4, 6-2 today.

The other three finalists are at a $15,000 tournaments, a level more conducive to junior finalists.

Just three weeks after capturing his first USTA Pro Circuit title in Arkansas, 16-year-old Juncheng Jerry Shang of China is in another final, this time in Naples Florida. Shang, the ITF's top-ranked junior, has played only three Pro Circuit main draws, all since reaching the final of the US Open junior championships last month, and has a record of 10-1. Today he defeated No. 3 seed Damien Wenger of Switzerland 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.  Shang will face University of Florida senior Duarte Vale of Portugal, who beat lucky loser Blu Baker of Great Britain 7-6(2), 6-3. This is Vale's second $15K final since August. 

Seventeen-year-old Bruno Kuzuhara won his first professional title today, partnering with fellow teenager Abedallah Shelbayh of Jordan to take the doubles championship. Shelbayh, a freshman at Florida defeated Vale and former Florida Gator Johannes Ingildsen of Denmark 6-4, 6-1 in today's final. 

Annabelle Xu of Canada continued her run at the tournament in Norman Oklahoma, with the 17-year-old defeating Oklahoma State senior Martina Zerulo of Italy 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals. Xu, will face Raveena Kingsley, also unseeded, in Sunday's final. Kinglsey defeated wild card Ivana Corley(Oklahoma) 6-3, 7-6(3).

The Oklahoma State team of Zerulo and Oona Orpana of Finland took the doubles title, defeating Kelly Williford(Virginia Tech) of the Dominican Republic and South Carolina recruit McKenna Schaefbauer 6-2, 5-7, 10-6. Both teams were unseeded. 

In Cancun, University of Florida recruit Rachel Gailis is through to the final, her second at the $15K level, after Pamela Montez retired at 3-6, 6-3. Gailis will play 19-year-old Darja Semenistaja of Latvia, the top seed, who defeated Madison Sieg. Semenistaja is going for her third straight title in as many weeks in Cancun.

Christian Langmo, the former Miami standout, is also going for his third title in three weeks tomorrow in Cancun against recent Tennessee standout Giles Hussey of Great Britain.

The Tennis Europe Masters event, which featured eight of the top 14U and 16U players in Europe, concluded yesterday, with only one seed claiming a title.

The boys 14s title went to Max Schoenhaus of Germany, who beat compatriot Justin Engel 7-5, 7-5 in a contest between two unseeded players. 

The only seeded player to win was in the girls 14s, where No. 3 Laura Samsonova of defeated No. 4 seed Eva Maria Ionescu of Romania 6-4, 6-4.

In the 16s, Russia's Mariia Masiianskaia claimed the girls title with a 6-4, 7-5 win over No. 4 seed Monika Stankiewicz of Poland, and Bosnia and Herzegovina's Marko Maksimovic won the boys title with a 7-5, 6-3 win over No. 4 seed Michal Karjci of Slovakia.

For more on the finals, see this Tennis Europe article.

Former TCU star Cameron Norrie keeps adding to his fantastic season, reaching the final of the ATP Masters 1000 BNP Paribas Open with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgari today in Indian Wells. Norrie, the No. 21 seed, will face No. 29 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia, who beat Taylor Fritz this evening 7-6(5), 6-3. Norrie will break into the Top 20 for the first time, just over four years after leaving TCU after his junior year in 2017. Not only will Norrie become the British No. 1 after this week, but he will also be the highest ranked player, male or female, to have competed in college. He will move past John Isner(Georgia) and Danielle Collins(Virginia).

For more on Norrie's win today, see this article from the ATP.