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Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Mboko Travels From Turkey Monday, Earns Two Wins Tuesday at ITF JB1 PanAm Closed; Nanda's Eye-popping Comeback at Indian Wells Qualifying; ITA All-American Championships Begin Wednesday

©Colette Lewis 2021--
Nicholasville, KY

Although she just turned 15 in August, Victoria Mboko is a seasoned traveler, with no better example of that ability than her matter-of-fact account of how her day went Monday.

Competing for Canada at the ITF U16 Junior Billie Jean King Cup in Antalya Turkey on Sunday, Mboko was able to lead her team to a fifth place finish, playing No. 1 singles. As a seed in the ITF JB1 Pan American Closed, Mboko was not scheduled to play until Tuesday, so making the trip to Kentucky, seven times zones away, was feasible, if only barely.

But after five flights and not a single missed connection, the second-seeded Mboko was at the Top Seed Tennis Club Tuesday morning. A few hours later she took the court, and showing no signs of jet lag, beat Ashton Bowers 6-0, 6-0. With that as a warmup, she then proceeded to pick up a doubles win with fellow Canadian Kayla Cross, at approximately 1 a.m. Wednesday Turkish time.

"It was five flights, I think, a lot of connections," Mboko said. "I'm a little jet-lagged, it's seven hours difference and it's hard to adjust. But tennis is about adjusting all the time. I came from outdoor red clay to indoor hard court, but I'll manage. It's pretty familiar to me."

Mboko played on Canada's 14U World Junior Tennis team two years ago in the Czech Republic, so she knew what to expect from the older age division's team event. 

"I'm pretty familiar with the whole Fed Cup thing," Mboko said. "It feels nice to play for my country. I play a lot of international tournaments, so it's pretty similar."

Scheduling back-to-back weeks under these circumstances reveals just how ambitious Mboko's goals are. 

"I want to be top ITF," said Mboko, who is currently 72 in the rankings. "Eventually get my ranking up to play more junior slams, and eventually play some women's tournaments. It's all in the process."

The other three Canadian girls who make up the top four seeds this week also advanced, with No. 1 Annabelle Xu defeating Yichen Zhao of China 6-2, 7-5, Cross, the No. 3 seed, beating Kaitlin Quevedo 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 and No. 4 seed Marina Stakusic downing wild card Katherine Hui 7-5, 6-3.  The only Top 8 seed in girls draw to lose today was No. 7 Alexis Harmon, who was beaten by unseeded Canadian Cadence Brace 6-3, 6-3. 

Other girls beating seeds today were Emma Charney, who took out No. 11 seed Mia Slama 6-4, 6-0; Ariana Pursoo, who beat No. 14 seed Madeleine Jessup 6-1, 6-2 and USTA National 16s champion Tatum Evans, who defeated No. 9 seed Olivia Lincer 6-1, 6-3.

Five seeded boys lost today in their first matches, and as with the girls just one of those was in the Top 8.  Preston Stearns, who came from a set down to beat Nathan Cox in a third-set tiebreaker on Monday, came back again today, beating No. 7 seed Timothy Phung 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. 

Leanid Boika defeated No. 16 seed Joseph Phillips 6-4, 6-2; Michael Zheng beat No. 11 seed Sebastian Gorzny 6-0, 6-4; Nicholas Kotzen took out No. 10 seed Marko Stakusic 7-6(1), 7-6(3) and Sean Daryabeigi defeated No. 14 seed Alexander Frusina 6-2, 7-5.

Top seed Ethan Quinn won in straight sets, beating Ellis Short 6-1, 7-5, but he had to come from 5-0 down in the second set to avoid going three. No. 2 seed Ozan Colak, the only seed left in his quarter, defeated Eli Stephenson 6-4, 6-2.

All eight seeds in the girls doubles advanced to the quarterfinals, while six of the eight seeds in the boys doubles won today.

Girls top seeds Mboko and Cross defeated Evans and Aubrey Nisbet 6-3, 7-5 and No. 2 seeds Qavia Lopez and Stakusic beat Daniella Ben-Abraham and Quevedo 6-1, 6-2.

Boys top seeds Colak and Ryan Colby defeated Daryabeigi and Armando Sotelo of Mexico 6-1, 6-4 and No. 2 seeds Jack Anthrop and Benjamin Kittay defeated Gorzny and Evan Wen 6-3, 6-4.

Quang Duong and Learner Tien beat No. 4 seeds Yannik Rahman and Short 6-1, 6-2 and Ekansh Kumar and Alex Michelsen defeated No. 7 seeds Zane Ford and Luca Hotze 6-2, 6-4.

The round of 16 in singles and the quarterfinals in doubles are scheduled for Wednesday.

The opening round of men's qualifying for the BNP Paribas Open was today, with Govind Nanda stealing the show with his amazing comeback. After losing the first set to Mitchell Krueger 6-0, the 20-year-old Californian came back to force a tiebreaker in the second set, saving four match points en route to winning it 12-10. He then trailed 5-1 in the third set before winning the final six games of the match for a 0-6, 7-6(10), 7-5 victory. Nanda, who turned pro this summer after three seasons at UCLA, will face Cem Ilkel of Turkey Wednesday for a place in the main draw.

Other American men advancing to the final round of qualifying: Bjorn Fratangelo, Chris Eubanks(Georgia Tech), Ernesto Escobedo, Maxime Cressy(UCLA), Stefan Kozlov and Thai Kwiatkowski(Virginia). Christian Harrison has yet to play tonight.

The women's qualifiers were determined today, with Usue Arconada and Alycia Parks reaching the main draw. Both Peyton Stearns and Reese Brantmeier lost their final round qualifying matches today.

The main draws were also released today. All draws and the order of play for Wednesday can be found here

The qualifying is complete at the men's ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, with the main draw set to begin on Wednesday.  The list of the 16 singles qualifiers, which includes three players from Pepperdine, can be found here. Links to live streaming and live scoring are also on this page.

The top 8 singles seeds:
1.Daniel Rodrigues, South Carolina
2. Johannus Monday, Tennessee
3. Luc Fomba, TCU
4, Finn Reynolds, Mississippi
5. Trent Bryde, Georgia
6. Gabriel Diallo, Kentucky
7. Andres Andrade, Florida
8. Philip Henning, Georgia

The final round of the women's qualifying at the ITA All-American Championships in Charleston South Carolina was washed out this afternoon, so those matches have been rescheduled for Wednesday morning. The main draw is also scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

The top 8 singles seeds:
1. Abigail Forbes, UCLA
2. Janice Tjen, Pepperdine
3. Georgia Drummy, Duke
4. Irina Cantos Siemers, Ohio State
5. Bunyawi Thamchaiwat, San Diego State
6. Tatiana Makarova, Texas A&M
7. Viktoryia Kanapatskaya, Syracuse
8. Alexa Noel, Iowa