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Saturday, October 30, 2021

Mensik, Marcinko Win ITF JA Titles in South Africa; Filin and Goetz Claim J4 Championships; Kozlov and Wolf to Meet in Las Vegas Challenger Final; Tiafoe and Fritz Advance to ATP Finals

The JA in Cape Town South Africa concluded today, with No. 3 seeds triumphant in both the boys and girls draws.  Petra Marcinko of Croatia defeated fellow 15-year-old Clervie Ngounoue, the No. 6 seed, 6-3, 6-3 for her first JA title. The best Marcinko had done in a JA before this week were quarterfinals at this summer's JA in Milan and the US Open Junior Championships.

Jakub Mensik of the Czech Republic defeated top seed Leo Borg of Sweden 6-3, 6-2 to win his first JA title. Mensik, who is 16, reached the final of the JA in Milan three months ago.

Fifteen-year-olds Nikita Filin and Taylor Goetz won the singles titles yesterday at the J4 in Lexington South Carolina, with Goetz completing her semifinal match Friday morning, then adding another win in the final a short time later. Goetz defeated top seed Isabella Chhiv 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-0 in their rain-interrupted semifinal, then took out Maddy Zampardo 7-6(0), 6-3 in the championship match.  Zampardo had managed to complete her semifinal Thursday before the rain arrived. Goetz now has two ITF Junior singles titles, both claimed this year.

No. 6 seed Filin, who had saved three match points in his 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 second round win over Will Mayew, had the advantage over Roy Horovitz, who had to finish his semifinal Friday morning, beating qualifier Andrew Delgado 7-6(4), 6-3. Filin, who had just finished his semifinal before the rain Thursday, defeated the unseeded Horovitz 6-3, 7-5 in the final, earning his first ITF Junior Circuit title.

Zampardo and Vivian Miller, the reigning 16s Orange Bowl champions, won the girls doubles title, with the unseeded pair defeating No. 2 seeds Victoria Osuigwe and Rose Seccia 6-0, 6-0 in the final.

The Delgado brothers, Andrew and James, won their second consecutive boys doubles title. Last week's Atlanta J4 champions, unseeded this week, defeated top seeds Adhithya Ganesan and China's Fnu Nidunjianzan 6-3, 6-3 in the final.  

Stefan Kozlov and JJ Wolf (Ohio State) will meet for the ATP Challenger 80 title in Las Vegas Sunday just over a month after they met in the semifinals of the ATP Challenger in Columbus. Kozlov, who went on to take the title, won that match 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, but Wolf had won their previous two Challenger meetings prior to last month.

Today, Wolf beat Michael Mmoh 6-3, 6-2 and Kozlov defeated wild card Aleks Kovacevic(Illinois) 6-2, 6-4.  

In the Las Vegas doubles final, No. 4 seeds Will Blumberg(North Carolina) and Max Schnur(Columbia) defeated No. 8 seeds Evan King(Michigan) and Jason Jung(Michigan) 7-5, 6-7(5), 10-5. It's the second Challenger title this fall for Blumberg and Schnur, who won in Cary last month.

Brandon Nakashima(Virginia) is in Sunday's final at the ATP Challenger 90 in France, with the No. 4 seed facing unseeded Joao Sousa of Portugal for his second Challenger title of the year. With his win today, Nakashima has now qualified for the Next Gen finals next month in Milan, joining Americans Jenson Brooksby and Sebastian Korda in that 21-and-under tournament.

Frances Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz have both advanced to ATP finals, the first time since 2015 that two American men have played in different ATP finals on the same day. Tiafoe, who had to qualify for the ATP 500 in Vienna, was down 6-3, 5-2 to No. 7 seed Jannik Sinner of Italy before rebounding for a 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory. Tiafoe will face No. 2 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany in Tiafoe's first ATP final since April of 2018.

Fritz came back to defeat Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 to reach his sixth ATP final in St. Petersburg. The fifth-seeded Fritz will play unseeded Marin Cilic of Croatia Sunday.

I'll be at the first day of qualifying at the WTA 125 Dow Tennis Classic in Midland Sunday. I can't find the draw anywhere, but the order of play is available here.