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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Shang Adds Third USTA Pro Circuit Title in Past Month at Vero Beach; Brengle Claims Macon $80K; Li Wins First WTA Title; ITF JA in South Africa Begins Monday

Since falling in the boys final at the US Open to Spain's Daniel Rincon, 16-year-old Juncheng "Jerry" Shang of China has lost one match, to former ATP Top 50 player Ryan Harrison, 13 years older. Shang has won 16 matches, all at $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournaments in the United States, with his third title since the end of September coming today in Vero Beach Florida.

Shang, who trains at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, defeated No. 3 seed Ricardo Rodriguez-Pace of Venezuela 7-6(6), 6-4 for his second straight title, having won last week's $15K in Naples Florida. Shang, the ITF's top-ranked junior, had the advantage of not having to go through qualifying at any of the four $15Ks he played the past five weeks; although he had no ATP ranking, and was given no wild cards, Shang was able to take advantage of the ITF junior reserved program, which sets aside three main draw spots at every $15K tournament for its Top 100 juniors. 

In the past two weeks, Shang has lost just one set in his ten victories, and has won all three tiebreakers he has played.

After the US Open final, I asked him if he was planning to play any more junior events, particularly the upcoming Florida tournaments that close out the year, and he said most likely no, although he did say he was considering one more junior slam.

"Maybe I'll go to Australia," he said. "That would be the last grand slam for the juniors. Hopefully it will be a good transition year to the pros next year."

After his success this past month, Shang is ahead of schedule and should be able to get into the main draw of $25K tournaments going forward.

In the final of the $15,000 men's ITF World Tennis Tour tournament in Cancun, Wimbledon boys finalist Victor Lilov fell to top seed Matias Descotte of Argentina 7-5, 6-4.

Top seed Madison Brengle won the title at the $80,000 USTA women's Pro Circuit event in Macon Georgia, beating No. 2 seed Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Brengle, who should move up to 70 in the WTA rankings with the title, had not won a title since before the pandemic.

Twenty-one-year-old Ann Li won her first WTA title today at the 250 in Tenerife Spain, defeating 2019 US Open girls champion Camila Osorio of Colombia 6-1, 6-4. Li, who had shared a title with Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in a 2021 pre-Australian Open tournament where the final wasn't played, is now 23-13 on the WTA tour this year, which included several months out with an injury. Coincidentally, Kontaveit also won a title today, at the 500 in Moscow.

For more on today's Tenerife final, see this article from the WTA.

The ITF JA in Cape Town South Africa begins Monday, after the completion of qualifying over the weekend. Four Americans are in the main draws: Yannik Rahman, Olivia Lincer, Qavia Lopez and Clervie Ngounoue[6]. Benjamin Kittay and Azuma Visaya, initially on the acceptance list, were late withdrawals. 

With the late withdrawal of Aleksander Orlikowski of Poland, Leo Borg of Sweden is the top boys seeds. Brenda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic is the top seed in the girls draw.

Ngounoue was the only American to claim a title last week on the ITF Junior Circuit, with the exception of all the champions at the J4 in Atlanta, which I covered the past several days. Ngounoue won the doubles title at the J2 warmup tournament in South Africa, with Amelie Smejkalova of the Czech Republic. The No. 3 seeds defeated Irina Balus of Slovakia and Natacha Schou of Denmark, who were unseeded, 6-4, 6-2 in the final. 

Ngounoue and Lopez reached the singles quarterfinals. Top seed Johanne Svendsen of Denmark won the girls title, with No. 8 seed Orel Kimhi of Israel claiming the boys singles title.

At the J3 in Mexico, Ava Krug and Luca Hotze reached the singles finals, and Carla Pacot and Catherine Walker advanced to the girls doubles final. 

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