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Sunday, October 10, 2021

Teens Shelton and Hamner Claim First ITA All-American Titles for Florida and South Carolina; Americans Capture Four of Five Singles Titles in Sunday's USTA Pro Circuit Action

University of Florida sophomore Ben Shelton and University of South Carolina freshman Sarah Hamner won the first Division I majors of the 2021-22 collegiate season today in Tulsa Oklahoma and Charleston South Carolina.

Shelton, who was unseeded, defeated University of San Diego fifth-year senior August Holmgren, also unseeded, 6-3, 6-4 this morning to become the first Gator to win the men's All-American singles title.

Shelton, who turned 19 yesterday, went up a quick break in the first set, the only one he needed, to take the lead. In the second set, the 2021 Kalamazoo 18s finalist fell behind 3-1, but won the next four games to close out Holmgren, who had beaten Jordan Thompson, the ATP No. 75, in the San Diego Open qualifying two weeks ago.

In his six victories, Shelton did not drop a set, with his closest match a 7-6(7), 7-5 quarterfinal win over qualifier JJ Tracy of Ohio State.

Hamner, who was the ITA's No. 1 newcomer for this season, won three matches in qualifying just to get into the main draw, but after what the 18-year-old from Florida had done last fall in ITF junior events, it was no surprise that she was able to hold up physically and mentally this week.

In the final, Hamner defeated No. 8 seed Alexa Noel of Iowa 6-0, 3-6, 5-2 ret. to take the first major title in the history of the South Carolina women's program.  Hamner is the first freshman to win the All-American title since Jamie Loeb in 2013; Loeb went on to win the ITA Indoor (now Fall Championships) the following month.

I would like to have more to offer on these two finals, which two years ago were available on ESPN+, but there were no streams this year. The women did not have live streaming at all for their tournament, while the stream of the men's final, which was promoted by the ITA, did not work. It's extremely disappointing for college tennis fans that exposure for the sport is decreasing rather than improving.

The men's doubles title went to Ohio State's Robert Cash and Matej Vocel, who beat teammates Justin Boulais and James Trotter 6-3, 6-2. 

Wake Forest's Anna Brylin and Brooke Killingsworth won the women's doubles title, the program's first at the ITA All-American Championships.  The only seeds to win a title today, the No. 6 seeds defeated Tatsiana Sasnouskaya and Yuliia Starodubtseva of Old Dominion 2-6, 7-6(6), 10-3.

For more on today's championship matches, see this article at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

Last week was one of the busiest weeks in the US since the pre-pandemic days, with five USTA Pro Circuit events, as well as the ITF JB1 Pan American Closed and the first week of the BNP Paribas Open.  Four of the five singles titles this week were won by Americans, and three of the five titles went to former collegians. 

At the $60,000 women's tournament in Las Vegas Nevada, former Michigan star Emina Bektas took the title, with the No. 6 seed defeating former Oklahoma star Lily Miyazaki of Japan 6-1, 6-1 in the final. No. 2 seeds Quinn Gleason(Notre Dame) and Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia won the doubles title, beating top seeds Bektas and Tara Moore of Great Britain 7-6(5), 7-5.  For more on today's finals, see this article from press aide Steve Pratt.

Former UCLA star Catherine Harrison won her first title in over two years at the $25,000 tournament in Redding California. The 27-year-old from Tennessee, who was unseeded, defeated No. 6 seed Dalila Jakupovic of Slovenia 6-1, 6-1 for her second career ITF Pro Circuit title, both at the $25,000 level.

The other three USTA Pro Circuit events this week were at the $15,000 level. 

In Ithaca New York, Great Britain's Charlie Broom, who played for Baylor last year as a graduate student after graduating from Dartmouth, won his first Pro Circuit title. Broom defeated compatriot Henry Patten(UNC-Asheville) 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 in today's final.  Broom and Patten won the doubles title Saturday, with the No. 3 seeds beating No. 4 seeds Eduardo Nava(Wake Forest) and Nathan Ponwith(Arizona State) 7-6(6), 6-3.

In rainy Hilton Head South Carolina, No. 2 seed Katerina Stewart defeated Raveena Kingsley 6-4, 6-2 for the title. Top seeds Stewart and Anastasia Sysoeva of Russia won the doubles title via walkover, which were common throughout the week due to the wet weather.  

Ryan Harrison won the tournament in Naples Florida, with the No. 2 seed defeating No. 3 seed Antoine Cornut Chavinc of France, who is a freshman at Florida State, 6-3, 7-5. Cornut Chavinc and teammate John Bernard won the doubles title, beating the top- seeded Swiss team of Louroi Martinez and Damien Wenger 6-3, 6-7(2), 10-8 in today's final.


Anonymous said...

Absolute shame that neither All American tournament has live streaming! What the heck is the ITA doing? Time for a change there.