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Sunday, November 14, 2021

Eubanks Claims Title at Knoxville Challenger; Champaign Challenger to Decide Australian Open Wild Card; Jubb Wins Harlingen $25K; Trio of ITF's Top Juniors Earn First Pro Titles; UTR Pro Tennis Tour Results, 2022 Calendar

When Christopher Eubanks makes 78 percent of his first serves, he is going to be hard to beat, and the former Georgia Tech All-American was on top of his game today in the final of the ATP Challenger 80 in Knoxville. The unseeded 25-year-old from Atlanta defeated No. 2 seed Daniel Altmaier of Germany 6-3, 6-4 to win his third career Challenger title and his second this year.

Both Eubanks and Altamier had eight aces in the match, but that doesn't give an accurate picture of Eubanks' dominance on serve. His many service winners, and his first forehand on Altmaier's weak returns were also part of the story. Eubanks did not face a break point, in fact was never even taken to deuce on his serve, and his unforced errors were few, giving Altmaier little hope that he could get a break and change the dynamic of the match, as he had done in his quarterfinal win over Jack Sock and his semifinal win over Michael Mmoh.

Eubanks, who won the Orlando Challenger in June, told me that returning to Atlanta and to the basic strengths of his game would be key elements for him in moving up the ATP rankings. "I think that's something that's maybe happened to me in the past, losing the identity of how I want to play, kind of shutting out the noise. For me, [college] was having that constant reinforcement: this is how you're going to play and this is what we're doing every day to make sure you're as good as possible at executing that kind of game style." (My interview with Eubanks can be found at the Tennis Recruiting Network).

Eubanks will now be just a couple of spots off his career-high of 147 reached in April of 2019 and he can plan on Australian Open qualifying, a luxury he did not have with Wimbledon right after winning the Orlando Challenger(see the article linked above). He is not playing in Champaign next week, so he is not in the running for the USTA's Australian Open wild card. That will be decided between Stefan Kozlov, JJ Wolf(Ohio State) and Michael Mmoh, all of whom are entered in Champaign. Kozlov and Wolf are scheduled to play their first round matches Monday.

Qualifying began today in Champaign, and already there has been a big upset, with wild card Hunter Heck, a sophomore at Illinois, beating top qualifying seed Aidan McHugh, a quarterfinalist at Knoxville, 6-4, 6-4. Heck will take on Florida sophomore Ben Shelton, who beat No. 5 seed Govind Nanda(UCLA) by the same score. 

Maxime Cressy(UCLA) lost to Oscar Otte of Germany 7-6(5), 6-4 today in the final of the ATP Challenger 80 in Ortisei Italy, ending his opportunity to win the Australian Open wild card. Even if he wins next week's Challenger in France, he can't catch Kozlov. (CORRECTION: there are 100 points on offer in France, so Cressy can catch Kozlov with the title).

In other college champion news, 2019 NCAA singles champion Paul Jubb (South Carolina) of Great Britain won the $25,000 USTA men's Pro Circuit tournament in Harlingen Texas today. The top seed defeated unseeded Baylor junior Adrian Boitan of Romania 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 for his third $25K title since September. Jubb, who has now won five ITF World Tennis Tour men's singles titles this year, and seven in his career, will improve on his current career-high ATP ranking of 342 when the points are added in two weeks.

At the $25,000 USTA women's Pro Circuit tournament in Daytona Beach, No. 2 seed Irina Fetecau of Romania defeated top seed Alycia Parks 6-1, 6-2.

There were several notable results today from top ITF Juniors, which I'm featuring here because I don't know if I'll be able to squeeze them into the November Aces column.

ITF No. 1 junior Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra won her first ITF World Tennis Tour women's singles title today at the $25,000 tournament in Brazil. The unseeded 16-year-old left-hander, who is entered in both the Mexico JA and the Orange Bowl, defeated top seed and WTA 116 Panna Udvardy of Hungary 6-3, 7-5 in the final.

Seventeen-year-old Diana Shnaider of Russia, won her first pro title at the $15,000 ITF WTT women's tournament in Turkey today. Shnaider, who is entered in the J1 Eddie Herr and Orange Bowl, defeated No. 4 seed Pia Lovric of Slovenia 6-3, 6-2 in the final. 

Incoming University of Texas freshman Pierre Yves Bailly of Belgium won his first ITF WTT title today at the $15,000 tournament in Tunisia. The 18-year-old Bailly, who is joining the Longhorns in January, defeated No. 7 seed Dominik Boehler of Germany 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 in a three-hour final. 

Both Shnaider, ranked 5, and Bailly, ranked 24, received entry based on the ITF junior reserved program, which provides spots in the main draw for juniors ranked in the ITF Top 100.

Below is the latest results from the UTR Pro Tennis Tour events in the United States from mid-September through this weekend. The winners receive $3475, while the finalists receive $1750 in these tournaments, which feature a round robin stage leading to a knockout round. The calendar for the first half of 2022 has been released, and there are still quite a few events remaining before the end of this year, including a men's tournament in New York December 26 through January 2.

WOMEN:

Sept 20 College Station
Tatiana Makarova d. Jayci Goldsmith 6-3, 6-4

Sept 27 Atlanta
Luciana Perry d. Ashton Bowers 1-6, 6-2, 6-1

Oct 11 Newport Beach
Marcela Zacarias d. Nikita Vishwase 6-0, 6-1

Oct 18 Newport Beach
Marcela Zacarias d. Rebecca Lynn 6-1, 6-1

Oct 25 Charleston
Makenna Jones d. Kennedy Shaffer 6-4, 6-4

Nov 1 Naples
Victoria Rodriguez d. Ariana Pursoo 6-3, 6-3

Nov 8 Atlanta
Victoria Rodriguez d. Peangtarn Plipuech 6-4, 6-2

MEN:

Sept 20 College Station
Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi d. Pierce Rollins 6-3, 6-4

Oct 4 Sacramento
Will Peters d. Lucca Liu 6-4, 5-7, 6-0

Oct 11 Newport Beach
JC Aragone d. Govind Nanda 6-2, 6-3

Nov 1 Miami
Maximiliano Estevez d. Francisco Bastias 4-6, 6-4, 6-1

Nov 8 Newport Beach
Maciej Rajski d. Patrick Zahraj 6-3, 7-5

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