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Saturday, November 20, 2021

Kozlov Earns Australian Open Wild Card with Semifinal Win Over Wolf; All-US Finals in Austin and Columbus $25Ks; Short and Sec Claim Doubles Title at ITF J1 in Mexico

The Australian Open wild card showdown between JJ Wolf and Stefan Kozlov in the semifinals of the ATP Challenger 80 in Champaign was something of a letdown, with No. 8 seed Kozlov needing only 70 minutes to defeat No. 3 seed JJ Wolf 6-2, 6-3. Wolf got off to a slow start and couldn't find any foothold in the match, and with his serve off--he had just 2 aces and 6 double faults--Kozlov seemed to be on the offensive throughout the match. He put pressure on Wolf's second serve and protected his own; Kozlov was broken just once, serving for the match at 5-2 in the second, but he broke Wolf for the fifth time to get the win. Kozlov has now won three of their four meetings this fall, with this one the most decisive of those victories.  The 23-year-old will make his main draw debut in a slam in Melbourne in January.

Kozlov will play for his second Challenger title in three weeks tomorrow, and it will be a repeat of the Charlottesville Challenger final. Former University of Illinois star Aleks Vukic of Australia will again be the opponent, after No. 4 seed Vukic defeated unseeded Yosuke Watanuki of Japan 7-6(8), 6-4.  Kozlov defeated Vukic 6-2, 6-3 in the Charlottesville Challenger. (Tweets from that title below):

In the doubles final today, top seeds Jackson Withrow(Texas A&M) and Nate Lammons(SMU) took the title, defeating No. 2 seeds Treat Huey(Virginia) of the Philippines and Max Schnur(Columbia) 6-4, 3-6, 10-6.

The final at the $25,000 men's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Columbus will feature two players intimately familiar with the setting, as Ohio State sophomore JJ Tracy and recent graduate John McNally posted victories in today's semifinals. Tracy defeated teammate Cannon Kingsley, the No. 6 seed, 6-3, 6-1, giving him three victories over teammates this week. The 19-year-old is playing in his first USTA Pro Circuit event this week; his only previous professional match came in the Columbus Challenger in September. 

McNally, the No. 7 seed, defeated Wake Forest's Taha Baadi of Canada 6-1, 6-3 to advance to his second career Pro Circuit final. McNally, 23, has not come close to losing a set this week.

In the doubles final, No. 4 seeds Adrien Burdet and Leandro Riedi of Switzerland defeated wild cards Tracy and Robert Cash 7-6(5), 7-6(2).

Both players with ties to Texas lost today in the semifinals of the $25,000 men's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Austin. Qualifier Colin Markes, a former Longhorn, lost to lucky loser Eduardo Nava, a senior at Wake Forest, 7-6(5), 6-1. No. 7 seed Eliot Spizzirri, a sophomore at Texas, lost to Kalamazoo 18s champion Zachary Svajda, the No. 2 seed, 6-2, 6-4. Svajda, who turns 19 at the end of the month, will be playing for his first Pro Circuit singles title.

In the doubles final, former and current Florida Gators Alfredo Perez and Portugal's Duarte Vale took the title, with the No. 4 seeds defeating wild cards Philip Henning(Georgia) and Joubert Klopper(Vanderbilt) of South Africa 7-6(1), 6-2. It's the first Pro Circuit doubles title for Perez and the second for Vale.

The singles final at the $15,000 men's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in East Lansing will feature top seed Raymond Sarmiento(USC) and Kentucky Wildcat junior Gabriel Diallo of Canada. Sarmiento defeated No. 3 seed Alex Brown(Illinois) 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 and Diallo beat qualifier Alex Knaff(Florida State) of Luxembourg 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-2. 

In today's doubles final, unseeded Joshua Sheehy(Abilene Christian) and Chad Kissell(Valparaiso) defeated wild cards Ozan Colak and Jackson Winkler(Michigan State) 6-4, 6-2 to win their first Pro Circuit titles. 

Qualifier Alexa Graham lost her semifinal match today at the $25,000 women's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Naples, with No. 4 seed Sujeong Jang of Korea defeating the recent North Carolina graduate 2-6, 7-5, 6-1. Jang will face Nefisa Berberovic of Bosnia, who beat No. 8 seed Lulu Sun(Texas) 6-3, 6-2. 

Elli Mandlik and Hanna Chang won the doubles titles, with the unseeded pair defeating top seeds Connie Hsu(Penn) of Taiwan and Jessy Rompies(Clemson) of Indonesia 6-4, 1-6, 10-7 in today's final.

Top seed Linda Fruhvirtova defeated younger sister Brenda, the No. 2 seed, 6-4, 7-6(5) in the final of the ITF J1 in Guadalajara Mexico. They had already won the doubles title earlier in the day, with the top seeds defeating No. 3 seeds Liv Hovde and Ava Krug 6-1, 6-3.

No. 4 seed Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez of Mexico won the boys singles title, beating No. 3 seed Ignacio Buse of Chile 7-6(5), 7-5. Pacheco Mendez was denied a sweep however, with the unseeded American pair of Ellis Short and Sebastian Sec defeating Pacheco Mendez and Luis Carlos Alvarez Valdes of Mexico 6-3, 6-1 in the final.