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Thursday, November 18, 2021

Shelton Through to Champaign Challenger Quarterfinals; Buckeyes Abound in Columbus $25K Quarterfinals; Kalieva Reaches Last Eight at Naples $25K; Finals Set for ITF J5 in San Diego

Ben Shelton had played only one Challenger prior to this week, losing in the final round of qualifying to top seed Aleks Kovacevic(Illinois) this summer in Cary NC.

But the 19-year-old's success in on the USTA Pro Circuit and the US Open qualifying allowed him to get into this week's ATP Challenger 80 in Champaign Illinois without a wild card, and, two days after his first main draw Challenger victory, he now has a second win, and a spot in the quarterfinals.

Shelton defeated unseeded Pedja Krstin of Serbia 4-6, 6-0, 6-1, overcoming a slow start to dominate the ATP No. 317. Shelton had 11 aces and saved two of the three break points he faced in the match. He will now face Yosuke Watanuki of Japan, who upset top seed and Knoxville finalist Daniel Altmaier of Germany 6-2, 6-1. 

The other top half quarterfinal will feature No. 4 seed and former Illinois star Aleks Vukic of Australia against unseeded Go Soeda of Japan. Vukic beat qualifier Gijs Brouwer of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-4 while Soeda took out No. 5 seed Jason Jung(Michigan) of Taiwan 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.

All four quarterfinals are scheduled for Friday, with live streaming, including commentary from Mike Cation, available here. Shelton starts off the day against Watanuki, followed by No. 3 seed JJ Wolf(Ohio State) against wild card Vasil Kirkov. Vukic and Soeda are third on, with Stefan Kozlov and No. 2 seed Mitchell Krueger wrapping up the singles action Friday. If Kozlov and Wolf were both to advance, their semifinal would decide the USTA's Australian Open wild card. Maxime Cressy(UCLA) won again today in France, but if Kozlov wins tomorrow, Cressy is eliminated from consideration.

The top half of the draw at the $25,000 men's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Columbus features four current Ohio State Buckeyes. James Trotter of Japan defeated top seed Martin Damm 6-4, 6-4 in today's second round and will play teammate JJ Tracy, a wild card, in the quarterfinals Friday. Another wild card, Robert Cash, will face teammate Cannon Kingsley, the No. 6 seed, for a spot in the semifinals.

In the bottom half of the draw, No. 7 seed John McNally is the only player with Ohio State ties, but two of the other quarterfinalists are also current collegians: Alafia Ayeni of Cornell and Canadian Taha Baadi of Wake Forest, who will play in the quarterfinals. McNally will play No. 2 seed Toby Kodat.

At the $25,000 men's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Austin, four current collegians are through to the quarterfinals: lucky loser Eduardo Nava(Wake Forest), wild card Phillip Henning(Georgia) of South Africa, No. 7 seed Eliot Spizzirri of Texas and qualifier Chris Rodesch(Virginia) of Luxembourg. Spizzirri and No. 2 seed Zachary Svajda, the two-time Kalamazoo 18s champion, are the only seeds remaining. 

Three current collegians are through to the quarterfinals of the $15,000 men's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in East Lansing: No. 3 seed Alex Brown(Illinois), qualifier Nino Ehrenschneider (Michigan)of Germany and Gabriel Diallo(Kentucky) of Canada. Brown and Ehrenschneider, who could come up against one another in a Big Ten dual match, play in the quarterfinals.  

At the $25,000 women's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Naples, 18-year-old Elvina Kalieva advanced to the quarterfinals, beating fellow junior Sonya Macavei, a wild card, 6-4, 6-2.  Former Kentucky star Aldila Sutjiadi of Indonesia defeated top seed and last week's Daytona Beach $25K champion Irina Fetecau of Romani 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals, where she'll play qualifier Alexa Graham(North Carolina). The third American quarterfinalist, qualifier Kennedy Shaffer(Georgia), will play Lulu Sun(Texas) for a place in the semifinals.

All four of the American juniors in the ITF J1 Mexico quarterfinals lost today, with No. 5 seed Qavia Lopez falling to top seed Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-0 and No. 6 seed Liv Hovde losing to No. 2 seed Brenda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-6(10).  Kurt Miller lost to No. 5 seed Gerard Campana Lee of Korea 7-6(5), 6-3 and No. 3 seed Ignacio Buse of Peru avenged his 2020 Orange Bowl 16s finals loss to Jonah Braswell 7-5, 6-0. 

The finals are set for Friday at the J5 in San Diego with two Americans facing international players for the singles championships.  No. 2 seed Iva Jovic, who reached the final of the J4 in Atlanta last month, will face No. 6 seed Mayu Crossley for the girls title. Neither the 13-year-old Southern Californian nor the 15-year-old from Japan have lost a set so far this week. 

Top seed Jelani Sarr will take on unseeded Lucas Andrade Da Silva of Brazil for the boys title. 

The girls doubles title was decided today, with top seeds Sofia Daryaie and Annette Robertson getting a walkover in the final from unseeded Zehra Suko and Lamija Avdic.