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Sunday, November 7, 2021

USC's Cayetano, San Diego's Holmgren Claim ITA National Fall Titles; Navarro Earns First Pro Circuit Singles Championship; Kozlov and Brengle Take ATP Challenger and WTA 125 Titles

The Barnes Tennis Center is a venue where this year's ITA National Fall champions could feel comfortable as they began their quest to improve on their results in last month's ITA All-American Championships.

University of San Diego's August Holmgren, who lost in the final in Tulsa, has known Barnes as the center of the city's tennis activity in the four plus years he's been at USD, and in September, he claimed his first ATP Top 100 victory, beating Australian Jordan Thompson in the first round of qualifying of the ATP 250 event at Barnes.

On Sunday, Holmgren, the No. 3 seed, saved a match point in his 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 win over No. 2 seed Arthur Fery of Stanford, with the partisan crowd alternately apprehensive and boisterous as the final few points of the match played out on Stadium Court.

Fery served for the match at 5-4 in the third, but he didn't get many first serves in and had to save a break point at 30-40 before getting to match point on the deuce point. The sophomore from Great Britain worked his way into the net and had the backhand putaway he wanted, but he sent it wide, giving Holmgren new life. After Holmgren held, Fery went up 40-0, but he lost the next four points, with Holmgren hitting a tremendous forehand pass to get to the deuce point, then a backhand passing shot winner to claim the title.  Holmgren, a fifth-year senior from Denmark, is the second player from San Diego to claim the Fall (formerly Indoor) title, joining Jose-Luis Noriega, who won it in 1992.

For the University of Southern California's Eryn Cayetano, Barnes Tennis Center was a regular stop on the USTA Southern California sectional circuit, serves as host of the USTA Girls 16s and 18s Nationals, and, earlier this year, was the site of the PAC-12 championships. The fifth-seeded Cayetano, a junior from Long Beach, put on a clinic in the first set of her match with No. 2 seed Daria Frayman of Princeton, then scratched and clawed her way to the title 6-0, 5-7, 7-5. 

Cayetano was the more aggressive of the two, and when she was able to line up a forehand, she kept Frayman scrambling. But in the second set, the unforced errors started to mount, while Frayman discovered that high looping balls kept Cayetano from playing with the rhythm she would like. Frayman took a 3-1 lead in the third set, but was broken on a deciding point to make it 3-3. Cayetano gave the break back, but Frayman again lost serve, with Cayetano beginning to get more depth and stay in the points during that game. At 5-all, Cayetano double faulted for 15-30, but that was the last time she showed any sign of nerves. She won the next three points, then earned her first match point with Frayman serving at 30-40. She missed a backhand swinging volley, but didn't let that carry over into the deuce point, and, fittingly, she finished the championship with a forehand winner.

Cayetano is the third USC woman to win the Fall Championships, joining Carolina Kuhlman, the 1986 champion and Maria Sanchez, the 2010 champion.

No. 4 seeds Elizabeth Scotty and Fiona Crawley of North Carolina won the doubles title, beating No. 3 seeds Yuliia Starodubtseva and Tatsiana Sasnouskaya of Old Dominion 4-6, 6-2, 11-9. Scotty won the 2021 NCAA doubles title with Makenna Jones.

Ohio State's Robert Cash and Matej Vocel added the Fall Nationals title to the All-American title they secured last month in Tulsa, beating Fery and Alexandre Rotsaert of Stanford 2-6, 6-4, 10-7. Cash and Vocel join Blaz Rola and Chase Buchanan and Scott Green and Ross Wilson as Buckeye teams to capture both fall majors in men's doubles. Rola and Buchanan are the only team from any school to go on to win the NCAA title the following spring.

Stanford freshman Alexandra Yepifanova won the women's singles consolation title, beating Lisa Zaar of Pepperdine 7-6(2), 7-5.  Gabriel Diallo of Kentucky won the men's singles consolation title, defeating Pietro Fellin of Pepperdine 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

Franco Aubone and Benjamin Hannestad of Miami won the men's doubles consolation title, beating Ohio State's James Trotter and Justin Boulais 4-6, 6-3, 10-7.  

The women's doubles consolation title went to Florida's Carly Briggs and Marlee Zein, who beat Virginia's Melodie Collard and Hibah Shaikh 6-3, 4-6, 11-9.

All draws can be found here.

While several of Emma Navarro's teammates were competing in San Diego, the Virginia sophomore was in Orlando, the site of her NCAA championship in May, at the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament. Today the 20-year-old from South Carolina earned her first singles title on the Pro Circuit; seeded No. 3, Navarro defeated top seed Allie Kiick 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. That first set was the only one Navarro lost all week.

In the doubles final, Christina Rosca(Vanderbilt) and Anna Rogers(North Carolina State) won their third title since the beginning of last month. The unseeded pair beat Marine Partaud of France and Maria Jose Portillo Ramirez of Mexico, also unseeded, 6-3 6-1.

Two former collegians from Great Britain won titles today at the $15,000s tournaments in Ithaca New York and Fayetteville Arkansas. No. 6 seed Luke Johnson, a 27-year-old who played at Clemson, won his first pro title, beating No. 7 seed Cannon Kingsley(Ohio State) 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(6). Qualifier Henry Patten, a 25-year-old who played and North Carolina-Asheville(and won the Fall National doubles title in 2018), won his first pro singles title, beating No. 7 seed Alfredo Perez(Florida) 7-6(2), 6-3.

Stefan Kozlov won his second Challenger title since the end of September today in Charlottesville, with the unseeded 23-year-old beating unseeded Aleks Vukic(Illinois) 6-2, 6-3 in the final. Kozlov, whose only loss in the last three Challengers was to JJ Wolf in last week's Las Vegas final, now leads in the USTA's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge, with two more weeks to go. He is now back in the Top 200, so even if he does not go on to win the AO wild card, he will make the Australian Open qualifying for the first time since 2018. 

Top seed Madison Brengle defeated unseeded Robin Anderson 6-2, 6-4 today in the final of the WTA 125 Dow Tennis Classic in Midland Michigan, claiming her second DTC title. Brengle, who won the title in 2018 when it was an ITF $100,000 tournament, will move to 57 in the WTA rankings with the win. It's her second WTA 125 title; the 31-year-old's first came last year in California, pre-pandemic. Former UCLA star Anderson, who won the ITA Fall National title in 2012, moves up to 172 in the WTA rankings.

At the ATP Masters 1000 in Paris, two former college stars won their first Masters title, with Michael Venus(LSU) of New Zealand and Tim Puetz(Auburn) of Germany beating the French team of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 6-3, 6-7(4), 11-9. It is their second title as a team. Puetz, 33, has six career ATP titles; Venus, 34, now has 16. For more on the final, see this article from the ATP website.