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Sunday, May 15, 2022

Six ITF Junior Circuit Singles Titles for Americans This Week; 18 US Juniors in Main Draws of Milan Grade A; Halbauer Claims Sarasota $25K; Lilov and Kuzuhara Win $15K Doubles Title; Liu Champion at WTA 125 in Paris

It was another busy week on the ITF Junior Circuit for Americans, with Jelani Sarr, Ariana Pursoo and Marko Mesarovic capturing Grade 3 singles titles and Vessa Turley, Prathinav Chunduru and Carel Ngounoue earning Grade 5 singles titles.

Sarr and Pursoo collected their wins at the J3 in Coral Gables Florida, with top seed Sarr defeating No. 2 seed Fnu Nidunjianzan of China 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in Saturday's final. Pursoo, the No. 2 seed, beat top seed Mayu Crossley of Japan 7-5, 5-7, 6-3. It's the first ITF Junior Circuit title for the 16-year-old Pursoo, while the 18-year-old Sarr now has seven titles, four in singles and three in doubles, with this his second Grade 3 title this month, after taking the J3 in Costa Rica last week.

No. 7 seeds Piper Charney and Pearlie Zhang won the girls doubles title, beating No. 8 seeds Jayna Clemens and Jasmin Makela 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 10-8, in the all-USA final.

Mesarovic was the top seed at the J3 in the Dominican Republic, and in another final featuring the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, he prevailed, defeating Hoyoung Roh of Korea 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-2 in the final. It's the second ITF Junior Circuit singles title for the 17-year-old Mesarovic, who won his first earlier this year at the J5 in Wisconsin.

Thirteen-year-old Carel Ngounoue won his second J5 singles title this week in Veracruz Mexico, after winning his first last month in Cameroon. The top seed, Ngounoue defeated No. 4 seed Sebastian Medica Sandoval of Mexico 6-4, 6-3 in the final. 

Americans swept all four titles at the J5 in the US Virgin Islands, with all four finals between juniors from the United States. Fifteen-year-old Vessa Turley won her first ITF Junior Circuit singles title as the No. 2 seed; she defeated unseeded Ishika Khune 6-3, 6-0 in that final and also won the doubles title, with Kayla Moore. The top seeds defeated No. 4 seeds Khune and Maria Antonova of Russia 6-1, 6-4 in the final.

In the boys singles final, 15-year-old Prathinav Chunduru, seeded No. 6, claimed his first title on the ITF Junior Circuit, defeating No. 5 seed Jagger Leach, the son of Lindsay Davenport and Jon Leach, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the final.

In the doubles final between unseeded teams,Luca Benaibbouche and Malik Trail defeated Zachary Cohen and Andrew Hayduke II 6-3, 6-7(1), 10-7. 

At the J4 in Nicaragua, Maria Araoz-Gosn won the doubles title with Nina Chavez Vicente of Guatemala. The No. 2 seeds beat top seeds Mia Garber and Aida Oviedo 6-4, 6-0 in the final. It's the first ITF Junior Circuit title for the 15-year-old Araoz-Gosn, who also reached the singles final. 

At the J1 in Santa Croce Italy, Aidan Kim won the doubles title, with partner Tanapatt Nirundorn of Thailand. The unseeded pair defeated No. 2 seeds Juan Manuel La Serna and Lautaro Midon of Argentina 6-3, 6-7(7), 10-7 in the final.

Top seed Alexander Frusina lost in the final of the J2 in Austria, falling to No. 2 seed Paul Barbier Gazeu of France 7-5, 6-2.

The main draw of Italy's Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio begins Monday in Milan, with ten US boys and eight US girls in the main draw.

The US boys competing: Nishesh Basavareddy[10], Cooper Williams, Nicholas Godsick, Michael Zheng, Ethan Quinn, Leanid Boika, Learner Tien, Aidan Kim, Jonah Braswell and Alexander Razeghi, who qualified today.

The US girls competing: Liv Hovde[5], Qavia Lopez[11], Mia Slama, Kaitlin Quevedo, Ava Krug, Tyra Grant and qualifiers Iva Jovic and Maya Joint. Grant, who lives in Italy, received a wild card for the second straight year. 

The top seeds are Daniel Vallejo of Paraguay and Sofia Costoulas of Belgium.

Tommy Hemp is a frequent visitor to the tournament every year, providing his impressions of the junior players for his blog at Tennis Underworld. He was impressed with two of the young Americans he saw today on the final day of qualifying, so make sure to check out his coverage.

Ellie Halbauer won her first title since 2018 and her first at the $25K level today at the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Sarasota Florida. The 24-year-old, seeded No. 8, defeated No. 7 seed Ashlyn Krueger 7-5, 6-2 in the final.

Rachel Gailis reached the final of the $15,000 ITF World Tennis Tour tournament in Cancun. The 17-year-old Florida recruit, seeded No. 2, lost to No. 5 seed Jessica Hinojosa Gomez(Baylor) of Mexico 6-4, 6-4 in the championship match.

Bruno Kuzuhara and Victor Lilov, who have played doubles together frequently early in their junior careers, won their first professional doubles title as a team this week at the $15,000 ITF World Tennis Tour tournament in Turkey. Kuzuhara, who won a doubles title with Florida's Abedallah Shelbayh of Jordan last year, also reached the semifinals of singles for the second week in a row in Turkey. Kuzuhara and Lilov didn't have to hit a ball to take the title, with fellow teens Jerome Kym of Switzerland and Maks Kasnikowski of Poland giving them a walkover. 

Lilov and Kuzuhara are playing these events in preparation for the French Open Junior Championships.

Claire Liu won the biggest title of her career today at the WTA 125 in Paris, defeating No. 3 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 6-3, 6-4 in the final. The 21-year-old from Thousand Oaks California picked up four WTA Top 100 wins this week, and will bring a lot of confidence into Roland Garros.