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Monday, November 21, 2022

Bowers Sweeps in Bolivia, Earns Second Straight J2 Singles Title; Bhakta, Dunyon and Chandler Also Go Back-to-Back on ITF Junior Circuit; Campana Lee and Moyano Top Seeds as ITF JA Merida Begins

Two weeks ago, Americans claimed 16 titles on the ITF Junior Circuit; last week they went one better, with 17 titles, including the three I covered on Saturday at the J1 in Guadalajara Mexico.

Ashton Bowers won the singles and doubles titles last week at the J2 in La Paz Bolivia, after claiming the singles title last week in Cochabamba Bolivia. The 17-year-old from Georgia, seeded No. 3, defeated No. 2 seed Tania Andrade Sabando of Ecuador 6-1, 6-0 in the final. The only set she lost in either week was in the semifinals to Naomi Xu of Canada, who was the No. 1 seed both weeks.

For some reasons the points from Cochabamba are showing as "non countable," for both Xu and Bowers, so Bowers' ranking didn't improve as it normally would, but she is at 113 in the ITF rankings now. 

Bowers, who has verbally committed to Auburn, partnered with Katie Rolls to take the doubles titles in La Paz, with the No. 3 seeds beating the unseeded team of Sara Alba Verastegui and Maria Vargas Triana of Colombia 6-3, 6-3 in the final.

Ria Bhakta won her second straight title at a J4, this week in Guatemala, with the top-seeded 17-year-old defeating No. 2 seed Nicole Alfaro of Costa Rica 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the final. Bhakta won the singles and doubles last week at the J4 in El Salvador. 

Americans also claimed the doubles titles in El Salvador last week, with unseeded Amy Lee and Paola Lopez defeating No. 2 seeds Nina Marcela Chavez Vicente of Guatemala and Sofia Corte Real of Portugal 7-6(5), 4-6, 10-7 in the final. It's the first ITF Junior Circuit title for both Lee, 15, and Lopez, 16.

Humza Noor won his first ITF Junior Circuit title in doubles, partnering with Daniel Phillips of Bermuda. The No. 2 seeds, who didn't drop a set all week, defeated No. 3 seed Samuel Heredia and Cesar Mahecha of Colombia 6-2, 6-4 in the final. 

In Cameroon, Jane Dunyon won her second J5 singles title in as many weeks there, with the unseeded 16-year-old defeating 13-year-old Lucy Oyebog Atang, the No. 5 seed, 7-6(1), 6-0 in the all-USA final. Oyebog Atang and her partner Stad Fani Fanyi Nformi of Cameroon, the No. 1 seeds, defeated No. 2 seeds Charnelle Fozo of Cameroon and Farah Heddar of Algeria 6-0, 6-2 to claim their second consecutive doubles title in Cameroon J5s.

The fourth member of the quartet to take back-to-back singles titles is 15-year-old Summer Chandler, who won another J5 in Jamaica this week. Chandler, who was unseeded, won seven of her ten sets played this week by a 6-0 score; she lost a total of eight games in her five matches. In the final, she defeated unseeded 13-year-old Kalista Papadopoulos, also of the US, 6-0, 6-1. Chandler and Linda Ziets Segura of the US won their second straight doubles title as well. Rain must have been a problem during the week, as the score in another all-US final was 8-1 over Papadopoulos and Ana Avramovic. 

The remaining two singles titles won by Americans last week came on home soil at the J5 in San Diego

Playing in his first ITF Junior Circuit tournament, 16-year-old Trevor Svajda, younger brother of ATP 260 and two-time Kalamazoo 18s champion Zachary Svajda, won it without loss of a set. Svajda, a wild card, lost just 12 games during the tournament, beating qualifier William Semler 6-2, 6-3 in the final. 

No. 6 seed Bianca Molnar won her first ITF Junior Circuit title, with the 16-year-old Californian defeating No. 2 seed Alexis Nguyen 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(4) in the final. 

Molnar fell just short of both titles in San Diego, with USTA 16s National singles champion Alyssa Ahn and partner Emily Deming taking the doubles championship over Molnar and Krisha Mahendran of India. The wild cards won their first ITF Junior Circuit titles with a 6-0, 6-4 decision over the No. 2 seeds.

And the seventeenth American title of the week belongs to Aayush Bhat, who won a J4 doubles title in India last week with partner Aman Dahiya of India. Bhat, who now has six ITF Junior Circuit doubles titles, and Dahiya, the top seeds, defeated No. 4 seeds Venkat Rishi Batlanki of the US and Chandan Shivaraj of India 6-2, 6-4 in the final.

The ITF Grade A in Merida Mexico is underway with first round matches in singles and doubles. 

Gerard Campana Lee of Korea is the top boys seed, with his first round opponent tonight Jonathan Irwanto of the United States. They met in the final of the most recent Grade A in Osaka Japan, with Campana Lee taking it 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. 

American boys in the draw in addition to Irwanto are qualifiers Ariel Zauber and Carel Ngounoue, Meecah Bigun, Kaylan Bigun, Roy Horovitz, Kurt Miller, Adhithya Ganesan, Quang Duong, Evan Wen and No. 7 seed Cooper Williams. 

Although matches go late into the evening at this event, some first round results have been posted. Ngounoue, the Biguns, and Duong lost their first round singles matches, Williams and Ganesan have won theirs. (Correction: Williams plays his first round match Tuesday). 

Twenty-three US girls reached the main draw, including qualifiers Oziera Ahmad, Mia Saveljic, Ava Bruno and Briana Baldi. Ginger Foster received the lucky loser spot when Wimbledon girls finalist Luca Udvardy of Hungary, who was to be the No. 2 seed, withdrew. Wild card Luciana Moyano of Argentina is the top seed.

The other US girls in the main draw are Valeria Ray, Ava Krug, No. 5 seed Clervie Ngounoue, wild card Daniela Livson, Victoria Osuigwe, Ahmani Guichard, Kaitlin Quevedo, Arina Oreschenkova, Maya Iyengar, No. 7 seed Tatum Evans, Martina Marica, No. 14 seed Theadora Rabman, Sage Loudon, Alexia Harmon, Brooke Lynn Schafer, No. 9 seed Mia Slama, Anya Murthy and Ariana Pursoo. 

Krug, Ngounoue, Guichard and Slama have advanced to the second round, with Livson, Osuigwe, Iyengar, Evans and Marica losing their first matches.