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Saturday, November 12, 2022

Nakashima Sweeps Through Next Gen ATP Finals Undefeated; Michelsen Advances to First Pro Circuit Final; Braswell and Andrade Reach Austin $25K Final; Shelton and Eubanks to Meet in Second Straight Challenger Final in Knoxville; Montgomery Plays for Title in Calgary $60K

Brandon Nakashima has won the championship at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, defeating Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic 4-3(5), 4-3(6), 4-2 in tonight's final to become the first American to win that title. The 21-year-old from San Diego, who won the Kalamazoo 16s title in 2017 and was a 18s finalist in 2018, did not drop a match throughout the week. After beating Lehecka in straight sets in group play, Nakashima did it again today, joining Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner and Stefanos Tsitsipas as champions at the 21-and-under event, which began in 2017.

The former Virginia Cavalier won $432,750 as the champion, bringing his ATP career prize money total in singles competition over $1.5 million. 

For Nakashima's thoughts on his year, see this article from the ATP website.

Alex Michelsen is through to his first USTA Pro Circuit final at the $15,000 tournament in Winston-Salem North Carolina, after defeating fellow ITF Top 40 junior Pedro Rodenas(Duke) of Spain 6-1, 6-4. Michelsen, who has committed to Georgia, had lost his previous two Pro Circuit semifinals this year. The 18-year-old from Southern California, seeded No. 5, will face No. 2 seed Toby Samuel of Great Britain, the University of South Carolina junior, who won last week's $15K in Fayetteville Arkansas. Samuel defeated NC State's Robin Catry of France 6-1, 6-2 in today's semifinals. 

After rain disrupted play Friday at the $25,000 men's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Austin Texas, quarterfinals and semifinals in singles were played today, with University of Texas junior Micah Braswell, a wild card, reaching the final. Braswell, the 21-year-old from Sarasota Florida, had never won a match on the USTA Pro Circuit prior to this week. Today, he defeated qualifier Eric Hadigian(Gonzaga/Pepperdine) 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals and former Longhorn Christian Sigsgaard of Denmark 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals. Braswell will play No. 6 seed Andre Andrade, the recent Florida star, who beat No. 3 seed Alexander Cozbinov(UNLV) of Moldova 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals and No. 5 seed Colin Markes(Texas) 7-5, 6-1 in the semifinals. Andrade, a 23-year-old from Ecuador, will be playing in his second Pro Circuit final and his first at the $25K level.

At the women's $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Champaign Illinois, UCLA freshman Fangran Tian won her first Pro Circuit singles title. The 19-year-old from China, who reached a Pro Circuit final a year ago, defeated former ITA Collegiate No. 1 Sara Daavettila(North Carolina) 6-1, 6-3, winning all five of her matches in straight sets.

For the second week in a row, Ben Shelton(Florida) and his friend and mentor Christopher Eubanks(Georgia Tech) will meet in a Challenger final, after both won tough three-setters today in Knoxville. No. 4 seed Shelton was down a set and 3-1 to No. 7 seed Enzo Couacaud of France, but won four straight games from that point in the second set, closed it out to even the match, then got a late break in the third to earn a 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-4 win. Shelton, the reigning NCAA singles champion, will be playing in his fifth Challenger final, with his win last week over Eubanks delivering his first Challenger title.

Eubanks, the No. 3 seed, defeated top seed Michael Mmoh 6-7(2), 7-5, 6-2 in a bizarre semifinal that featured score disputes, line call chaos and multiple visits to the court by the USTA supervisor. 

Both are very much alive in the USTA Australian Open Wild Card Challenge, which concludes next week, so Sunday's result has significant implications for that.

Former Tennessee Volunteers Hunter Reese and Tennys Sandgren won the doubles title today, beating Martin Damm and Mitchell Krueger 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 10-5 in a final featuring two unseeded teams. Reese and Sandgren had ended the three-Challenger winning streak of top seeds Julian Cash(Mississippi St/Oklahoma St) and Henry Patten(UNC-Asheville) of Great Britain in the semifinals 7-6(5), 6-4.

Eighteen-year-old Robin Montgomery has advanced to the final of the ITF World Tennis Tour $60,000 tournament in Calgary Canada, her second $60K final this fall. The 2021 US Open girls champion, seeded No. 5, defeated No. 7 seed Jamie Loeb(UNC) 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(3) tonight and will play unseeded 31-year-old Urszula Radwanska of Poland for the title. Radwanska beat No. 2 seed Eudice Chong(Wesleyan) of Hong Kong 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the other semifinal. It will be the third meeting this year between Radwanska and Montgomery, with Montgomery winning on grass in a Nottingham $25K this summer and Radwanska winning in the quarterfinals of the $60K in Toronto just a few weeks ago.

Top seeds Catherine Harrison(UCLA) and Sabrina Santamaria(USC) won the doubles title in Calgary, beating the unseeded junior pair of Kayla Cross and Marina Stakusic of Canada 7-6(2), 6-4.