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Monday, November 7, 2022

Three Singles, Seven Doubles Titles for Americans Last Week on ITF Junior Circuit; United States Les Petits As Playoffs Underway in Boca Raton

With the primary focus on the ITF Junior Davis Cup and Junior Billie Jean King Cup competition last week in Turkey, I didn't have time to follow the other ITF Junior Circuit tournaments as closely as I usually do, but it was a good week for Americans outside the team competition in Antalya too.

US girls won the singles and doubles titles at the J4 in Boca Raton, with unseeded 15-year-old Akasha Urhobo capturing her first ITF Junior Circuit singles title with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory over 17-year-old qualifier Stephanie Yakoff. No. 3 seeds Taly Licht and Claire Shao won the all-USA doubles final, beating unseeded Leena Friedman and Saray Yli-Piipari 6-0, 5-7, 10-6. It's the first ITF Junior Circuit title for the 17-year-old Licht and the second for the 15-year-old Shao. Tygen Goldammer reached the boys singles final, with the No. 2 seed losing to No. 5 seed Daniel Phillips of Bermuda 6-2, 6-2.

Sixteen-year-old Maya Joint won her fourth ITF Junior Circuit singles title, but the first above the J5 level, at the J3 in Ontario Canada. Joint, the top seed, defeated Canadian Scarlett Nicholson 6-2, 6-0 in the final. In the boys doubles final, No. 4 seeds Cooper Woestendick and Ian Mayew defeated No. 3 seeds Bernardo Munk Mesa of Spain and Paris Pouatcha 6-2, 7-6(7). It's the first ITF Junior Circuit title for the 15-year-old Mayew; the 15-year-old Woestendick has three doubles titles, with three different partners, and a singles title on the ITF Junior Circuit.

Woestendick lost 6-1, 7-5 in the singles final to 14-year-old Thijs Boogaard of the Netherlands, who has now won four consecutive ITF Junior Circuit singles titles in Canada. Boogaard, who was featured in my October Aces column, is up to 280 in the ITF Junior rankings now after being unranked in April of this year.

The third US singles title last week came at the J4 in Barbados, with 14-year-old Katerina Shabashevic earning her second singles title on the ITF Junior Circuit with a 6-4, 6-0 win over No. 5 seed Sophia Webster in the all-USA final. Shabashevic, the No. 2 seed, also reached the doubles final, but she and partner Rebecca Fiedler, the top seeds, lost to unseeded Sophia and twin sister Savannah Webster 4-6, 7-5, 10-3. The Websters are the daughters of UCLA women's head coach Stella Sampras Webster.

Jagger Leach, the son of Jon Leach and Lindsay Davenport, reached the finals of both singles and doubles in Barbados, but fell in both. Leach lost to Egor Kirakosov of Russia 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 in the singles final. In the doubles final later that day, Leach and Kirakosov gave a walkover to the unseeded American pair of Easton Horricks and Esunge Ndumbe. It's the first ITF Junior Circuit title for the 17-year-old Horricks and the second for the 18-year-old Ndumbe.

At the J2 in Chile, top seeds Mia Slama and Puerto Rico's Natalia Perez won the doubles title, beating No. 2 seeds Ashton Bowers and Canada's Naomi Xu 1-6, 6-4, 10-7 in the final. Slama, seeded No. 2, reached the singles final, where she lost to top seed Lucciana Perez Alarcon of Peru 6-2, 6-2. 

At the J5 in Bahrain, 16-year-old David Prasievi won his first title on the ITF Junior Circuit, partnering with Seth Sadikov of Georgia. The unseeded pair defeated brothers Mashari and Rashed Nawaf of Qatar, also unseeded, 6-2, 6-7(6), 10-8 in the final. 

Fifteen-year-olds Maximus Dussault and Maxwell Exsted won their second straight doubles title, again at a J5 in Spain, with the top seeds defeating No. 3 seeds Rodrigo Fernandes and Joao Dinas Silva of Portugal 6-4, 7-6(4) in the final. 

The Les Petits As Playoffs for the United States representatives to the prestigious 14-and-under tournament in Tarbes France began today in Boca Raton Florida, with round robin play for the 16 boys and 16 girls. There are four round robin groups, with the top two in each group advancing to the knockout phase of quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. The top three finishers qualify for Les Petits As, with the fourth place finisher getting into qualifying. The tournament is set to take place January 19-29 next year. Below is a tweet featuring the competitors this week in Boca Raton. Results, standings and the order of play can be found here.