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Sunday, November 6, 2022

US Claims Junior Billie Jean King Cup; Basavareddy and Crawley Capture ITA National Fall Singles Titles; Shelton Wins First Challenger; McNally Earns Second Dow Tennis Classic Championship; Krajicek Qualifies for ATP Finals

The United States earned the gold and the silver today at the ITF 16U Junior Billie Jean King Cup and Junior Davis Cup in Antalya Turkey. The top-seeded girls continued their domination of the field, beating defending champions and No. 2 seeds Czech Republic 2-0 to claim their seventh title, the most of any country.  The US girls have now won the last four Billie Jean King Cups(formerly Junior Fed Cup) they have participated in; there was no competition in 2020 and the US did not compete last year, due to the pandemic.

The US girls--Clervie Ngounoue, Valerie Glozman and Iva Jovic-- did not lose a match that mattered in their six days of competition, winning all 12 of the singles matches they played. That meant they had clinched their wins before doubles were played.

Today, Glozman defeated Lucie Urbanova 7-5, 6-2 at No. 2 singles and Clervie Ngounoue clinched the title with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Tereza Valentova at No. 1 singles. 

For more on today's final, with comments from Ngounoue, see this article from the ITF Junior website.

No. 3 seed Brazil made Junior Davis Cup history for the country today, in winning their first title and spoiling a United States sweep. Joao Fonseca was the hero for Brazil, clinching the title at No. 1 singles by beating Kaylan Bigun 6-1, 6-4. Gustavo Almeida had defeated Meecah Bigun 7-6(6), 6-0 at No. 2 singles in the first match of the day. Alexander Razeghi had been playing No. 1 singles for the United States, but did not play today. The article on the match from the ITF Junior website does not mention the reason for his absence. 

Fiona Crawley of North Carolina and Nishesh Basavareddy of Stanford finished their outstanding fall seasons with major trophies, claiming the singles titles at the ITA National Fall Championships at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego.

Crawley, the top seed and last month's All-American champion, had her toughest match of the week today but prevailed over unseeded Daria Frayman of Princeton 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Crawley, the junior from Texas, was up 4-2 in the final set, but had to save two break points serving at 4-3 to keep herself in front. Once Crawley held there for 5-3, Frayman, the 2021 Fall Nationals finalist, looked a bit deflated, possibly due to fatigue, and she was broken when her forehand sailed long, giving Crawley the title. Frayman had been on court just short of four hours in her semifinal win over No. 2 seed Connie Ma of Stanford, and that may have been the difference, with Crawley needing less than an hour to get past Carol Lee of Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Crawley is the first woman to win both the All-Americans and the Fall Nationals in the same year since Ohio State's Francesca Di Lorenzo in 2016, and is the second Tar Heel to do it, following in the footsteps of Jamie Loeb, who won both as a freshman in 2013. She is now a perfect 17-0 this fall.

Basavareddy, who is just 17, started college a year early, but his confidence boosted by the US Open boys doubles title in September, has instantly risen to the top of the college game. Seeded No. 3 this week, the Carmel Indiana resident suffered his only loss of the fall to Garrett Johns of Duke in the first round of the All-American Championships, but went on to claim the consolation title there. He won the Northwest Regional to earn his spot in the National Fall Championships and finished his first semester with a major title, the first freshman to do so since Virginia's Mitchell Frank in 2011. 

In today's 6-1, 6-4 win over No. 4 seed Eliot Spizzirri of Texas, Basavareddy was clutch on deciding points. I counted four holds of serve on deciding points and in the tight second set, and he took the deciding point on Spizzirri's last two service games to claim the title. 

The fourth Stanford Cardinal to win the Fall men's singles title, Basavareddy is now 17-1 in his college career, which is less than two months old.

Ohio State's JJ Tracy and Andrew Lutschaunig kept the Fall National men's doubles trophy in Columbus, with the No. 4 seeds beating No. 3 seeds Sander Jong and Lui Maxted of TCU 6-3, 3-6, 10-4. Robert Cash and Matej Vocel won the title for the Buckeyes last year.

The only top seed to capture a title today in San Diego was the women's doubles team of Savannah Broadus and Janice Tjen of Pepperdine, who beat No. 2 seeds Crawley and Carson Tanguilig 6-2, 7-6(2) in the afternoon final. Broadus and Tjen trailed 4-0 in the second set, won the next five games to serve for the title, but Tjen was broken to halt all that momentum. But they missed no opportunity in the tiebreaker, denying Crawley a second National Fall title this week and a second National Fall doubles title. Crawley and Elizabeth Scotty won the women's doubles championship last year in San Diego.

In consolation results, Columbia freshman Michael Zheng defeated UCLA sophomore Alexander Hoogmartens 6-1, 6-3 to take the men's singles bracket, and Duke's Chloe Beck defeated North Carolina's Anika Yarlagadda 6-1, 6-3 to win the women's consolation draw. Both brackets are for players who lose in the first round.

In doubles consolation finals, Joshua Charlton and Quinn Vandecasteele of Oregon defeated Presbyterian's Maxwell Benson and Dusan Milanovic 7-5, 6-4 and Patricia Spaka and Domenika Turkovic of Arizona State defeated Cal's Jessica Alsola and Katja Wiersholm 6-2, 6-3.

2022 NCAA champion Ben Shelton had been 0-3 in his first Challenger finals, but the 20-year-old ended that losing streak today at the ATP Challenger 80 in Charlottesville Virginia. The former Florida Gator, seeded No. 6, defeated good friend Christopher Eubanks(Georgia Tech), seeded No. 4, 7-6(4), 7-5 in today's championship match. Shelton trailed 5-3 in the first set, but broke Eubanks serving for the set at 5-4. Neither player faced a break point in the second set until 5-all, when it was Eubanks who blinked in a four-deuce game. Shelton held for the win, and is now up to 128 in the ATP rankings. He also takes the lead in the USTA Australian Open Wild Card Challenge, with two weeks remaining.

Both Shelton and Eubanks are playing the Knoxville Challenger 80 this coming week, with Eubanks the No. 3 seed and Shelton seeded No. 4. Michael Mmoh, in the top half with Eubanks, is the top seed; Stefan Kozlov, the No. 2 seed, is in the bottom half with Shelton. 

Main draw wild cards were given to Blaise Bicknell(Florida/Tennessee), Martin Damm and Gage Brymer(UCLA). Georgia freshman Ethan Quinn received entry as an alternate. Qualifying began today and will conclude Monday.

Caty McNally added a second Dow Tennis Classic title to her resume today, with the No. 7 seed defeating unseeded Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany 6-3, 6-2 for the biggest title of her career. McNally, who won the title in 2019 when it was an ITF $100K event, had plenty of chances against Friedsam, converting 4 of 13 break point opportunities, while Friedsam had only one, in the first set, which she converted. 

McNally, who turns 21 next month, has broken into the WTA Top 100 for the first time with this WTA 125 title, and probably won't need the USTA's Australian Open wild card she was notified she had won earlier this week. It looks like as if it is likely to go to Taylor Townsend, who finished third in the race, behind McNally and Madison Brengle.

Both the teenagers playing in $15,000 finals today lost, with Bruno Kuzahara falling to qualifier Rrezart Cungu(Wake Forest) of Montenegro 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 in Antalya Turkey.

At the USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Fayetteville Arkansas, 16-year-old Learner Tien, playing in his first pro final, lost to No. 6 seed Toby Samuel(South Carolina) of Great Britain 6-3, 6-3.

At the $15,000 tournament in Ithaca New York, Tennessee sophomore Shunsuke Mitsui of Japan defeated Menelaos Efstathiou(Wake Forest) of Cyprus 6-4, 6-2 to sweep the titles. It's the 20-year-old's first pro singles title; he and John McNally(Ohio State) won the doubles title Saturday, Mitsui's second. 

At the ATP Paris Masters, where 19-year-old Holger Rune of Denmark defeated Novak Djokovic 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 for his first Masters 1000 title, Croatia's Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek lost in the doubles final, to Neal Skupski(LSU) of Great Britain and Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands 7-6(5), 6-4. But by reaching the final, Dodig and Krajicek earned the last spot in the ATP Finals in Turin Italy later this month. The 32-year-old Krajicek, who won the 2011 NCAA doubles title(with Jeff Dadamo) while at Texas A&M, will be making his ATP Finals debut. For more on Dodig and Krajicek's qualification, see this article from the ATP. 

Taylor Fritz will be competing in the singles in Turin, after ATP No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz of Spain withdrew due to an injury he suffered in Paris. 

Brandon Nakashima is in Milan Italy for the Next Gen ATP Finals beginning Monday. Rune withdrew after his title today in Paris and Nakashima will play Rune's replacement, Italian Matteo Arnaldi, Tuesday night.