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Saturday, November 5, 2022

US Teams Reach Junior Davis and BJK Cup Finals; Crawley and Frayman, Basavareddy and Spizzirri Meet in ITA National Fall Championships; Tien, Kuzuhara Advance to $15K Finals; Eubanks and Sheldon Compete for Charlottesville Title

Saturday was a busy day in tennis at the junior, collegiate and pro levels, and Sunday will be no different, with big matches on the docket from Turkey to San Diego.

The US teams were both expected to be in the finals of the ITF 16U Junior Davis Cup and Junior Billie Jean King Cup given their seedings, but they've certainly taken contrasting routes to get there. The top-seeded girls have not lost a singles match, going 10-0 now with two wins over No. 4 Serbia in today's semifinals. Valerie Glozman defeated Teodora Kostovic 6-2, 6-1 at No. 2 singles and Clervie Ngounoue beat Mia Ristic 6-1, 7-6(8) at No. 1 singles to reach the final for the seventh straight year, extending back to 2013 (the US did not participate in the competition last year due to the pandemic, so I am not including that). They will face No. 2 seed and defending Czech Republic, who defeated Japan 2-1 with a win in the deciding doubles match.

The US boys, seeded No. 2, didn't win their round robin group, but have battled through to the finals with clutch wins, none bigger than today. Against unseeded France, Kaylan Bigun lost to Lucas Marionneau 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) 4 at No. 2 singles after having match points, leaving it up to Alexander Razeghi to keep the US hopes alive. Razeghi earned a 6-2, 5-7, 7-6(2) victory over Thomas Faurel at No. 1 singles to tie it, and partnered with Meecah Bigun to take the deciding doubles point 1-6, 6-3, 10-7 over Marionneau and Faurel.

The US boys will face No. 3 seed Brazil, led by Joao Fonseca, who defeated No. 4 seed Italy by taking the deciding doubles point. Fonseca has won every match he's played, in singles and doubles, this week.

For more on the Junior Davis Cup semifinals, with comments from the US team, see this ITF article; for more on the Junior Billie Jean King Cup semifinals, featuring the Czech team, see this ITF article

Live scoring can be found here.

The finals are set for the ITA National Fall Championships, with North Carolina's Fiona Crawley going for titles in both singles and doubles.

Crawley, who won the ITA All-American Championships last month in Cary North Carolina unseeded, is the top seed this week in San Diego and she has not dropped a set in reaching the final. Today she defeated Georgia Tech Carol Lee[5], 6-1, 6-0 in less than an hour to extend her unbeaten streak this fall to 16 matches. She will play unseeded Daria Frayman of Princeton, the 2021 National Fall finalist, who saved two match points in a three-hour and 45-minute 5-7, 7-6(6), 7-6(4) win over No. 2 seed Connie Ma of Stanford. Ma trailed 4-1 in the second set tiebreaker, won five straight points to get two match points at 6-4, but she just missed a return on the first and sent a backhand barely wide on the second match point. 

Both men's semifinals went the distance, with the lower seeds advancing. No. 4 Eliot Spizzirri of Texas, who reached the semifinals last month at the All-American Championships, defeated top seed Garrett Johns of Duke 6-0, 4-6, 6-3. He will face 17-year-old Stanford freshman Nishesh Basavareddy, who took out No. 2 seed Antoine Cornut Chauvinc of Florida State 6-2, 1-6, 6-2. Basavareddy is now 16-1 this fall, with his only loss coming to Johns in the first round of the All-American Championships. 

The men's doubles final will also feature the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds. JJ Tracy and Andrew Lutschaunig of Ohio State defeated No. 5 seeds Finn Bass and Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi of Baylor 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 in today's semifinals and will face No. 3 seeds Sander Jong and Lui Maxted of TCU. Jong and Maxted defeated unseeded Berk Bugarikj and Patrik Trhac of Utah 6-4, 7-6(2).

The top two seeds will square off in the women's doubles final tomorrow at the Barnes Tennis Center. No. 2 seeds Crawley and Carson Tanguilig defeated Virginia's Elaine Chervinsky and Natasha Subhash[5] 6-1, 6-2; top seeds Savannah Broadus and Janice Tjen got past Kari Miller and Jaedan Brown[5] of Michigan 6-1, 2-6, 10-7.

The women's singles and men's doubles finals are scheduled for 10 a.m. Pacific time tomorrow, with the men's singles final following. With Crawley in both finals, the women's doubles final is optimistically scheduled for noon.

Live scoring is here; Cracked Racquets will provide coverage of all four finals on their YouTube Channel.

Kalamazoo 18s champion Learner Tien has advanced to his first USTA Pro Circuit final with a 6-4, 7-6(8) victory over 17-year-old qualifier Aidan Kim at the $15,000 tournament in Fayetteville Arkansas. The 16-year-old from Irvine California had lost his only previous Pro Circuit semifinal back in April. Tien will play No. 6 seed Toby Samuel of Great Britain for the title Sunday; Samuel, a 20-year-old junior at South Carolina, won a $25,000 tournament in his home country this summer.

Top seeds Tyler Zink(Oklahoma) and George Goldhoff(Texas) won their second straight doubles title today, after last week's Norman $15K champions defeated Denmark's Johannes Ingildsen(Florida) and Christian Sigsgaard(Texas), the No. 2 seeds, 1-6, 6-4, 10-2.

2022 Australian Open boys champion Bruno Kuzuhara is through to his second ITF Pro Circuit $15K singles final, both coming in the last three weeks, in Antalya Turkey, the same city hosting the Junior Davis and Billie Jean King Cups. Kuzuhara, who is unseeded, will play qualifier Rrezart Cungu(Wake Forest) of Montenegro in Sunday's final. 

Two current collegians will face off in the final of the $15,000 tournament in Ithaca New York, with Wake Forest senior  Menelaos Efstathiou of Cyprus facing No. 4 seed Shunsuke Mitsui of Japan, a sophomore at Tennessee. Efstathiou defeated Osgar O'Hoisin(Wisconsin) of Ireland 6-1, 6-4 in the semifinals; Mitsui received a walkover into the final from Toby Kodat. 

Mitsui and John McNally(Ohio State) won the doubles title, with the No. 2 seeds defeating Efstathiou and former Wake Forest teammate Jakob Schnaitter of Germany 6-3, 6-4 in the final.

The run of NCAA singles champion Peyton Stearns came to an end today in the semifinals of the WTA 125 Dow Tennis Classic in Midland Michigan. No. 7 seed Caty McNally, who won the Dow title in 2019, defeated the former Texas Longhorn 6-1, 6-2 and will play unseeded Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany in Sunday's final. Friedsam, a former WTA Top 50 player, defeated Ann Li 6-4, 6-2 in the other semifinal. 

Top seeds Asia Muhammad and Alycia Parks won the doubles title today, beating Friedsam and her partner Nadiia Kichenok of Ukraine 6-2, 6-3. Muhammad and Parks downed 18-year-olds Ashlyn Krueger and Robin Montgomery 3-6, 6-1, 10-8 in the semifinals Friday night. 

While the women's NCAA singles champion lost today, the men's champion advanced to a final, with Ben Shelton reaching Sunday's championship match at the ATP Challenger 80 in Charlottesville. The former Florida Gator, seeded No. 6, came from 4-2 down in the final set to beat 2019 NCAA singles champion Paul Jubb(South Carolina) of Great Britain 7-6(6), 3-6, 7-5 and advance to his fourth Challenger final, all since July.

Shelton will play friend and mentor Christopher Eubanks(Georgia Tech), the No. 4 seed, who defeated No. 8 seed Emilio Nava 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. It's the first Challenger final of the year for Eubanks.

Unseeded Henry Patten(UNC-Asheville) and Julian Cash(Mississippi St/Oklahoma St) of Great Britain won their third consecutive Challenger title, beating unseeded Artem Sitak of New Zealand and Alex Lawson(Notre Dame) 6-2, 6-4 in today's final. After winning the Fairfield and Las Vegas Challengers the previous two weeks, Cash and Patten are comfortably inside the ATP Top 100 now, so their days of being unseeded in Challengers should be over.