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Sunday, January 15, 2023

Navarro Claims Naples $25K Title; ESPN's Look at Financial Strains of Competing on Pro Circuit; Tien, Kang and Williams Reach Traralgon Semis; Shnaider Wins AO Debut; Orange Bowl Videos

Emma Navarro won her third professional title today at the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Naples Florida, with the top seed taking a 6-3, 7-5 victory over No. 2 seed Peyton Stearns. 

Navarro, the 2021 NCAA singles champion, had surrendered just one game in their meeting last May in the quarterfinals of the NCAA team event, and Stearns, the reigning NCAA singles champion, got off to a tough start, falling behind 4-0, but the former Texas Longhorn broke Navarro serving for the set at 5-2 only to get broken for the third time in set in the next game.

The second set was mostly a series of breaks, with a total of nine of them in the 12 games. Navarro held for 1-0 and 6-5 leads, Stearns held just once, to make it 4-4, but served for the set at 5-4, after Navarro had dropped serve after leading 40-0 at 4-4. After holding from 0-30 down to go up 6-5, Navarro took a 15-40 lead, but Stearns saved those two match points with a good first serve and an overhead winner. But an unforced error on the forehand gave Navarro a third match point and two crushed backhands later, she had the title. 

Both Navarro and Stearns are entered in next week's $60,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Vero Beach Florida.

Finding the funds to compete professionally is a perennial challenge for those coming from the junior and collegiate ranks, and ESPN's D'Arcy Maine talks with several players about how they've survived while competing on the lower levels of professional tennis in this recent article. New Zealand's KP Pannu, a former Columbus State star, 2015 NCAA champion Jamie Loeb, former NCAA finalist Noah Rubin, Vicky Duval, Canadian Vasek Pospisil and Central Florida recruit Olivia Lincer explain how they've coped with the financial strains of pursuing excellence in their field and how that adds pressure to their professional lives.

Three of the four boys semifinalists at the ITF J300 in Traralgon are from the United States, after Learner Tien, Kyle Kang and No. 5 seed Cooper Williams picked up wins Monday at the warmup event for the Australian Open Junior Championships. 

Tien beat Atakan Karahan of Turkey 6-1, 6-3 in just over an hour, while Kang defeated No. 6 seed Rei Sakamoto of Japan 6-3, 6-4. Kang and Tien will play each other in the semifinals; they last met in the final of the J1(now J300) in San Diego last March, with Tien winning 5-7, 6-2, 6-4. Williams got by qualifier Tianhui Zhang of China 5-7, 6-3, 6-0 and will face 15-year-old Federico Cina of Italy, who outlasted Kaylan Bigun 6-7(1), 7-6(5), 6-1 in over three hours. Cina and Williams met in the first round of the Eddie Herr in 2021, with Williams winning 6-2, 7-5.

The 2023 Australian Open has been underway for a few hours now, with both Jessica Pegula[3] and Coco Gauff[7] already moving into the second round. 

NC State freshman Diana Shnaider, who qualified on Thursday, won her main draw debut, with the 18-year-old Russian coming from 5-2 down in the second set to beat Kristina Kucova of Slovakia 7-6(6), 7-5. It's been hard to envision her actually playing for the Wolfpack after the last few months she's had, and with every win in Australia it seems less and less likely.

I've finished processing the Orange Bowl videos, with 18s champions Gerard Campana Lee and Mayu Crossley shown below. Videos of the two finalists can be found by clicking on these links. The Junior Orange Bowl videos are all that remain. If you missed the Eddie Herr videos, they can be found at the tenniskalamazoo YouTube channel.

Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez


Winning is Everything said...

Diana Shnaider is currently #88 in the Live WTA Singles Rankings. $106K Prize Money in second round of Australian Open and she is 18 years old.

Does anyone agree staying an amateur is still in her best interest?

Andy Brandi, the Winningest Women's Coach in College Tennis History, did NOT renew Lisa Raymond scholarship after she reached Top 100 in the World and proved too good for college tennis and wanted to return to school.

@JTweetsTennis tweeted - "I'll say it: Kucova, with two hands on both sides, was fantastic prep for Shnaider when she faces Morra in ACC Play!" Anyone really want to see a match between UTR 12.14 vs. 10.62? This is such a let down!!

I have read NC State coaches has her on a strict Student Visa. If the coaches want to build their legacy, they make Diana's decision easy and make her turn Pro! Hopefully the thirst for Winning doesn't override the judgment of what is best for the player.

GO WOLFPACK! said...

Winning is Everything and Life is a Journey, don't Rush it.
M. Sakkari defeats D. Shnaider
3-6,7-5, 6-3

Clark Coleman said...

Coomentators at the Australian Open noted that the NC State coaches were advising Shnaider to turn pro. A lot of people are assuming the opposite and accusing the NCSU coaches of being selfish, which is not true.