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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Quevedo Claims ITF J500 Trofeo Bonfiglio Title in Milan; Princeton Freshman, TCU Senior Take $15K USTA Pro Circuit Titles in Huntsville; Ten of Twelve Americans Drop First Round Roland Garros Matches Sunday

Last year Kaitlin Quevedo competed in the ITF Junior Circuit clay swing prior to Roland Garros, but had limited success, falling in the first round of both the J300 in Santa Croce and the J500 in Milan, although she did go on to qualify for both Roland Garros and Wimbledon. But that was before she had won three $15K titles last fall, as well as her first J300 in Mexico last November.  The 17-year-old from Naples Florida again showed how much she has improved in the past twelve months at this week's Trofeo Bonfiglio J500 in Milan, winning one of the most prestigious titles in junior tennis while dropping just one set in her six victories.

Quevedo, seeded No. 8, earned the title when No. 12 seed Renata Jamrichova of Slovakia retired after losing the first set 7-5. It marked the first time Quevedo had advanced past the third round at a J500 event, and she will move into the ITF Junior Top 10 with this title, which marks her as one of the favorites going into the Roland Garros Junior Championships in two weeks.

No. 12 seed Cooper Williams, also playing in his first J500 final, lost to top seed Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez of Mexico 6-4, 7-5. Pacheco, who last year lost in the first round of the Trofeo Bonfiglio J500 in Milan to NCAA singles champion Ethan Quinn, now holds two J500 titles, having won last November's tournament at that level in Mexico; he also reached the final at the 2022 Orange Bowl. The 18-year-old left-hander should move to No. 1 in the ITF Junior rankings next week.

With the NCAA Division I singles and doubles championships going on late into the night most of last week, I wasn't able to follow the results from the two $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournaments in Huntsville Alabama, but two collegians did end up taking the singles titles today.

Princeton rising sophomore Fnu "Top" Nidunjianzan of China, who did not qualify for the NCAAs, won the men's singles title, beating No. 4 seed Roberto Cid(South Florida) of the Dominican Republic 7-5, 6-3 in the final. The unseeded 19-year-old's best finish in a pro event prior to today was a semifinal last summer at a $15K tournament in the SoCal Pro Series.

He defeated No. 3 seed and 2017 NCAA champion Thai Kwiatkowski 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 in the first round, one of three three-set victories he posted during the week.

The women's singles title in Huntsville went to TCU senior and top seed Tiphanie Lemaitre of France, who ended the impressive run of Auburn rising sophomore DJ Bennett with a 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 6-2 victory that was nearly three hours in duration. Bennett, who played No. 3 for Auburn this year as a freshman, did not qualify for the NCAA individual tournament, but her teammates Carolyn Ansari and Ariana Arseneault did, meaning they could not compete in Huntsville. Their consolation was a run to the round of 16 in singles, so both earned All-American status.

Bennett, 19, won six matches in Huntsville, a week after qualifying and winning a round at the $60K tournament in Pelham. Those were her first two professional level tournaments.

Sixteen-year-old Mia Yamakita won her first professional title Saturday, taking the women's doubles title with Rhiann Newborn(Baylor). The No. 4 seeds defeated No. 2 seeds Kolie Allen(Ohio State) and Paris Corley(LSU) 7-5, 6-3 in the final. Texas Tech teammates Lorenzo Esquici of Brazil and Franco Ribero of Argentina won the men's doubles title, beating Elijah and Isaiah Strode 6-4, 6-3 in the final. Neither team was seeded.

Also of note, Kyle Kang warmed up for the Roland Garros Junior Championships not in Milan, but at a $25,000 ITF Men's Tennis Tour tournament in Spain, where he reached the semifinals after coming through qualifying. Kang lost to eventual champion and No. 2 seed Nikolas Sanchez Izquierdo of Spain 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-2.

Nineteen-year-old Elvina Kalieva won her first professional singles title yesterday at the $25,000 ITF Women's Tennis Tour tournament in Austria. The top-seeded Kalieva defeated 18-year-old Julie Struplova of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the final. 

The first day of the Roland Garros main draw competition proved to be a disappointing one for Americans, who went 2-10 on the day and got those two wins at the expense of other Americans. Eleven more Americans are on Monday's schedule, with the remaining 11 matches featuring Americans on Tuesday. Caty McNally withdrew today, so there were 34 Americans in the first round.

The NCAA Division I Most Outstanding Player of the team event, Diana Shnaider of North Carolina State, will play Rebecca Marino of Canada on Monday.

Sunday's first round results of Americans:

Jessica Pegula[3] d. Danielle Collins 6-4, 6-2
Anastasia Potapova[24](RUS) d. Taylor Townsend[Q] 6-1, 6-2
Mayar Sherif(EGY) d. Madison Brengle 6-3, 6-1
Liudmila Samsonova[15](RUS) d. Katie Volynets 6-0, 6-1

Sebastian Ofner[Q](AUT) d. Maxime Cressy 6-4, 7-6(6), 6-2
Sebastian Korda[24] d. Mackenzie McDonald 6-4, 7-5, 6-4
Radu Albot[Q](MDA) d. Patrick Kypson[WC] 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1
Roberto Carballes Baena(ESP) d. Emilio Nava[Q] 7-6(7), 6-3, 6-2
Nuno Borges(POR) d. John Isner 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-4, 7-6(9)
Lorenzo Sonego(ITA) d. Ben Shelton[30] 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3

Monday's first round matches featuring Americans:

Sloane Stephens v Karolina Pliskova[16](CZE)
Kayla Day[Q] v Kristina Mladenovic[WC](FRA)
Madison Keys[20] v Kaia Kanepi(EST)
Bernarda Pera v Anett Kontaveit(EST)
Alycia Parks v Marketa Vondrousova(CZE)
Peyton Stearns v Katerina Siniakova(CZE)
Elli Mandlik[Q] v Simona Waltert[Q](SUI)

Aleksandar Kovacevic v Novak Djokovic[3](SRB)
Brandon Nakashima v Denis Shapovalov[26](CAN)
Frances Tiafoe[12] v Filip Krajinovic(SRB)
Marcos Giron v Hamad Medjedovic[Q](SRB)