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Sunday, September 17, 2023

Frusina, Grant Top Seeds at ITF J300 Pan American Closed; First WTA Title for Krueger; Svajda, Cressy Win Challengers; Draxl Claims Champaign $15K Title

The ITF J300 Pan American Closed begins Monday in Houston, with 32 matches, all between unseeded players, on the schedule. The seeds begin play on Tuesday against Monday's winners. 

Boys ITF Pan Am J300 seeds:
1. Alexander Frusina
2. Alexander Razeghi
3. Cooper Woestendick
4. Maxwell Exsted
5. Matthew Forbes
6. Nikia Filin
7. Jagger Leach
8. Stiles Brockett
9. Cesar Cruz (ESA)
10. Matthias Uwe Kask(CAN)
11. Calvin Baierl
12. Francesco Cordova
13. Kuang Qing Xu(CAN)
14. Kase Schinnerer
15. Maximus Dussault
16. Rafael Botran Neutze(GUA)

Girls Pan Am J300 seeds:
1. Tyra Grant
2. Maya Joint(AUS)
3. Ariana Pursoo
4. Alanis Hamilton
5. Mia Slama
6. Kaitlyn Rolls
7. Kate Fakih
8. Maya Iyengar
9. Olivia Center
10. Aspen Schuman
11. Shannon Lam
12. Victoria Osuigwe
13. Jessica Bernales
14. Claire An
15. Taylor Goetz
16. Riley Crowder

Usually a more robust group of juniors from Canada travels to the United States for this tournament--three of the last four boys finalists have been Canadian--but not this year. I'll begin my onsite coverage from the event on Tuesday.

Three Americans captured titles Sunday on the WTA and ATP Challenger tours.

Nineteen-year-old Ashlyn Krueger, the 2021 USTA National 18s singles and doubles champion, won her first WTA title in Osaka Japan, defeating top seed Lin Zhu of China 6-3, 7-6(5). Zhu, No. 35 in the WTA rankings, is the third best win by ranking for the  unseeded Krueger. She defeated then No. 19 Victoria Azarenka this summer on grass in s' Hertogenbosch and last fall beat No. 31 Aliaksandra Sasnovich in San Diego. Krueger, who won a WTA 125 on grass this summer, had not had much success on the hard courts in the United States since, unable to qualify in Washington or Montreal, but she looked very good in her 7-5, 6-4 first round loss to No. 31 seed Marie Bouzkova at the US Open, and she didn't lose a set in Osaka.

Now up to 73 in the WTA rankings, breaking into the Top 100 for the first time, Krueger is now one of five teenagers in the Top 100: Coco Gauff, Mirra Andreeva, Linda Noskova and Diana Shnaider. 

No. 8 seed Zachary Svajda overcame a two-hour rain delay at the start of the Atlantic Tire Championships Challenger 75 championship match today in Cary North Carolina to defeat top seed Rinky Hijikata(North Carolina) of Australia 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-1. Because the match was moved indoors, there was no live stream of the final, which is a shame, because the first two sets, which took two hours and 15 minutes, must have been full of drama.

The 20-year-old Svajda now has two ATP Challenger titles and is at a career-high of 168 in the ATP Live Rankings.

Maxime Cressy(UCLA) has had a rough year, going 9-20 on the ATP Tour and falling out of the Top 100. But he's back on the Challenger Tour, where he started his rise, winning the Rennes Challenger 100 today with a 6-3, 2-0 retired decision over No. 8 seed Benjamin Bonzi of France. Unseeded, Cressy won all six tiebreakers he played, and he is now up to 104 in the ATP live rankings.

Former University of Kentucky All-American Liam Draxl won his third career ITF/USTA Pro Circuit title, all at the $15K level, today in Champaign Illinois. The 21-year-old Canadian, seeded No. 1, defeated unseeded Will Grant(Florida) 6-1, 6-3 in today's final for his first singles title since 2021. 

Draxl should move to around 480 in the ATP rankings when the points are added a week from Monday, which would be a new career-high for him.

Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic denied American champions in both the singles and doubles finals Saturday night at the Cymbiotika San Diego Open. In the singles final, the No. 4 seed beat fellow wild card Sofia Kenin 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. In the doubles final that followed, Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, the top seeds, beat wild cards Danielle Collins(Virginia) and Coco Vandeweghe, playing her last WTA event, 6-1, 6-4.