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Saturday, November 4, 2023

Akli and Brantmeier, Braswell and Pinnington Jones Meet Sunday for National Fall Titles; Three Teens Reach USTA Pro Circuit $15K Finals; US Boys Fall in Junior Davis Cup Semifinals; Lyutova Wins Again; Newman and Ahmad Finish First at Les Petits As USA Playoffs

The finals are set at the ITA National Fall Championships in San Diego, with an all-Texas men's final and an all Carolina women's final.

No. 2 seed Reese Brantmeier, a sophomore at North Carolina, will face No. 4 seed Ayana Akli, a fifth year at South Carolina after both earned semifinal victories in straight sets Saturday.

Brantmeier breezed past No. 3 seed Ange Oby Kajuru of Oklahoma State 6-2, 6-1 in less than an hour; Akli was still closing out her first set over unseeded Emma Charney of Southern California, but was able to eventually take the match 6-3, 6-4. 

No. 3 seed Micah Braswell, a senior at the University of Texas, took a roller coaster of a first set from No. 2 seed JJ Tracy, a senior at Ohio State, in 74 minutes, but took control midway through the second set to post a 7-6(7), 6-2 victory.

Jack Pinnington Jones, a sophomore at TCU, earned the only come-from-behind of the day, beating unseeded Jack Anthrop, a sophomore at Ohio State, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Brantmeier will play for two Fall National titles Sunday, after she and Elizabeth Scotty, the top seeds, defeated No. 4 seeds Dana Guzman and Alina Shcherbinina of Oklahoma 7-6(2), 6-3. Brantmeier and Scotty, the 2023 NCAA doubles finalists, will play Kajuru and Anastasiya Komar of Oklahoma State, after the No. 5-8 seeds beat No. 2 seed Savanah Broadus and Janice Tjen of Pepperdine 6-2, 1-6, 10-4.

The men's doubles final will feature the unseeded Old Dominion team of Connor and Codie Van Schalkwyk, who defeated 5-8 seeds Sebastian Gorzny and Pedro Vives of TCU 7-6(2), 6-4, and No. 3 seeds Ozan Baris and Max Shelton of Michigan State. Baris and Sheldon defeated the unseeded team of Cesar Bouchelaghem and Dzianis Zharyn of Washington 7-6(4), 6-3.

The men's doubles and women's singles finals will begin at 2 p.m. Eastern time, with the men's singles scheduled for a 3 p.m. start, with women's doubles now contingent on the Brantmeier-Akli finish. Links to streams, live scoring and the Cracked Racquets coverage can be found at the ITA event page.

Three teenagers have advanced to the finals of the two $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournaments, with two 18-year-olds contesting the women's final in Norman. Auburn recruit Ashton Bowers, who earned her first win on the Pro Circuit this week, defeated  No. 5 seed Maria Kononova(North Texas) of Russia 6-3, 3-6, 6-3  to earn a spot in the final against No. 3 seed Lucia Peyre of Argentina. Peyre, a sophomore at Oklahoma State, defeated 19-year-old Anna Zyryanova of Russia, a sophomore at NC State, is into her second $15K final in the last month, after advancing to the final in Jackson Tennessee two weeks ago.

She already has secured a title this week, winning her first Pro Circuit doubles title with teammate Kristina Novak of Slovenia. The No. 2 seeds, who didn't drop a set all week, defeated the unseeded University of Oklahoma wild card team of Emma Staker and Romana Cisovska of Slovakia 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

Nineteen-year-old Oklahoma State freshman Derek Pham of Australia earned a second career appearance in a $15K final in Fayetteville Arkansas, defeating former Texas A&M star Noah Schachter 6-3, 6-1. Pham will face No. 3 seed Garrett Johns, a 22-year-old senior at Duke, who beat No. 8 seed Matias Soto(Baylor) of Chile 7-5, 4-6, 6-0 in two hours and 46 minutes. 

The doubles title in Fayetteville went to Notre Dame sophomore Sebastian Dominiko of Slovenia and former Notre Dam star Axel Nefve, who played his fifth year at Florida in 2022-23. Dominiko and Nefve, who were unseeded, defeated top seeds Soto and Mark Whitehouse of Great Britain 6-2, 6-4 for their first title as a team.

The US boys lost their Junior Davis Cup semifinal match today against Italy and will play for third place on Sunday against Spain. Andrea De Marchi defeated Maxwell Exsted 6-3, 6-3 at No. 2 singles, and Federico Cina beat Darwin Blanch 4-6, 6-0, 6-2 at No. 1 singles to clinch a spot in the finals. Exsted and Jagger Leach won the dead doubles match against De Marchi and Matteo Sciahbasi 6-2, 2-6, 10-8. 

Italy's opponent in the final with be the Czech Republic, who beat Spain 2-1 in the deciding doubles match. Andres Santamarta Roig put Spain in the lead with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Jan Kumstat at No. 2 singles, but Maxim Mrva cruised past Sergio Planella Hernandez 6-3, 6-0 at No. 1 singles to send it to the deciding doubles match. Mrva and Kumstat defeated Santamarta Roig and Sergi Fita Juan 6-2, 7-6(6) to put the Czech team in the final.

Live scoring is here; live streaming is here.

I'll have a full review of the non-US ITF Junior Circuit results on Monday, but I wanted to note another title today for 13-year-old Christina Lyutova of Russia, the USTA National 16s champion in the J60 in Boca Raton Florida. Lyutova, who hasn't lost a match since March, won her second straight J60 title in the last two weeks and her third in a row today in Boca Raton. Lyutova, who was unseeded again this week, defeated No. 2 seed Anita Tu 6-3, 6-2 for the second time in two weeks, and is now 20-1 in ITF Junior Circuit events in her career. She has won 51 straight matches, including Open/UTR tournaments since losing in the back draw of the Easter Bowl 16s back in March.

Top seeds Allie Bittner and Riley Crowder won the girls doubles title, beating the unseeded team of Kira Farrakhova of Russia and Marina Fuduric 6-4, 5-7, 10-8.

The boys singles title in Boca Raton also went to an unseeded player. Eighteen-year-old Hayden Khoo Menon of Malaysia won his first ITF Junior Circuit title with a 7-6(3), 7-5 decision over No. 10 seed Dylan Jaen in the final. A Brazilian team won the doubles title, with No. 5 seeds Ettore Baggio Danes and Rafael Gracie defeating Asror Ismoilov of Uzbekistan and Pavan Uppu 7-6(2), 7-6(6) in the final.

The USA Playoffs for Les Petits As concluded yesterday in Florida, and although the standings have not been posted on the website, the winners and finalists were announced on Twitter, here and here. Welles Newman, who was the No. 1 seed, won the girls competition, beating Maggie Sohns 6-3, 6-1, while Izyan "Zizou" Ahmad, who was unseeded, won the boys competiton, defeating Tabb Tuck by the same score.

Sunday's singles finals are set at the WTA 125 in Midland Michigan and the ATP Challenger 75 in Charlottesvile Virginia.

Unseeded Anna Kalinskaya of Russia and Jana Fett of Croatia will face off in Midland after both came from behind in today's semifinals. Fett defeated top seed Emma Navarro(Virginia) 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 and Kalinskaya, who saved three match points in the quarterfinals against Hailey Baptiste, defeated No. 3 seed Alycia Parks 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-3 in this evening's semifinal.

Unseeded Hailey Baptiste and Whitney Osuigwe won the doubles title, beating No. 3 seeds Sophie Chang and Ashley Lahey(Pepperdine) 2-6, 6-2, 10-1 in tonight's final.

In Charlottesville, 20-year-old Aidan Mayo defeated fellow qualifier Ethan Quinn(Georgia) 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to reach his first Challenger final. Mayo, who had 13 aces to 2 for Quinn, will face unseeded Beibit Zhukayev of Kazakhstan, who defeated Patrick Kypson(Texas A&M) 6-4, 7-6(4).

Top seeds JP Smith(Tennessee) of Australian and Sem Verbeek(Pacific) of the Netherlands won the doubles title, beating unseeded Thai Kwiatkowski(Virginia) and Denis Kudla 3-6, 6-3, 10-5 in today's final.