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Sunday, November 19, 2023

Fakih Wins ITF J300 in Mexico; Kypson Secures Australian Open Wild Card with Champaign Challenger Title; Tien, Baris Claim Pro Circuit Titles; Ram and Salisbury Repeat as ATP Finals Champions

Seventeen-year-old Kate Fakih won her first ITF J300 singles title, just a day after winning her first overall in doubles with Olivia Center, today in Zapopan Mexico. The eighth-seeded Fakih, a recent UCLA signee, defeated No. 2 seed Luna Maria Cinalli of Argentina 6-2, 6-0 in the final. It was by far her easiest victory of the week, as she went to three sets in her first four matches, and was down a set in three of them.

Top seed Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez of Mexico, who won the title in 2021, took the boys singles championship again this year, beating No. 7 seed Danil Panarin of Russia 7-5, 7-6(2).

The draws are up for next week's J500 in Merida, with Pachecho Mendez the top seed and defending champion; Fakih is not seeded. Six Americans qualified for the main draw today: Aoife Kuo, Maria Aytoyan, Sydney Jara, Gabriella Mikaul, Maximus Dussault and Abhishek Thorat.

Patrick Kypson will receive his second slam main draw wild card, after the former Texas A&M star won the ATP 75 Challenger in Champaign and with it, an Australian Open wild card. After Brandon Nakashima lost to No. 2 seed Maximilian Marterer of Germany 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the final of the Challenger 75 in Sweden, Kypson knew a win would secure second place in the USTA's Wild Card Challenge. His opponent in the final, No. 2 seed Alex Michelsen, will finish in first place, but with a live ATP ranking of 94, is unlikely to need a wild card. Kypson came out and played top level tennis, ending Michelsen's nine-match Challenger winning streak with a 6-4, 6-3 decision. It's the 24-year-old's second Challenger title and his first ATP Top 100 victory; seeded No. 7, he beat the top two seeds en route to the title. Kypson, the 2017 Kalamazoo 18s champion, won the USTA's Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge back in May.

No. 2 seed Learner Tien won his third USTA Pro Circuit singles title and his first at the $25,000 level today in Columbus Ohio, without having to serve twice, with his opponent, qualifier Jake Fearnley(TCU) of Great Britain retiring down 2-0 in the first set. The 2022 and 2023 Kalamazoo 18s champion, who won his first title this summer at a $15K in his home town of Irvine California, now has two titles indoors, having won the $15,000 tournament in Norman Oklahoma three weeks ago. He should move into the ATP Top 500 for the first time when the points are added.

Another teenager seeded No. 2 hoisted a winner's trophy today, with 19-year-old Ozan Baris taking the title on his Michigan State home courts at the $15,000 tournament in East Lansing. Baris defeated Stanford's Samir Banerjee 6-2, 6-1 in just over an hour for his first singles title on the Pro Circuit. He has three doubles titles on the Pro Circuit this year.

Another teenager's title run ended the winning streak of Duke senior Garrett Johns at the $15,000 tournament in Boca Raton Florida. Eighteen-year-old Kilian Feldbausch of Switzerland, the No. 6 seed, defeated the fifth-seeded Johns 6-4, 7-5 for his first Pro Circuit title. Johns was on a 14-match winning streak at $15Ks, having won two tournaments the previous two weeks in Fayetteville Arkansas and Winston-Salem North Carolina.

The doubles final, played last night, featured three South Florida teammates, with Thomas Pavlekovich Smith, a junior, and his partner Lawrence Sciglitano(Boise State/Montana), both from Australia, beating USF seniors Alvin Tudorica of Canada and Erik Grevelius of Sweden 7-6(3), 4-6, 13-11.

The final tournament in 2023 on the USTA Pro Circuit has yet to finish, with the final of the $25,000 women's tournament in Austin Texas moved indoors due to rain and shifted to the evening. Hanna Chang[6] is playing Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra for the title. I'll have an update in Monday's post.

No. 6 seeds Rajeev Ram(Illinois) and Joe Salisbury(Memphis) of Great Britain defended their ATP Finals title today in Turin Italy, beating No. 5 seeds Marcel Granollers of Spain and Horacio Zeballos of Argentina 6-3, 6-4 to finish the week undefeated.

After a mediocre season by their standards coming into the US Open, Ram and Salisbury won their third straight title in New York, and now have two consecutive ATP Tour titles. For more on the final, see this article from the ATP website.

The top seeds this week, Austin Krajicek(Texas A&M) and Ivan Dodig of Croatia, didn't get out of group play, but will finish as No. 1 in the year-end rankings, with the loss today by Granollers and Zeballos.