Schedule a training visit to the prestigious Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, MD by clicking on the banner above

Saturday, November 11, 2023

US Girls Defend Junior BJK Cup Title Against Czech Republic Sunday; Svajda Starting at SMU in January; Kudla Versus Michelsen in Knoxville; Navarro Advances at Charleston $100K; All Texas Final at Austin $25K; Webb Sweeps Titles at Champaign $15K

The top seeds will meet for the Junior Billie Jean King Cup title Sunday in Cordoba Spain, with both No. 1 Czech Republic and No. 2 United States defeating their semifinal opponents today by 2-0 scores.

As they have been all week, the US girls were first off the court, taking out No. 6 seed Spain. Fifteen-year-old Tyra Grant defeated Lorena Solar Donoso 7-6(5), 6-1 in the first match, at No. 2 singles, and Iva Jovic, who was on the US team that won the Junior Billie Jean King Cup last year, wrapped up their return to the championship with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Charo Esquiva Banuls at No. 1 singles..

The Czech Republic, who won the 2021 title, had a surprisingly easy win over No. 3 Great Britain. Alena Kovackova defeated Hannah Klugman 6-4, 6-4 at No. 2 singles and Laura Samsonova beat Mingge Xu 6-4, 6-4 at No. 1 singles to complete the sweep. Doubles weren't played in either match, with the result having no bearing on Sunday's final.

The match will be available, beginning at 10:30 a.m. local, 4:30 a.m. Eastern time Sunday, at the ITF YouTube Channel. Live scoring is here.

Trevor Svajda, the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2024, committed to SMU yesterday and will start in January. The 17-year-old, who reached the Kalamazoo 18s final in August, had not ruled out the college pathway, but until a month or so ago, coaches recruiting him weren't sure where he was in his academic eligibility as to whether he would be interested in next fall or even spring of 2025. As it turned out, he was ahead of the calendar, and unlike his brother Zach, who wasn't interested in the college recruiting process, Svajda took visits this fall and selected SMU. 

Rhiannon Potkey of Tennis Recruiting Network spoke with him yesterday about his decision and it's clear that the proximity of his coach Matt Hanlin, who also works with Zach, was a major factor. The ATP Dallas Open in February, recently upgraded to a 500 level tournament for 2025, also provided SMU head coach Grant Chen with a carrot. Playing at the top of a lineup was also appealing to Svajda, and there's little doubt that's where he'll start for the Mustangs, who will join the ACC in 2025.

Alex Michelsen and Denis Kudla will play for the ATP Challenger 75 title in Knoxville Tennessee Sunday afternoon, after both recorded three-set semifinal wins Saturday. Michelsen, the No. 3 seed, defeated Tennys Sandgren(Tennessee) 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 and the unseeded Kudla beat No. 5 seed Emilio Nava 5-7, 6-4, 6-1. The winner tomorrow will take the lead in USTA Australian Open Wild Card Challenge with a week remaining in the race; Michelsen, currently 105 in the ATP live rankings, is close enough to receive entry based on his ranking, so second place in the race might earn the wild card.

Ohio State fifth year Cannon Kingsley won his first Challenge title in Knoxville today, partnering with Luis David Martinez of Venezuela to take the doubles championship. Kingsley and Martinez, who were unseeded, defeated No. 3 seeds Mac Kiger(UNC) and Mitchell Krueger 7-6(3), 6-3 in today final; all four of their victories this week were in straight sets.

Emma Navarro(Virginia) is back home and on clay this week at the $100,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Charleston, and she is continuing her stellar fall results, reaching the final with the loss of just five games(she did get a walkover in the quarterfinals). In today's semifinal, she defeated No. 4 seed Hailey Baptiste 6-2, 6-1 in less than an hour. The 2021 NCAA champion will face No. 3 seed Panna Udvardy of Hungary, who defeated unseeded Renata Zarazua of Mexico 6-2, 7-6(5) in the semifinals. Udvardy defeated Navarro 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 in their only meeting, last November at the WTA 125 on clay in Argentina.

The doubles final was interrupted after Baptiste and Whitney Osuigwe had split sets with Carole Monnet of France and Nigina Abduraimova of Uzbekistan. Baptiste and Osuigwe, who won the Midland 125 doubles title last week, took the first set 6-4, Monnet and Abduraimova took the second 6-3. The match tiebreaker is scheduled to be played Sunday before the singles final.

Two Texas Longhorns will play for the title on their home courts in Austin Sunday, with qualifier Siem Woldeab taking on wild card Pierre Yves Bailly of Belgium at the $25,000 tournament. Woldeab defeated No. 4 seed Learner Tien(USC) 6-2, 6-4 to reach his first Pro Circuit final; Bailly took out teammate Eliot Spizzirri 6-4, 6-2 to reach his second Pro Circuit final and first at the $25K level.

Tien and Pepperdine freshman Edward Winter of Australia took the doubles title, beating TCU sophomore Sebastian Gorzny and Texas A&M freshman Brayden Michna 4-6, 6-3, 10-2 in today's final.

Eighteen-year-old Australian Stefani Webb, a sophomore at Central Florida, swept the titles today at the women's $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Champaign Illinois. Webb, the No. 2 seed, defeated NC State senior Gina Dittmann of Germany, seeded sixth, 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 for her first singles title, then partnered with teammate Sophi Biolay of France for the doubles title. The unseeded pair defeated No. 3 seeds Ayumi Miyamoto of Japan and Raquel Gonzales Vilar of Spain, teammates at Oklahoma State, 7-5, 6-3 in the final.