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

Monday, May 6, 2024

Leach, Penickova, Gaskell and Newman Claim ITF 200 and 100 Titles, Six Other ITF Singles Titles for US Juniors; Two New Power Five Coaches Announced; Vickery Wins USTA's Roland Garros Wild Card; NCAA Division III Selections

Last week was deja vu for Jagger Leach and Kristina Penickova, who two weeks ago, won the singles titles at the ITF J300 tournament in Malaysia, with Penickova also taking the doubles championship with twin sister Annika. At last week's J200 in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, all three of those results were duplicated. Fourteen-year-old Penickova, the top seed, won all five of her matches last week in straight sets, defeating qualifier Yuyao Li of China 6-3, 6-3 in the final. Penickova, who went undefeated in Junior Billie Jean King Cup North/Central American qualifying last month, hasn't lost a match, in singles or doubles, since the final of the ITF J300 in San Diego in March. She and Annika now have seven ITF junior doubles titles after the top seeds beat No. 7 seeds Dora Miskovic of Croatia and Alana Subasic of Australia 6-4, 6-4 in the final. Annika advanced to the quarterfinals in singles.

Leach, the No. 2 seed, also won all five of his matches last week in straight sets, defeating top seed Jangjun Kim of Korea 6-2, 6-4 in the final.

The ITF has stopped posting the junior rankings on Monday, as was always the case previously, so I don't know how much higher their new rankings are, but it's certainly been a valuable trip for them.

Very few players have defeated Christina Lyutova of Russia in ITF Junior Circuit competition, but Welles Newman can now add her name to that short list. The unseeded 14-year-old from Florida won her first ITF Junior Circuit title last week at the J100 in Coral Gables Florida, beating No. 4 seed Lyutova, also 14, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in the final. Lyutova, who won the J100 in Delray Beach two weeks ago, dropped the first set in three of her wins in Coral Gables, but couldn't continue those heroics in the final. No. 2 seeds Riley Crowder and Vessa Turley won their second straight doubles title, with the Delray Beach champions beating top seeds Nancy Lee and Ava Rodriguez 6-2, 3-6, 10-5 in the final. 

Sixteen-year-old Lachlan Gaskell, last year's Kalamazoo 16s finalist, won his second ITF junior circuit singles title in Coral Gables, with the No. 5 seed defeating unseeded Alexander Baez of Paraguay 6-3, 6-2 in the final. Baez did get the better of Gaskell in the doubles final, partnering with compatriot Thiago Drozdowski. The No. 2 seeds beat the unseeded team of Gaskell and Donald Stoot  6-1, 2-6, 10-5.

Fourteen-year-old Shaya Jovanovic won her first two ITF Junior Circuit titles last week at the J100 in Mexico. The unseeded five-star from Los Angeles defeated No. 2 seed Sandra Isabela Arguelles of Mexico 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the final. Jovanovic and Kenzie Nguyen, the fifth seeds, won the doubles title, beating No. 8 seeds Emery Martin and Londyn McCord 6-7(6), 6-1, 10-3. 

The boys doubles championship in Mexico went to 16-year-old twins Chase and Grey Kelley. The No. 8 seeds defeated No. 4 seeds Sebastian Arevalo and Gerardo Delgado of Mexico 6-4, 6-3 in the final. It's their first title as a team, although both have won ITF Junior Circuit doubles titles with other partners.

At the J60 in Costa Rica, 16-year-old Mason Taube won his first two ITF Junior Circuit titles. Taube, who was unseeded, defeated the previous week's J60 Costa Rica champion, No. 5 seed Simon Caldwell, 7-5, 6-4 in the singles final. Taube and Zavier Augustin, the No. 3 seeds, defeated top seeds Juan Bolivar Idarraga of Colombia and Erik Schinnerer 7-6(8), 6-2 in the final. Calla McGill and Ariana Morris won the girls doubles title in Costa Rica, beating Reiley Rhodes and Sarah Stoyanov 6-4, 6-1 in the battle between unseeded American teams.

Americans swept the singles titles at two J30s last week as well. At the J30 in Jamaica, No. 3 seed James Weber and unseeded Olivia Traynor. The 17-year-old Weber, who won the previous week's J30 in Jamaica, extended his winning streak to ten matches, beating No. 7 seed Joseph Hernandez 7-6(7), 6-2 in the final. Hernandez won the doubles title, with partner Arin Menon, with the No. 2 seeds taking it when Weber and partner Mikaeel Ali Baig of Pakistan retired leading 2-1 in the first set. 

Olivia Traynor, 16, won her first ITF Junior Circuit title, with the five-star from New York defeating No. 3 seed Avery Alexander of Canada 6-4, 6-2 in the final. 

Fourteen-year-olds Michael Antonius and Solomia Maria Hryniv won J30 titles in Spain, with bad weather causing match tiebreakers in lieu of third sets to be used. Antonious, the No. 4 seed, defeated unseeded Enzo Flores of Brazil 7-6(7), 3-0 ret. to earn his second ITF Junior Circuit singles title. Hryniv, who was a lucky loser, beat No. 4 seed Ha Yoon Son of Korea 5-7, 6-3, 10-1 in the final for her first ITF Junior Circuit title.

Two Power Five conferences announced new coaches recently, although in the case of Peter Kobelt at Nebraska, new probably isn't the right word, as he has been guiding the Cornhuskers as the interim head coach all season. Today Nebraska announced Kobelt would become the program's 12th head coach after leading the team to a 17-10 record this year.

On Friday, Auburn announced that Jordan Szabo, the Texas A&M women's associate head coach, had been hired as the women's head coach, filling the vacancy that opened when Carolina Lilley was fired in February. 

The USTA officially confirmed today that Sachia Vickery has won its Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge. Nicolas Moreno de Alboran(UC-Santa Barbara) was announced as the men's winner last week. The final results, with current rankings in parentheses:

Women's Standings -- Final 
1. Sachia Vickery (127) -- 130
2. Louisa Chirico (222) -- 97
3. Katie Volynets (109) -- 86

Men's Standings -- Final
1. Nicolas Moreno de Alboran (138) -- 75
2. Mitchell Krueger (239) -- 63
3. Michael Mmoh (114) -- 50

The NCAA Division III men's and women's team selections and draws were released today, with regional play beginning Friday. The finals are being hosted by Washington-St. Louis May 21-24. Like D-I's Oklahoma State, Washington-St. Louis was scheduled to host the NCAAs back in 2020, but with the pandemic causing a cancellation, it was rescheduled for that site for 2024. The brackets do not show seeds, but these are the top eight ranked teams in last week's D-III rankings:

1. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
2. Chicago
3. Case Western(defending champion)
4. Emory
5. Middlebury
6. Bowdoin
7. Denison
8. Williams

1. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps(defending champion)
2. Chicago
3. Pomona-Pitzer
4. Wesleyan
5. Emory
6. Washington-St. Louis
7. Johns Hopkins
8. Middlebury

The D-III individual selections will be announced Wednesday.


otarytf said...

"The ITF has stopped posting the junior rankings on Monday..."

Yesterday was a public holiday in England and Wales. (There's another on 27 May.)

Colette Lewis said...

Was there one on April 29th as well? Because they didn't go up that Monday either.

otarytf said...

No, the previous bank holiday was Easter Monday (1 April). The next one after the late May one is at the end of August.