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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Rain Continues at Junior Fed Cup and Junior Davis Cup, but Top-Seeded US Girls Post Second Win; Oracle Masters Begins Thursday; Six Americans Reach Semifinals at ITF Grade 2 in Canada; Making Sense of Cheating in Junior Tennis

Rain continued to pose a problem for the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup competition in Budapest, but the top-seeded US girls have won their second match, beating Uruguay 3-0 to move into first place in Group A of the round robin competition. With No. 6 seed Italy losing to Belarus 2-1 in their second match, that gives the US the only 2-0 record in the group and they will finish first with a win Thursday over Italy. Today, Caty McNally and Whitney Osuigwe won singles matches, with Amanda Anisimova and McNally partnering for the doubles win.

Not all the second round matches are complete, but No. 2 seed Japan and No. 4 seed Ukraine did earn victories to go 2-0. No. 3 seed Russia trails unseeded Canada 1-0.

The third-seeded US boys will need to win the doubles point to get their second win, with Will Grant winning at No. 2 singles, but Govind Nanda failing at No. 1 singles. Grant and Nanda will play the doubles decider.

For scores and standings, see the tournament webpage.

The third annual Oracle Masters begins Thursday in Malibu, with 32-player fields. Invitations were sent to the top players in each conference, and in a new twist, players are seeded from 1-32.  No. 1 for the women is defending champion Ena Shibahara of UCLA, with Lauren Proctor of Winthrop the No. 2 seed.  The men's top seed is Petros Chrysochos of Wake Forest, with USC's Brandon Holt the No. 2 seed. Mixed doubles is also part of the tournament, with teams made up from players from the same conference, if possible. Shibahara and Holt are the No. 1 seeds.

For draws and links to live scoring and live video, see the ITA's tournament page.

The semifinals are set for the ITF Grade 2 in Canada, with the girls final four consisting entirely of Americans. Top seed Natasha Subhash will face No. 3 seed Lea Ma, her doubles partner, in the top half, with No. 4 seed Elli Mandlik playing unseeded Addison Guevara in the the bottom half. Guevara, a 16-year-old from Texas, beat No. 2 seed Dalayna Hewitt 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-2.

Top seed Trey Hilderbrand will face unseeded Ronan Jachuck in the all-US semfinal, with the other semifinal featuring Canadian wild card Nicaise Muamba and unseeded Vikash Singh of India, who beat No. 3 seed Boris Kozlov in the second round.

Kelyn Soong of the Washington Post explores the problem of cheating in junior tennis in this article, with comments from former Florida Gator Spencer Liang, junior Reilly Tran, Brian Boland and Lew Brewer of the USTA and many others.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

USA Teams Post Wins Before Rain Cuts Short First Day of Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup; Four Pro Circuit Events in US This Week; Becker Retires, Returns to Baylor for Degree


Rain was a problem today in Budapest as the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup competitions began, but the United States' teams both managed to post two singles victories to secure their first wins in their round robin groups, with the girls defeating Belarus 2-0 and the boys beating Morocco 2-0.

US Open champion Amanda Anisimova and French Open champion Whitney Osuigwe picked up straight-sets wins, with Caty McNally, the third member of the team, not playing with doubles cancelled.  With two of this year's junior slam champions the United States is the top seed in the competition, with the other seed in their round robin group A No. 6 Italy.  Group B has No. 3 seed Russia and No. 8 seed Thailand, Group C contains No. 4 Ukraine and No. 7 Colombia and Group D's seeds are No. 2 Japan and No. 5 France.  Japan has posted a 2-0 win over Morocco, while France is tied at 1 singles match apiece with Argentina.  The ITF Junior website spoke with Osuigwe about her training with the US Fed Cup team in this article.

The US boys team of Will Grant, Govind Nanda and Tyler Zink is seeded No. 3 and is round robin group C with no. 8 seed Australia. Zink and Grant posted straight-sets wins for the US today. The top seeded boys team is the Czech Republic and they are in Group A with No. 7 Japan. In Group B are No. 4 Croatia and No. 6 Brazil. Group D's seeds are No. 2 Argentina and No. 5 Italy. Russia, the defending champions, are not seeded.

This year, teams are not required to win their round robin group to advance. The top two teams in each group then move to the quarterfinals, which did not exist prior to this year.

There is live streaming through the ITF Junior website, but I have not been able to find the live scoring that was promised. For teams and scores, see the tournament website.

Four USTA Pro Circuit events are underway in the US this week, with a $15,000 Futures tournament in Laguna Niguel California and a $75,000 Challenger in Columbus Ohio for the men, and an $80,000 event in Albuquerque New Mexico and a $25,000 event in Lubbock Texas for the women.  In addition, Canada is hosting a $25,000 Futures and Mexico has a $100,000 ITF Women's event, which also have attracted their share of Americans.

In Columbus, the first round will spread to its third day on Wednesday, in order to accommodate the three players who competed in the Davis Cup tie between Canada and India last week in Edmonton, which Canada won 3-2. Yuki Bhambri[3] and Ramkumar Ramanathan[2] of India and former North Carolina star Brayden Schnur of Canada will play the last three first round matches on Wednesday.  Cary champion Kevin King, who also played Sunday did not get a Wednesday start, and he won his 11th straight match, beating wild card John McNally, an Ohio State freshman, 4-6, 6-3 ,6-3. Wild card JJ Wolf, an Ohio State sophomore and Kalamazoo 18s finalist, earned his first ATP points today, beating qualifier Luke Bambridge 6-4, 6-2 and will play No. 4 seed Denis Kudla in the second round on Wednesday. Defending champion Mikael Torpegaard, an Ohio State senior, lost his first round match today to Canada's Filip Peliwo 7-6(2), 6-4.  Ohio State junior Martin Joyce, another wild card recipient, also advanced to the second round. Evan King, Dennis Novikov[7] and Austin Krajicek also earned first round victories.

In Laguna Niguel, only three first round singles matches were played today, with qualifier Trevor Johnson(TCU), Jenson Brooksby and Hunter Callahan posting wins.  The 16-year-old Brooksby, who reached the quarterfinals last week in Claremont, will move into the ATP rankings next Monday.  Qualifier Gianni Ross, wild card Jacob Bullard and Sam Riffice are juniors who will play their first round matches Wednesday. American Collegiate Invitational champion Tom Fawcett, who also received a wild card, plays No. 2 seed Benjamin Lock, the former Florida State star, Wednesday.

The first round is complete in Lubbock, with the top three seeds--Great Britain's Harriet Dart, India's Karman Thandi and Vicky Duval--all advancing.

In Albuquerque, only one singles first round match was played, with the final round of qualifying the other singles activity on Tuesday's schedule.  Advancing to the main draw were Amanda Rodgers, Megan McCray, Sabrina Santamaria and Slovakia's Zuzana Zlochova. McCray will face Wimbledon girls champion Claire Liu in the first round on Wednesday. Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland is the top seed, Sonya Kenin is the No. 2 seed and Kayla Day accepted a wild card and is the No. 3 seed. Free live streaming of the tournament is available at the USTA website.

On Saturday, the ATP posted a conversation with 2004 NCAA champion Benjamin Becker of Germany about his decision to retire after 12 years on the ATP Tour.  The former Baylor star, whose ATP ranking career high was 35, has returned to Waco to finish his degree and is serving as a volunteer assistant for the men's team.

Monday, September 18, 2017

My American Collegiate Invitational Recap; Interviews with the Eight Men Participants

I wrapped up the American Collegiate Invitational at the US Open with this article for the Tennis Recruiting Network. Stanford's Tom Fawcett and Ohio State's Francesca Di Lorenzo won the titles and with those title comes qualifying wild cards into next year's US Open. Last week I provided excerpts from my interviews with all eight women's participants. Below are the conversations I had with the eight men's competitors.

William Bushamuka, University of Kentucky senior
(Bushamuka lost to Brandon Holt 6-2, 6-2)

On his last-minute inclusion as an alternate: I was in class when I found out and I called my mom and my coach and told them I was going to come here.

On his schedule during the summer:
I went to Africa this summer to play some Futures, and that was fun. There’s a big Challenger in Lexington and I played that. I lost (to JP Smith of Australia), but I had a good match.

On switching from representing Congo to the United States after juniors:
I was born here in New York, but my dad is originally from Congo.

On his schedule for this fall:
I’m going to play a bunch of ITA tournaments. I’m going to Malibu [the Oracle Masters this weekend], then All Americans in Tulsa, Regionals. Then probably some Challengers, I’d like to play in some Challengers over the fall.

On what’s improved most in his game while in college:
I’d say my mental game. I was a little bit crazy in juniors, but I feel like I’ve matured a lot thanks to my coach Cedric [Kaufman]. My team also helped me a lot. I think overall I’ve improved a lot from juniors.

On his goals for this season: I’m hoping to be Top 10, Top 5, that’s where I’m trying to aim. To get really far in NCAAs as a team and individually. Hopefully we can do something great this season and I think we can with the team we have this year.

Christopher Eubanks, Georgia Tech senior
(Eubanks lost to Michael Redlicki 6-2, 6-4)

On his summer highlight: Close between playing in the first round here and getting my first tour-level wins in Atlanta. Those two are neck and neck, though maybe even the doubles win here (partnering with Christian Harrison to beat Mikhail Youzhny and Mischa Zverev in the first round). That was pretty cool. It’s been fun from beginning to end.

On what he’s learned about his game during the summer: I think I’ve gained a little bit of professionalism, mainly off the court stuff is the biggest thing for me. I’m going about that extra stuff a little bit more diligently and learning as I go, making adjustments throughout matches, things like that.

On his schedule this fall: I’m taking the fall off, going to play primarily some Challengers  and maybe throw some $25Ks in. We’ve got to manage it as we go, but that’s the plan now, play a few Challengers and see where it goes from there. Kenny [Georgia Tech head coach Thorne] has been influential in devising what the next course of action is going to be.

On his academic status: I’m a senior 24, 25 hours away from graduation. Pretty close to getting my degree.


Thai Kwiatkowski, recent University of Virginia graduate

(Kwiatkowski lost to Tom Fawcett 7-6(5), 6-4)

On the contrast between competing in the ACI and the main draw of the men's singles: It's different for sure, but if you can't enjoy playing at the US Open maybe you shouldn't play at all.

On taking Mischa Zverev to five sets in the first round of men's singles:
It was an incredible experience and a real bummer that I lost out on that. That one hurt a lot more. To be honest this doesn't really mean that much until you get to the finals. There was a lot a money and a lot of points on the [Zverev] match last week. It's every kid's dream to play in the main draw of the US Open and I really cherish the moment and am happy that I got that experience, but it's a tough loss. It lets you know where your level is, but at the same time, losing 6-3 in the fifth set or losing 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 is the same result. But it was positive overall and I have no regrets with how I competed.

On the $50,000 prize money earned from that match: It definitely gives me an opportunity to play in 2018. I graduated with a business degree from UVA, so there's massive opportunity cost every day I step out on the tennis court, so I have to understand that and do my best day in and day out, because I could be doing a lot of other things in my life. I know that eventually I will get into the business world. I think right now I'm playing tennis because I've played tennis my whole life and it's always been a dream and I know if I quit now and start working, I'll definitely enjoy that job, but I'll always have in the back of my mind that I should have played. I'm basically getting that out of my system and doing my best and seeing how far that can take me. I'm going to give myself probably to the end of next year, then reassess at the end of 2018.

On his fall schedule: Right now I'm trying to figure out where to live, where to train. I'm taking a lot of advice from people who have done it before and try to figure out a good balance. Get a lot of books to continue learning, because it's weird not being in a classroom anymore. There's so much down time on the tour, lying around, wasting a lot of time.

On his coaching arrangements: I'm working with my coach back in Charlotte, Bill Belser, and I'm also working with Carlos Benatzky at USTA.

On what he'll miss about college tennis: I'll miss everything about college tennis. Playing individual tournaments and college team tournaments isn't remotely close from enjoyment. It helps when you're winning three national championships in four years, but those bus rides, tough matches and celebrations. Thankfully we got to celebrate a lot, so it's pretty good memories and I'm still best friends with all those guys, talk to them everyday, so it's not too far away.

Alex Rybakov, TCU junior
(Rybakov lost to Alfredo Perez 7-5, 6-3)

On his sophomore year at TCU: My season went well. I won 23 matches in a row at one point, lost one match then lost to Alfredo [Perez] at NCAA individuals. It was a very good season overall individually. As a team it was good; we came up a little bit short to Ohio State in the quarters.

On his summer: I won my first Futures title, won a couple of rounds in Challengers, which I hadn't done before, so that was good. I’m definitely progressing, it’s just tough I couldn’t get it done here. I didn’t play badly, but there’s a couple of things I need to keep working on.

On the success of former teammate Cam Norrie: He’s definitely helped me a lot. And seeing what he’s done transitioning to the ATP level is definitely a positive for me, that I can possibly do the same thing. We’ve had a good two seasons [as teammates] where we’ve pushed ourselves in practice and we've become close, good friends. Now that he’s left, I would like to, obviously, follow in his footsteps, take the No. 1 spot and do what he did last year, which was basically dominate. It’s easier said than done, but I’d like to replicate what he’s done.

On his academic progress after starting in January of 2016: I’m doing communication studies, that’s my major. When you first get to school it’s tough to get in a rhythm, with class and practice, but once you’re a couple of weeks in it, you kind of get into the schedule and it goes pretty well. I’m not doing mechanical engineering, so I think the classes are obviously doable if you put in the time to study. I’m a second semester sophomore; I’ve done some classes to catch up. I'll be a first semester junior in the spring. If I stay all four years, I’ll need an extra semester to finish my degree.

On playing regular scoring during the event: I don’t mind going back and forth. I think it’s honestly easier to go from no-ad back to ad. But I don’t really mind either one; I probably prefer playing with ads, just because that's what they do everywhere else. I think it’s good for the college atmosphere to have no-ad, there’s a bit more pressure, more excitement, but I don’t think it really makes a difference. The same with the shot clock and everything. I didn’t really notice it too much.

Brandon Holt, University of Southern California sophomore
(Holt defeated William Bushamuka 6-2, 6-2, lost to Michael Redlicki 4-6, 6-0, 6-3)

On returning to the National Tennis Center: I feel like I've been here more than anyone else. First time I was here, I was zero years old and I came here (with mother Tracy Austin and father Scott Holt) every single year until, I want to say, eighth grade. Then I played the juniors, but there was a little hiatus in high school. So I'm definitely comfortable here; I love it here and of course I'm happy to play. It was a treat to get the call (to fill a spot as an alternate).

On his plans for the fall: I'm going to play the Oracle Masters and I think I'll be all right by then [after a muscle injury worsened at ACI). And I think then a Futures? But I'll have to look at the schedule; I'm not really the guy to ask on that, which isn't a good thing.

On his freshman year: It was definitely positive. I had a back injury from the French Open juniors two years ago, which kind of lingered through the year, so I was kind of on and off with my back. Every three weeks my back would kind of go out. I had a stress fracture in my first rib and then I have two disc issues, but I've got them all figured out and they're all better basically; I've been doing some exercises to get back on the right track. The year was kind of tough, but I played well and did well.

On his goals for this year: It's tough to say. I've got a lot of goals. I don't really set too many goals, maybe that's something I should start doing. Win the tournament I'm about to play. No ranking goals. I think we have a chance to win the NCAA [team] championship. We've got two new freshmen who are very good I think and we lost two seniors. But I think the replacements will be good and we've all been improving a lot over the summer, really working hard. Our coaching is great and I've seen a huge improvement in everyone and I think we're on an upward trend right now and getting better.

Alfredo Perez, University of Florida junior:
(Perez defeated Alex Rybakov 7-5, 6-3, lost to Tom Fawcett 6-1, 6-2)

On rubbing shoulders with the world's best tennis players at the US Open: It was a really good experience, I really enjoyed being able to play on the same courts as the professionals. Yesterday I was eating lunch and I looked back and Rafa (Nadal) was eating lunch two feet away from me. Today I walk in he's eating lunch again and playing this Spanish board game Parchis that I play all the time with my family. I couldn't believe it. The great Rafa Nadal plays this game, I was really surprised.

On his goals for the coming season: Keep improving and playing my game and being good enough that hopefully my teammates will have trust in me that when I step on the court I'll win my match. I would like to be SEC Player of the Year and go farther in the NCAAs (he lost in the round of 16 in May), hopefully win it. But the goal is to improve as much as I can.

On his academic path and career after pursuing pro tennis: I'm studying International Studies, especially in the Caribbean. I'm focusing on tennis right now, but I would like to help countries like Cuba; they are not doing so good, so help the people there. My family is from Cuba, but we live now in Miami.

On the Gator freshmen competing in the US Open Juniors: I'm always excited by new guys, getting to know them, making friendships that last forever. They're really good guys and really good tennis players at the same time, so that's a bonus.

Michael Redlicki, University of Arkansas graduate student


(Redlicki defeated Christopher Eubanks 6-2, 6-4 and Brandon Holt 4-6, 6-0, 6-3; lost to Tom Fawcett 7-6(4), 6-7(6), 6-4)

On competing in the ACI and playing the final on the Grandstand: We all love coming to New York City, it's one of the coolest place on earth, so who wouldn't love to be able to invited to play at the US Open on the main courts during the main tournament in New York City? It doesn't get better than that. You feel it, you certainly feel it,  On Court 5 you feel it, on Grandstand it's a whole other experience. Huge thanks to the USTA for setting this whole event up and putting us on the Grandstand. We both sincerely appreciate it.

On completing his master's degree in business:  I just have two classes which will end in December and I'll graduate. It's an MBA with a concentration in finance. That'll be done in December and in January I'll go out on tour.

On playing full time next year: I have been putting a really large emphasis on school. It is tough, for a master's degree a lot more is required from you as a student. A lot of times people in these programs are way older than 23. A lot more is expected of them, they've been around the block more than once, so it's tough. So I'm really happy to have my master's and have it be in my pocket and have it as mental security more than anything going on the pro tour. I think being able to be on the tour with a clear head is invaluable.

On missing a golden opportunity: I'm upset because there is no flight out of LaGuardia after 2:30 tomorrow [due to Hurricane Irma]. I was actually asked to hit with Kevin [Anderson] tomorrow at 1:30; because he's playing Rafa they were going to use the lefty warmup. I would never think in my life I would tell a US Open finalist I can't warm up, because I have a flight to catch. I wish him all the best, a former Illini, and [Illinois head coach] Brad Dancer is a very close friend of mine. I'm wishing he can make some history tomorrow; to beat Rafa would be really special, that would be great.

Tom Fawcett, Stanford senior
(Fawcett defeated Thai Kwaitkowski 7-6(5), 6-4, defeated Alfredo Perez 6-1, 6-2 and Michael Redlicki 7-6(4), 6-7(6), 6-4)

On playing the final on the Grandstand: I've never played on a court like that before. Although there wasn't too many people out there because of the timing, it was really cool. Hawkeye didn't go well, I used all my Challenges and wasn't successful with any of them. It was cool; I've never had that system before in place and I thought it was interesting to play with it out there.

On his academic progress: I'm a senior. I'm studying science, technology and society. We have four or five guys on our team with that major, so it's a popular one.

On his plans after graduation: Playing pro tennis, that's the goal.

On incoming freshman Axel Geller, a two-time finalist at junior slams this summer: It's incredible. He's doing some great things, playing amazing tennis. We're all excited to have him there and push us to get better. I don't know him too well. I've seen him at this tournament and on his visit to Stanford, but we've gotten close from those two times and I can tell we're going to be pretty good friends.

On prospects for Stanford team this season: I'm really excited. We've got a great group of guys, everyone's pretty good and we have really good team chemistry. I think it's going to be a good year for us.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Wu Claims Shanghai Challenger; King Defeats Norrie for Cary Title; Anderson Earns Title in Redding; TCU's Gray Wins Newport; OU's Bakshi Captures Shootout at Napa

Wu speaking with press after winning the US Open boys title
Just one week after taking the singles and doubles titles at the US Open Junior Championships, 17-year-old Wu Yibing of China earned his first Challenger title in his first trip to a final, defeating top seed Rendy Lu of Taiwan 7-6(6) retired in the championship match at the $75,000 ATP Challenger in Shanghai. Wu, who will move to around 320 in the ATP rankings with the win, plays his first ATP 250 event week after next in Chengdu and will also receive a wild card into the main draw of the Masters event in Shanghai next month.  The ATP spoke with the ITF's top-ranked junior for this article after his title in Shanghai.

Closer to home, Kevin King won his first Challenger title today in Cary North Carolina, beating former TCU standout Cameron Norrie of Great Britain 6-4, 6-1 in the final of the $50,000+H event.  The 26-year-old former Georgia Tech All-American has now won ten straight matches in the past two weeks, having won the title at the $25,000 Futures in Toronto a week ago. King, who had hip surgery that kept him out of competition for most of 2016, will now reach a career-high in the ATP rankings of approximately 253, up from 434 at the start of the month.

Marcelo Arevalo(Tulsa) of El Salvador and Miguel Reyes Varela(Texas) of Mexico won their third straight Challenger doubles title, beating Mikelis Libietis(Tennessee) of Latvia and Dennis Novikov(UCLA) 6-7(6), 7-6(1), 10-7 in the final.


At the $15,000 Futures in Claremont California, qualifier Karue Sell of Brazil beat former UCLA teammate Martin Redlicki 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3 to win his first Pro Circuit singles title.  More on today's final from press aide Steve Pratt:


CLAREMONT, Calif., (Sept. 17, 2017) – Former UCLA star Karue Sell won his 13th consecutive match over 10 days in the city of Claremont on Sunday, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-3, beating his one-time Bruin teammate Martin Redlicki in three sets in the final of the $15,000 USTA Men’s Pro Circuit Futures Claremont Club Pro Classic played at the Claremont Club.
                                                
Just like he did warming up with his doubles partner Deiton Baughman before he faced him in a Saturday semifinal, Sell warmed up against his final opponent and good friend Redlicki before the two squared off.

“He warmed me up for every dual match during my senior year,” said Sell, 23, who won his first Futures title. “It’s not like we’re going to learn something new in 20 minutes. It’s fine. It was a nice way to warm up.”

Starting with qualifying a week ago Friday, Sell won four qualifying singles matches, five main-draw singles matches and posted four main-draw doubles wins on his way to also winning the doubles crown with Baughman.

On his @KarueSell Twitter account on Saturday, Sell posted: “After 18,466 matches this week, finals tomorrow!”

“I’m actually feeling pretty good right now,” said Sell, who did have the benefit of a walkover in singles and a second-set retirement versus Baughman on Saturday as part of his 13 wins. “I thought I’d be more sore at this point.”

The Redondo Beach resident Sell did not receive a special exemption so will not play singles this coming week in Laguna Niguel, but will play doubles with Baughman. The following week he will play singles at the Fountain Valley Futures, and doubles with Redlicki.

Sell will cash a nice check worth $2,160 and Redlicki will deposit $1,272 for his runner-up appearance, although he can only claim expenses as he is still an amateur. Maybe more importantly for Sell is the 12 valuable ATP ranking points he receives. Before the tournament, Sell had just four total ATP points during his career.

The final was tight from the start, with both players holding their strong serves early. “It was a pretty close match, and I knew it would be decided on the big points,” Sell said.

It’s quite a start to pro tennis full-time to a player who spent the summer playing Men’s Open events, and last college season as the volunteer assistant at Pepperdine.

Another former UCLA star picked up a title Sunday in California, with the Bruins No. 1 Robin Anderson winning her first $25,000 level tournament in Redding. The unseeded 24-year-old defeated No. 6 seed Chanel Simmonds of South Africa 6-1, 6-4 in the final.

Former Florida State standout Daneika Borthwick, who is now a volunteer assistant at Wake Forest, won the doubles title. The 24-year-old from Great Britain and Ana Veselinovic of Montenegro beat No. 3 seeds Maria Sanchez and Great Britain's Harriet Dart 6-3, 6-4 in the final. 

At the $60,000 Las Vegas tournament, No. 7 seed Sesil Karatantcheva beat No. 8 seed Elitsa Kostova in an all-Bulgarian singles final 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. Top seeds An Sophie Mestach of Belgium and Laura Robson of Great Britain won the doubles title, beating No. 3 seeds Sophie Chang and Alexandra Mueller 7-6(7), 7-6(2) in the final.

At the ITA's Hall of Fame Grass Court Invitational in Newport Rhode Island, the big prize, a main draw wild card into next year's ATP event, went to TCU freshman Alastair Gray.  Gray defeated teammate Alex Rybakov 6-3, 6-3 in the final, with Rybakov earning a qualifying wild card by reaching the final.  In the women's event, Florida's Anna Danilina won the top flight, beating North Carolina's Jessie Aney 6-7, 6-1, 10-7. The ITA's release on the final states that Danilina is not eligible for a USTA Pro Circuit wild card that was offered to the winner. Aney will receive a wild card into a $25,000 Pro Circuit qualifying draw.

The Audi Napa Valley event, which features round robin play including both Division I college players and USTA juniors, was completed today, with Oklahoma's Alexander Bakshi winning the shootout that decides the USTA Pro Circuit wild card recipient.  Bakshi defeated Texas A&M's Valentin Vacherot 10-7 in the final of the super tiebreaker format that makes up the shootout.  None of the USTA juniors advanced to the shootout from their round robin groups. Complete results are here.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

King, Norrie to Decide Cary Challenger Title; Wu Advances to Final in Shanghai Challenger; Redlicki Makes First Futures Final; Khan Wins ITF Grade 5 in Honduras

Kevin King won a Futures title last week in Canada and has now extended his winning streak to nine in reaching his first ATP Challenger final at the $50,000+Hospitality tournament in Cary North Carolina. The 26-year-old former Georgia Tech star, who used a protected ranking for entry this week, defeated No. 6 seed Noah Rubin 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, coming from a break down in the final set to earn the victory. King, who beat top seed Ernesto Escobedo in the second round, will face former TCU star Cameron Norrie of Great Britain in Sunday's final. Norrie, who would have been seeded in Cary based on his US Open results had it been one week later, defeated former Tulsa star Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvadore 6-0, 6-4.  Arevalo had won his first Challenger title last week in Bogota Colombia. Less than two months ago, Norrie, who beat No. 2 seed Tennys Sandgren in the second round, had an ATP ranking of 275. If he wins Sunday, he will be approaching 150 in the rankings.  Live streaming is available here for Sunday afternoon's final.

On the other side of the International Date Line, US Open boys champion Wu Yibing has reached his first Challenger final at the $75,000 tournament in Shanghai. Wu, who barely had a day to travel from New York to China, defeated Matthias Bachinger of Germany 7-5, 7-5 to advance to the championship match against Rendy Lu of Taiwan. Lu and Wu played last month in the semifinals of the Chengdu Challenger with the 34-year-old winning 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.  Wu has also received a wild card into the ATP 250 event in Chengdu week after next. 2010 NCAA champion Bradley Klahn has reached doubles final in Shanghai, with Canadian Peter Polansky.

Martin Redlicki watching brother Michael at 2017 ACI in New York
Another player making a first final appearance on Sunday is UCLA senior Martin Redlicki, who will face former teammate Karue Sell of Brazil in the final of the $15,000 Futures in Claremont California.  Sell already has one title, winning the doubles championship with Deiton Baughman.  For more on today's matches, see this recap from press aide Steve Pratt:

CLAREMONT, Calif., (Sept. 16, 2017) – UCLA senior Martin Redlicki beat a familiar face in former junior rival Henry Craig, 6-4, 6-2, on Saturday in the semifinals of the $15,000 USTA Men’s Pro Circuit Futures Claremont Club Pro Classic being played at the Claremont Club.

In the Sunday 10 a.m. final, Redlicki will meet an even more familiar foe when he plays his former Bruin teammate Karue Sell. The 2016 NCAA doubles champion with Mackenzie McDonald, Redlicki will be contesting his first Pro Circuit Futures final. Redlicki and Sell were teammates for two years during Redlicki’s freshman and sophomore years.

“I remember in last year’s semifinals I was up a set and 4-2 and had a break point, but ended up losing the match (to eventual winner Sebastian Fanselow),” Redlicki said. “I had the same exact thing happen today, but tried to get any negative thoughts about last year out of my head quickly.”

The 2015 ITA Rookie of the Year Redlicki also won the US Open junior doubles title in 2013. 

“I was able to minimize my mistakes today and played the big points well,” Redlicki said. “It’s great to have two Bruins in the final.”

Sell defeated an injured Deiton Baughman as the 2015 Claremont Club was forced to retire with Sell leading 7-5, 3-0, because of an elbow issue that has bothered him all week.

The final of the $25,000 Futures in Toronto was played today, with No. 4 seed Kaichi Uchida of Japan defeating former Illinois star Dennis Nevolo, the No. 6 seed, 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-1.  Former Texas A&M teammates Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant won the doubles title, beating Gary Kushnirovich and France's Yanais Laurent 6-3, 6-2 in a battle between unseeded teams.

At the WTA International tournament in Quebec, Australian Open girls doubles champions Bianca Andreescu and Carson Branstine have reached the final.  The 17-year-old wild cards defeated second seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals and Irina Falconi and Hungary's Fanny Stollar in the semifinals to advance to the championship match against top seeds Timea Babos of Hungary and Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic.

Zane Khan has been out with an injury since March (as has his brother Faris), but he won his first tournament back today at the ITF Grade 5 in Honduras. The 15-year-old, seeded No. 4, defeated the top seed in the semifinals and took out No. 3 seed Antonio March of Ecuador 6-2, 6-4 in the final to win his first ITF junior singles title. The Khan brothers also made the doubles final, but Faris was apparently injured in his semifinal match and they gave a walkover to their opponents. Jenna Dean won the girls doubles title, with Japan's Natsumi Kawaguchi. The top seeds defeated  Romary Cardenas Rifka and Ingrid Millan of Mexico, the No. 2 seeds, 6-3, 6-2 in the final. Kawaguchi, the top seed in singles, beat Dean, the No. 2 seed in singles, 6-0, 6-4 in that final.

Friday, September 15, 2017

US Open Junior Championships Recap, Photos

My recap of the 2017 US Open Junior Championships is up today at the Tennis Recruiting Network, with a look back at how American Amanda Anisimova and Chinese Wu Yibing made history for their countries. Although Anisimova is off until next week's Junior Fed Cup in Budapest, Wu has kept right on winning, reaching the semifinals this week at the $75,000 ATP Challenger in Shanghai.

To wrap up the tournament, below are photos of all 20 American juniors who won a singles match in New York, with the round they lost in noted in the caption. For photos of the 20 Americans who lost first round matches, see this Google Photos Album.


Second round

Second round

Second round

Second round

Second round

Second round

Second round

Second round

Second round

Second round


Third round

Third round

Third round

Third round

Quarterfinals

Quarterfinals

Quarterfinals

Quarterfinals

Finalist

Champion