Pro Circuit Recap: Mackenzie McDonald & Thai Kwiatkowski Win Singles Titles; Aron Hiltzik Wins His First Doubles Title; Abigail Tere-Apisah Rolling in Doubles; David O'Hare Wins Another Challenger Doubles TitleWritten by Bobby Knight
This past week was a good one for recent NCAA singles champions with the 2016 champ Mackenzie McDonald winning the $100K Fairfield Challenger while the 2017 champ Thai Kwiatkowski won the $25K Houston Futures.
Prior to last week McDonald's best performance at the Challenger-level was the semifinals but he plowed past that point with a straight set win over Australia's Christopher O'Connell and then in the finals he defeated Bradley Klahn 6-4, 6-2. McDonald earned a $14,400 payday plus he picked up 90 ATP ranking points which moved him up to a new career-high ranking of 164.
ITA Regional Wrap Up - Turati, Lommer, Novotna, & Patten Win Singles Titles; Evansville Eliminates Women's Tennis ProgramWritten by Bobby Knight
The ITA Carolina Regional had a strong field with the likes of Nicolas Alvarez, Gabriel Friedrich, Robert Kelly, and Christian Seraphim but when play commenced on Tuesday morning the big winner was UNC Asheville junior Henry Patten. The reigning Big South Player of the Year won all six matches in straight sets, including a 6-3, 6-1 win in the singles final over Clemson's Alex Favrot, to earn an automatic bid in the ITA National Fall Championships. Below are some comments from UNCA's recap:
"It shows a lot of the hard work is worth it and the progression is really nice," Patten mused. "I just want to thank Coach Tom Hand as he has been a big part of that progression. I also want to thank my teammates and my family for keeping up in England. It was a really long weekend of tennis and their support really helped."
"I think that this is going to show the whole team is playing at a really high level," Patten said. "I practice with those guys every day and I am able to compete at a very high level. It shows the margin is so small between UNC Asheville and others."
Texas sophomore Bianca Turati won an all-Texas singles final at the Texas Regional with a 7-5, 6-3 win over sophomore Petra Granic. Turati only dropped one set in her six matches with four of those wins coming over seeded players three of which were ranked in the ITA Top 125. Rice's Lindsey Hodge and Wendy Zhang prevented a Texas sweep by winning a close doubles final 3-6, 6-4, 10-8 over Marta Perez Mur and Dani Wagland.
"Bianca and Petra waged a demanding battle," said UT head coach Howard Joffe via Texas's recap. "These ladies are teammates and roommates, and I cannot be more proud of the way in which the match was played. Both ladies were ferocious and yet were great sportswomen! Today, Bianca came out on top and no one is happier for her than Petra."
ITA Regionals - Kentucky Sweeps Ohio Valley; Walker Duncan Wins Southeast; Texas in Good Shape; Fukuda/Lommer to Meet in Midwest FinalWritten by Bobby Knight
Kentucky came away from the Ohio Valley Regional as the big winner after Justina Mikulskyte won the singles title and Mami Adachi and Akvile Parazinskaite won an all-Kentucky doubles final. Mikulskyte edged Purdue's Silvia Ambrosio 7-6(9), 6-3 in the singles final to cap off a week in which the UK junior won six matches with five of them coming in straight sets.
"I am proud of our team," said head coach Carlos Drada via Kentucky's recap. "They continue to buy into our philosophies and continue to play with joy and mental toughness. It is not an easy feat to win singles and doubles regionals two-straight years against some of the best teams in the nation."
Georgia junior Walker Duncan won not one, not two, but three matches on Monday to win the Southeast Regional at Georgia Tech. Duncan defeated teammate Emil Reinberg in straight sets in the quarterfinals, Florida State's Alex Knaff in straight sets in the semifinals, and then teammate and top seed Wayne Montgomery 6-2, 6-3 in the finals. Georgia had three of the four semifinalists with Jan Zielinski joining Montgomery and Duncan after defeating Florida State's Guy Iradukunda in straight sets.
"We are really excited about this tournament so far," said head coach Manuel Diaz via Georgia's recap. "Our guys have had a terrific week. It was really a source of pride to have three guys in the semifinals. To say that it is an all-Georgia singles final is something I think is very exciting for our program. We have seen tremendous growth in our players, especially Jan getting into the semis and Walker into the finals. Our guys are getting better. They have worked very hard and we are very excited about the future."
Texas will have a chance to sweep the Texas Regional on Tuesday with Bianca Turati and Petra Granic set to meet in the singles final while Marta Perez Mur and Dani Wagland will meet Rice's Lindsey Hodge and Wendy Zhang in the doubles final.
"Once again our ladies performed tremendously," said third-year UT head coach Howard Joffe via Texas's recap. "In the singles, Bianca Turati was superb, and the uneven score line is emblematic of how dominant the tennis was. Petra Granic competed as well as I've seen anyone all year. She was the victim of a barrage of winners by the TCU player early on. But, Petra never flinched. Her discipline and effort allowed her to erase a large deficit," Joffe continued. "By the end of the match, Petra was playing awfully well and was largely in control of the match. (Alexandra) Zenovka of TCU is an experienced player who played outstanding tennis this week."
ITA Regionals - Idaho's Marianna Petrei Wins Mountain Regional; Georgia Men Rollin in the Southeast; Illinois Women Strong in the MidwestWritten by Bobby Knight
Idaho junior Marianna Petrei booked her spot at the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships after defeating Colorado freshman Linda Huang 7-5, 6-4 in the finals of the Mountain Regional in Salt Lake City. Petrei entered the weekend as the No. 2 seed and ended up winning six matches while only dropping one set.
Purdue junior Silvia Ambrosio will meet Kentucky junior Justina Mikulskyte in the final of the Ohio Valley Regional after each defeated higher seeds on Sunday. Ambrosio ousted the No. 9 seed Kentucky's Mami Adachi 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-2 while Mikulskyte defeated the No. 4 seed Vanderbilt's Amanda Meyer 6-4, 7-6(2). The doubles final will be an all-Kentucky affair with Mikulskyte and Lesedi Jacobs taking on Adachi and Akvile Parazinskaite.
Illinois has three of the final eight at the Midwest Regional in Ann Arbor and all three are freshman. Asuka Kawai, Mia Rabinowitz, and Emilee Duong have each knocked off a top four seed this weekend with Duong defeating Ohio State's Anna Sanford, Rabinowitz defeating Northwestern's Erin Larner, and Kawai defeating Notre Dame's Allison Miller. Northwestern will be guaranteed a representative in the semifinals with Lee Or and Rheeya Doshi meeting in the quarterfinals after Or knocked out the top seed Michigan's Kate Fahey. The doubles final will be an all-Northwestern tilt with Erin Larner and Maddie Lipp taking on Lee Or and Alex Chatt.
The Texas Regional semifinals at TCU will be contested between three of the top four seeds with two of them from Austin. Top seed Bianca Turati (TX) will meet No. 3 seed Maria Kononova (N. Texas) while No. 4 seed Petra Granic (TX) will meet the local favorite No. 13 seed Alexandra Zenovka (TCU).
Georgia has four of the final eight at the Southeast Regional which is taking place at Georgia Tech. Top seed Wayne Montgomery has yet to drop a set, Jan Zielinski is coming off a win over No. 6 seed USF's Peter Bertran, Emil Reinberg is coming off a close three set win over Florida freshman Duarte Vale, and Walker Duncan is coming off a win over No. 7 seed USF's Alberto Barroso-Campos. Florida's other top freshman, Oliver Crawford, lost a close one in the third round to the No. 4 seed FSU's Guy Iradukunda.
The Carolina Regional in Cary had a star-studded field but none of the big names are still around. Clemson's Alex Favrot upset the top seed Nicolas Alvarez and will now meet Wake Forest freshman Bar Botzer who upset the No. 3 seed UNC's Robert Kelly. UNC Asheville's Henry Patten (#8 seed) advanced to the semifinals after defeating NC State's Igor Saveljic. Saveljic defeated the No. 2 seed South Carolina's Gabriel Friedrich earlier in the day. but he wasn't able to pull off a second upset. Patten's semifinal opponent will be Clemson's Simon Baudry after the Mississippi State transfer defeated South Carolina's Thomas Mayronne.
While some ITA Regionals just got started on Saturday there were a few that have already hit the later stages. The women's Mountain Regional in Salt Lake City began on Wednesday and will wrap on Sunday and the surprise so far has been Colorado freshman Linda Huang (10.60). The freshman from Australia has yet to lose a collegiate match and now finds herself in the singles final after defeating the No. 1 and No. 3 seeds in the quarterfinals and semifinals. Huang will face the No. 2 seed Idaho's Marianna Petrei in Sunday's final with first serve set for 11 a.m. MT.
Purdue junior Silvia Ambrosio had a great day on Saturday at the Ohio Valley Regional in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The transfer from Marquette advanced to the semifinals after wins over the top seed Kentucky's Akvile Parazinskaite and the No. 12 seed Austin Peay's Lidia Yanes Garcia. Ambrosio will meet Kentucky's Mami Adachi in the semifinals on Sunday.
Below I have an update on each regional with most crowning champions on Monday or Tuesday.
Over the next two weekends there will be 12 men's and 12 women's ITA Regional Championships held at campus sites across the country with the finalists advancing to the Oracle/ITA National Fall Championships in early November. This weekend there are two men's regionals and five women's regionals which means the other 17 will be held the following weekend.
Three of the seven regionals this weekend have a qualifying draw while the other four do not. Below I'll list out the ones being held this weekend along with the top seeds in the singles draw (if draw released).