Wednesday, 22 November 2017 12:00

College MatchDay Coming Back Strong in 2018; Pro Circuit Recap with Danielle Collins & Emilio Gomez Winning Singles Titles

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The USTA announced that the popular College MatchDay series will return to Lake Nona in 2018 with eight matches scheduled between February 3rd and April 15th. The series kicks off with the Florida State and Florida men and women playing simultaneously and then a week later the Georgia and Georgia Tech men will play on February 9. The USTA National Campus drew over 5300 fans a year ago including just under 1800 for Florida State's upset win over Florida. “Last year, College MatchDay cemented itself as the bowl series of college tennis, with marquee matches and elite programs,” said USTA Collegiate Tennis Director Stephen Amritraj via the USTA's release. “It is quickly turning the USTA National Campus into the 'Home of College Tennis,' with a devoted fan base and incredible atmosphere."

The full College MatchDay schedule for next year is listed below plus they'll be plenty of other college matches scheduled for Lake Nona as well. 

Saturday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. ET: Florida vs. Florida State men and women
Friday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. ET: Georgia vs. Georgia Tech men
Saturday, Feb. 24, at 10:30 a.m. ET: Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M men
Saturday, March 3, at 12:30 p.m. ET: UCF vs. Michigan men and women
Sunday, April 1, at 5 p.m. ET: Florida vs. Texas women
Sunday, April 15, at 5:30 p.m. ET: UCF vs. South Florida men

Two-time NCAA singles champion Danielle Collins won her second singles title of the year, fourth career, with a come from behind three set win over Sachia Vickery at the ITF $25K event in Norman, Oklahoma. Collins dropped the opening set 6-1 but came back to take the second 6-3. In the third set, Collins went a break down on two occasions but managed to get it back on serve. After getting broken at love to go down 4-3, she broke back from 15/40 to even it at 4-4, came back from 15/40 down, fighting off a total of four break points, to go ahead 5-4, and then she finished it off by breaking from 30/40 to win it 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. Collins picked up 18 WTA ranking points which should move her ranking up to around 161 (CH 153) when the rankings come out next week. 

Former USC Trojan Emilio Gomez won his first singles title in two years with a come from behind three set win over Ulises Blanch at the $15K USA F37 Futures in Pensacola, Florida. Blanch took the opening set 6-3 but Gomez jumped out to a single-break 3-0 lead in the second set. Blanch reeled off four games in a row to go in front 4-3 but Gomez broke back at love and then held for 5-4. After an exchange of holds Gomez broke from 30/40 to capture the second set 7-5. The third set was all Gomez as he went in front 3-0 and cruised to a 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 win. Gomez picked up 18 ATP points with the win and will move up to around 530 in next week's rankings. 

John Peers and his doubles partner Henri Kontinen won the ATP World Tour Finals for the second year in a row after defeating Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 6-4, 6-2. Peers and Kontinen dropped their opening match of the event to Michael Venus (LSU '09) and Ryan Harrison but then won four straight to bring home the hardware. Peers will finish the year with an ATP doubles ranking of No. 4 plus he earned over $1.1M this past season. 

Former Loyola Marymount Lion Purav Raja and his doubles partner the great Leander Paes won a Challenger doubles title for the second week in a row. Raja and Paes won a week ago in Knoxville and this past week in Champaign they cruised through the first three rounds before edging former collegians Joe Salisbury and Ruan Roelofse 6-3, 6-7, 10-5 in the finals. Raja's current ranking of 60 is just 8 spots off his career high of 52 which he achieved this past July. 

Former Wofford Terrier Rob Galloway and former FSU Seminole Benjamin Lock won a doubles title in Kuwait for the THIRD week in a row. Galloway and Lock had a bye into the quarters and then after a straight set win they won a close one 10-6 in the third to move into the finals. In the finals they rolled over Marc Dijkhuizen and Darko Jandric 6-2, 6-1 which extended the pair's winning streak to 11. Galloway has a new career-high ranking of 329 while Lock has a new career high as well at 273. Galloway and Lock are playing at the South Africa F1 Futures this week in Stellenbosch. 

Recent SMU graduates Hunter and Yates Johnson won their second doubles title of the year, fifth career, after rolling through the competition at the USA F37 Futures in Pensacola, Florida. The Johnson Brothers didn't drop a set with their closest win being 6-2, 7-6 in the semifinals. Yates currently has a doubles ranking of 505 while Hunter is at 698. 

Former ETSU Buccaneer Sander Gille won his fifth Challenger doubles title of the year as he and Sander Arends won $43K event in Brescia, Italy. Gille and Arends only dropped one set on the week and they only dropped five games in the finals against Luca Margaroli and Tristan-Samuel Weissborn. Gille's normal doubles partner former East Carolina Pirate Joran Vliegen had already shut it down for the year after the duo made the quarterfinals the previous week in France. 

Former Kentucky Wildcat Alejandro Gomez won his first doubles title of the year as he teamed with Jose Bendeck to win the Mexico F5 Futures in Campeche. Gomez and Bendeck won their opening round match in straight sets and then survived three three-setters to come away with the title. Prior to last week Gomez hadn't played doubles at an event since May. 

Below is a list of last weekend's winners and runner-ups on the pro circuit.

Singles Champions (2) 
$25K Norman (OK), USA - Danielle Collins (Virginia '16)
$15K Pensacola (FL), USA F37 Futures - Emilio Gomez (USC '13*)
Singles Runner-Ups (2)
$50K Santiago, Chile Challenger - Marcelo Arevalo (Tulsa '11*)
$15K Heraklion, Greece F9 Futures - Jakob Sude (Oklahoma State '15)



Doubles Champions (8)
ATP World Tour Final - John Peers (Baylor '11)
$75K Champaign (ILL), USA Challenger - Purav Raja (Loyola Marymount '04)
$43K Brescia, Italy Challenger - Sander Gille (East Tennessee State '12)
$15K Pensacola (FL), USA F37 Futures - Hunter & Yates Johnson (SMU '17)
$15K Meshref, Kuwait F3 Futures - Robert Galloway (Wofford '15)/Benjamin Lock (Florida State '16)
$15K Campeche, Mexico F5 Futures - Alejandro Gomez (Kentucky '14)  
Doubles Runner-Ups (9)
$75K Champaign (ILL), USA Challenger - Joe Salisbury (Memphis '14)/Ruan Roelofse (Illinois '09*)
$50K Toyota, Japan Challenger - Ruben Gonzales (Illinois '08)
$25K Norman (OK), USA - Maria Sanchez (USC '11); Caitlin Whoriskey (Tennessee '10)
$15K Pensacola (FL), USA F37 Futures - Harrison Adams (Texas A&M '16)/Junior Ore (Texas A&M '14)
$15K Hammamet, Tunisia F35 Futures - Anis Ghorbel (Drake '13)/Moez Echargui (Nevada '15)

* didn't stay in college for all four years 


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