Ohio State rising sophomore JJ Wolf is one win away from earning a main draw wild card into the US Open after he defeated Cornell commit Alafia Ayeni 6-3, 6-1 in the semifinals of the USTA Boys 18 National Championship in Kalamazoo. Wolf's previous best singles performance at the Zoo was two years ago when he made it to the semifinals of the Boys 16 before falling to Patrick Kypson who then went on to win the title the next day. It just so happens that Wolf's opponent in Sunday's final will be Patrick Kypson after the 17 year-old from Greenville, North Carolina, rolled to a 6-0, 6-3 win over Ryan Goetz. Colette Lewis has plenty of quotes from Saturday's action in her recap on ZooTennis so make sure you check that out.
The final is best of five sets and there will be a live broadcast available at this link.
Ohio State rising sophomore JJ Wolf was a set away from winning the 2017 USTA Boys 18 National Championship in Kalamazoo but Patrick Kypson fought back to win the fourth and fifth sets to come away with the title and US Open main draw wild card. Kypson had the upper-hand for most of the first set with the 17-year old from Greenville (NC) holding serve rather quickly while Wolf had to work for his holds. Kypson had five set points on Wolf's serve, three at 4-5 and two at 5-6, but Wolf fought them off and then surprisingly cruised through the tiebreak 7-1.
Kypson earned his first break of the match in the second set when he broke Wolf for 3-2 but it looked like Wolf might get it back on serve. After Wolf held for 4-5, he had three break points to even it at 5-5 but Kypson managed to hold which gave him a 6-4 set.
Wolf jumped on Kypson early in the third set with a break for 2-0 and then after adding a second break for 5-1 he served out the set to take it 6-1.
It was another strong week on the pro tour for players with college ties. John Peers (Baylor '11) and Treat Huey (Virginia '08) won ATP doubles titles in Washington D.C. and Los Cabos respectively, Abigail Spears (UCLA '00*) won a doubles title at the Bank of the West in Stanford, and 13 others won at the Futures level. There were three singles titles won by players with college ties while another three finished as runner-up including Kevin Anderson (Illinois '07*) who lost in the finals of the ATP 500 in Washington D.C.
Joao Monteiro (Virginia Tech '16) won his third singles title of the year, fourth career, with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Javier Marti at the $25K Portugal F14 Futures in Porto. Monteiro only dropped one set on the week and with the win the Portugal native picked up 27 ATP points which will move him up to a new career high of around 308 when the points are added in next week. Monteiro is now 45-15 on the year and he's made it to at least the semifinals in 10 of 18 tournaments that he's played.
It was just one week ago at the Portugal F8 Futures in Lisbon that Joao Monteiro (Va Tech '16) won the singles title with a close three set win over Nuno Borges (Miss St Rising Jr) so when they met again today in the finals of the $15K Portugal F9 in Setubal most were expecting another close battle. However if you showed up an hour after it started all you got to see was the trophy ceremony because Borges exacted some revenge with a quick 6-3, 6-0 win in a match that only took 57 minutes. Borges won 73% of the points on his first serve and held all eight times while breaking Monteiro four times. The singles title was the first of Borges's career and it also gave him three titles in the last two weeks with him also winning the doubles title at the Portugal F8 and F9.
Saturday was another great day for doubles with former college players winning six pro titles. Robert Lindstedt (Pepperdine '98) won a pro doubles title for the 20th year in a row as he and his doubles partner Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi won the ATP 250 Antalya (Turkey) Open with a 7-5, 4-1 retirement win over Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic. Lindstedt has won 47 career titles with the last 21 of those coming at the ATP level. His biggest tournament win came in 2014 when he and Lukasz Kubot won the Australian Open plus Lindstedt has also been a runner-up at Wimbledon three times. Lindstedt is currently ranked No. 44 in the latest ATP doubles rankings however he reached No. 3 back in 2013.
It was a big weekend in upstate New York for Mikael Torpegaard as the Ohio State rising senior swept both the singles and doubles titles at the USA F20 Futures in Rochester. Torpegaard won his third career pro singles title after dispatching former Big Ten rival Sam Monette (Indiana '16) in straight sets. Torpegaard jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the opening set and had three set points when serving up 40/0 but Monette managed to take the next five points to break for 1-5. Monette made it two straight with a hold for 2-5 but Torpegaard served out the set at love to take it 6-2 (note - there was a brief rain delay before Torpegaard's 5-2 service game). Torpegaard broke at love to start the second set and would lead *3-2 when the rain came again and delayed play for over three hours. Once things started back up Torpegaard maintained his break lead and closed out Monette 6-2, 6-4 in 57 minutes.
While most of us were feasting on turkey and stuffing last week there were several guys and gals that were out on the pro tour taking care of business. Marcelo Arevalo (Tulsa '11*) and Alejandro Gomez (Kentucky '14) won singles titles in their home countries while Aleksandr Nedovyesov (Oklahoma State '10), Catherine Harrison (UCLA '16), and Maddie Kobelt (Syracuse '14) won doubles titles in their backyards.
Arevalo swept both the singles and doubles titles at the $10K El Salvador F2 Futures (Clay) in La Libertad. Arevalo was the top seed in both draws with he and Christopher Diaz-Figueroa winning the doubles title on Friday with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Pirmin Haenle and Nicholas Reyes and then on Saturday Arevalo capped off the week with a 6-1, 6-2 rout over the second seed Bruno Sant'Anna. Arevalo only dropped 20 games in his five matches in route to winning his 11th singles title while the doubles title was his 21st of his career and fifth with Diaz-Figueroa. Arevalo has now equaled his singles career high of 176 while his doubles ranking of 119 is just two spots behind his career high of 117.
Five years ago John Peers was finishing out his collegiate career at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and on Sunday he and his doubles partner Henri Kontinen won the year-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. The match didn't exactly start off on the right foot for the Peers/Kontinen team after they dropped the opening set to Rajeev Ram (Illinois '03*) and Raven Klaasen 6-2 however Peers/Kontinen rebounded to take the second set 6-1 to set up a winner take all third set supertiebreak. The server won each of the first 16 points in the tiebreak until Peers/Kontinen earned the mini-break off the Klaasen serve to take a 9-8 lead. Peers closed it out with a service winner to make the final 2-6, 6-1, 10-8. Peers and Kontinen split $455,000 and earned 1500 ATP points while Ram and Klaasen split $245,000 and earned 800 ATP points.
Since the fall college season has come to a close I thought I'd take a look at the players with college ties that are in action at Pro Circuit events across the planet. We'll start in Champaign where Georgia Tech junior Chris Eubanks was playing for a spot in the finals of the JSM Challenger against ATP #141 Henri Laaksonen. After splitting a pair of tiebreaks, Eubanks jumped out to a single-break 3-0 lead in the third set but he'd be unable to close it out as Laaksonen took six of the next seven games to take it 7-6(3), 6-7(6), 6-4. Eubanks definitely showed he belonged after hitting 14 aces, landing 64 percent of his first serves, and winning 33 percent of the points on Laaksonen's serve.