Kristie Ahn won her second singles title of the year, seventh career, after defeating two-time NCAA singles champion Danielle Collins in the final of the $80K RBC Pro Challenge in Tyler, Texas. The match started off with three consecutive breaks until Ahn held for 3-1. The rest of the opening set was all holds, including a six-deuce hold by Ahn for 5-3, as Ahn would go on to take it 6-4. Ahn went up an early break in the second set but Collins back on serve at 4-4. However Ahn would break back at love for 5-4 and then go on to serve it out in a one-deuce game to claim the title with a 6-4, 6-4 win.
Ahn earned $12,000 and picked up 115 WTA ranking points which moved her ranking up to a new career of 106. As the runner-up Collins earned $6,500 and picked up 70 WTA ranking points which moved her ranking up from 206 to 167.
Northwestern graduate Samantha Murray was the big winner last week after sweeping singles and doubles titles at the ITF $15K in Wirral, Great Britain. Murray only dropped one set in singles and cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 win in the final over Eden Silva. Murray's toughest match came in the semifinals against her doubles partner Maia Lumsden when she came back from a 3-6, 3-4* deficit to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. The singles title was the second of Murray's career and first since 2012.
Murray and Lumsden only dropped one set in the doubles draw and they won the doubles title with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Alicia Barnett and Laura Sainsbury. The doubles title was Murray's second of the year and 15th of her career. Murray is currently ranked 490 in singles and 305 in doubles.
Former USC Trojan Yannick Hanfmann won his sixth career pro singles title and first at the Challenger-level after a tough three set win over Italy's Lorenzo Sonego in the final of the $43K Wolffkran Open in Ismaning, Germany. Hanfmann broke Sonego in the opening game of the match and then only dropped five points on serve en route to taking the first set 6-4. Sonego bounced back and took the second set 6-3 and then he broke Hanfmann at love to go ahead 2-1 in the third set. Hanfmann got it back on serve at 4-4 after breaking Soengo in a five-deuce game and then a few games later he'd break again to win it 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. Hanfmann won $6190 and picked up 80 ATP ranking points which moved his singles ranking up to a new career high of 114.
While John Isner was keeping Team World alive in the Laver Cup there were several other players with college ties that were leaving their mark on pro events across the globe. Ryan Shane, who won the 2015 NCAA singles championship during his junior season at Virginia, swept both the singles and doubles titles at the $15K Laguna Niguel (CA) USA 31 Futures. Shane teamed up with former ACC rival Ronnie Schneider to win the doubles title with a 7-5, 6-2 win over TCU senior Trevor Johnson and BYU graduate Patrick Kawka. Two days later Shane won his third career singles title with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Denver graduate Henry Craig. Shane only dropped one set on the week and won his last four matches going away. Shane picked up 18 ATP points with the win and when they are added in next week he'll have a new career high ranking of around 480.
While several former collegians were playing Davis Cup last week there were others that were out on the pro circuit taking care of business. Former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket, Kevin King, won a pro singles title for the second consecutive week after defeating former TCU star Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-1 in the finals of the $50K Atlantic Tire Championships in Cary, North Carolina. King, who served as a volunteer assistant at Georgia Tech last season while rehabbing an injury to both of his hips, won the week prior at a Futures event in Toronto and with the points from both of those events added in he has now risen to a new career-high ranking of 253.
Near the end of last week the ITA released the selections for the upcoming All-American Championships. The women's event, which takes place in Pacific Palisades, California, from September 30th to October 8th, uses the ITA preseason national singles and doubles rankings to determine at-large selections while the final regional rankings from last season determine the regional representatives. Returning ITA All-Americans and the ITA National Summer Champion are granted automatic entry into the main draw. The detailed selection criteria is available here and the list of all those selected for the 32-player main draw, 64-player qualifying draw, and 64-player pre-qualifying draw are available here. No freshmen were selected for the main draw while the only ones selected to the qualifying draw were Rice's Michaela Haet and Yale's Mimi Levine.
The men's event, which takes place in Tulsa, Oklahoma, from September 30th through October 9th, utilizes a similar selection criteria however the main draw and qualifying draws are double the size (64-player main and 128-player qualifying) while the prequalifying draw is a massive 256-player draw. The full list of selections are available at this link. Stanford's Axel Geller was the only freshman to get selected for the main draw while all the other top 10 freshmen/newcomers, except UCF's Gabriel Decamps who will be joining the team in January, were selected for the qualifying draw.
Former UCLA Bruin Jean-Julien Rojer ('00-'02) advanced to his first US Open doubles final after he and his doubles partner Horia Tecau came back from a set down to oust the top seeds John Peers (Baylor '11) and Henri Kontinen. Peers and Kontinen won the opening set 6-1 in just 22 minutes and then the second set would see 12 straight holds to set up a tiebreak. Peers and Kontinen won the first three points of the tiebreak and ultimately led 5-3 but Rojer and Tecau won the next four points to take it 7-5.
In the third set, Rojer and Tecau led 3-1* but Peers and Kontinen won the next three to go in front 4-3. Rojer and Tecau retook the lead at 6-5, after breaking from 15/40, and then they served it out at love to win it 1-6, 7-6(5), 7-5. Rojer and Tecau, who won their first grand slam at Wimbledon in 2015, will face Feliciano and Marc Lopez (no relation) in Friday's final which begins at noon eastern.
For the second time in the last three weeks Virginia director of athletics Craig Littlepage welcomed in a new head tennis coach. The day after the NCAA team championships he named Andres Pedroso as the director of tennis and head men's coach and today he named Sara Anundsen O’Leary as the new women’s head coach. O'Leary comes to Charlottesville after spending the last three seasons as the women's head coach at Davidson where she led the Wildcats to a 45-21 (.682) record. Prior to coaching at Davidson, O'Leary was an assistant coach at her alma mater, North Carolina,
It was a busy weekend for several former collegiate players, and one current player, with the group collectively winning three pro singles titles and 12 doubles titles. Tennys Sandgren, who spent two years at Tennessee and just won the USTA's French Open Wild Card, won his second Challenger of the year with a straight set win Joao Pedro Sorgi at the $75K Savannah Challenger.
Kevin King (Georgia Tech '12) won his fourth singles title and tenth doubles title after sweeping the Mexico F2 Futures in Villahermosa. In the singles final King defeated Ivan Endara 7-5, 7-5 and in the doubles final he and Nik Scholtz (Ole Miss '15) defeated Farris Gosea (Illinois '15) and Nate Lammons (SMU '16) 7-6(4), 7-6. Both titles were King's first in almost two years after he missed almost all of 2016 after sustaining injuries to both hips.
Robert Farah (USC '10) won his 10th career ATP-level doubles title as he and Juan Sebastian Cabal defeated Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin 6-3, 6-3 in the finals of the BMW Open in Munich.
While most of us are spending the holiday season closer to home guys like Evan King are still out on the road trying to earn some extra points to better position themselves up for next year. The 2013 Michigan graduate has spent the last three weeks in the Dominican Republic and after a singles and doubles runner-up showing two weeks ago he was able to get the sweep this week. King won his fourth doubles title of the year, 17th career, when he and Alexios Halebian defeated Nebojsa Peric and Ilija Vucic 6-4, 6-4 at the Dominican Republic F3 Futures in Santo Domingo Este. King's doubles ranking should climb just inside the top 300 when these 18 points are added in a week from now.