John Isner (Georgia '07) returned to the state where he had a ton of success in college and proceeded to win his fourth singles title at the BB&T Atlanta Open. Isner, who won the week before in Newport and has now won 12 career singles titles, fired 23 aces and won 85% of the points on his first serve in a 7-6(6), 7-6(7) win over fellow American Ryan Harrison. There were no breaks of serve in the first set, in fact there were no break points either, though Harrison went up a mini-break to start the tiebreak. Isner put it back on serve on the next point and would eventually fight off a set point when serving at 5-6 before taking the tiebreak 8-6.
Harrison jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second set after breaking Isner from 30/40 but Isner broke back in a one-deuce game to make it 2-1. After another nine holds, Harrison went up 4-1 in the tiebreak but Isner took the next three to even it at 4-4. Harrison fought off a set point while serving at 5-6 while Isner fought off one while serving at 6-7. Isner would close out the second set tiebreak just like the first by winning the final three points to take it 9-7.
Isner won $114,595 with the title while collecting 250 ATP points which moved his ranking up from 20 to 18.
Yannick Hanfmann (USC '15) started off 2017 by playing a pair of Futures events in his old college stomping grounds of Los Angeles but seven months later he's two sets away from winning his first ATP singles title. Hanfmann came into the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open in Gstaad, Switzerland, with just three career main draw ATP wins but after breezing through two qualifying matches he's won four straight main draw matches with all four going the full three sets. Hanfmann started off the week with 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-4 win over Facundo Bagnis (ATP 109) and then in the second round he knocked out the defending champ Feliciano Lopez (ATP 27) 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-1. In the quarterfinals, Hanfmann dispatched Joao Sousa (ATP 61) 6-7(10), 6-2, 6-2 which set up his match today against Robin Haase (ATP 50).
Haase jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the opening set but Hanfmann broke, held, and broke to put it back on serve at 4-3. Haase would break back from 30/40 and then serve out the set from 40/30 to take it 6-3.
Haase broke Hanfmann from 15/40 to start the second set but Hanfmann broke back from 30/40 to even it at 1-all. The rest of the set would be all holds with only two of the next ten service games reaching deuce (Hanfmann held on both occasions). In the second set tiebreak, Haase had a pair of match points after going in front 6-4 but Hanfmann took the next four points to take the tiebreak 8-6 and force a third and deciding set.
Virginia first year Carl Soderlund still hasn't played an official collegiate match but the 19-year old from Sweden has already defeated several of college's elite this week at the $25K USC/Los Angeles USA F1 Futures. Soderlund met Evan King (Michigan '13) on Saturday afternoon in a match that started four hours later than scheduled due to a morning downpour. Soderlund started off the match with a hold and then after three consecutive breaks he would hold again for a 4-1 first set lead. After another set of holds, King rallied to even it at 5-5 with a hold, break, and yet another hold. King had a break point to go up 6-5 but Soderlund fought it off with a big serve and came back to hold and the set would go to a tiebreak one game later. Soderlund won the first three points of the tiebreak and rolled 7-2.
Yannick Hanfmann (USC '15) was the big winner on Friday at the $25K USC/Los Angeles USA F1 Futures. The 6'4" German started off the day playing a fellow 6'4" German in former Pepperdine Wave Sebastian Fanselow. The opening set stayed on serve through the first five games until Fanselow broke Hanfmann at love to go ahead 4-2. Fanselow would hold for 5-2 and then break in a one-deuce game to claim the opening set 6-2. Hanfmann struck first in the second set when he broke for a 3-2 lead and then two games later he broke again to go up 5-2. A love hold would give Hanfmann a 6-2 set to send it to a winner take all third set.
Hanfmann fought off a break point in his opening service game to hold for 1-1 and then he broke from 30/40 to go in front 2-1. Hanfmann held at love for 3-1, broke from 15/40 for 4-1, and held in a one-deuce game to extend the lead to 5-1. Fanselow was able to scratch out a hold but Hanfmann served it out in the next game to take it 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in 1 hour and 51 minutes. Hanfmann double faulted nine times in the match and only landed 48% of his first serves but he still managed to hold in 10 of 12 service games.
There were a lot of close battles on Thursday at the $25K USC/Los Angeles USA F1 Futures with all eight second round matches played between players with collegiate ties and a few played between players from the same school. Virginia freshman Carl Soderlund held off Virginia senior Thai-Son Kwiatkowski in a match that'll probably be repeated in practice for weeks and months to come. The match started off with back-to-back holds and was then followed by six consecutive breaks before Soderlund held for 5-4. After another pair of holds Soderlund broke from 30/40 to close out the set 7-5. The server did much better in the second set with only one break in the first nine games which came when Kwiatkowski broke 3-2. Kwiatkowski led 5-3 and served for the set up 5-4 but Soderlund broke from 15/40, held from 40/30, and broke from 15/40 to close it out 7-5, 7-5 in 2 hours and 4 minutes.
The singles finals of this year's US Open National Playoffs will take place on Monday with the women's final getting underway at noon eastern and the men's final starting shortly after that match finishes. Each winner will get a wild card into the qualifying tournament of this year's US Open.
Sophie Chang and Sanaz Marand (North Carolina '11) both won in straight sets on Sunday with Chang defeating Nika Kukharchuk (Ole Miss '08) 7-5, 6-2 while Marand ousted Julia Elbaba (Virginia '16) 6-4, 6-4.
Nick Meister (UCLA '12) will meet Jose Statham in the men's final after Meister defeated Gage Brymer (UCLA Sr) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 and Statham rolled over Evan King 6-3, 6-2.