Pro Circuit Round-up:
McNally, Cressy win big
Arthur Kapetanakis | February 4, 2019
Caty McNally and Maxime Cressy each won the biggest titles of their budding careers on Super Bowl Sunday, as both unseeded upstarts took home top-tier USTA Pro Circuit trophies. It was the second career professional singles title for both, as each had previously claimed a lower-level Pro Circuit title in 2018.
The 17-year-old McNally was dominant at the ITF World Tennis Tour W100 event in Midland, Mich., winning all 10 sets she played and knocking off four seeded opponents on her way to the indoor hard-court title. The unseeded wild-card champion did not drop more than seven games in any one match on the week, with a 6-3, 6-3 semifinal victory over top seed and WTA No. 54 Rebecca Peterson—her first career Top-100 match and victory—the most impressive result.
McNally took out a second Top-100 opponent in compatriot and defending champion Madison Brengle in the Round of 16, as she continues her ascent towards her own place in the Top 100. ADVERTISEMENT The Midland title vaulted the Cincinnati native up more than 150 spots in the WTA Rankings, from No. 411 to a career high of No. 253.
“I had some of the biggest wins of my career here [this week],” said McNally, “It just kind of shows that my game is at that level, and it just gives me more confidence for the rest of the tournaments.”
Rounding out her seeded scalps, McNally topped No. 7 Nicole Gibbs in Round 1 and showed resilience to thwart a comeback from No. 4 Jessica Pegula in Sunday’s final. After taking the first set, 6-2, McNally dropped the opening game of the second—a 22-point tussle that ended in a Pegula hold—before reeling off five straight games to put herself on the edge of glory.
That’s when Pegula, whose final run carried her into the WTA’s Top 100 for the first time in her career, battled back to 5-4. When the 24-year-old erased two championship points from 40-15 on the ensuing McNally serve game, all bets were off. But McNally doubled down to finish the job, winning the last two points before collapsing onto the court in joy as a 6-2, 6-4 winner.
“It got a little tight,” she said of the second set, “but I tried to just go back to my routines and remember to play my game, and I think I did that—especially on the last point—really well.”
Outside of the all-American final, Robin Anderson was a semifinalist at the event, while Christina McHale and Kristie Ahn joined Brengle in reaching the quarterfinals. In the doubles event, 14-year-old Coco Gauff and 18-year-old Ann Li teamed up to reach the final, winning a pair of third-set match tiebreakers on the way. Both doubles finalists also reached the second round in singles play.
Similar to McNally’s surprise title run, Cressy crept up on the field to win his title, at the ATP Challenger 90 event in Cleveland. After fighting through qualifying and Round 1 with a pair of three-set victories, the UCLA senior enjoyed a trio of straight-set wins—including a 6-4, 6-3 result over No. 6 Tim Smyczek—en route to the semifinals.
In an all-American semi, No. 15 Marcos Giron ended Cressy’s nine-set winning streak on the indoor hard courts, but could not stop the eventual champion’s progress through the draw in a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 result. Things got even tougher in the final, as Cressy fought off match points against Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark in a 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 win.
Cressy sealed the title with a serve-and-volley play, a tactic he employed to great effect throughout the tournament. In an era of baseline battles, the youngster is unique in his penchant for the old-school strategy, his victory proving that net play is not a lost art. His comfort level at the net is further evidenced by his 11 career ITF doubles titles, including eight in 2018.
Americans Jared Hiltzik and Noah Rubin both reached the singles quarterfinals at the event, while Rob Galloway and Nathaniel Lemmons teamed to reach the doubles final.
Other notable results from Americans on the ITF Circuit include:
- Patrick Kypson reached the singles quarterfinals at the USTA Pro Circuit ITF World Tennis Tour M25 event in Weston, Fla., where Sebastian Korda was a doubles champion and Harrison Adams and Jordi Arconada finished as doubles runners-up.
- Peter Kobelt was a singles finalist at the ITF World Tennis Tour M15 event in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
- Mary Closs was a doubles champion at the ITF World Tennis Tour W15 event in Monastir, Tunisia.