Pro Circuit Round-up:
Mmoh, Nakashima win titles
Arthur Kapetanakis | September 24, 2018
American men dominated last week’s USTA Pro Circuit slate, as five members of Team USA claimed titles across singles and doubles competition in two men's events. Michael Mmoh won the biggest prize – the singles crown at the $75,000 Challenger event in Columbus, Ohio – while Brandon Nakashima won the singles trophy at the $15,000 Futures event in Laguna Niguel, Calif. In the lone women’s event on the Pro Circuit calendar, Robin Anderson reached the singles final at the $25,000 event in Lubbock, Texas.
The 20-year-old Mmoh (pictured above) claimed his third career Challenger-level title to move up to a new career-high ATP ranking of No. 108 and has now won one Challenger title in each of the last three years. After dropping the opening set of the tournament to fellow American Sekou Bangoura, the No. ADVERTISEMENT 3-seeded Mmoh won each of the next 10 sets he played in the Columbus event, capped with a 6-3, 7-6 final victory over top-seeded Jordan Thompson of Australia.
Born in Saudi Arabia to a Nigerian father and an Irish-Australian mother, Mmoh spent his teenage years training at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and turned pro in 2016, representing the United States. Other 2018 highlights for the big-serving youngster include a third-round run at the Miami Masters in March and a main-draw appearance at both Wimbledon and the US Open.
Thai-Son Kwiatkowski had the next-best American singles result in Columbus, scoring two victories to reach the quarterfinals.
In the doubles competition, Tommy Paul teamed up with Canadian Peter Polanksy – who recently made history by completing a “lucky loser Grand Slam" – to win the title behind two third-set match tiebreak victories, including one in the second round against the tournament’s top seeds.
In the Laguna Niguel Futures event, Nakashima took advantage of a main-draw wild card to win his first professional title, knocking out three seeded players in the process. Currently No. 10 in the ITF World Junior Rankings, Nakashima was a finalist at the Boy’s 18s National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., in August. That result earned him a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, where he defeated Croatia’s Ante Pavic in the first round. He went one step further in April’s International Spring Championships, where he won the 18s crown without dropping a set in six matches.
Just 17 years old, Nakashima is now beginning to add professional success to his consistent junior results.
Rounding out the American effort in the California singles event, Henry Craig reached the semifinals, while Emilio Nava, Martin Redlicki and Michael Zhu were quarterfinalists. In doubles action, Redlicki and Nicolas Meister teamed up to win the trophy, defeating the top-seeded twin duo of Hunter and Johnson Yates, 6-4, 3-6, [10-6], in an all-American final.
On the women’s side, Anderson took out a pair of her countrywomen – the No. 2-seeded Grace Min in Round 2 and No. 8 Emina Bektas in the semifinals – as she notched the best result among the Americans competing in Texas. Hayley Carter was a singles semifinalist and a doubles finalist at the event, while Sanaz Marand reached the singles quarterfinals.
Other notable results from Americans on the ITF Circuit include:
- Dusty Boyer was a singles quarterfinalist and a doubles champion at the $25,000 ITF Futures event in Cairns, Australia.
- Ulises Blanch reached the singles quarterfinals at the $25,000 ITF Futures event in Madrid, Spain.
- Madison Westby was a singles semifinalist at the $15,000 ITF Pro Circuit event in Monastir, Tunisia.
- Joelle Kissell was a singles quarterfinalist and doubles champion at the $15,000 ITF Pro Circuit event in Cairo, Egypt.
- Results at the PTR Hilton Head Island $22,000 Championships in Hilton Head, S.C., include:
- Casey Ratzlaff - men's singles quarterfinalist
- Conner Stroud - men's singles quarterfinalist
- Emmy Kaiser - women's singles semifinalist
- Mackenzie Soldan - women's singles quarterfinalist and doubles champion
- Lauren Haneke-Hopps - women's singles quarterfinalist
- Joanna Nieh - women's singles quarterfinalist
- Bryan Barten - quad singles and doubles champion
- Nick Taylor - quad singles and doubles finalist
- Greg Hasterok - quad singles quarterfinalist and doubles finalist
- Taylor Graham - quad singles quarterfinals