Pro Circuit Round-up:
Mmoh, Muhammad win titles
Arthur Kapetanakis | October 1, 2018
Michael Mmoh, the newest member of the ATP’s Top 100, surprised even himself by winning his second consecutive Challenger tournament at the $100,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Tiburon, Calif. After winning the $75,000 event in Columbus, Ohio, on indoor hard courts last week, he had one day to travel and prepare for the outdoor California event.
“I wasn’t expecting to go back-to-back because I’m going from an indoor event to one where it’s windy and super cold,” the No. 5-seeded champion said in an ATPWorldTour.com interview.
But his improved mental toughness enabled him to adjust on the fly and battle through a pair of three-setters against Tommy Paul and James Duckworth on the way to the biggest title of his career and his fourth ATP Challenger title. The 20-year-old credits tactical changes brought on by his new coach, former Top-100 player Alexander Waske, for his recent success.ADVERTISEMENT
“He's implemented a lot of plays in my game that have probably been my most successful shots these past two weeks,” Mmoh said. “He's given me a better understanding of how to use my strengths.”
The Saudi Arabia-born American faced the top-seeded Marcel Granollers in the Tiburon final and came away with a 6-3, 7-5 victory behind an attacking game plan that included net approaches in crucial points.
“Back in the day, I didn't really do that,” he said. “I waited for the guy to make mistakes, and I relied on being an athlete and making a lot of balls. I still have that, but now I've added a new layer.”
The title lifts Mmoh to a career-high ATP World Tour ranking of No. 96 and up to No. 9 in the ATP Race to Milan, just one spot off of likely qualification for the year-end, 21-and-under event. (The Top 7 Next Gen players automatically qualify, but Alex Zverev is expected to withdraw to aid his preparation for the ATP World Tour Finals, as he did in 2017.)
Noah Rubin reached the semifinals as the No. 6 seed in California, while Chris Eubanks and Tommy Paul were quarterfinalists.
Some 200 miles south of Tiburon, in Templeton, Calif., Asia Muhammad lifted a trophy of her own at the $60,000 USTA Pro Circuit event. In fact, while Mmoh won two titles in two weeks, Muhammad managed to lift two trophies at the same event, as she won both the singles and doubles crowns in her home state.
The 27-year-old won a trio of three-set matches in her run to the singles title, including a 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 final victory over Sesil Karatantcheva of Bulgaria. Muhammad only needed two sets to knock off the No. 2-seeded Madison Brengle – the only seed she faced in her six matches – in the semifinals. Grace Min was a third American semifinalist, while Maria Sanchez, who won the doubles title with Muhammad, reached the singles quarters.
The top-seeded duo of Muhammad and Sanchez defeated Quinn Gleason and her Brazilian partner, Luisa Stefani, 6-7, 6-2, [10-8], in the doubles final. The champions also won a third-set match tiebreak in the semifinals.
Other notable results from Americans on the USTA and ITF Pro Circuits include:
- Michael Shabaz was a singles finalist at the $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit Futures event in Fountain Valley, Calif., where Strong Kirchheimer reached the semifinals and Paul Oosterbaan and Alexios Halebian reached the quarters. In the doubles competition, Alec Adamson and Conor Berg teamed up to reach the final.
- Errol Smith was a singles semifinalist at the $15,000 ITF Futures event in Monastir, Tunisia.
- Rasheeda McAdoo reached the singles semifinals in the $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Hilton Head Island, S.C. Nadja Gilchrist, Peyton Stearns and Allura Zamarripa all reached the singles quarterfinals, while Allura and Maribella Zamarripa were doubles finalists.
- Dana Mathewson was a women’s open singles finalist and doubles champion at the French Riviera Open ITF 2 Series in Nice, France.
- Results at the International Wheelchair Tennis Championships ITF 2 Series in Montreal include:
- Casey Ratzlaff – men’s open singles semifinalist
- Mackenzie Soldan – women’s open singles semifinalist
- Emmy Kaiser – women’s open singles quarterfinalist, doubles champion
- Bryan Barten – quad singles and doubles champion
- Greg Hasterok – quad singles semifinalist, doubles finalist
(Photo courtesy of Cornelia Ann Grimes)