Pro Circuit Round-up:
Gibbs takes Rancho Santa Fe
Arthur Kapetanakis | February 25, 2019
There was only one event on the USTA Pro Circuit calendar last week, but American women made it count by monopolizing the late rounds of both the singles and doubles tournaments at the ITF World Tennis Tour W25 event in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Both draws featured all-American semifinals, with Southern California resident Nicole Gibbs claiming the major silverware as the singles champ on the outdoor hard courts.
The No. 2-seeded Gibbs emerged from a final four of No. 5 Kristie Ahn, Ann Li and qualifier Usue Arconada for her seventh career ITF title. With the win, she now has exactly one ITF crown each year since 2012. Gibbs and Ahn were two of six WTA Top-200 Americans in the draw, a list that also included quarterfinalists Sachia Vickery and Claire Liu.
The 25-year-old Gibbs, a member of the WTA’s Top 70 in 2016, managed to survive a third-set match tiebreak in Friday’s Round of 16 (after a Thursday rainout necessitated the shortened format) and quickly recovered for a straight-sets quarterfinal win later that same day.ADVERTISEMENT
Li provided another stern test in the semis but could not halt the eventual champion’s progress to the title round in a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 result. Ahn, meanwhile, stormed to the final with a 6-1, 6-1 domination of Arconada.
It was Gibbs’ turn to take control in the final, as she secured a comfortable 6-3, 6-3 victory for the trophy.
The Rancho Santa Fe title represents her second deep run of 2019, with both successes coming in local Southern California. The Cincinnati-born Santa Monica resident was a quarterfinalist at the Oracle Challenger Series, a WTA $125,000 Series event in Newport Beach in January.
Gibbs appeared in the main draw of both the Australian Open and the US Open in 2018, toppling No. 25-seeded Timea Babos in the opening round in Melbourne. Her career-best major run came in 2014, when she reached the third round in New York at age 21.
The American-dominated doubles draw ended with Hayley Carter and Ena Shibahara on top, after they took out compatriots Francesca Di Lorenzo and Caty McNally, 7-5, 6-2, in the final. The No. 2-seeded champs knocked off the third-seeded duo of Sophie Chang and Caroline Dolehide in the semifinals, while the unseeded finalists got past Arconada and Emina Bektas to reach the title round.
Other notable results for Americans on the ITF Circuit include:
- Evan King was a singles semifinalist at the ATP Challenger 80 event in Morelos, Mexico.
- Henry Craig reached the singles semifinals at the ITF World Tennis Tour M15 event in Vale Do Lobo, Portugal.
- Tom Fawcett and Alex Ritschard were doubles finalists at the ITF World Tennis Tour M25 event in Glasgow, Scotland.
- Robin Anderson was a singles semifinalist at the ITF World Tennis Tour W60 event in Kyoto, Japan.
- Dasha Ivanova was a singles finalist at the ITF World Tennis Tour W15 event in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, where Amber Washington reached the doubles final.
- Jennifer Elie was a singles finalist and doubles champion at the ITF World Tennis Tour W15 event in Perth, Australia.
- Jessica Ho was a singles quarterfinalist at the ITF World Tennis Tour W15 event in Antalya, Turkey.
- Dana Mathewson reached the women’s open singles quarterfinals at the ITF 2 Series event in Bolton, Great Britain.