Pro Circuit Round-up:
Opelka, McNally victorious
Arthur Kapetanakis | November 12, 2018
Reilly Opelka scored the biggest title of the seven American trophy winners on the USTA Pro Circuit last week, at the $75,000 Challenger event in Knoxville, Tenn., while 16-year-old Caty McNally secured her first professional singles title at the $25,000 event in Lawrence, Kan.
Bjorn Fratangelo, who fell to Opelka in the Tennessee final, and Nicole Gibbs, a finalist at the $80,000 event in Las Vegas, also enjoyed strong weeks. Five Americans, including two pairs, won doubles titles – Asia Muhammad and Maria Sanchez in Las Vegas, Ena Shibahara in Kansas, and Trevor Johnson and Patrick Kawka at the $15,000 event in Niceville, Fla.
Opelka, the No. 8 seed in Knoxville, won a pair of tiebreaks to get past Michael Redlicki in the second round and was the beneficiary of No. 4 Michael Mmoh’s withdrawal in the quarterfinals. ADVERTISEMENT Facing Fratangelo in the all-American final, Opelka dropped his first and only set of the tournament but recovered to clinch the title, 7-5, 4-6, 7-6.
With the victory, the 21-year-old improves to a career-high ATP ranking of No. 116 and moves into a tie with Tommy Paul for second place in the men’s Australian Open Wild Card Challenge with one week to play. Though Jack Sock has already clinched the challenge with his performance at the ATP Paris Masters, he may receive direct entry into the Melbourne event, thus relinquishing his wild card to the second-place finisher.
Christopher Eubanks reached the semis in the Knoxville event, while Mmoh and Tim Smyczek were quarterfinalists. In the doubles competition, Tennys Sandgren and Hunter Reese reached the final.
Gibbs also made a deep run as the No. 8 seed in Las Vegas, but top-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, the 21-year-old former world No. 7, was too much in a 7-5, 6-1 final. That result puts the 25-year-old American in fourth place in the women’s Australian Open Wild Card Challenge entering the final week, within striking distance of first-place Varvara Lepchenko.
Danielle Lao reached the singles quarterfinals in Las Vegas, and Sophie Chang and Alexandra Mueller finished runner-up to Muhammad and Sanchez in the all-U.S. doubles final.
For McNally, her first professional singles title came without the loss of a set in Kansas, culminating in a 6-2, 6-2 final victory over Catherine Harrison in another all-American final. McNally, a qualifier, defeated No. 8 Maegan Manasse, 6-4, 6-4, in Round 2 before toppling No. 1 Bianca Andreescu, 6-1, 6-2, in the quarterfinals.
Lawrence doubles champion Shibahara also reached the singles semifinals in the event, while Emma Navarro and Katie Volynets were both singles quarterfinalists.
Other notable results from Americans on the USTA and ITF Circuits include:
- Strong Kirchheimer was a singles finalist at the $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit Futures event in Niceville, Fla., where Justin Butsch was a singles semifinalist and doubles finalist. Trent Bryde and doubles champion Johnson reached the singles quarterfinals.
- Josh Silverstein was a singles quarterfinalist at the $15,000 ITF Futures event in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
- Alec Adamson and Miles Seemann won the doubles title at the $15,000 ITF Futures event in Meshref, Kuwait.
- Tyler Lu was a singles semifinalist and doubles finalist, with Luke Jacob Gamble, at the $15,000 ITF Futures event in Maputo, Mozambique. William Bushamuka reached the singles quarterfinals.
- Quinn Gleason was a doubles champion at the $60,000 ITF Pro Circuit event in Colina, Chile.
- Audrey Ann Blakely, Shelby Talcott and Nikita Uberoi were each singles quarterfinalists at the $15,000 ITF Futures event in Cucuta, Colombia.
- Sarah Lee was a singles finalist at the $15,000 ITF Futures event in Monastir, Tunisia.
- Dana Mathewson was a women’s open singles finalist at the Bath Indoor Tennis Tournament ITF 1 Series event in Bath, England. David Wagner and Nick Taylor were both semifinalists in the quad open competition at the same event.
- Casey Ratzlaff and Jason Keatseangsilp were doubles champions at the Mazatlan ITF Futures event.