Pro Circuit Round-up:
Townsend repeats in Charleston
Arthur Kapetanakis | May 6, 2019
When Taylor Townsend won in Charleston in 2018, Whitney Osuigwe and Coco Gauff were at the top of the junior game. This year, the repeat champion’s path to the title went through both former ITF girls’ No. 1s, as well as current junior world No. 15 Emma Navarro.
Townsend, herself the year-end junior No. 1 in 2012, defeated the three teens in succession to claim her 10th career ITF singles title. The 23-year-old, who also won the Charleston doubles event with Asia Muhammad, leaned on the experience of her 14 career Grand Slam main-draw singles appearances to fend off the youth movement in the money rounds of the USTA Pro Circuit and ITF World Tennis Tour W100 event.
Against the 15-year-old qualifier Gauff in the quarterfinals, the second-seeded Townsend won a topsy-turvy match, 6-0, 2-6, 6-1. ADVERTISEMENT She was more clinical in a 6-1, 6-4 decision over 17-year-old qualifier Navarro in the semis, before edging Osuigwe, also 17, in the final, 6-4, 6-4.
The Chicago native and Atlanta resident will make her seventh consecutive Grand Slam main-draw singles appearance at the French Open, which begins on May 26. In 2018, she competed in all four major main draws for the first time in her career, claiming opening-round victories in all but the Australian Open. Though her ranking has recently slipped just outside the Top 100, Townsend gained direct entry into the 2019 Paris field on the strength of her No. 84 ranking at the April 17 cutoff.
Osuigwe, behind the strength of her final run, reached a new WTA career-high ranking of No. 124. She has now reached back-to-back USTA Pro Circuit finals, after her W80 title in Charlottesville, Va., last week. The 2017 French Open girls’ singles champ recorded her first WTA win at the Miami Open in March, when she took out Mari Osaka, sister of world No. 1 Naomi Osaka.
The Florida native also maintained her lead atop the USTA’s Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge with her performance, though she still faces competition from Bernarda Pera and Lauren Davis. Osuigwe can clinch the wild card by winning the singles title at the USTA Pro Circuit and ITF World Tennis Tour W100 event in Bonita Springs, Fla., though she would also clinch if both Pera and Davis fail to take home the title at their respective events on the week.
Gauff, the reigning French Open girls’ champ, continues her rise up the senior rankings less than one year after her professional debut. Like Osuigwe, Gauff notched her first career win in Miami, taking out compatriot Caty McNally in three sets. Her quarterfinal run in Charleston boosts her to a career-best No. 340.
Navarro, who recently made her WTA debut as a wild card at her hometown Volvo Car Open, also in Charleston, improves to a career high of No. 412 with her semifinal finish.
All told, six Americans reached the singles quarterfinal stage in Charleston, with No. 3-seeded Nicole Gibbs and qualifier Louisa Chirico also making the last eight.
In the doubles event, the top-seeded tandem of Townsend and Muhammad defeated Madison Brengle and Lauren Davis, 6-2, 6-2, in an all-American final.
On the men’s Pro Circuit, Christopher Eubanks and Tommy Paul reached the singles quarterfinals at the ATP Challenger 80 event in Savannah, Ga. For Paul, the week’s results clinched victory in the men's Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge.
At the ITF World Tennis Tour M25 event in Vero Beach, Fla., Sekou Bangoura was a finalist in both singles and doubles, while Paul Oosterbaan reached the singles semis and Eliot Spizzirri was a singles quarterfinalist.
Other notable results for Americans on the WTA, ATP and ITF Circuit include:
- Bernarda Pera was a singles semifinalist at the Prague Open, a WTA International event in the Czech Republic, where Nicole Melichar reached the doubles final.
- Chiara Scholl was a singles quarterfinalist and a doubles champion at the ITF World Tennis Tour W25 event in Santa Margherita di Pula, Italy.
- Elvina Kalieva reached the singles quarterfinals at the ITF World Tennis Tour W25 event in Tabarka, Tunisia.
- Frances Tiafoe reached the singles quarterfinals at the Estoril Open, an ATP 250 event in Portugal.
- William Bushamuka and Luke Gamble both reached the singles quarterfinals at the ITF World Tennis Tour M15 event in Accra, Ghana.
Pictured above: Charleston champion Taylor Townsend (right) and finalist Whitney Osuigwe (left) at the trophy ceremony. Photo credit: Chad Lominick (Instagram: @ccsnaps13)