Pro Circuit Round-Up:
Wolf wins first pro title
Sally Milano | October 23, 2017
In a clash of college stars competing on the USTA Pro Circuit, Ohio State sophomore J.J. Wolf of Cincinnati captured the first pro title of his career Sunday, defeating UCLA sophomore Evan Zhu of Ann Arbor, Mich., 6-7 (1), 6-1, 6-2, in the final of the Harlingen Country Club Men's $25,000 Futures in Harlingen, Texas.
Eighteen-year-old Wolf (pictured above), a wild-card entrant in Harlingen, had a smooth run to the semifinals, defeating his first three opponents – Jeffrey Schorsch of the U.S., Igor Mardondes of Brazil and No. 7 seed Ulises Blanch of the U.S. – in straight sets before coming back to defeat qualifier and former Northwestern star Strong Kirchheimer in the semifinals, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2. His win in the final over Zhu was not only his first at the pro level but also the first time he competed in a Futures final. ADVERTISEMENT
Wolf has had an impressive collegiate start since joining the Buckeyes in January of the 2016-17 season after graduating from high school early. Among his accolades, he was named the 2017 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, the 2017 ITA Midwest Region Rookie of the Year and a 2017 Scholar-Athlete. He finished last year at No. 50 in the college rankings and was listed at No. 21 in the 2017-18 preseason rankings.
In women's play, Taylor Townsend swept the singles and doubles titles at a USTA Pro Circuit event for the second consecutive week, winning both championships Sunday at the $25,000 McLeod for Health Florence Open in Florence, S.C. In singles, Townsend defeated three seeded players en route to the title, including a win in a third-set tiebreak in her semifinal match against No. 3 seed Danielle Collins, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (6). In doubles, she and partner Maria Sanchez,the No. 1 seeds, dropped just three games in the final, knocking off No. 4 seeds Tara Moore of Great Britain and Amra Sadikovic of Switzerland, 6-1, 6-2, for the title.
Townsend has been on a roll this fall, compiling a 13-1 record in singles and an 8-1 record in doubles since Sept. 26. Last week, she took home both titles at the $25,000 Sumter's Pink Open in Sumter, S.C. The 21-year-old former junior world No. 1 has now won four singles and 13 doubles titles on the USTA Pro Circuit in her career.
Other results from Americans competing on the USTA Pro Circuit and ITF Pro Circuit last week include:
- Blanch, Ryan Haviland and Ryan Shane advanced to the singles quarterfinals in Harlingen, while Hunter Johnson and Yates Johnson defeated Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant in an all-American doubles final.
- Stefan Kozlov won the singles title, Evan King and Tennys Sandgren reached the singles semifinals, and Kevin King, Bradley Klahn and Reilly Opelka advanced to the singles quarterfinals at the $50,000 ATP Challenger in Las Vegas. Dennis Novikov finished runner-up in doubles at the tournament.
- Nate Lammons and Alex Lawson captured the doubles title at the $25,000 ITF Pro Circuit event in Rodez, France.
- Hunter Reese won the doubles title at the $15,000 ITF Pro Circuit event in Kuching, Malaysia.
- Francesca Di Lorenzo joined Townsend and Collins as one of three Americans to reach the singles quarterfinals in Florence.
- Jacqueline Cako won the doubles title at the $60,000 ITF Pro Circuit event in Suzhou, China.
- Naomi Cheong advanced to the singles semifinals at the $25,000 ITF Pro Circuit event in Hamamatsu, Japan.