Kozlov leads American men's sweep
of Pro Circuit singles titles
Arthur Kapetanakis | November 22, 2021
In the final week of 2021 USTA Pro Circuit action, Stefan Kozlov led an American sweep of the four men's singles titles on offer. Kozlov won the ATP Challenger 80 event in Champaign, Ill., while Zack Svajda, John McNally and Ray Sarmiento won ITF World Tennis Tour titles. Svajda won the M25 event in Austin, McNally won the M25 in Columbus, Ohio, and Sarmiento won the M15 in East Lansing, Mich.
Kozlov's performance in Champaign helped him win the Australian Open Wild Card Challenge, setting him up for his Grand Slam main-draw debut in January. The No. 8 seed defeated Australia's Aleksandar Vukic, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, in Sunday's final to win his second Challenger title of November. He previously won in Charlottesville, where he also defeated Vukic in the final. In both title runs, he defeated American JJ Wolf in the semis.ADVERTISEMENT
Behind three Challenger titles in 2021, the former world No. 2 has risen to No. 159 in the ATP rankings, up from No. 366 in June. A former junior world No. 2, his career-high men's ranking is No. 115 in 2017.
In addition to the deep runs from Kozlov and Wolf, Americans Mitchell Krueger, Vasil Kirkov and University of Florida star Ben Shelton all reached the quarterfinals in Champaign. In the doubles event, the all-American team of Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow took the title by knocking off American Max Schnur and Treat Huey of the Phillippines, 6-4, 3-6, [10-6].
In Austin, Svajda emerged from an all-U.S. final four to claim the singles title with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Eduardo Nava. The 18-year-old Svajda, a two-time USTA Boys' 18s national champion, notched his first career ATP win earlier this year at the 2021 US Open. Colin Markes and Eliot Spizzirri were semifinalists in Austin, while Alfredo Perez (with Portugal's Duarte Vale) won the doubles title.
McNally's Columbus crown came courtesy of a 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 win over compatriot James Tracy. The No. 7-seeded champion did not drop a set en route to the final, losing just 18 games in eight sets. Tracy also reached the doubles final, alongside Robert Cash, while Cannon Kingsley reached the singles semis.
It was an American title sweep in East Lansing, where Sarmiento's singles title was matched in the doubles event by Chad Kissell and Joshua Sheehy. The 29-year-old Sarmiento, the top seed at the tournament, was a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 final winner over Canada's Gabiel Diallo. In an all-U.S. doubles final, Kissell and Sheehy beat Ozan Colak and Jackson Winkler, 6-4, 6-2.
In the lone women's Pro Circuit event on lat week's calendar—a W25 in Naples, Fla.—Hanna Chang and Elli Mandlik won the doubles title, while former UNC Tar Heel Alexa Graham reached the singles semis. Outside the U.S, Hurricane Tyra Black and Rushri Wijesundera won the doubles title at the W15 in Cundinamarca, Colombia, where Black also reached the singles final and Wijesundera reached the quarters.
For more on the USTA Pro Circuit, visit the USTA's Pro Circuit homepage.