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Take Five: Krueger wins first WTA 125 in Italy; Krajicek claims another doubles crown

Arthur Kapetanakis | June 26, 2023


Welcome to Take Five, a weekly series on USTA.com recapping five of the biggest stories from American tennis over the last week on the professional tennis circuit. Ashlyn Krueger won the biggest title of her young career at the WTA 125 in Gaiba, Italy, while Austin Krajicek backed up his Roland Garros win with another trophy at Queen's Club.

Krueger rising up the ranks

The 19-year-old Ashlyn Krueger completed the perfect preparation for Wimbledon qualifying by winning the biggest title of her career at the WTA 125 in Gaiba. The 2020 Orange Bowl champion clinched the title with a pair of comeback, three-set victories, beating countrywoman Robin Montgomery in the semifinals and top seed Tatjana Maria in the final.

 

Her 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 win against Maria, in which she battled back from 5-2 down in the final set, lifted her to the brink of the Top 100 at a new career-high WTA ranking of world No. 108.

 

“I've never played in such an atmosphere before. The crowd supported me a lot during the final and I'm grateful for that," Krueger said post-match, as quoted on wtatennis.com.

 

"I’m satisfied by my whole game: serve, return, volleys, I've played a really good match. This tournament gives me a lot of confidence and I’m looking forward to go to Wimbledon in two days to play qualies."

Ashlyn Krueger. Photo by Sander Koning/ANP/AFP via Getty Images.

The title continues a strong grass-court season for the American. Krueger reached her first WTA Tour-level quarterfinal last week in 'S-Hertogenbosch, where she beat former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka.

 

Krajicek tops Fritz in Queen's Club doubles final

An American was guaranteed to lift the trophy at London's Queen's Club, with Austin Krajicek and Taylor Fritz on opposite sides of the net in the title match. Krajicek, who won his first major with Ivan Dodig earlier this month at Roland Garros, again teamed with the Croatian for victory at the ATP 500.

Taylor Fritz, Jiri Lehecka, Austin Krajicek and Ivan Dodig. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images.

Now on a 10-match win streak, the pair's 6-4, 6-7(5), 10-3 win against Fritz and Jiri Lehecka earned them their fourth title of the season. They have now won trophies on all three surfaces—hard, clay and grass—this year.

 

“It’s been a great week in London playing on the best grass court in the world.,” said Krajicek, who debuted as doubles world No. 1 after Roland Garros. “It’s my first time at Queen’s Club and it definitely won’t be my last.”

 

American Alycia Parks also made a doubles final last week in the United Kingdom, teaming with Australia's Storm Hunter at the WTA 250 in Birmingham.

 

Korda reaches Queen's semis, eyes deep Wimbledon run

Sebastian Korda won three straight-sets matches to reach the last four at Queen's, knocking off Daniel Evans, fourth seed Frances Tiafoe and fifth seed Cameron Norrie along the way.

"I'm very confident in myself on a grass court," Korda said after beating Stuttgart champion Tiafoe, "I move really well, I definitely have a game that not very many people have. I'm an aggressive player, like to come to the net, I have good hands."

 

While the 22-year-old was beaten by eventual champ Carlos Alcaraz in the semis, he is full of belief ahead of his second appearance at Wimbledon.

 

"I definitely feel as if I'm one of the favorites at Wimbledon," said the American, who reached the fourth round at the major in his lone previous appearance in 2021.

 

In addition to Korda's run at the ATP 500 at Queen's Club, there was more American men's success on the ATP Challenger Tour. Denis Kudla was a quarterfinalist in Ilkley, Great Britain, while Ulises Blanch reached the quarters in Poznan, Poland. Rob Galloway also reached the doubles final in Ilkley.

 

Navarro reaches ITF final in Great Britain, enters Top 60

Kudla and Galloway weren't the only Americans to make deep runs in Ilkley. Emma Navarro reached the singles final at the ITF World Tennis Tour W100 event at the site, earning her a new career-high WTA ranking of world No. 60. 

 

The grass-court title is Navarro's third ITF singles crown of the season and her second at the W100 level.

 

Also on the ITF World Tennis Tour, Elvina Kalieva reached the W40 singles semis in Ystad, Sweden, and Makenna Jones and Jamie Loeb teamed to win the W25 doubles title in Tauste-Zaragoza, Spain. On the men's side, Tauheed Browning won the M15 singles crown in Santo Domingo, D.R.

 

Nine American champions on USTA Pro Circuit

During a busy week on the USTA Pro Circuit, nine Americans claimed titles across singles and doubles. In singles action, Omni Kumar won the M15 in Los Angeles and James Tracy won the M15 in South Bend, Ind.

 

Three all-American teams scored doubles titles: Garret Johns and Ozan Baris in Tulsa, Okla., Eduardo Nava and Nathan Ponwith in Los Angeles, and Reese Brantmeier and Maria Mateas in Wichita, Kansas. Ryan Fishback also won the doubles title in South Bend.

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