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Pro Media & News

Take Five: Wagner doubles up in Ile de Ré, Brengle and Liu win in Gaiba

Victoria Chiesa | June 20, 2022

Welcome to Take Five, a weekly series on recapping five of the biggest stories from American tennis over the last week on the professional tennis circuit. While grass was the focus once more on the ATP and WTA tours last week, David Wagner was lighting up the hard courts in Ile de Ré, France.

1. David Wagner sweeps quad singles, doubles titles in Ile de Ré

At age 48, David Wagner is having his most successful singles season on the UNIQLO/ITF Wheelchair Tour in four years. The former world No. 1 captured his fourth title of 2022 last week at the Toyota Open International De L'ile de Re, an ITF 2 Series event on hard courts in France. 


Four singles titles is the most Wagner's won in a single season since 2018, when he won nine. He and Israel's Shraga Weinberg also won the doubles title, which is Wagner's fourth doubles crown this year with a third different partner. 


To win in Ile de Ré, Wagner overcame Brazil's Ymanitu Silva, who's become a rival of sorts for him this year. After winning the first 10 matches in the pair's head-to-head from 2015 to 2021, Wagner lost to Silva twice in May at the week-long BNP Paribas World Team Cup. They've played in three straight tournaments since then, and Wagner's won all three matches—but they've all gone the distance. In the final in France, Wagner won, 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-0.


Wagner and Weinberg didn't lose a set en route to winning the doubles title, and they beat Silva and his fellow Brazilian Leandro Pena in the final, 6-3, 7-6(5).


Also on the wheelchair circuit, Americans swept the men's and women's singles and doubles titles at the Janco Steel Wheelchair Tennis Classic, an ITF Future Series event in Grimby, Canada. Second-seeded Jason Keatseangslip won his second career singles and 13th career doubles title at the event, partnering Israel's Guy Sasson for the latter as the top seeds. Avery Downing didn't lose a set in three rounds to win her first tour-level singles title in the women's event and partnered Laura Goodkind to win the doubles title. 


Downing has starred collegiately at the University of Alabama, and helped the Crimson Tide win its sixth consecutive national title at the USTA Collegiate Wheelchair National Championships in April.


2. Madison Brengle, Claire Liu partner to win WTA 125 in Italy

The all-American pair of Madison Brengle and Claire Liu teamed to win the inaugural WTA 125 Series in Gaiba, Italy last week—the first doubles title for each at that level. 


Liu won her first WTA 125 singles title in May, and Brengle had previously won two WTA 125s in singles. Neither had ever been in a WTA 125 doubles final before.

The American pair didn't lose a set in their four wins, which including an emphatic 6-0, 6-1 victory in the first round and a semifinal victory over No. 2 seeds Anastasia Potapova and Yana Sizikova. 


3. Gauff reaches first grass-court semifinal in Berlin

Playing her first tournament since reaching the final at Roland Garros, Coco Gauff hardly missed a beat. The 18-year-old American reached her first career grass-court semifinal at the WTA 500 event in Berlin before losing to eventual champion and No. 1 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia. 


Gauff's run to the last four included a straight-sets win over 2021 Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals. Gauff's best prior run at a grass-court event was the one that announced her to the world: a fourth round showing at Wimbledon in 2019 at age 15, where she came through qualifying and famously beat Venus Williams in the first round.


She's now up to a new career-high of No. 12 in the WTA rankings.


4. Paul snaps skid with quarterfinal in Queen's 

Every week's a new week: Tommy Paul arrived at the Queen's Club having lost six of his last seven matches, including his first match on grass this summer to fellow American Brandon Nakashima at the Libema Open in the Netherlands. Two big wins on London's famous lawns washed all that away quickly. 


In the first round, the unseeded Paul defeated No. 6 seed Denis Shapovalov, a semifinalist at Wimbledon last year, in three sets over the course of two days. In Round 2, he routed three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka, on the comeback trail after a lengthy injury layoff, to reach the last eight. He was beaten there by reigning champion Matteo Berrettini, who went on to successfully defend his title. 


Paul reached the quarterfinals or better at four of his first five tournaments of 2022, with a semifinal showing in Delray Beach marking his best result so far this year. He'll make his main-draw debut at Wimbledon next week as a seeded player; he checks in at No. 35 in the rankings this week, but will rise into a Top 32 position thanks to Wimbledon's decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from its tournament this year. 


5. Serena's comeback opponents revealed, Wimbledon men's qualifying draw released

The biggest news in tennis last week came from Serena Williams, who announced her grass-court comeback. This week, the 23-time major-winner in playing doubles with Tunisian world No. 3 Ons Jabeur in Eastbourne, and plans to return in singles as a wild card at Wimbledon. Jabeur and Williams will face Czech Marie Bouzkova and Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo in the first round in Eastbourne. 


The Wimbledon men's qualifying draw was released on Sunday, and it features 10 Americans. The women's qualifying draw will be released later on Monday. 


Other American results on the professional circuit last week included:

  • Jack Sock was the runner-up at the ATP Challenger 125 in Ilkley, Great Britain.
  • 18-year-old Martin Damm, a former world No. 3 in juniors and USTA 18s national doubles champion, won the biggest ITF World Tennis Tour singles title of his career so far at the M25 in the Dominican Republic.
  • Hurricane Tyra Black was also victorious in Santo Domingo, winning her first W25 singles title without losing a set. 
  • Sophie Chang defeated Hanna Chang in an all-American final at the USTA Pro Circuit W25 event in Sumter, S.C. The 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(5) final lasted a staggering 3 hours, 7 minutes. 


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