Team USA in Review:
Pat Mitsch | February 13, 2019
It was a quote from Danielle Collins that perhaps was appropriate for both her and Frances Tiafoe’s performances at the 2019 Australian Open: “Clearly, none of this has been a fluke.”
Collins and Tiafoe, Team USA’s Players of the Month for January, had breakout performances in Melbourne that validated the talent they’d already flashed, and each set the table for breakthrough 2019 seasons.
A two-time NCAA champion out of the University of Virginia, the 25-year-old Collins reached the singles semifinals in her first-ever main-draw appearance in Melbourne. The quote came after her loss to Petra Kvitova in the semis, but en route, she’d beaten No. 2 seed Angelique Kerber, 6-0, 6-2. Collins became the first former women’s college player to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since 1996.
Tiafoe, meanwhile, toppled two giants on his way to the men’s quarterfinals, beating No. ADVERTISEMENT 5 Kevin Anderson and No. 20 Grigor Dimitrov before bowing out to Rafael Nadal, catching the attention of LeBron James by mimicking the basketball great’s “Silencer” celebration.
Other WTA and ATP World Tour-level highlights from January:
- Sonya Kenin won her first career WTA singles and doubles titles, at the International events in Hobart and Auckland, respectively.
- Former Tennessee Volunteer Tennys Sandgren won his first ATP title, at the 250 event in Auckland.
- Alison Riske reached her seventh career WTA singles final, at the international event in Shenzhen, China.
- Nicole Melichar won her fourth career WTA doubles title at the International event in Brisbane.
- Rajeev Ram reached his 30th career ATP doubles final, at the 250 event in Brisbane, and won his first Grand Slam title in mixed doubles at the Australian Open.
- Taylor Townsend reached her second career WTA doubles final, in Auckland.
Challenger- and ITF-level highlights:
- Taylor Fritz won the Oracle ATP Challenger 125 in Newport Beach, Calif., for the second straight year. Rob Galloway and Nathaniel Lammons won the doubles title. Jessica Pegula was a singles finalist at the Oracle Women’s $125,000 Series event in Newport Beach, where Hayley Carter and Ena Shibahara won the doubles title.
- Seventeen-year-old Caty McNally beat Pegula to win the singles title at the USTA Pro Circuit W100 event in Midland, Mich.
- Former NCAA finalist out of Wake Forest Noah Rubin reached the singles final at the ATP Challenger 90 in Noumea, where Donald Young won the doubles title.
- Former UCLA Bruin Maxime Cressy won the USTA Pro Circuit ATP Challenger 90 in Cleveland.
- Former NCAA champion out of UCLA Marcos Giron won the Orlando Open ATP Challenger 80 at the USTA National Campus.
- Ohio State’s JJ Wolf won the USTA Pro Circuit ATP Challenger 80 event in Columbus, Ohio, where Cressy won the doubles title.
- Seventeen-year-old Hailey Baptiste won her first ITF-level singles title, at the W25 in Plantation, Fla.
- Current USC Trojan Brandon Holt won the singles title at the ITF World Tennis Tour M25 event in Los Angeles.
- Seventeen-year-old Govind Nanda won his first ITF-level title at the M25 event in Tucson, Ariz.
- Former Florida Gator Sekou Bangoura won the singles title at the M15 event in Naples, Fla.
- Players who won 25-level doubles titles: Cressy (Los Angeles); former Notre Dame Fighting Irish Quinn Gleason (Petit-Bourg, Guadeloupe); former Texas A&M Aggie Junior Ore (Palm Coast, Fla.); Sebastian Korda (Westin, Fla.).
- Players to win 15-level doubles titles: former Northwestern Wildcat Strong Kirchheimer (Naples, Fla.); Mary Closs (Monastir, Tunisia).