Team USA in Review:
Pat Mitsch | July 3, 2018
They came on different surfaces in different seasons, but Sloane Stephens and Denis Kudla both found high levels of success in June on top of dirt.
Stephens, the 25-year-old reigning US Open champion, nearly made it halfway to the career Grand Slam by reaching the singles final at the French Open in Paris, falling to world No. 1 Simona Halep in three sets on the red clay of Roland Garros.
Stephens, who beat countrywoman Madison Keys in the first all-American French Open semifinal since Serena Williams beat Jennifer Capriati in 2002, then rose to No. 4 in the WTA rankings, becoming just the fourth woman to hold the top American ranking since 2007.
Kudla (pictured above), meanwhile, found his form not in the dirt but in the grass on top of it, slugging his way to the semifinals of the ATP 500 Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany, before falling, 7-6 (1), 7-5, to Roger Federer.
The performance buoyed Kudla’s ranking up to No. 83 – his highest ranking in nearly two years – and helped earn the 25-year-old product of the renowned JTCC in College Park, Md., a wild card into the Wimbledon main draw, where he turned in his career-best Grand Slam result with a run to the round of 16 in 2015.
Other Tour-level highlights from Americans in June include:
- Nineteen-year-old Floridian Sofia Kenin qualified and reached her first WTA semifinal at the International-level grass-court event in Mallorca, Spain, defeating No. 6 Caroline Garcia in the quarters to help bump her ranking to a career-high No. 76.
- Abigail Spears won her 21st WTA doubles title at the International event in Nottingham, Great Britain.
- Mackie McDonald made a run to the singles quarterfinals at the ATP 250 event in s-Hertogenbosh, Netherlands, defeating No. 49 Andreas Seppi for his first Top-50 win.
- Two weeks before making a run to the quarterfinals in s-Hertogenbosch, where she lost a thriller to Coco Vandeweghe in a third-set tiebreak, Alison Riske won the singles title at the $100,000 grass-court event in Surbiton, Great Britain.
- Michael Mmoh made a run to the singles semis at the €127,000 Challenger in Ilkley, Great Britain, where former Texas A&M All-American Austin Krajicek won his second Challenger doubles title of 2018.
- Asia Muhammad and former USC Trojan Maria Sanchez won the doubles title at the $100,000 event in Ilkley – Muhammad’s third $60,000-plus doubles title of 2018 and Sanchez’s first.
Futures and Pro Circuit-level highlights:
- Former University of Arkansas All-American Michael Redlicki won his first USTA Pro Circuit singles title, defeating former French Open boys’ champion Tommy Paul in the final of the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit Collegiate Series tournament in Winston-Salem, N.C, on June 24. The week before, Redlicki reached the singles final at another Collegiate Series event in Winston-Salem.
- Two-time NCAA singles champion Nicole Gibbs beat 2017 USTA Girls’ 18s National Champion Ashley Kratzer to win her first singles title of 2018 at the clay-court USTA Pro Circuit event in Naples, Fla.
- Former world junior champion Taylor Townsend won her third pro singles title of 2018 at the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Sumter, S.C.
- Cancer survivor Allie Kiick won her first Pro Circuit title since 2015 at the $25,000 event in Bastad, Sweden.
- Former NCAA champion Virginia Cavalier Thai-Son Kwiatkowski beat former Georgia Bulldog Paul Oosterbaan to win his second Futures singles title of 2018 at the $25,000 event in Calgary, Alberta.
- Kwiatkowski’s former UVA teammate, JC Aragone, won his first career ITF Pro Circuit title at the $25,000 Futures in Kelowna, Canada.
- Rising TCU senior Alex Rybakov won consecutive clay-court singles titles at the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit Futures in Buffalo – an all-American final between he and Deiton Baughman, who had to retire because of an injury – and a week later at the $15,000 event in Rochester, N.Y.
- Former US Open girls’ champion Grace Min beat Kat Stewart in an all-American singles final at the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Bethany Beach, Del.
- Duke-bound Maria Mateas reached her first singles final of the year at the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Baton Rouge, La.
- Twenty-eight-year-old Gail Brodsky beat former Cal All-American Maegan Manasse to win her first singles title since 2015 at the $15,000 event in Victoria, B.C.
- Players to win $25,000 doubles titles: Former collegians JC Aragone (Virginia) and Harrison Adams (Texas A&M), at the USTA Pro Circuit Collegiate Series event in Winston-Salem, N.C.; former top American junior Ulises Blanch, who won two, in Tolouse and Montauban, France; former UNC collegiate No. 1 Hayley Carter and current UCLA All-American Ena Shibahara, at the USTA Pro Circuit event in Baton Rouge, La.; Duke’s Jessica Ho, in Barcelona, Spain; Former UCLA Bruin Robin Anderson and Manasse, in Bethany Beach, Del.; Georgia Bulldog Emil Reinberg, in Tulsa; Kwiatkowski, in Kelowna.
- Players to win $15,000 doubles titles: Ohio State’s John McNally and junior Cannon Kingsley, in Rochester, N.Y.; Gail Brodsky and Brynn Boren, in Victoria, B.C.; Hanna Chang, in Gyeongsan, Korea; Elli Mandlik, daughter of International Tennis Hall-of-Famer Hana Mandlikova, in Curtea de Arges, Romania.