Team USA in Review:
Pat Mitsch | April 2, 2018
Suffice to say Americans took advantage of playing on home soil in March.
The month in which the pro tours’ best go bi-coastal in the states for the ‘Sunshine Double,’ as it’s known, featured a variety of breakout and signature performances from the home team on both the men’s and women’s sides.
John Isner – Team USA’s men’s player of the month – hoisted trophies at both the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., and the Miami Open, the latter of which was the site of the 32-year-old’s first ATP Masters 1000 singles title. The University of Georgia product defeated Alexander Zverev on Sunday to capture his biggest title to date and regain his career-high No. 9 world ranking ahead of the Americans’ Davis Cup tie vs. Belgium in Nashville this week. Isner and his Davis Cup teammate, Jack Sock, also won the doubles crown over Bob and Mike Bryan in Indian Wells two weeks prior. ADVERTISEMENT
Two American women – Sloane Stephens and Danielle Collins – also captured the attention of the tennis world in March to earn co-player of the month distinctions. The reigning US Open champion Stephens took out the defending French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko to win the Miami Open crown, helping to mark the first time since 2004 (Serena Williams, Andy Roddick) that Americans swept the Miami singles titles. Stephens has now won 18 of her last 20 matches in the United States and rose to a career-high No. 9.
Meanwhile, two-time NCAA singles champion Collins propelled herself to a career-high No. 53 ranking after inspired runs to the fourth round at Indian Wells and the semifinals in Miami – after coming through qualifying – that included an upset of Venus Williams in the quarters.
Other Tour-level highlights from March include:
- Bob and Mike Bryan won their 37th ATP Masters 1000 and 115th tour-level doubles title at the Miami Open.
- CoCo Vandeweghe won the women’s doubles title in Miami, with Australian Ashleigh Barty.
- Venus Williams continued her consistent form in reaching the semifinals at Indian Wells and the quarters in Miami.
- Jared Donaldson reached the semifinals of the ATP 500 event in Acapulco, Mexico.
- Indian Wells was the site for several breakout victories for young Americans:
o Sixteen-year-old Amanda Anisimova defeated two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova to become the youngest player through to the Indian Wells fourth round since 2005. Anisimova also reached the semifinals of the Oracle WTA $125,000 Series event in Indian Wells, where Taylor Townsend was a doubles champion.
o Sachia Vickery, 22, upset world No. 3 and reigning Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza in the second round.
o Nineteen-year-old Caroline Dolehide beat No. 30 Dominika Cibulkova, then pushed world No. 1 Simona Halep to three sets in the third round.
Challenger- and Pro Circuit-level highlights:
- Twenty-five-year-old Denis Kudla won his first Challenger-level singles title since 2015, at the $75,000 Challenger in Drummondville, Canada, then reached the singles final at the €85,000 ATP Challenger in Le Gosier, Guadeloupe.
- Taylor Fritz reached the semifinals of the ATP $150,000 Challenger in Indian Wells, Calif., where Austin Krajicek and Jackson Withrow beat Evan King and Nathan Pasha for the doubles title.
- University of Virginia alumnus J.C. Aragone won his first pro singles title over American Marcos Giron at the USTA Pro Circuit $25,000 Futures in Calabasas, Calif.
- Twenty-year-old Katerina Stewart, formerly a West Point cadet, beat American Jessica Pegula to win the $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit clay-court event in Tampa, Fla.
- Former USC star Daniel Nguyen won singles titles at consecutive $15,000 Futures in Japan (Nishi-Tokyo and Nishi-Tama).
- Twenty-year-old Sophie Chang won her first pro singles title at the $15,000 event at the USTA National Campus at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla.
- Twenty-year-old Ellie Halbauer swept the singles and doubles titles at a $15,000 event in Hammamet, Tunisia.
- Former UNC standout Ronnie Schneider won the doubles title at the $25,000 Futures in Gatineau, Canada.
- Players to win doubles titles at $15,000 events: Hunter and Yates Johnson (Heraklion, Greece); Peter Kobelt (Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt); Caty McNally (Tampa, Fla., and Orlando, Fla.), Natasha Subhash (Tampa, Fla.); Whitney Osuigwe (Orlando, Fla.); Catherine Harrison and Sarah Lee (Antalya, Turkey); Quinn Gleason (Solarino, Italy).