Team USA in Review:
Pat Mitsch | October 4, 2018
In the echo of the US Open, three young Americans produced breakthrough results in September to earn Team USA Player of the Month honors and set themselves up for future success.
Michael Mmoh, the Male Player of the Month, won his third and fourth career Challenger titles at the USTA Pro Circuit events in Columbus, Ohio ($75,000) and Tiburon, Calif. ($100,000). The two titles – and his 11-1 overall record in September – propelled him to his Top-100 debut at a career-high No. 96 and moved him two spots out of automatic qualification for the Next Gen ATP Finals this fall in Milan, Italy, for players 21-and-under.
On the women’s side, Amanda Anisimova and Jessica Pegula each made title-match runs on opposite sides of the world to earn Co-Player of the Month honors.
Anisimova, two weeks after her 17th birthday, came through qualifying and upset top-seeded Zhang Shuai to reach her first WTA singles final at the International event in Hiroshima, Japan, becoming the youngest player to reach a WTA final since Donna Vekic in 2013. ADVERTISEMENT The result helped her become the first player born in 2001 to crack the WTA's Top 100, which she did the following week, at No. 95.
Anisimova and Mmoh teamed up to enter the mixed doubles event at the US Open (pictured above).
The 24-year old Pegula also came through the qualifying rounds to make her maiden WTA final appearance, indoors at the International event in Quebec, Canada, overcoming fellow American Sofia Kenin, who was seeded fifth at the event, in the semifinals. The result helped Pegula, who has battled injuries through much of her career, rise back into the Top 150 for the first time since 2016.
Highlights from the US Open:
- Serena Williams reached her 31st Grand Slam singles final at the US Open. Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens followed up on their 2017 US Open final appearances by reaching the semis and quarterfinals, respectively, in New York this year.
- Mike Bryan and Jack Sock won the men’s doubles title, becoming the first men’s doubles tandem to win the Wimbledon and US Open titles in the same year since 2004. It was a record 18th Grand Slam and 120th career doubles title for Mike, while Sock won his third Grand Slam doubles crown.
- CoCo Vandeweghe won her first Grand Slam doubles title, with Australian Ashleigh Barty.
- Bethanie Mattek-Sands won the mixed doubles title with Jamie Murray, her first title since returning from her 2017 knee injury.
Tour-level highlights from September:
- Twenty-year old Taylor Fritz advanced to his second ATP semifinal of 2018, at the ATP 250 event in Chengdu, China.
- Twenty-three-year old Bernarda Pera reached her first WTA semifinal, at the International event in Guangzhou, China.
- Asia Muhammad and Maria Sanchez won the doubles title at the WTA International event in Quebec, Canada. It was Muhammad’s third WTA doubles title (first since 2016), and the former USC Trojan Sanchez’s second (first since 2014).
Challenger- and Pro Circuit-level highlights:
- Reilly Opelka was a singles finalist at the Oracle ATP $150,000 Challenger in Chicago, where Bjorn Fratangelo also reached the semifinals. Opelka also reached the singles final – and Fratangelo the semis – the next week, at the USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 Challenger in Cary, N.C.
- Muhammad, who won the US Open Wild Card Challenge to compete in the US Open this summer, added her third pro singles title of 2018, and her second at the $60,000 level, at the USTA Pro Circuit event in Templeton, Calif. She and Sanchez also won the doubles title there.
- Sachia Vickery reached the semifinals of the Oracle $125,000 Series event in Chicago.
- Former college stars Evan King (Michigan) and Hunter Reese (Tennessee) won the doubles title at the $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit Challenger in Cary, N.C., the tandem’s second Challenger doubles title together this year (Sarasota).
- Nineteen-year-old Cornell sophomore Alafia Ayeni won his first pro singles title, at the $25,000 event in Niagara, Canada, over former Minnesota Gopher Felix Corwin.
- Former TCU Frog Nick Chappell won his first pro singles title at the $25,000 event in Toronto.
- USC Trojan Brandon Holt, son of Tennis Hall of Famer Tracy Austin, beat former UCLA standout Martin Redlicki to win his first pro singles title at the USTA Pro Circuit $15,000 Futures in Claremont, Calif.
- Seventeen-year old Brandon Nakashima, runner-up at this year’s USTA Boys’ 18s National Championships, won his first pro singles title at the USTA Pro Circuit $15,000 Futures in Laguna Niguel, Calif.
- Former UCLA All-American Robin Anderson reached the singles final at the USTA Pro Circuit $25,000 event in Lubbock, Texas, her second singles final appearance in three events.
- Former Virginia Cavalier Michael Shabaz reached the singles final at the $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit Futures in Fountain Valley, Calif.
- Players to win $25,000 doubles titles: Charlie Emhardt (Valparaiso) and Samuel Shropshire (Northwestern), in Niagara, Canada; Dusty Boyer (Nebraska), in Cairns, Australia; Martin Redlicki (UCLA) and Nicolas Meister (UCLA), in Laguna Niguel, Calif.
- Players to win $15,000 doubles titles: Dasha Ivanova (Santarem, Portugal); Joelle Kissell (Cairo, Egypt).