The first week of the ITA Tour: Fall Circuit by Universal Tennis is now in the books. The tournaments, which were held over the weekend, finished up on Monday and were hosted by various college campuses throughout the United States, providing an opportunity for players to compete at one of eight different locations.
Week Two of the ITA Tour: Fall Circuit by Universal Tennis is scheduled to take place September 17-20 in two locations; Chatham, New Jersey and St. Louis, Missouri.
Home Court Heroes
Home-court advantage was well and alive in Claremont this weekend as Christopher Li and Ian Freer, both players for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Men’s tennis team, met in the finals for a teammate-to-teammate duel. Despite the familiar matchup, Li was no match for Freer, who finished him off in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1. Freer, though, may have been the weekend’s big winner, as he later took home the title in men’s doubles with partner Matthew Robinson.
Not to be outdone by Ian Freer is the University of Iowa’s Samantha Mannix, who too, like Freer, competed on her home court in Iowa City, Iowa. Mannix was able to capitalize on the opportunity in a big way, as the senior Hawkeye blanked her teammate Barbora Pokorno for the Fall Circuit title.
Never In Doubt
It was tough going for the players that competed at the Georgia Gwinnett event, as one player really stood above the rest in both the men’s and women’s draws.
In the women’s draw, Kennedy Craig made it look easy as she beat out her opponents in straight sets on her way to the finals. Once in the final match, Craig made her arrival known by quickly finishing off challenger Alyssa Davis, 6-0, 6-1. Through the entire tournament, Craig only allowed eight games total.
Competitors on the men’s side did not have much luck either, as Pranav Suhas Nemani easily rolled through all who stood in his way en-route to a finals victory. Through the entire tournament, Nemani only allowed three games total. He blanked his semifinal opponent. The New Jersey native is an up-and-coming junior (class of 2022) who is a five-star recruit. Nemani beat Robert Fuller in the finals 6-0, 6-1 to claim the title.
Internationals Make Their Mark
“It’s where you come from that takes you to where you’re going” comes to mind as multiple international-born players saw great success at this weekend’s Fall Circuit events.
At the Goucher College event, Aleksandr Seleznev, a Kyrgyzstani native and former Old Dominion student-athlete, showed up and showed out this weekend. Seleznev encountered a little trouble in the round of 16 when Zhora Chetvurukhin took him to a third-set tiebreaker. Seleznev ultimately won the tiebreaker, and cruised through the quarters and semis en-route to a straight-set finals win over top-seed Adam Lawton.
In California at UC Davis, the Week One finals came down to two men. Arthur Neuhaus, a University of Santa Clara sophomore who hails from Switzerland, while his competitor, James Watt, a 6’9 senior stud for the Saint Mary’s Gaels is a New Zealand native. Neuhaus put up a good fight, but was ultimately swept by the Kiwi 7-6 (3), 6-2.
Things Heat up in Tucson
University of Arizona freshman Midori Castillo is no stranger to the heat. Castillo, who hails from Baja California, Mexico, showed up to the Wildcats’ Fall Circuit tournament this weekend and had all intentions of showing the other competitors in Tucson why she earned the title of “Hispanic Athlete of the Year” in her hometown. The wiley freshman fought her way into the finals, where she ultimately won, as her University of Arizona teammate and challenger Khim Iglupas was forced to retire from the match.