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  • Writer's pictureMichael Augsberger

Dominant Duo drama

The Road to THE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP 2024




The Dominant Duo format never fails to impress, in a Davis Cup style forging team spirit and doubles prowess. Nicoletta Savvas and Noemi Danilovic conquered all comers in the single elimination girls' event without dropping a single match in any of their ties.


In the final they matched up with Tour regulars Bridget Zimmermann and Serena Provinse, fresh off a Winter Travel Team award and MVP nomination, respectively. Savvas won 6-3 at first singles for her hardest shift of the day.  Doubles also went to the champions, 4-1.


The semifinals were hotly contested, as Zimmermann and Provinse needed a tiebreak to gain the early advantage over the Crowell sisters, 7-3. Then both singles matches lay within reach of both sides until Provinse won 6-4 and Zimmermann 6-3.


The boys' side boasted three unbeaten group champions among twenty four players making up twelve teams. William Van Horne and Alexander Shin (the former of which has remained atop many Tour divisions for years now) came closest to unseating the Group C champions, but Nicholas Monaco and Ethan Chiang held firm in their 3-0 win over the second-place rivals.


Interestingly in Group B it was the last-place finishers who gave the champions a scare. Victor Martinez broke through for a 6-3 win in singles, providing the only blemish in any cup-holder's record this weekend. But doubles and Jasper Chen's singles exploits cemented the trophy for him and Matthew Chen. Matthew, however, cruised relative to his brother in an even more important match. Indeed, their bout with Jacob Levin and Yuvan Vijay, silver medalists, went 7-5 at first singles as Jasper clung to the unbeaten slate.


Things were not so straightforward for group winners Matthew and Andrew Gillespie in their first tie with Caleb Matthews and Brice Speller. The brothers edged the silver medalists in doubles 5-3 before Matthew Gillespie rose to the occasion to win over Speller 6-4.


Despite the small groups, the sheer amount of play--six sets in all for each player--and the pressure-packed team format dictated an increase this season to 80 points for such Dominant Duo winners of a full draw, now on par with typical large singles events. 


Sunday's 18U Dominant Duo was just that for Braylon Garcia and Colton Castelli--dominant. They only dropped one game to the second place team of Chase Velasquez and Daniel Li.


The real drama this week played out at the girls' 18U tournament and the 12U singles. In the first, Katelyn Gray and Josephine Saxe faced Caroline Peterson and Hazel Fontenot for the championship. After Peterson/Fontenot captured doubles 7-4 in a tiebreak, the pressure was on Gray/Saxe. But they both took care of their singles matches 6-3 to win the tightest title of the week. 


The lone singles event belonged to Andrew Kang, a last-minute entry forced to fight his way through the early rounds. At the UTR 12U Anguilla Service Trips Open, he met Tour leader Shiloh Auzoux in the final, where he jumped to an early 4-0 lead. But Auzoux proved why he's held the No. 1 ranking for so long, clawing back to make the second set a struggle. Kang eventually won 5-3 to claim the championship.


Major shuffles in the rankings followed the weekend, much as followed the earthquake in New Jersey this week, thanks to the results and a number of March 2023 weeks falling off the 52-week calculations. William Van Horne and Bridget Zimmermann benefited the most from their successes, with Van Horne moving up to No. 2 on the 14U Tour, and Zimmermann moving from tenth to sixth.


Alexander Yu also had a big haul, jumping up seven places to No. 20.


The girls made strides on the 16U Tour. Serena Provinse made the leap into the Top 10 among the 16U players, and Nicoletta Savvas entered the Top 50 with her Duo championship.


Shiloh Auzoux extended his lead atop the 10U and 12U Tours, and little of substance changed there. Andrew Kang debuted at No. 46 after his title win.


Champions

USTA 14U: Nicoletta Savvas and Noemi Danilovic, Matthew and Andrew Gillespie, Jasper Chen and Matthew Chen, Nicholas Monaco and Ethan Chiang

USTA 18U: Braylon Garcia and Colton Castelli, Katelyn Gray and Josephine Saxe

UTR 12U: Andrew Kang


2024 Points Change


A change to the points applied to higher-level tournaments from lower levels should reflect ages and skills better from now on. It used to be that all points were halved when applied to a higher age group's rankings. Now, the points are halved each step up the ladder, not just once.


So a player can no longer earn 80 points at 10U and count them as 40 at 16U. They would be halved at 12U (40 points), again at 14U (20 points), then again at 16U (10 points). It provides the incentive without disrupting the older players' earnings too much.


However, a younger player earning points in an older tournament, much as Arnav Nadikatla did in this Tour Championship edition, is still a sure way to rise faster in those rankings.


Remember the newly added feature to the rankings: the Plus / Minus, which will tell you how far up or down the player has moved within the last week.


The full tables now look like this.


Each weekend this spring and summer, Tennis Central is bringing you USTA and UTR tournaments at Holton-Arms School. Earn points for advancing through each round, just like on the pro tours, and qualify for the TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP at season's end.


Bigger events offer more points, with the TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP offering the most, as well as prizes.


Check here for updates each week to the Tennis Central Tour Rankings, a 52-week points system based on the pro tours, as well as recaps of all the action and photos. We'll post the 2024 schedule soon!

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