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  • Writer's pictureMichael Augsberger

Major moves at year's last major

The Road to THE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP 2024



Richard Caddell won the tightest Draw A Final of the calendar-year-end UTR Fall Finals, the 16U challenger in just his second event keeping Tour veteran William Van Horne a mere two points from victory in the final set tiebreak.


Players qualified for the Fall Finals based on their overall yearlong ranking or their performance in just the fall tournaments since September's Tour Championship. Top draw champions earned the major tournament points---200 points that vaulted a number of winners up ranks, like Caddell, who had previously only played one event last July.


He defeated Diego Levy in the semifinals before the instant classic against Van Horne, taking his ranking 124 places higher into the Top 10. Caddell sits in ninth while Van Horne has grabbed sixth, improving seven places from thirteenth. But Van Horne's best mark is fourth, where he places in several other age groups.


Siena Auzoux claimed the other brilliantly dramatic Final of the day, a 10-5 comeback win after dropping the first set 5-3 to her brother and Tour No. 1 Shiloh Auzoux. Missing out on the household bragging rights this time will be sweetened greatly by holding onto the overall No. 1 ranking, though Siena closed the gap to just 55 points at the 12U level.


At the actual 12U Fall Finals it was Suvin Thayavalliyil annoucing his debut in style. Making the draw as a wild card, he needed a tiebreak in the first set before defeating Zain Beg, and then strolled to the championship 4-1, 4-1 over Alexander Yu. Yu cracks the Top 10 thanks to the 100 points earned from the finals appearance, while Thayavalliyil hits the freshly printed rankings at twelfth.


Yu's path to the final turned heads. Vincent Finisdore, one of the top-ranked players on the 10U Tour, moved up to take on Tiago Eozenou in the first round of the 12U. They battled hard, with Finisdore running out of time to figure out the older player. Eozenous scored the slight upset 4-1, 5-3. Yu then had to focus to march past Eozenou in a tight 5-3 second set.


Aditya Bhandari carved yet another first-time name into the UTR Fall Finals trophies---though it is the first time the event is held, but regardless---in what was a stunning performance against (again) a household name on the Tour, Zahra Doriwala. The two split 5-3 sets before a 10-5 clincher that brought Bhandari eighteenth place on the 14U Tour.


Doriwala meanwhile sits just outside the Top 10 there but is consoled by maintaining her 12U Top 10 finish.


Each of the brackets also presented opportunities for Draw B players to gain the weekly usual eighty rankings points. 14U, traditionally the most popular Tour, even saw a third, Draw C. In total fifty-seven players competed for the nine championships, and consolation match winners earned an additional five points.


Marie Boy took advantage the most out of all the lower bracket champions, riding her victory over Charles Xu 4-2, 4-2, to finish the calendar year eighteen places higher than last week at 16th on the 18U Tour. Likewise did Spencer Weiss. He landed in sixth place for his highest finish after winning the 14U B event in a 10-2 tiebreak over Priya Khanna.


Van Horne's defeat of Jon Ozenci in the 16U semifinals, coupled with Diego Levi's victory over Atlee Hilliard in the previous round, had potentially seismic implications that wound up registering little. Neither top-ranked player could capitalize on the other's early exit. So Ozenci remains atop the 14U Tour just as Hilliard does on the 16U and 18U Tours at the end of the 2023 calendar year. The closest gap between them is just 44 points, at the 18U level.


It was fortunate that the weather held for Saturday. Rain polished off Sunday's Blue Glove Open Finals and forced a second rescheduling to December 15-17, when the finalists might encounter an NFL Playoffs-like challenge in the cold.


Champions

10U A: Siena Auzoux

12U A: Suvin Thayavalliyi

14U A: Aditya Bhandari

16U A: Richard Caddell

10U B: Ethan Wang

12U B: Solal Ko

14U B: Spencer Weiss

14U C: Jake Snow

16U B: Marie Boy


Blue Glove Open Finals

The top two players qualify automatically. The next qualified player will take the place of any players with conflicts.


Group A: Alexander Toker-Katskee v James Reed

Group B: Jake Snow v Lila Briskin-Watson

Group C: Alexander Yu v Lara Isler

Group D: Finn Koski v Ethan Wang


Blue Glove Open - Fall 2023 Standings

The top two players in each group qualify for Championship Weekend finals.



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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