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  • Writer's pictureMichael Augsberger

Three champions named, one to go


Dec 16-17 - Blue Glove Open Finals B, C, D

It was worth the wait for three champions of the Blue Glove Open. After three weeks of rain outs, the Fall Finals finally got underway on an unseasonably mild afternoon. And for a change, Sunday's finalists won the race with the weather.

Alexander Yu took home the Player of the Week honors as the winning half of that Sunday duo. It was an early afternoon start positioned just before the flood watch rains swept over The Beach Tennis & Pool.

Yu and Isler were joined in a serendipitous way heading into the Final, and they indeed remain so over the Christmas break. While Yu ranks among the Top 10 on the 12U Tour, he is positioned just one place ahead of Isler at the 14U level---27th and 28th.

Isler earned her spot defeating Annie Lippard 6-4 earlier in the season and came in with an unblemished record. She'd also been prolific in previous seasons, scheduled for no fewer than 23 matches in her career. Yu played a more extensive schedule this fall, a more demanding one as well, but had gone .500 for the season.

Fresh after two hours on court the previous day, Yu raced to an 8-3 championship victory to finish the season at 4-3.

That was not all Yu won. He also took on hard-charging Vincent Finisdore as a major challenge on Saturday, winning 8-5 after already facing overall BGO top seed Alexander Toker-Katskee, whose A Final is saved for last, coming up on December 23. Though the favorite claimed that one 8-5, Yu's 2-1 record on Championship Weekend and eagerness to take on any and all challenges nabbed him the penultimate honor of the fall.

At the penultimate level of play, it was a showdown between Jake Snow and Lila Briskin-Watson that enthralled the Tennis Central crowd. The pair had met twice before in BGO play, both wins for Snow in October, with Briskin-Watson getting to 8-4 in the first affair, and Snow more aggressive in the second, 8-2.

This time they averaged the earlier results. Snow won 8-3. It was the twelfth win of his BGO career, bringing his overall record in 24 matches to a perfectly round .500, and making him one of the most oft-played opponents in the history of the BGO.

Finn Koski came into the D Final having topped the group with two wins and two losses, by no means dominating the competition but toughing out tight wins in pressure situations. He'd been edged by newcomer Ethan Wang in his last match, and the Final was supposed to pit the pair together again for a rematch for the ages.

Fate would intervene, as Wang had to bow out this particular weekend. That meant the group's third place finisher, Rhett Dove, was promoted to the Final. And we expected no less fight---in two previous meetings, Koski needed extra time and then a tiebreak to win.

This time, though, Koski got up and never looked back. "The best I've seen him play, and great credit to him and his coach," said Lwazi Rennert, the official overseeing the Final. He grabbed the championship, 8-3.

Now it comes down to the A Final to close out the Blue Glove Open Fall Season. If history is any indication, Alexander Toker-Katskee and James Reed will be ready to put on a show. Their earlier meeting yielded a dramatic 7-5 finish that went the former's way, keeping him on track to finish the season 4-0.

On the other hand, Reed qualified for the Final having avenged his loss with an 8-0 defeat of Group B champion Snow. It will largely come down to form, much like for college football teams waiting for New Year's Day for bowl games, as at this time of year both have been idle in the BGO few weeks for this championship.

Perhaps Toker-Katskee's warm-up match with Group C champion Yu last week gave him the opportunity to work out the kinks from wintry swings. Coupled with the muscle memory of October 15's victory over Reed, it could prove vital. Or Reed's tournament play outside the BGO will propel him to finish the comeback he started in their last meeting.

Blue Glove Open Finals & Champions

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, 1 pm, Dec 23

Group B: Jake Snow def. Lila Briskin-Watson, 8-3

Group C: Alexander Yu def. Lara Isler, 8-3

Group D: Finn Koski def. Rhett Dove, 8-3

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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