Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Ma, 16, leads U.S. to title; Tursunov, Sabalenka reunite

Connie Ma, playing in the $60,000 Berkeley (Calif.)
Challenger in July, led the United States to its third
consecutive Junior Fed Cup title on Sunday. Photo
by Paul Bauman  
   Connie Ma, 16, of Dublin in the San Francisco Bay Area led the United States to a 2-1 victory over the Czech Republic in the Junior Fed Cup final on Sunday in Lake Nona, Fla.
   In the deciding match on clay at the USTA National Campus, Ma and Robin Montgomery, 15, defeated 14-year-old Linda Noskova, replacing injured Darja Vidmanova, and 15-year-old Barbora Palicova 6-2, 7-5.
   Ma gave the United States a 1-0 lead with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Palicova at No. 2 singles. Noskova evened the match by defeating 15-year-old Katrina Scott 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
   "So solid in singles," U.S. captain Jamea Jackson told ZooTennis regarding Ma's performance during the week. "(She allowed) nothing for free. And when things came down to the wire in doubles, she stepped it up to a whole other level. That's what great competitors do. I was so proud of her. This is her second year doing this, and just to see her grow up and blossom before my eyes, it's one of the rewarding parts of what we do."
   It was the third consecutive Junior Fed Cup title for the Americans and second straight for Ma. She played on last year's team, but not in the final against Ukraine.
   Tursunov returns – Two days after Aryna Sabalenka fired coach Dmitry Tursunov in late August, the 21-year-old star from Belarus rehired him, according to Tursunov.
   Sabalenka, the San Jose runner-up in August, won her fourth career WTA singles title last week in Wuhan, China, surprising top-ranked Ashleigh Barty in the semifinals.
   Also, Sabalenka won her first Grand Slam title in the U.S. Open last month, teaming with Elise Mertens of Belgium in women's doubles.
   Sabalenka is ranked No. 14 in singles and No. 5 in doubles.
   Tursunov, a 36-year-old Moscow native, trained in Northern California as a junior and professional. He reached a career-high No. 20 and played on Russia's Davis Cup championship team in 2016.

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