JTCC DOUBLE PLAY: TIAFOE & ARCONADA BOTH REACH FINALS

JTCC standouts Frances Tiafoe and Usue Arconada both scored personal bests last week reaching finals in doubles on the ATP World Tour and singles on the USTA Pro Circuit, respectively.

Frances Tiafoe strikes a backhand return during the Houston doubles final (Getty Images)

JTCC alumnus Frances Tiafoe played in the first ATP World Tour final of his career at the US Men’s Clay Court Championships with partner  Dustin Brown at the River Oaks Country Club in Houston, TX on Sunday.

The wild card team were playing together for the first time and secured a number of notable wins on their way to the final beating  the Colombian  #2 seeds, Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, 6-3, 6-7(5), 10-5 in the opening round. They also swept aside South African Kevin Anderson and American Sam Querry 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals. 

In the finals, Tiafoe and Brown faced  #4 seeds Chile’s Julio Peralta and Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos, winners of three ATP World Tour doubles titles together. In an exciting match where rookie Tiafoe saved a break point and served out the first set, the veterans edged out Tiafoe/Brown in a deciding match tiebreak winning 4-6, 7-5, 10-6.

Ranked #87 in the ATP world rankings, 19-year-old Tiafoe is currently the youngest player  in the singles top 100. His run with Brown vaulted him 377 spots in the doubles standings to a career-high #295.

“Frances continues to make great progress on the ATP Tour in 2017,” said JTCC Senior Director of Tennis, Vesa Ponkka. “His first final at this level sets him up well for a successful clay court season.”

2016 Wimbledon Girls’ Doubles champion, Usue Arconada, is playing her first full year of professional tournaments and matched Tiafoe with her appearance in the singles final at the USTA Pro Circuit $25,000 in Pelham, AL on Saturday.

USTA Pro Circuit $25,000 Pelham singles final presentation – Ulrikke Eikeri (L) & Usue Arconada (R)

The 17-year-old came into the tournament  after reaching the semifinals at the USTA Pro Circuit $25,000 Women’s Pro Circuit event in Jackson, MS earlier in April which lifted her  WTA world ranking to a career-high #291.

The #4 seed, Arconada, first defeated #6 seed Tena Lukas (Croatia) and followed with a win over #2 seed Amanda Carreras (Great Britain) in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.

The current JTCC student  battled Ulrikke Eikeri in the finals losing a tight first set as her Norwegian opponent prevailed 7-5, 6-2. 

Arconada’s efforts in Pelham added 30 valuable points to her WTA world singles ranking which should move her to approximately #260 when the next rankings are published on April 24.

“Usue has really started to find her feet at the professional level in the last few weeks,” said her coach and JTCC Senior Director of High Performance Tennis Frank Salazar. “She should be full of confidence as she heads to her next tournament at the Dothan, AL $60K this week.”