By Stefan Burnett, USTA Florida intern
Teen Michael Mmoh of Bradenton, Fla., won his first USTA Pro Circuit title of 2017 at the Kentucky Bank Tennis Challenger in Lexington, Ky., on Sunday, defeating Australia’s John Millman 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-3 after inclement weather forced the final to be moved indoors. Mmoh with the win moved up to an ATP singles ranking of No. 144.
The 19-year-old bounced back from a loss to fellow American Christian Harrison in the round of 16 last week in Binghampton, N.Y., to capture his second Challenger Tour title of his career.
“I just stepped up my game and started playing really aggressive, which actually was less taxing on my body,” Mmoh told the Lexington Herald Leader of winning the final three games of the match. “The first set was extremely taxing, so I think I stepped it up, played my game in the next two sets, went for everything I saw.”
The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds lost in early rounds to open up the draw for Millman, the No. 3 seed, and Mmoh, the No. 4 seed. In the semifinals Mmoh battled past unseeded American Raymond Sarmiento 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-2, while Millman eased past recent TCU graduate Cameron Norrie 6-1, 6-1.
Mmoh improved to 1-1 in USTA Pro Circuit finals in 2017 and 6-3 career, capturing his first title since the Knoxville, Tenn., challenger in 2016. Millman fell to 15-12 in career ITF/USTA Pro Circuit finals.
Orlando resident Grace Min won the all-Florida women’s final when the No. 7-seeded Orlando resident upset the No. 2 seed from Pembroke Pines Sofia Kenin 6-4, 6-1.
The 23-year-old Min in the semifinals survived an upset bid by Belarus’ unseeded Vera Lapko 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2). Kenin in her semifinal defeated fellow American and wild card entrant Emina Bektas 7-5, 6-3.
It was the first USTA Pro Circuit title in the first final of 2017 for the 5-foot-4 Min. She improved to 9-7 in career finals. Kenin is now 3-4 in career USTA Pro Circuit finals and 1-2 this year.