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With six months of UTR Pro Tennis Tour success in the rearview mirror, Universal Tennis kept up the pace in July by hosting 20 more professional events. Tournaments with a financial commitment of $25,000 were held in 10 cities across seven countries including the United States, Bulgaria, Serbia, Australia, the Czech Republic, Croatia, and Germany.
Zacarias Continues Domination
In the United States, there were four women’s tournaments in three different cities, Atlanta, Dallas, and Newport. Marcela Zacarias (UTR Rating 11.42) picked up three titles, bringing her total UTR PTT title count up to five in 2021.
The 27-year-old Mexican has been playing professionally since 2012 and has won on the ITF and WTA tours, but it’s PTT that has captured most of her efforts this year. Her current win streak stands at 18, dating back to June 27.
“I know that even if I win or lose, I'm going to make good money so it takes a lot of pressure off of me,” Zacarias said. “So I just played more relaxed, and then I just started playing really well and I got a lot of confidence by winning the first one… I feel really happy and filled with a lot of motivation for the next tournaments to see how far I can go.”
Per Universal INSIGHTS, Zacarias was a tournament favorite at the PTT Atlanta Women's $25K Hard 3 (the site of her most recent title) with the highest UTR Rating by 0.07. Her three-month Trending UTR Rating is even higher at 11.52, and her record (at all levels) in the last 15 months is an impressive 54-24.
While 16-year-old Kyle Kang (UTR Rating 13.15) didn’t win one of the four men’s UTR PTT $25K events held in Newport, Las Vegas, and Atlanta, he has made quite the impression. He has compiled a 25-14 record on the UTR PTT tour this year across eight events.
“He’s guaranteed matches,” Kyle’s dad David Kang said. “And also the level was pretty even—we like that. Right before Easter Bowl, for example, he played 16 matches
The California teen has his eye on a number of colleges in his home state and in the Ivy League, while he works toward his ultimate goal of going pro.
American Event Winners
Evan Song (UTR Rating 13.62) won the PTT Las Vegas Men’s $25K Hard 2 title during the week of June 28-July 4, at the Darling Tennis Center (the same center that will play host to the inaugural Universal Tennis Junior National Championships in December).
Two back-to-back men’s events were held in Atlanta with Australian 20-year-old Tristan Schoolkate (UTR Rating 13.57) winning the Hard 3 and Georgia Tech’s Andres Martin taking home the Hard 4.
There were also two men’s events in Newport, with the University of Portland’s Sema Pankin (UTR Rating 13.08) winning the Hard 7 and 18-year-old Murphy Cassone (UTR Rating 13.24) capturing the Hard 8. It marks Cassone’s second UTR PTT title after winning the Las Vegas Hard 1 in June. Cassone is set to start his college career at Arizona State University in the fall.
The New European Swing
Germany, Serbia, and Croatia were hosting UTR PTT events for the very first time. Croatia’s Matija Pecotic (UTR Rating 14.22) won the inaugural title in Zadar, Croatia, picking up $4,000 in prize money. Pecotic—born in Serbia, residing in Malta, and a graduate of Princeton—has been playing professionally since 2014. The 32-year-old beat compatriot Deni Zmak in the July 4 final.
The first-ever UTR PTT event in Serbia was held on clay in Belgrade at the Novak Tennis Center, a club on the Danube river opened by Novak Djokovic himself. The tournament, held July 5-11, was won by 28-year-old Belarusian Yaraslav Shyla (UTR Rating 13.41). He had finished in fourth place in his first UTR PTT appearance in Croatia the week before and dropped his first match in round-robin action in Belgrade before storming to the title.
In the last week of July, the Tennisakademie PMTR in Mulheim an der Ruhr was host to the first German UTR PTT event, featuring both men and women. Miska Kadleckova (UTR Rating 10.40), a 20-year-old Slovakian currently a sophomore on the Iowa State University roster, won the women’s title, and Vasile Antonescu (UTR Rating 13.53), a 31-year-old Romanian, won the men’s.
About the UTR Pro Tennis Tour
The PTT is open to players with a UTR Ranking of 200-2000, and wild cards can be awarded to those players with a UTR Ranking of 1-199 or above 2000. Every PTT event creates matchplay opportunities for up-and-coming, collegiate, and pro players thanks to a unique round-robin format. At every event, a group round-robin stage is followed by a World Cup-style playoff, guaranteeing multiple matches and counting all results towards the UTR Rating, the most accurate rating system in tennis. Every PTT event offers 4-5 matches and a minimum of $20,000 in prize money with an earnings guarantee for every participant.
For more information about UTR PTT and to see all of the results, click here.