With all eyes fixed on the BNP Paribas Open this past week, it is easy to forget about the players aiming to compete at that level one day as they battle it out on the ITF Pro Circuit. With 21 tournaments on offer this past week, there was guaranteed to be some spectacular tennis that has unfortunately gone unnoticed among the chaos at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Nonetheless, let's take a look at this week's action that had its fair share of surprises and upsets.
Kozlov Captures Third Futures Title in Canada
In the cold Southern Québecois city of Sherbrooke, it was Stefan Kozlov who was red hot, going on a tear to win his third professional singles title. The 18-year-old was impressive in all areas all week and didn't drop a single set en route to the final, but was given a stern test by Great Britain's Lloyd Glasspool in Sunday's showpiece. After dropping the opening set 6-4 to Glasspool, Kozlov was forced to dig deep in a true test of his character, but passed with flying colours, winning the next two sets 6-4 to capture his third ITF Futures title in a few minutes shy of the two and a half hour mark.
Other winners this week included Argentina's Hernan Casanova, France's Yannick Janovits and Serbia's Marko Tepavac, all winners of $10,000-level tournaments this week.
Pella, Khromacheva Capture $25K Titles
On the women's side, the biggest winners of the week were Argentina's Catalina Pella and Russia's Irina Khromacheva, who won the $25,000 tournaments in Curitiba, Brazil and Puebla, Mexico, respectively.
Pella, a 23-year-old Argentine currently ranked just inside the world's top 400, made the most of a special exempt into the main draw, battling through the Brazilian humidity to defeat second seed Cindy Burger 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 in Sunday's final. With this victory, the Argentinian number five wins her biggest professional title to date and just her sixth title overall.
Khromacheva, on the other hand, won her second $25,000 title in as many weeks this past Sunday, utilizing her crafty and powerful left-handed game to see of top seed Richel Hogenkamp 6-3, 6-2. Having won the $25,000 title in Moscow a week prior to the commencement of this tournament, the Russian continued to impress in all areas, which included going the distance on two occasions this week. At twenty years of age, the current world number 172 has now won a total of 28 professional titles on the ITF, with 10 of them coming on the singles court.
Other winners this week include China's Liu Fangzhou -- who made a successful return to the winner's circle after a woeful 2015 dominated by injuries, and Germany's Anne Schaefer -- who continued her incredible start to the year in Antalya by winning her third title of the season.
Next Week on the ITF Pro Circuit
Next week on the ITF Pro Circuit, there will be 22 events on offer with more than half of them featuring on the men's calendar. The biggest tournaments of the week in terms of financial commitments will be the $25,000 events in Mornington, Poitiers, Bakersfield, Canberra and Irapuato, with the likes of Patricia Maria Tig and Richel Hogenkamp looking to find some momentum after tough starts to 2016.
UPDATE: This will be the final instalment of the ITF Roundup until further notice.