- Johnny Esfeller
IMG Academy Mmoh rises up in Osaka, wins Mayor's Cup singles title
Over the weekend, the IMG Academy Bollettieri Tennis program's Michael Mmoh scored a huge win in Japan at the annual Osaka Mayor's Cup World Super Junior Tennis Championship, held Oct. 21-27. Mmoh became the first American to win the singles title at the prestigious event since 2007, when fellow IMG Academy trainee Ryan Harrison brought home the hardware.
“It’s unbelievable to win the boys' singles title. My play was good, and became better and better with each match," Mmoh explained to the ITF after the event. "My serve was steady and I stayed mentally tough. Next step for me will be to challenge for the junior Grand Slam main draws and ITF Futures.
"The atmosphere during the finals was an experience I will never forget."
Mmoh began the singles tournament as the No. 2 seed, and cruised through the first three rounds. Prior to the quarterfinals, Mmoh knocked off Japan's Renta Tokuda (6-4, 6-2) and Yusuke Takemoto (7-6(6), 6-1), and Korea's Chan Yeong-Oh (6-2, 6-2). The 15-year old Mmoh found himself in a tough battle with Australia's Harry Bourchier. Bourchier, currently ranked No. 49 ITF, took the first set, and it would be the only set Mmoh would lose at the event. Mmoh rallied, coming back to edge out the Aussie, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5. In the semifinals, Mmoh found himself matched up with a fellow IMG Academy student-athlete, Japan's Sora Fukuda. Fukuda, who recently cracked the top-100 ITF (No. 94), entered the match coming off a gut check against fifth-seed Nino Serdarusic of Croatia, a marathon quarterfinal match in which Fukuda won, 6-4, 6-7(4), [10-7]. A weary Fukuda could not slow down Mmoh, who advanced to the final by a score of 6-3, 6-1. Mmoh's final hurdle standing between him and the Mayor's Cup was Japan's Jumpei Yamasaki. Yamasaki, ranked No. 39 ITF, fought hard, but the day belonged to Mmoh, who took the prestigious Mayor's Cup by the score of 6-2, 7-5.
For Mmoh, it was his first-ever appearance in a Grade-A final. Mmoh's previous best in the Mayor's Cup was last year when he reached the quarterfinals. Mmoh began 2013 ranked No. 80 ITF, and entered the Mayor's Cup ranked at No. 43. With the victory, Mmoh was rewarded with a 23 spot jump in the rankings, landing at No. 20 ITF, a new career high. Accompanying Mmoh was Bollettieri Tennis coach Hisashi Sato, who saw Mmoh through his first-career Grade-A victory.