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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Kuzuhara to Play for Australian Open Boys Title; Collins Reaches AO Women's Final; Hance, Ngounoue Advance to Quarterfinals at Les Petits As; USTA Pro Circuit Update

For the third time in the past four years that it has been held, an American boy is in the final of the Australian Open Junior Championships. Top seed Bruno Kuzuhara defeated No. 3 seed Adolfo Daniel Vallejo of Paraguay 7-6(2), 6-3 on Margaret Court Arena Friday, avenging his loss in last month's Orange Bowl final. Sebastian Korda won the title in 2018, while Emilio Nava lost in the final to Lorenzo Musetti in 2019. There was no junior event last year in Australia.

As he did in the quarterfinals, Kuzuhara started slowly, losing serve twice as he was unable to find any rhythm. But down 4-1, he broke back, held and broke again. After Vallejo had lost four straight games, he managed to hold serve twice to reach the tiebreaker, but Kuzuhara was the steadier of the two in the late stages of that tiebreaker, winning the final four points.

Up a break at 2-1 in the second set, Kuzuhara gave it right back, but Vallejo returned the favor in the fifth game to give Kuzuhara a 3-2 lead. Vallejo took a medical timeout at that changeover, receiving a massage of his left thigh, but Kuzuhara held in the next game and kept that advantage before breaking Vallejo to win the match. 

Kuzuhara will face No. 4 seed Jakub Mensik of the Czech Republic, who defeated No. 11 seed Kilian Feldbausch of Switzerland 6-1, 4-6, 6-2. Kuzuhara will have a second chance for revenge this tournament, with Mensik beating him in the second round of last year's US Open Junior Championships 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

For more on the boys final, with comments from both Kuzuhara and Menski, see this article from the ITF.

Liv Hovde's semifinal match with top seed Petra Marcinko of Croatia was suspended at 3-3 in the first set due to rain. The other girls semifinal between Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz of Australia and No. 8 seed Sofia Costoulas of Belgium is being played in Margaret Court Arena, which has a roof.

Hovde and Marcinko were moved to MCA to resume their match after Costoulas defeated Kempenaers-Pocz 6-4, 6-1, and what it treat it turned out to be for the handful of fans watching.

Marcinko came out with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory, but there was little to separate the two, with both hitting with great pace and depth, moving into the corners and changing direction, coming up with big shots at big moments. The 16-year-old Hovde, playing in just her second junior slam, looked very comfortable on the big stage; Marcinko, who played all three junior slams last year, took care of her serve just a bit better, hitting five aces, while Hovde had none and threw in six double faults to Marcinko's three. 

The doubles finals followed the second girls semifinal on Margaret Court Arena, with Americans taking titles in both the girls and boys championship matches.

No. 2 seeds Kuzuhara and Coleman Wong of Hong Kong defeated the unseeded team of Vallejo and Alex Michelsen 6-3, 7-6(3). Wong now has two consecutive junior slam titles, having won the US Open with Columbia freshman Max Westphal of France in September.

Top seeds Clervie Ngounoue and Russia's Diana Shnaider claimed the doubles title, ending the winning streak of unseeded Kayla Cross and Victoria Mboko of Canada with a 6-4, 6-3 decision. Mboko and Cross had won the title at the J1 in Traralgon last week, while Shnaider and Ngounoue did not play doubles in that event. It's the first junior slam title for the 15-year-old Ngounoue, while Shnaider now has two major girls doubles titles, having won Wimbledon last year with Kristina Dmitruk of Belarus.

Live scoring can be found here.

Danielle Collins defeated Iga Swiatek of Poland 6-4, 6-1 Thursday to advance to the women's singles final at the Australian Open. The 28-year-old from Florida, who won two NCAA singles title while playing for the University of Virginia, is the first NCAA women's singles champion to reach a women's singles final at a slam. Last year Jennifer Brady(UCLA), who is currently out with an injury, was the first former collegian to make a singles final since Kathy Jordan(Stanford) advanced to the final in Australia in 1983. Jordan did win the women's collegiate singles championship, but that was in 1979, before women's tennis was an NCAA-recognized sport. With her run to the final, regardless of the outcome, Collins will break into the WTA Top 10 for the first time.

Collins, the No. 27 seed, will face top seed and World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty in Saturday's final. Barty, as she has done all tournament, cruised in the semifinal, beating Madison Keys 6-1, 6-3. For a preview of the women's final, see this article from the WTA website.

Collins talks about how college tennis prepared her for a pro career in this article from the USTA.

Collins isn't the only former collegian playing for an Australian Open title this weekend. Former University of Florida star Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan will play in the women's doubles final, with partner Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil. The unseeded pair, who won the title at the WTA 500 in Sydney earlier this month, continued their impressive play Thursday with a  6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win over No. 2 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara(UCLA) of Japan. They'll take on top seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic in the final. 

Two Americans boys are among those advancing to the quarterfinals of Les Petits As, with unseeded Keaton Hance defeating No. 13 seed Filip Kosarko of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-0 and No. 10 seed Carel Ngounoue beating No. 6 seed Lenny Petit of France 6-0, 6-2.  

Ngounoue will face No. 2 seed Ivan Ivanov of Bulgaria Friday, after Ivanov defeated unseeded Sebastian Bielen of the United States 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-2. Hance's opponent in the quarterfinals will be unseeded wild card Yanhong Li of China.

No. 8 seed Jack Kennedy lost to unseeded Matei Todoran of Romania 6-4, 6-3. Todoran will face No. 15 seed Tito Chavez of Educador, who surprised top seed Flynn Thomas of Switzerland 6-2, 6-2. 

The unseeded team of Hance and Ford McCollum are into the boys doubles semifinals, where they will play Ngounoue and his partner Thijs Boogaard of the Netherlands, the top seeds.

Both US girls lost in singles, with Sydney Jara, the No. 16 seed, falling to top seed Alena Kovackova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-2, and unseeded wild card Capucine Jauffret losing to No. 5 seed Polina Kuharenko of Belarus 7-5, 6-4. With the loss in the quarterfinals of the doubles team of Jauffret and Julieta Pareja, the US girls are out of the event, although Pareja is still alive in the consolation draw for those losing in the first round.

Live scoring is here and live streaming is here.

I haven't been able to follow the three Pro Circuit events in the United States this week as much as I would like with two of the year's biggest junior tournaments going on this week. Another complication has been all the rain in Florida, where the men are playing a $25K in Weston and the women a $60K in Orlando.

The men's singles did manage to get back on schedule today, with the quarterfinals Friday, although doubles are still behind. The only American advancing to the quarterfinals is No. 6 seed Noah Rubin(Wake Forest), who was a late entry and had to come through qualifying. Sixteen-year-old Nishesh Basavareddy, who is just returning to the ITF Junior Circuit after being out with an injury most of last year, picked up his first ATP point with a win this morning over qualifier Sebastian Sec, a Princeton recruit. Basavareddy, who has verbally committed to Stanford, lost his second round match to top seed Eduard Esteve Lobato of Spain 7-6(5), 6-4, but he must be encouraged by playing the ATP No. 311 that close, with so little match play.

World No. 1 junior Jerry Shang of China, who had beaten No. 2 seed Michael Geerts(Arizona State) of Belgium 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 in the first round, lost to former Tennessee Volunteer Timo Stodder of Germany 6-2, 6-3 today.

In Orlando, a complete washout on Wednesday has put the tournament a full round behind, although they did finish the first round today. Wild card Elvina Kalieva defeated Alycia Parks 6-4, 6-0, while qualifier Robin Montgomery lost to No. 4 seed Xiyu Wang of China 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in a battle of US Open girls champions. Wild card Ashlyn Krueger lost to No. 8 seed Hailey Baptiste 6-3, 6-2. 

Even with today's loss by JJ Wolf, the ATP Challenger 80 in Columbus still has a local favorite as it heads into the quarterfinals Friday, with former Ohio State star Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark advancing today with a 6-1, 6-4 win over No. 8 seed Bjorn Fratangelo. Wolf was beaten by No. 3 seed Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.

Top seed Jenson Brooksby(Baylor), making his first appearance in 2022 after a positive covid test kept him from competing in Australia, will face No. 5 seed Ernesto Escobedo in the only all-US quarterfinal. Jack Sock, the No. 7 seed, was scheduled to play unseeded Dominic Stricker of Switzerland, the 2020 French Open boys champion, but Stricker advanced via a walkover. Stricker defeated No. 2 seed Tennys Sandgren(Tennessee) in the opening round.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Kuzuhara Saves Match Point, Reaches Semifinals of Australian Open Junior Championships; Six Americans Advance to Round of 16 at Les Petits As; Texas Women, Tennessee Men Remain No. 1 in Latest ITA Coaches Poll

Top seed Bruno Kuzuhara knew going into his Australian Open boys quarterfinal match with No. 7 seed Edas Butvilas that he was in for a battle. Butvilas had beaten him last week in the semifinals of the ITF J1 in Traralgon by a score of 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, giving the Lithuanian confidence coming into the match, which was played on the 1573 Arena, one of Melbourne Park's show courts. But Kuzuhara turned the tables, saving a match point in the second set to post a 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 victory.

Butvilas was serving up 4-1 in the first set before Kuzuhara managed to settle in, too late to put any pressure on Butvilas, but in time to dig into the second set. Butvilas saved four break points in his first four service games in the second set, coming up with big serves when he needed them, while Kuzuhara had much simpler holds. But the first break point Kuzuhara faced in the second set couldn't have been more consequential, coming at ad-out serving at 4-5. But he forced an error from Butvilas, held and held again at 5-6 to force the tiebreaker. 

Down a mini-break at 2-1, Kuzuhara won the next two points on Butvilas's serve, and a rattled Butvilas began to make errors, most of the unforced variety.

In the third set, Kuzuhara got the precious service break on a sloppy game by Butvilas to go up 3-1, but Butvilas's next two holds, each taking less than a minute, signaled he was not done. Serving for the match at 5-3 Kuzuhara made two unforced errors to get in a hole and he was unable to get out of it. 

Butvilas lost the first two points serving at 4-5, won the next two, but Kuzuhara earned his first match point at 30-40. Butvilas saved it with a clean backhand winner, and on match point No. 2 forced an error from Kuzuhara on an aggressive forehand approach. But Butvilas's first serve deserted him when he really needed it on match point No. 3 and Kuzuhara hit a backhand return winner on a second serve to close out the match.

Kuzuhara, who has now reached at least the semifinals of his last four junior circuit tournaments, will play No. 3 seed Adolfo Daniel Vallejo of Paraguay in a rematch of last month's Orange Bowl final. Vallejo, who won that match 6-2, 6-3, defeated No. 9 seed Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez of Mexico 7-5, 6-3. 

The other American boy in the quarterfinals, No. 13 seed Ozan Colak, fell just short of a memorable comeback in his 2-6, 7-6(0), 6-4 loss to No. 11 seed Kilian Feldbausch of Switzerland. 

After outplaying an error-prone Feldbausch in the first set, Colak kept pace in the second set as Feldbausch raised his level. With no breaks in the set, the tiebreaker figured to be just as close, but Colak couldn't find his earlier form and Feldbausch gave him nothing.  After dropping serve to open the third set, Colak was facing a tough comeback, and when he was unable to break back in the second game, when he had four chances, it looked bleak. But down 5-0, Feldbausch could not end it, nor was he able to get to match point serving for it at 5-2. With Colak serving at 3-5, Feldbausch had two match points, but Colak saved them both, and four more in the next game, with Feldbausch double faulting on two of them. Colak even had one break point, but on his seventh match point Feldbausch managed to finally end the two and a half hour struggle.

Kuzuhara is also through to the doubles semifinals, later tonight, with Coleman Wong of Hong Kong. Colak and Aidan Kim lost to Vallejo and Alex Michelsen, the other American in the doubles semifinals, 6-4, 6-3 in Wednesday's quarterfinals. 

Clervie Ngounoue, who is partnering with Diana Shnaider of Russia, is through to the girls doubles semifinals after they defeated Liv Hovde and Alexis Blokhina 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 in the quarterfinals.

Hovde is playing her singles quarterfinal against No. 6 seed Michaela Laki of Greece later tonight. I will update that result, as well as the doubles scores, here tomorrow.

Hovde joins Kuzuhara in the semifinals after defeating Laki 6-4, 6-0. After an exchange of breaks to open the match, Hovde jumped out to a 4-1 lead and served for the set at 5-2. She was broken, but was able to close it out on her second opportunity, serving at 5-4. Laki had taken a medical timeout at 4-1, and returned to play with her left thigh heavily taped, but she removed the tape at her next opportunity.  In the second set, the first four games were all close, but Hovde, who was getting great depth on her shots, won the important points, and once up 4-0, cruised to victory.

Hovde will play top seed and ITF junior No. 1 Petra Marcinko of Croatia, who beat unseeded Lola Radivojevic of Serbia 7-5, 6-2. The other girls semifinal will feature No. 8 seed Sofia Costoulas of Belgium and unseeded Australian Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz.

The other boys singles semifinal will be between Feldbausch and No. 4 seed Jakub Mensik.

An American boy will win the Australian Open doubles title, with Kuzuhara and Michelsen opposing each other in the final. Michelsen and Vallejo defeated Tanapatt Nirundorn of Thailand and Jaden Weekes of Canada 6-2, 5-7, 10-5 in the semifinals, while Kuzuhara and Wong beat Feldbausch and Gabriel Debru of France 6-4, 6-4.

Top seeds Ngounoue and Shnaider are through to the girls final after defeating Kempenaers-Pocz and Taylah Preston 7-5, 7-6(5). They will play unseeded Kayla Cross and Victoria Mboko of Canada, who defeated No. 2 seeds Marcinko and Johanne Svendsen of Denmark 7-6(6), 2-6, 10-7.

Six Americans moved into the round of 16 at Les Petits As today, with Keaton Hance, Sebastian Bielen, Jack Kennedy[8] and Carel Ngounoue[10] making up a quarter of those advancing with wins today. No. 16 seed Sydney Jara and wild card Capucine Jauffret are the Americans in the girls draw.

Kennedy came back for a 6-7(1), 6-2, 6-1 victory over qualifier Maximilian Heidlmair of Austria; Ngounoue defeated Ziga Sesko of Slovenia 6-4, 6-2; Bielen outlasted Lucas Bazin of France 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(2) and Hance beat Antonin Witz of France 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. Three of the four American boys remaining are in the bottom half; Ngououe and Bielen will face each other in the quarterfinals if they both win Thursday.

No. 16 seed Ford McCollum lost to Diego Dedura Palomero of Germany 6-0, 6-4 and Marcella Roversi was beaten by No. 10 seed Ada Kumru of Turkey 6-2, 7-5.

Jara defeated Eleejah Inisan of France 6-1, 6-0, and will play top seed Alena Kovackova of the Czech Republic Thursday. Jara has lost only two games in her first two matches. Jauffret defeated qualifier Julie Pastikova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2 and will play No. 5 seed Polina Kuharenko of Belarus in the round of 16.

Jauffrey and Julieta Pareja advanced to the quarterfinals in doubles with a 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 10-5 win over Ophelle Boullay of France and Lilli Tagger of Austria.

Live streaming is here. Live scoring is here.

The latest coaches poll is out, with the Tennessee men and Texas women maintaining their places at the top of the rankings. The big drops were the Pepperdine women, who went from 2 to 7 after a home loss to Cal, and the Texas men, who went from 5 to 9 after a loss to Arizona. The list of the Top 25 can be found by click on the heading.

Men's Division I Top 10 January 26 (previous week's ranking):

1. Tennessee (1)
2. Baylor (2)
3. Florida (T-3)
4. TCU (T-3)
5. Ohio State (6)
6. Virginia (T-7)
7. Georgia (T-7)
8. Southern California (9)
9. Texas (5)
10. Wake Forest (10)

Women's Division I Top 10 January 26 

1. Texas (1)
2. North Carolina (3)
3. Georgia (4)
T4. UCLA (5)
T4. California (9)
6. Duke (6)
7. Pepperdine (2)
8. NC State (8)
9. Virginia (7)
10. Central Florida (11)

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Colak, Kuzuhara and Hovde Reach Quarterfinals at Australian Open Junior Championships; Collins Joins Keys in Women's Semifinals; Three More Americans Advance at Les Petits As

Because all the Americans remaining in the Australian Open junior draws were first on Wednesday in Melbourne, I decided to wait for those results before I posted today. It was definitely a great day for Americans, with three of the five playing in the third round advancing to the quarterfinals.

No. 13 seed Ozan Colak eliminated the highest seed to fall so far, beating No. 2 seed Mili Poljicak of Croatia 3-6, 6-1, 7-5. Colak suffered the only break in the first set, but Poljicak, who was coming off a title at the J1 in Traralgon last week, didn't win a point on serve in his first two service games of second set, and Colak closed it out. The third set was close throughout, with Colak saving the only break point serving at 2-3 until Polijcak went down 15-40 at 5-all. He saved one break, but not the second, it was unforced errors that were the difference in that game. Colak didn't give points away, while Poljicak, who has a big serve, was not able to get himself out of trouble with it.

Colak fell behind 15-30 serving out the match, but he got two first serves in at 30-all and 40-30, and was rewarded with is first appearance in a junior slam quarterfinal.

Liv Hovde, also a No. 13 seed, also reached her first junior slam quarterfinal when No. 3 seed Ksenia Zaytseva of Russia retired trailing 6-3, 3-0. Hovde fell behind 2-0 to start the match, but found her form, while Zaytseva was ailing physically. She took a medical timeout, possibly for heat-related issues, and once Hovde held for 3-0, Zaytseva retired. Hovde will play No. 6 seed Michaela Laki of Greece, who came from 5-1 down in the third set to beat Dominika Salkova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-6(8).

Top seed Bruno Kuzuhara keeps rolling along, taking out No. 16 seed Lautaro Midon of Argentina 6-4, 6-1. Kuzuhara gets a chance for revenge in the next round when he takes on No. 7 seed Edas Butvilas of Lithuania, who beat him 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the semifinals of last week's J1 in Traralgon. 

Yannik Rahman lost to unseeded Yaroslav Demin of Russia 6-3, 6-1 and Qavia Lopez fell to No. 2 seed Diana Shnaider of Russia 6-2, 6-2. Lopez had taken out No. 14 seed Victoria Mboko of Canada 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 in Tuesday's second round.

Colak and Aidan Kim, Hovde and Alexis Blokhina, Alex Michelsen, Leanid Boika, Kuzuhara and Clervie Ngounoue are all through to the quarterfinals in doubles, which are later Wednesday.

No. 27 seed Danielle Collins is through to the semifinals of the Australian Open for the second time in her career, after defeating Alize Cornet of France 7-5, 6-1 Wednesday. The two-time NCAA singles champion at Virginia served for the first set at 5-4, failed on that attempt, but showed no frustration. At 5-6, Cornet saved two set points, but Collins got the third, and ran out to 5-0 lead in the second set before Cornet held.

Madison Keys also reached the Australian Open semifinals for the second time with a 6-3, 6-2 win Tuesday over No. 4 seed Barbora Krejickova of the Czech Republic. Keys will play top seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia, who defeated Jessica Pegula 6-2, 6-0.

The first round of singles concluded at Les Petits As Tuesday, with the three Americans who did not play Monday all getting wins. No. 8 seed Jack Kennedy defeated Jakub Smejcky of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-1, Keaton Hance beat qualifier Liam Channon of Great Britain 6-4, 6-2 and wild card Capucine Jauffret defeated wild card Rose Sueur of France 6-3, 6-0. Those three join Sydney Jara[16], Marcella Roversi, Carel Ngounoue, Ford McCollum and Sebastian Bielen, all of whom won Monday, in the second round.

The boys doubles are already at the quarterfinal stage, with Ngounoue, who is seeded No. 1 with partner Thijs Boogaard of the Netherlands, advancing, along with the unseeded team of Hance and McCollum. There are no boys doubles on Wednesday, with the second round of girls doubles on the schedule. The unseeded Julieta Pareja and Jauffret will play for a spot in the quarterfinals tomorrow.

Live streaming is here; live scoring is here.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Hovde, Colak and Rahman Advance to Third Round at Australian Open Junior Championships; Collins Through to Quarterfinals in Melbourne; Americans Earn Five Wins as Les Petits As Gets Underway

Three Americans have reached the round of 16 at the Australian Open Junior Championships, posting victories on the third day of the tournament.

No. 13 seed Liv Hovde had the easiest time of it, needing just 41 minutes to defeat Georgia Pedone of Italy 6-0, 6-1. No. 12 seed Ozan Colak took just over an hour to defeat Luis Alvarez Valdes of Mexico 6-4, 6-0, while Yannik Rahman earned an upset, taking out a lethargic looking Olaf Pieczkowski of Poland, the No. 8 seed, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. Rahman, a 17-year-old left-hander from Florida, is competing in his first junior slam. 

The heat was intense Monday in Melbourne, so minimizing the amount of time playing tennis in it should be helpful going forward.

Aidan Kim and Clervie Ngounoue were eliminated in their second round matches, although both are still alive in doubles. 

All junior matches are being streamed on ESPN Plus.

Monday's second round junior matches featuring Americans:

Liv Hovde[13] v Georgia Pedone(ITA) 6-0, 6-1
Ekaterina Khayrutdinova(RUS) d. Clervie Ngounoue[5] 6-4, 6-2

Yannik Rahman d. Olaf Pieczkowski[8](POL) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
Jakub Mensik[4](CZE) d. Aidan Kim 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Ozan Colak[12] d. Luis Alvarez Valdes(MEX) 6-4, 6-0

Tuesday's second round junior matches featuring Americans:

Qavia Lopez d. Victoria Mboko[14](CAN) 6-1, 5-7, 6-4
Bruno Kuzuhara[1] v Edward Winter[WC](AUS) 7-5, 6-1

Both US men who reached the fourth round of the Australian Open lost Monday, but Danielle Collins again fought back to advance to the quarterfinals, beating Elise Mertens of Belgium 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 51 minutes. With this run, Collins should reach a new career-high in the rankings, with her previous high of 23 coming back in 2019, when she reached the semifinals of the Australian Open.

Monday's fourth round results of Americans:

Danielle Collins[27] d. Elise Mertens[19](BEL) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
Stefano Tsitsipas[4](GRE) d. Taylor Fritz[20] 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 
Daniil Medvedev[2](RUS) d. Maxime Cressy 6-2, 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 7-5

Tuesday's quarterfinals featuring Americans:

Madison Keys v Barbora Krejcikova[4](CZE) 6-3, 6-2
Ashleigh Barty[1](AUS) d. Jessica Pegula[21] 6-2, 6-0

The top seeds won their first round matches today at Les Petits As, as did five of the six Americans in action.  Girls No. 1 seed Alena Kovackova of the Czech Republic defeated wild card Victoire Lansaman of France 6-2, 6-0 and boys top seed Flynn Thomas had an equally straightforward win, beating Gabriel Jacquemin of France 6-0, 6-2.

Sebastian Bielen of the United States defeated No. 14 seed Marat Salbiev of Russia 6-3, 6-0, with Sabiev one of two seeds eliminated Monday. No. 11 seed Andreas Messis of Greece lost to Matei Todoran of Romania 5-7, 7-6(6), 3-0, ret.
Two seeded Americans advanced: No. 10 Carel Ngounoue defeated Arthur Lenglet of France 6-3, 7-5 and No. 16 Ford McCollum beat French wild card Charles De Saint Laumer 6-1, 6-2. Jack Kennedy[8] and Keaton Hance will play their first round matches on Tuesday. 

The only seeded US girl, No. 16 Sydney Jara, cruised past Georgiana Mititelu of Great Britain 6-1, 6-0, while Marcella Roversi advanced with a 7-6(6), 6-1 victory over Thi Lien Mouret of France. Julieta Pareja lost to unseeded Hannah Klugman of Great Britain, a semifinalist last year, 6-2, 6-0.  Capucine Jauffret will play her first round match on Tuesday. 

The only seeded girl to fall Monday was No. 8 Scarlette Hetherington of France, who was beaten by Ekaterina Khodzhaeva of Russia 6-1, 6-0.

Live streaming of three courts is available at the tournament website, as is live scoring via Tennis Ticker.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Kuzuhara, Lopez Advance at Australian Open Junior Championships; Keys and Pegula Reach Quarterfinals in Melbourne; Nine Americans Begin Competition at Les Petits As in Tarbes

Two more Americans advanced to the second round of the Australian Open Junior Championships with victories Sunday, joining the five who had picked up opening round wins on Saturday.

Top seed Bruno Kuzuhara defeated Daniele Minighini of Italy 6-2, 6-2, and Qavia Lopez earned her first win at a junior slam beating Lucie Havlickova of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. The 16-year-old Lopez is playing in her first junior slam main draw, after losing in the qualifying at the US Open last summer. The ITF spoke with Kuzuhara and girls top seed Petra Marcinko of Croatia, who beat American Alexis Blokhina 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 Sunday, for this article.

In doubles action Sunday, unseeded Ozan Colak and Aidan Kim defeated No. 4 seeds Kalin Ivanovski of Macedonia and Konstantin Zhzhenov of Russia 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the second round. The remainder of the first round of doubles will be played Monday.

Sunday's first round junior matches featuring Americans:

Petra Marcinko[1](CRO) d. Alexis Blokhina 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
Qavia Lopez d. Lucie Havlickova(CZE) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1

Bruno Kuzuhara[1] v Daniele Minghini(ITA) 6-2, 6-2
Woobin Shin(KOR) d. Rohan Murali[Q] 6-0, 6-2 
Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez[9](MEX) d. Leanid Boika 6-4, 6-1

Monday's second round junior matches featuring Americans:
Liv Hovde[13] d. Georgia Pedone(ITA) 6-0, 6-1
Ekaterina Khayrutdinova(RUS) d. Clervie Ngounoue[5] 6-4, 6-2

Yannik Rahman d. Olaf Pieczkowski[8](POL) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
Jakub Mensik[4](CZE) d. Aidan Kim 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 
Ozan Colak[12] d. Luis Alvarez Valdes(MEX) 6-4, 6-0

Both Jessica Pegula and Madison Keys advanced to the women's quarterfinals at the Australian Open with wins Sunday over higher ranked opponents. Amanda Anisimova was beaten by top seed Ashleigh Barty.

Sunday's round 4 results for Americans:
Ashleigh Barty[1](AUS) d. Amanda Anisimova 6-4, 6-3
Jessica Pegula[21] d. Maria Sakkari[5](GRE) 7-6(0), 6-3
Madison Keys d. Paula Badosa[8](ESP) 6-3, 6-1

Monday's round 4 matches featuring Americans:
Danielle Collins[27] d. Elise Mertens[19](BEL) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
Stefano Tsitsipas[4](GRE) d. Taylor Fritz[20] 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 
Daniil Medvedev[2](RUS) d. Maxime Cressy 6-2, 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 7-5 

The 40th edition of the Les Petits As 14U tournament begins Monday in Tarbes France, with five US boys and four US girls in the singles draws. 

Junior Orange Bowl 14s finalist Shannon Lam, who won the USA Qualifying Playoffs this fall, is not participating, but the other three semifinalists are in the draw: Sydney Jara, seeded No. 16, Marcella Roversi and Julieta Pareja. Capucine Jauffret, who lost to Jara in the quarterfinals of the playoffs, was given a wild card.

The top girls seed is Alena Kovackova of the Czech Republic, which has three of top four girls seeds. Hannah Klugman of Great Britain, who reached the quarterfinals of the Junior Orange Bowl 14s last month, is in the draw, but not seeded. She reached the semifinals of the 2021 Les Petits As last September, after the tournament was postponed from early in the yearl.

All four semifinalists from the boys playoffs are in the draw: winner Jack Kennedy, seeded No. 8, finalist Ford McCollum, seeded No. 16, Keaton Hance and Sebastian Bielen. Carel Ngounoue, who did not compete in the Playoffs, is the fifth US boy in the draw, seeded No. 10.  

The top seed in the boys draw is Flynn Thomas of Switzerland. Junior Orange Bowl B12s champion Svit Suljic of Slovenia received a wild card.

If you prefer the printable ITF-style draws and order of play, they can be found at the Tennis Europe tournament page.

I covered the ITF Junior Circuit results from Traralgon, the J1 in Colombia, the J4 in Costa Rica and the J5 in New Jersey, but I neglected to note another doubles title for Anya Murthy at the J2 in India. Murthy, who won a J3 doubles title earlier this month, partnered with Russian Vlada Mincheva for a title this week in Kolkata. The No. 4 seeds beat No. 3 seeds Victoria Milovanova and Daria Shadchneva of Russia 1-6, 6-4, 10-6 in the final.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Zheng Wins J1 Title in Colombia; Filin Sweeps Singles and Doubles at J4 in Costa Rica; Five US Juniors Advance to Round 2 at Australian Open; Collins, Fritz and Cressy Reach Round of 16 in Melbourne

The singles finals of the ITF J1 in Barranquilla Colombia were played today, with Michael Zheng taking the boys title and Olivia Lincer falling in the girls championship match.

In last night's semifinals, Zheng avenged his semifinal loss to Cooper Williams at last week's  J1 in Costa Rica, with the No. 5 seed defeating the top seed 6-3, 6-3. In today's final, Zheng beat No. 8 seed Jan Hrazdil of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-1 to earn his first ITF Junior Circuit singles title. Last week's doubles title with Williams in Costa Rica was the 17-year-old Columbia recruit's first title on the circuit. 

Lincer, the No. 9 seed, defeated Madeleine Jessup of Taiwan 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in Friday night's semifinal, but she lost to No. 11 seed Sayaka Ishii of Japan in today's final 6-3, 6-2. 

In the doubles finals Friday, the unseeded Slovakian team of Renata Jamrichova and Nina Vargova defeated No. 2 seeds Krystal Blanch and Ava Krug 7-5, 6-2 and No. 2 seeds Peter Nad of Slovakia and Martin Vergara del Puerto of Paraguay beat the unseeded pairing of John Kim and Canada's Duncan Chan 6-4, 5-7, 10-8. 

Nikita Filin swept the titles at this week's J4 in Costa Rica, as did Puerto Rico's Natalia Perez.  Filin, the No. 2 seed, defeated top seed Jackson Armistead 7-6(4), 6-7(5) 6-1 in the all-US singles final. The 15-year-old from Illinois had won the doubles title Friday with partner Roy Horovitz, with the top seeds defeating unseeded Tygen Goldammer and Kase Schinnerer 6-3, 6-1 in another all-US final.

The 15-year-old Perez, seeded No. 3, beat unseeded Claire An 6-4, 6-2 in the girls singles final. She and Brooklyn Olson won the doubles title Friday, with the No. 3 seeds defeating unseeded An and Kayla Schefke 6-4, 7-6(2). 

It's the second J4 singles title for both Filin and Perez.

Five of the six Americans in action Saturday advanced to the second round of the Australian Open Junior Championships, and the remaining five in the draw are on Sunday's schedule. Rahman, who was playing in Costa Rica last week, was particularly impressive in rebounding for his first junior slam win after making that long trip.

Saturday's first round junior matches featuring Americans:

Yannick Rahman d. Louis Bowden[Q](GBR) 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
Aidan Kim d. Gerard Campana Lee(KOR) 6-3, 6-2
Kilian Feldbausch[11](SUI) d. Quang Duong[Q] 6-0, 6-3
Ozan Colak[13] d. Dinko Dinev(BUL) 6-0, 6-1

Liv Hovde[13] v Talia Gibson[WC](AUS) 6-3, 7-6(8)
Clervie Ngounoue[5] d. Nahia Berecoechea(FRA) 6-3, 6-4

Sunday's first round junior matches featuring Americans:

Petra Marcinko[1](CRO) d. Alexis Blokhina 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 
Qavia Lopez d. Lucie Havlickova(CZE) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1

Bruno Kuzuhara[1] v Daniele Minghini(ITA) 6-2, 6-2
Woobin Shin(KOR) d. Rohan Murali[Q] 6-0, 6-2
Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez[9](MEX) d. Leanid Boika 6-4, 6-1

The doubles draws were released Saturday, with Sunday's schedule featuring eight girls and eight boys doubles matches. The top seeds in the boys draw are the Traralgon J1 champions Mili Poljicak of Croatia and Edas Butvilas of Lithuania. Bruno Kuzuhara and Hong Kong's Coleman Wong are the No. 2 seeds.

Alex Michelsen and Kurt Miller, who lost in the final round of singles qualifying, both were accepted into the doubles draw, easing the disappointment of not reaching the main draw in singles.

The top seeds in the girls draw are Diana Shnaider of Russia and Clervie Ngounoue. The No. 2 seeds are Croatia's Petra Marcinko and Johanne Svendsen of Denmark. Shnaider and Marcinko won the Orange Bowl doubles title last month.

Three more Americans advanced to the Australian Open round of 16 with wins Saturday, two of them former NCAA champions. Danielle Collins(Virginia), who won the singles title in both 2014 and 2016, earned a come-from-behind victory over Danish teenager Clara Tauson, while Maxime Cressy(UCLA), who won the doubles title in 2019, made the fourth round of a major for the first time with a four-set win over Australian wild card Christopher O'Connell.  Taylor Fritz also reached the fourth round of a major for the first time with a five-set win over Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain.

Saturday's third round results of Americans: 

Danielle Collins[27] d. Clara Tauson(DEN) 4-6, 6-4, 7-5
Taylor Fritz[20] d. Roberto Bautista Agut[15](ESP) 6-0. 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
Maxime Cressy d. Christopher O'Connell[WC](AUS) 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-2

Sunday's fourth round matches featuring Americans:

Ashleigh Barty[1](AUS) d. Amanda Anisimova 6-4, 6-3 
Jessica Pegula[21] d. Maria Sakkari[5](GRE) 7-6(0), 6-3
Madison Keys d. Paula Badosa[8](ESP) 6-3, 6-1