Zootennis

Sponsored by IMG Academy

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Anisimova, Tiafoe and Fritz Advance to Australian Open Third Round; Damm Ousts No. 2 Seed in Costa Rica; Three Americans Advance in AO Junior Qualifying; Hui, Kang Reach Bolton Semifinals

Wednesday was a big day for young Americans at the Australian Open, with Amanda Anisimova, Frances Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz all advancing to the third round with wins over seeds.  Ranking the wins is tough, but the 20-year-old Tiafoe probably had the best one, overcoming two-time grand slam finalist and No. 5 seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa  4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.

Tiafoe has made the third round of a slam before, at last year's Wimbledon but it is the first time there for Fritz, 21, and Anisimova, 17. Fritz played brilliantly in his 6-3, 6-7(8), 7-6(6), 7-6(5) win over No. 30 seed Gael Monfils of France, as did Anisimova in her 54-minute shellacking of No. 24 seed Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine.

For more on Tiafoe's win as a part of an American men's tennis resurgence, see this article from the Australian Open website, where he mentions the 12s Junior Orange Bowl. This article from the AO website reports on the match.

Highlights of Anisimova's win over Tsurenko can be viewed here.

Two-time NCAA champion Danielle Collins, who had gone 0-5 in slam first round matches before this tournament, advanced to the third round with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Sachia Vickery.

Wednesday’s round 2 featuring Americans:

Women: 3-1
Sloane Stephens[5] d. Timea Babos[HUN] 6-3, 6-1
Amanda Anisimova  d. Lesia Tsurenko[24](UKR) 6-0, 6-2
Danielle Collins d. Sachia Vickery 6-3, 7-5

Men: 2-3
Marin Cilic[6](CRO) d. Mackenzie McDonald 7-5, 6-7(9), 6-4, 6-4
Taylor Fritz d. Gael Monfils[30(FRA) 6-3, 6-7(8), 7-6(6), 7-6(5)
Frances Tiafoe d. Kevin Anderson[5](RSA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5
Thomas Fabbiano(ITA) d. Reilly Opelka 6-7(15), 6-2, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(10-5)
Diego Schwartzman[18](ARG) d. Denis Kudla 6-4, 7-5, 3-6, 6-7(6), 6-4

Thursday’s round 2 featuring Americans:

Sonya Kenin v Simona Halep[1](ROU)
Eugenie Bouchard(CAN) v Serena Williams[16]
Alize Cornet(FRA) v Venus Williams
Madison Brengle v Karolina Pliskova[7](CZE)
Anastasia Potapova(RUS) v Madison Keys[17]
Ryan Harrison v Daniil Medvedev[15](RUS)

The second round is complete at the Grade 1 Coffee Bowl in Costa Rica, with reigning Kalamazoo 16s champion Martin Damm ending Tuesday's long day with a 6-2, 7-5 win over No. 2 seed Pierre Malan of South Africa. With the bottom quarter now all Americans--Spencer Brachman, Alex Lee, Alex Bernard and Damm--an American boys semifinalist is assured.

The same is true of the girls draw, with the third quarter all Americans: Abigail Forbes, Hina Inoue, Jenna DeFalco and Charlotte Chavatipon. Chavatipon advanced to the round of 16 with a 6-4, 6-2 win over No. 3 seed Anna Geller of Argentina. 

The first Grade 1 of the year has concluded in Traralgon Australia, with No. 11 seed Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic defeating unseeded Zane Khan 6-3, 6-2 in the boys final.  Top seed Clara Tauson of Denmark won the girls title, beating No. 4 seed Leylah Fernandez of Canada 6-2, 6-3. Unseeded Olivia Gadeck and Megan Smith of Australia won the girls doubles, beating No. 3 seeds Natsumi Kawaguchi of Japan and Adrienn Nagy of Hungary 7-5, 3-6, 10-6 in the final. The boys doubles champions are top seeds Rinky Hijikata of Australian and Otto Virtanen of Finland, who beat the unseeded team of Lehecka and Wojciech Marek of Poland 6-0, 6-3 in the final.

The first round of Australian Open Junior qualifying, also held in Traralgon, is complete, with Americans Skyler Grishuk, Sasha Wood and Blaise Bicknell advancing to Thursday's final round. Live scoring is available via Tennis Ticker.

At the Tennis Europe Category 1 in Bolton England, unseeded Kyle Kang and Katherine Hui have advanced to the semifinals with wins today.  Kang defeated No. 3 seed Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez of Mexico 7-5, 6-1 and will play top seed Alexander Blockx of Belgium in the semifinals. Hui defeated No. 7 seed Stella Remander of Finland 6-1, 7-6 and will face No. 5 seed Cadence Brace of Canada, who beat top seed Victoria Jimenex Kasintseva of Andorra 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.  No. 8 seed Clervie Ngounoue lost in the third round Tuesday. Live scoring is available via Tennis Ticker.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Khan Reaches Grade 1 Final in Tralragon; Five US Players in AO Junior Qualifying; Top Seed Noel Out in Costa Rica Grade 1 First Round; Americans Close Out Australian Open Round 1 Tuesday with Six Wins

Orange Bowl finalist Zane Khan has advanced to the final of the ITF Grade 1 in Traralgon Australia, beating No. 15 seed Liam Draxl of Canada 7-6(1), 6-7(6), 6-2 in Tuesday's semifinals.  After nearly three hours of play Draxl earned the split and at that time play was suspended, no doubt to conform to the ITF's heat rule. Cannon Kingsley, the No. 9 seed, had already dropped his semifinal to No. 11 seed Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 when play was suspended.

The girls semifinals were also finished before the heat rule took effect, with top seed Clara Tauson of Denmark defeating No. 9 seed Emma Raducanu of Great Britain 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 and No. 4 seed Leylah Fernandez of Canada beating unseeded Yasmine Mansouri of France 6-3, 6-1.

In order to avoid the heat, and also with the Australian Open Junior Championships qualifying beginning Wednesday, the finals of the Grade 1 are scheduled for late afternoon in Traralgon. Live scoring is available here.

For some reason, the qualifying draws for the Australian Open Junior Championships have not been posted on the ITF Junior site, but the pairings are showing on the Tennis Ticker live scoring and PDFs of the draws can be found here: boys, girls. Five Americans are in the qualifying: Adam Neff, Blaise Bicknell[12], Dakota Fordham, Sasha Wood[13] and Skyler Grishuk. Grishuk, who won a Grade 3 in Japan last week, is the top seed in qualifying.

Alexa Noel elected not to go to Australia this year (she went last year), opting instead for the Grade 1 in Costa Rica, but she lost in the first round yesterday, to 15-year-old Melodie Collard of Canada, 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-2. For more on this and other upsets in the girls draw Monday, see this article from the tournament website. There are seven US vs US second round girls matches today, with the most interesting that of friends and training partners Madison Sieg and Elaine Chervinsky, who meet again for the third time in two months. Chervinsky won the 16s Eddie Herr final and the following week Sieg beat Chervinsky in the 16s Orange Bowl quarterfinals.

Top seed Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan (the 2017 Junior Orange Bowl champion) and No. 2 seed Pierre Malan of South Africa advanced in the boys draw with straight-sets wins.

The second round of the Australian Open begins Wednesday with American men going 6-10 and American women going 9-6 in the first round.

Nine Americans are in action in Wednesday's second round, including the all-US women's match between Danielle Collins and Sachia Vickery.

Tuesday’s round 1 matches featuring Americans:

Men: 1-5
Ryan Harrison d. Jiri Vesely(CZE) 6-0, 7-5, 6-3
Alex Bolt[WC](AUS) d. Jack Sock[WC] 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
Hyeon Chung[24](KOR) d. Bradley Klahn 6-7(5), 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
Pierre-Hugues Herbert(FRA) d. Sam Querrey 5-7, 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-1
Novak Djokovic[1](SRB) d. Mitchell Krueger[Q] 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
Gilles Simon[29](FRA) d. Bjorn Fratangelo[Q] 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-2

Women: 5-2
Sonya Kenin d. Veronika Kudermetova[Q](RUS) 6-3, 3-6, 7-5
Venus Williams d. Mihaela Buzarnescu[25](ROU) 6-7(3), 7-6(3), 6-2
Serena Williams[16] d. Tatjana Maria(GER) 6-0, 6-2
Natalia Vikhlyantseva[Q](RUS) d. Varvara Lepchenko[Q] 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-4
Madison Brengle d. Misaki Doi[Q](JPN) 6-4, 6-0
Bianca Andreescu[Q](CAN) d. Whitney Osuigwe[WC] 7-6(1), 6-7(0), 6-3
Madison Keys[17] d. Destanee Aiava[WC](AUS) 6-2, 6-2

Wednesday's second round matches featuring Americans:

Sloane Stephens[5] v Timea Babos[HUN]
Lesia Tsurenko[24](UKR) v Amanda Anisimova
Danielle Collins v Sachia Vickery

Marin Cilic[6](CRO) v Mackenzie McDonald
Gael Monfils[30(FRA) v Taylor Fritz
Kevin Anderson[5](RSA) v Frances Tiafoe
Thomas Fabbiano(ITA) v Reilly Opelka
Denis Kudla v Diego Schwartzman[18](ARG)

Monday, January 14, 2019

Nanda Wins M25 in Tucson; Baird to UCLA; Australian Open First Round Concludes with 13 Americans in Action; Khan, Kingsley Reach Grade 1 Traralgon Semis; 55 Americans in Costa Rica Grade 1 Draws

Seventeen-year-old Govind Nanda won his first ITF men's event Sunday evening, beating No. 3 seed Martin Redlicki 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-0 at the M25 in Tucson Arizona. Nanda was trailing 6-4, 4-4 when the match was interrupted briefly by rain. The UCLA freshman won the subsequent tiebreaker on a roll and kept it going, needing only 23 minutes to blank  former UCLA Bruin Redlicki in the third set. Surprisingly, Nanda, who is 5'9", out-aced the 6'5" Redlicki 9 to 4.  Nanda, a wild card, had reached the quarterfinals of the M25 in Los Angeles in the first week of the season. My article for Tennis Recruiting back in September on Nanda's decision to join UCLA this month is available here.

In other Bruin blue chip news, Drew Baird has signed with UCLA for the 2019 season.  Baird, one of the last unsigned top seniors, was also seriously considering Texas A&M. See the UCLA website for coach Billy Martin's comments.

The first day of the Australian Open saw Americans go 9-9. Reilly Opelka took down the highest seed, No. 9 John Isner, while Danielle Collins posted an impressive win over No. 14 seed Julia Goerges of Germany.  Below are the American results from Monday and the Tuesday matches that will complete the first round. I'm particularly interested in the match between two teenagers who had outstanding junior careers: 18-year-old Bianca Andreescu and 16-year-old Whitney Osuigwe. For more on Osuigwe's climb into the WTA Top 200, see this article from the WTA website.

Monday’s round 1 results for Americans:

Men: 5-5
Mackenzie McDonald d. Andrey Rublev(RUS) 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
Radu Albot(MDA) d. Michael Mmoh 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
Yoshihito Nishioka(JPN) d. Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4
Nikoloz Basilashvili[19](GEO) d. Chris Eubanks[Q] 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3
Taylor Fritz d. Cameron Norrie[GBR] 6-3, 7-6(6), 6-2
Frances Tiafoe d. Prajnesh Gunneswaran[Q](IND) 7-6(7), 6-3, 6-3
Andreas Seppi(ITA) d. Steve Johnson[31] 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
Reilly Opelka d. John Isner[9] 7-6(4), 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 7-6(5)
Denis Kudla d. Marc Polmans[WC](AUS) 5-7, 1-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2

Women: 4-4
Amanda Anisimova d. Monica Niculescu(ROU) 7-6(3), 6-4
Sloane Stephens[5]
d. Taylor Townsend 6-4, 6-2
Kiki Bertens[9](NED) d. Alison Riske 6-3, 6-3
Danielle Collins d. Julia Goerges[14](GER) 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4
Sachia Vickery d. Ysaline Bonaventure[Q](BEL) 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
Zoe Hives[WC](AUS) d. Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-1, 6-2
Beatriz Haddad Maia[Q](BRA) d. Bernarda Pera 6-3, 5-7, 6-4

Tuesday’s round 1:
Men:
Jiri Vesely(CZE) v Ryan Harrison
Alex Bolt[WC](AUS) v Jack Sock[WC]
Hyeon Chung[24](KOR) v Bradley Klahn
Sam Querrey v Pierre-Hugues Herbert(FRA)
Novak Djokovic[1](SRB) v Mitchell Krueger[Q]
Bjorn Fratangelo[Q] v Gilles Simon[29](FRA)

Women:
Sonya Kenin v Veronika Kudermetova[Q](RUS)
Venus Williams v Mihaela Buzarnescu[25](ROU)
Tatjana Maria(GER) v Serena Williams[16]
Natalia Vikhlyantseva[Q](RUS) v Varvara Lepchenko[Q]
Madison Brengle v Misaki Doi[Q](JPN)
Bianca Andreescu[Q](CAN) v Whitney Osuigwe[WC]
Destanee Aiava[WC](AUS) v Madison Keys[17]

Unseeded Zane Khan and No. 9 seed Cannon Kingsley have advanced to the semifinals of the ITF Grade 1 in Traralgon, the warm-up tournament to the Australian Open Junior Championships. Khan defeated No. 16 seed Eliot Spizzirri 7-6(2), 6-4 in Monday's all-US quarterfinal, while Kingsley beat No. 14 seed Harold Mayot of France 5-7, 6-1, 6-1. Khan will face doubles partner Liam Draxl of Canada, the No. 15 seed, in the semifinals, with Kingsley taking on No. 11 seed Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic.  Khan and Draxl have advanced to the doubles semifinals, as has Toby Kodat and his partner Gustaf Strom of Sweden.  Live scoring can be found at Tennis Ticker.

As is always the case, the Costa Rica Grade 1 is saturated with Americans, with 24 US boys and 31 US girls in the 64-player draws.  That means only one girls first round match will not feature an American, with the ITF's policy of separating players from the same country in the first round.

The US girls who are seeded: Alexa Noel[1], Gabby Price[2], Savannah Broadus[4], Hina Inoue[12], Kailey Evans[13], Charlotte Owensby[14] and Nikki Redelijk[16].

The US boys who are seeded: Ronan Jachuck[5], Will Grant[7], Andres Martin[9], Alex Lee[10], Andrew Dale[14] and Dali Blanch[15]. 

The tournament website is posting results to the draws throughout the day.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Wolf Claims Columbus Challenger Title; 18 Americans Kick Off Australian Open Monday; Grishuk Wins Grade 3 in Japan; Four US Boys Reach Traralgon Grade 1 Quarterfinals; Ngounoue Only US Seed at Bolton U14 Event

JJ Wolf, photo courtesy Scott Gerber, OhioTennisZone.com
JJ Wolf got the better of former Ohio State teammate Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark Sunday afternoon, with the Buckeye junior coming back for a 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3 victory in the final of the ATP 80 Challenger in Columbus.

Wolf, who like Torpegaard received a wild card into the main draw, didn't serve well in the opening set, a contrast from his previous matches, where that had been a strength. Torpegaard, who graduated last year, served for the first set at 5-3, but wasn't able to close it out until the tiebreaker.

Wolf got the only two breaks in the last two sets, going up 3-1 in the second and never facing a break point after that. His serving did improve--he had 2 aces and 4 double faults at one stage, before ending with 7 and 5--but it was his forehand that was the difference today. Even when well behind the baseline, or on the run, Wolf was able to hit clean winners from that side and he never hesitated to go for it, no matter what the game score was.

In the third set, Wolf got his break to go up 4-2. He had to save a break point at 4-3, and wasn't able to convert the three match points he held when Torpegaard served at 3-5, but he closed out his first Challenger title on his fourth match point, winning the final four points of the game.

The 20-year-old from Ohio will now move into the ATP Top 300 for the first time, while Torpegaard will also move into the Top 300 with his appearance in the final.

The main draw of the Australian Open starts tonight in the US (Monday in Melbourne) with 18 Americans on the schedule. Unlike the qualifying draws, which were quite favorable to Americans and featured no first rounds that were US vs US, that's not the case in the main draw. Reilly Opelka and John Isner will meet in the men's first round, as will Sloane Stephens and Taylor Townsend.

Monday's first round matches featuring Americans:
Men:
Andrey Rublev(RUS) v Mackenzie McDonald
Michael Mmoh v Radu Albot(MDA)
Yoshihito Nishioka(JPN) v Tennys Sandgren
Cameron Norrie(GBR) v Taylor Fritz
Frances Tiafoe v Prajnesh Gunneswaran[Q](IND)
Andreas Seppi(ITA) v Steve Johnson[31]
Reilly Opelka v John Isner[9]
Marc Polmans[WC](AUS) v Denis Kudla
Chris Eubanks[Q] v Nikoloz Basilashvili[19](GEO)

Women:
Monica Niculescu(ROU) v Amanda Anisimova
Sloane Stephens[5] v Taylor Townsend
Alison Riske v Kiki Bertens[9](NED)
Julia Goerges[14](GER) v Danielle Collins
Ysaline Bonaventure[Q](BEL) v Sachia Vickery
Bethanie Mattek-Sands v Zoe Hives[WC](AUS)
Beatriz Haddad Maia[Q](BRA) v Bernarda Pera

In ITF Junior Circuit play, Skyler Grishuk won the Grade 3 tournament this week in Japan, which I was surprised to learn, was outdoors. The 16-year-old Grishuk, the No. 1 seed, defeated No. 2 seed Remika Ohashi of Japan 6-3, 6-2 in the final, after beating unseeded Rebecca Lynn 6-3, 7-5 in the semifinals. Grishuk, who is entered in qualifying at the Australian Open Junior Championships, has now won four ITF Junior titles, a Grade 4, two Grade 3s and a Grade 2. Lynn is listed as the 30th alternate for the Australian Open Junior qualifying.

At the Grade 1 in Traralgon, two surprises in the boys draw.  Liam Draxl of Canada, who has signed with Kentucky for this fall, beat top seed and US Open finalist Lorenzo Musetti of Italy 6-3, 6-0 in the third round, and No. 16 seed Eliot Spizzirri took out No. 3 seed and Orange Bowl champion Otto Virtanen of Finland 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. Spizzirri will face unseeded Zane Khan next, while No. 9 seed Cannon Kingsley has also reached the quarterfinals.

The first round of the Tennis Europe Category 1 event in Bolton is complete, with six Americans making the trip to England for the tournament. Only one of them is seeded, Junior Orange Bowl 12s champion and Eddie Herr 14s finalist Clervie Ngounoue, who is No. 8, and, like all seeds in the 64-player draw, received a bye.  The only other US girl in the field is Katherine Hui, who won her first round match today.  The four US boys who qualified for Les Petits As in the tournament's US event last October all are in Bolton, with Joseph Phillips, Kyle Kang and Learner Tien posting wins today. Cooper Williams lost his first round match.  The USTA did not send coaches to Europe for these two events this year.

The top boys seeds are Alexander Blockx of Belgium and Luca Pow of Great Britain.  The top girls seeds are Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra and Junior Orange Bowl 14s finalist Victoria Mboko of Canada.

Live scoring is available at Tennis Ticker.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Sandgren and Kenin Win First Titles; All-Ohio State Final at Columbus Challenger; All-UCLA Final at Tucson M25; Qualifying Underway at ITF Grade 1 in Costa Rica

It's exceptionally rare for Americans to win ATP and WTA titles on the same day, and particularly when it's the first titles for both.  Shortly after Tennys Sandgren defeated Cameron Norrie for his first title at the ATP 250 title in Auckland, Sonya Kenin defeated Anna Karolina Schmiedlova for her first title at the WTA International in Hobart.

The 27-year-old Sandgren, who spent two years at Tennessee and reached the NCAA singles semifinals in 2011, beat the 23-year-old former TCU star 6-4, 6-2, his fifth consecutive straight-sets victory. Sandgren didn't expect his first title to come quite as decisively, as he told the ATP in this article on the Auckland final.

"That’s weird. Tennis doesn’t normally work that way. Normally you have to come back from the brink of defeat to win a title," Sandgren said of not dropping a set. "To feel that I played well from start to finish is definitely strange. But I feel like I’ve been serving good and I’ve been moving well all week and it seems like all the risks that I’ve been taking on the court as far as when to be aggressive, when to pull back, it’s all worked out for me."

Sandgren will move up to a career-high of 41 in the ATP rankings Monday, but he does have quarterfinalist points to defend at the Australian Open.

Kenin, who turned 20 in November, equalled Sandgren's impressive run. After winning the last point from the 24-year-old from Slovakia in the 6-3, 6-0 blowout, the 2015 USTA Girls 18s champion didn't indulge in any celebration, but just fist-pumped and smiled as she approached the net for the handshake. Kenin did not lose a set all week, and is now up to a career-high of 37 in the WTA rankings. Kenin now heads to the Australian Open, where she lost in the first round last year, full of confidence.

"I feel in great form and I’m really proud of myself," Kenin told the WTA. "I’m so happy with my start and will try to keep the momentum going."

After the all-collegiate tennis final in Auckland, there will be two more in the United States on Sunday, and they both will feature players from the same Division I lineage. At the ATP 80 Challenger in Columbus Ohio, wild cards JJ Wolf and former teammate Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark will face off in the final after both claimed straight-sets victories today.

Torpegaard, who graduated last year, defeated No. 12 seed Bernabe Zapata Miralles of Spain 6-3, 7-5 to reach his second Challenger final, with the first one resulting in a title back in 2016, also in Columbus. Torpegaard defeated Sandgren in the semifinals that week.

Wolf, a junior at Ohio State, has been on fire all week on his home courts. The 20-year-old from Ohio, a finalist in the 18s Nationals at Kalamazoo in 2017, defeated unseeded Scott Griekspoor of the Netherlands 6-1, 6-3, hitting 14 aces in the process. Wolf has lost seven games in his last three matches.

In the doubles final played today, UCLA senior Maxime Cressy, who recently began playing under the United States flag (his mother is American, father is French) won his first Challenger title. Cressy and Bernardo Saraiva(San Francisco) of Portugal, who were unseeded, defeated No. 2 seeds Nathaniel Lammons(SMU) and Robert Galloway(Wofford) 7-5, 7-6(3) in the final. Cressy, who has already won 10 doubles titles on the ITF World Tennis Tour, picks up his first on the Challenger level; Saraiva, who has 13 ITF WTT doubles titles, also earned his first at the Challenger level.

Seventeen-year-old Govind Nanda aims for his first ITF World Tennis Tour title tomorrow, with the UCLA freshman taking on former Bruin Martin Redlicki in the Tucson M25 final. Nanda, a wild card, defeated unseeded Michail Pervolarakis(Portland) of Greece 6-3, 7-5 in today's semifinals, coming from 4-1 down in the second set to claim his third consecutive straight-sets victory this week. No. 3 seed Redlicki, the two-time NCAA doubles champion, defeated No. 2 seed Lloyd Glasspool(Texas) of Great Britain 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-2 to reach his third WTT final, but the first at the $25,000 level.

In the Tucson doubles final, Florida State senior Aziz Dougaz of Tunisia won his tenth ITF doubles title, paired with Manuel Guinard of France. The unseeded team beat Glasspool and his partner Evan Hoyt of Great Britain, who were also unseeded, 6-4, 5-7, 10-3 in the final.

Qualifying for the ITF Grade 1 in Costa Rica began today, with 11 Americans through to Sunday's final round. See the tournament website for Sunday's order of play.

Five American boys have advanced to the third round of the Grade 1 in Traralgon Australia: Eliot Spizzirri[16], Zane Khan, Cannon Kingsley[9], Toby Kodat and Emilio Nava[13]. Kodat, who turns 16 Sunday, defeated No. 5 seed Nicolas Alvarez Varona of Spain 6-0, 6-2 in the second round. All four US girls in the main draw have been eliminated.

Live scoring can be found at Tennis Ticker.

Friday, January 11, 2019

ITF World Tennis Tour Bypasses College; Eubanks Among Four Americans Qualifying for Australian Open; USTA CEO Smith to Retire; Nanda, Wolf Advance to Tucson, Columbus Semis; All-Collegiate Final in ATP Auckland; Kenin Reaches First WTA Final

When I was in Florida for the big junior events, I had many conversations about the ITF's new World Tennis Tour, which was on everyone's mind as 2019 approached. I spoke with college coaches about the impact it could have on their recruits and players and what some of the consequences may be for the sport at the Division I level in this article for the Tennis Recruiting Network.

Qualifying is now complete for the Australian Open, with four Americans gaining entry with a third win on Friday in Melbourne. Former Georgia Tech star Chris Eubanks will make his slam debut outside the United States against No. 19 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia. Mitchell Krueger has drawn top seed Novak Djokovic and Bjorn Fratangelo will play No. 29 seed Gilles Simon of France. The only US women to advance to the main draw is Varvara Lepchenko, who will play fellow qualifier Natalia Vikhlyantseva of Russia.  American results from the final round of qualifying are below.

Christopher Eubanks d. Pedro Martinez(ESP) 6-3, 6-3
Iga Swiatek(POL) d. Danielle Lao 6-1, 6-3
Beatriz Haddad Maia(BRA) d. Jennifer Brady[16] 6-3, 6-4
Bjorn Fratangelo[24] d, Ze Zhang(CHN) 6-7(4), 7-6(1), 6-1
Varvara Lepchenko[23] d. Christina McHale 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (10-1)
Karolina Muchova[28](CZE) d. Jamie Loeb 6-4, 6-1
Viktorija Golubic[3](SUI) d. Nicole Gibbs[18] 6-3, 7-6(3)
Gleb Sakharov(FRA) d. Tim Smyczek 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Mitchell Krueger d. Marco Trungelliti[13](ARG) 6-3, 5-7, 6-4

Australian Astra Sharma, who graduated from Vanderbilt last year, qualified for the main draw, saving three match points in her 5-7, 7-6(7), 7-6(12-10) win over Irina Khromacheva of Russia. The 22-year-old will face Australian wild card Priscilla Hon in the opening round of her first appearance in a slam.

The USTA announced today that Gordon Smith, the Chief Executive Officer of the organization, will be retiring at the end of this year. Smith, who has led the USTA since November of 2007, played at the University of Georgia before pursuing a law career.  For more on Smith's tenure and the timetable for selecting his successor, see the USTA's release.

Seventeen-year-old Govind Nanda, who is beginning his collegiate career at UCLA this month, reached his first ITF World Tennis Tour semifinal today at the M25 in Tucson Arizona. Nanda, a wild card, defeated Felix Corwin(Minnesota) 6-3, 7-6(4) in Friday's quarterfinals. He will play unseeded Mikhail Pervolarakis(Portland) of Greece in Saturday's semifinal. Pervolarakis came from 5-2 down in the third set to beat top seed Emilio Gomez(USC) of Ecuador 2-6, 6-4, 7-5. No. 3 seed Martin Redlicki(UCLA) will face No. 2 seed Lloyd Glasspool(Texas) of Great Britain in the other semifinal.

Ohio State junior JJ Wolf has advanced to the semifinals of a Challenger for the first time, reaching the final four on his home courts in Columbus at the ATP 80 there. Wolf, who just turned 20 last month, hit 10 aces in a 6-2, 6-1 dismantling of Jan Choinski of Great Britain (formerly Germany). Wolf had beaten No. 2 seed Filip Peliwo of Canada 6-0, 6-0 in the third round Thursday. Wolf, a wild card, will play the winner of the match between No. 4 seed Uladzimir Ignatik of Belarus and unseeded Scott Griekspoor of the Netherlands. In the top half, recent Ohio State graduate Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark, also a wild card, has advanced to the semifinals and will play No. 12 seed Bernabe Zapata Miralles of Spain, who ended Marcos Giron's Challenger winning streak at 8 with a win over the Orlando champion in Thursday's third round.

Two former collegians, TCU's Cameron Norrie and Tennessee's Tennys Sandgren, face off Saturday in the final of the ATP 250 tournament in Auckland. Norrie, who grew up in New Zealand, but now represents Great Britain, will be playing in his first ATP final after beating Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.  Sandgren, who reached his only other ATP final at the US Clay Courts in Houston last spring, cruised past Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-4, 6-2. This ATP article notes that Norrie has won their past three meetings, all in 2017, all in Challengers.

Sonya Kenin has advanced to her first WTA final, beating No. 6 seed Alize Cornet of France 6-2, 6-4 at the WTA International in Hobart. The 20-year-old from Florida has defeated three seeds this week, including top seed Caroline Garcia in the first round. She will face unseeded Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia in the final.