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Thursday, September 3, 2015

US Open Junior Qualifying Draws; Ross Reaches Semis in Grade 1 Canadian Open; Four More Americans Reach US Open Third Round

The draws are out for the US Open junior qualifying, which begins tomorrow outside the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.  I will be traveling to New York tomorrow, and will cover the final round of junior qualifying on Saturday. 

Victoria Emma has received the previously unannounced girls qualifying wild card. Gabby Pollner, ranked 134 at the time of acceptances, was the last into qualifying. In all 10 US girls are in the qualifying, including five wild cards. Last year Caroline Dolehide came through qualifying to reach the semifinals.

There are also 10 US boys in the qualifying, including five wild cards. With Ross not needing his one became available and Jake Van Emburgh and Trent Bryde received wild cards, with previously announced wild card Alexandre Rotsaert, the Kalamazoo 16s finalist, not in the qualifying draw.. He could have received a TBD wild card into the main draw instead. Naota Kai of Japan, ranked 108 at the time of acceptances, appears to have been the last boy to get into qualifying.

Unlike the other juniors slams, the US Open will provide live scoring for the qualifying at usopen.org.


Gianni Ross was given a wild card into the US Open qualifying, but after making the semifinals today at the Grade 1 Canadian Open, he should receive a special exemption into the main draw. The 16-year-old Ross, a qualifier in Repentigny, beat top seed Marcelo Barrios Vera in the second round, Nicole Kuhn in the third round, and today topped Bjorn Thomson 7-6(0), 6-4 to reach his second Grade 1 semifinal.  He will play the winner of the night match between Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and International Hard Courts champion Felix Auger Aliassime of Canada.

In the girls draw, Canadian Bianca Andreescu defeated top seed Katie Swan 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-2 to advance to the semifinals, where the No. 11 seed will meet Tessah Andrianjafitrimo of France.

Results and draws can be found at the tournament website.

Two more American women reached the third round of the US Open today, with qualifier Shelby Rogers (d. Kurumi Nara of Japan 6-4, 6-4) and Varvara Lepchenko (d. Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 7-6(9), 6-2) joining Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Madison Brengle, Venus Williams, Serena Williams and Madison Keys in the third round.

Nicole Gibbs lost to No. 5 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4.

On the men's side, John Isner got through in three non-tiebreak sets over Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, but the other US men's seed, Jack Sock, cramped in the hot and humid conditions and was forced to retire in his match with Ruben Bemelmans up two sets to one.  Donald Young continued his fine play, beating Aljaz Bedene of Great Britain 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2. Isner and Young are the only two American men remaining in the draw, after losses today by Sock, Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek.

In doubles play, Kalamazoo champion Reilly Opelka and Taylor Fritz were beaten by Marcus Daniell of New Zealand and Jonathan Marray of Great Britain 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.  Opelka was broken to start the match and the young pair didn't get a look at a break point but the second set was much more competitive, with Opelka, who missed 10 of 15 first serves in the game, managing to serve out the second set, saving four break points in the five deuce game.  Both Fritz and Opelka were broken in the final set to go down 5-1 and although they got one of the breaks back, couldn't manage to get the second.

Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria, the 2013 NCAA champions from Southern Cal, made their long delayed women's doubles debut today against top seeds Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza.  They lost 6-1, 6-2, but for their thoughts (and some of mine) on their long and winding road to the US Open, see this article on the WTA website.

Current NCAA champions Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe of Alabama also played and lost today, falling to No. 6 seeds Abigail Spears and Raquel Kops-Jones 6-2, 6-1.

Wild cards Frances Tiafoe and Sachia Vickery picked up a win in mixed doubles, beating the veteran team of Robert Lindstedt of Sweden and Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain 5-7, 6-3, 10-8.  Lindstedt double faulted at 8-all in the match tiebreaker and Tiafoe blasted an ace to end the match.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Five US Women Through to US Open Third Round; Black and Neel Win Doubles Opener; Ross Beats Top Seed in Canadian Open Grade 1

Five US women claimed victories at today's US Open, propelling them into the round of 32 on Friday.

Madison Brengle defeated qualifier Anna Tatishvili 6-3, 6-2, wild card Bethanie Mattek Sands beat CoCo Vandeweghe 6-2, 6-1 and Venus Williams (23) got by Irina Falconi 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-2 in the three all-American matchups.   Top seed Serena Williams defeated qualifier Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 7-6(5), 6-3 and No. 19 seed Madison Keys cruised past Tereza Smitkova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-2.

In addition to the three US women's losses above, No. 13 seed Ekaterina Makarova of Russia defeated Lauren Davis 6-1, 6-2, and Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia got past qualifier Jessica Pegula 5-7, 7-5, 6-3.

Mardy Fish's career came to end today on Louis Armstrong Stadium, where he lost to No. 18 seed Feliciano Lopez of Spain 2-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3. Fish served for the match at 5-4 in the fourth set, but couldn't close it out, and began cramping in the fifth.  American tennis has missed him the past several years, and in this article in The Players' Tribune, Fish writes about the anxiety disorder that he has lived with during that time. His courage in publicly addressing his own struggle is admirable and his willingness to speak out can only help to remove the stigma often attached to discussing mental health issues.

Much of today's action on the outside courts of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center was in doubles, and USTA National 18s champions Ingrid Neel and Tornado Alicia Black made their women's main draw debut a memorable one, beating Danka Kovinic of Montenegro and Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.  Neel and Black broke Kovinic serving at 2-3 in the third set, with Kovinic hitting two double faults from 40-30 up in the game.  In the next game, on Neel's serve, the teenagers saved a break point in a four-deuce game, with Neel finally ending it with two forehand winners.

Black was seen vomiting into a courtside wastebasket on the changeover, but after a brief delay and no medical attention, she return to the court. At 30-30, Black blasted a return winner to set up a match point and they converted it for the win.  According to reports, Black was taken from the court in a wheelchair, but she was back tweeting a few hours later, so the illness apparently wasn't serious.

Their second round opponents will be the veteran team of  Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic, who are the No. 7 seeds.

Boys USTA National champions Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka are on Thursday's schedule, facing Marcus Daniell of New Zealand and Jonathan Marray of Great Britain.

Top seeds and defending champions Bob and Mike Bryan lost their first round match today, falling to Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-3. No. 2 seeds Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Marcelo Melo of Brazil also lost, to Great Britain's Dominic Inglot(Virginia) and Robert Lindstedt(Pepperdine).

In Thursday's singles action, eight Americans will attempt to join their five compatriots in the third round: John Isner(13), Jack Sock(28), Nicole Gibbs, Donald Young, Shelby Rogers, Varvara Lepchenko, Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek.

At the ITF Grade 1 in Canada yesterday, qualifier Gianni Ross advanced to the third round with a 6-3, 6-4 win over top seed and ITF world No. 7 Marcelo Barrios Vera of Chile. Ross is playing his third round match against unseeded Nicola Kuhn of Germany tonight. Yunseong Chung of Korea, the No. 2 seed in the boys draw, also lost his first match, falling to Great Britain's Ryan Storrie in the second round. Kelly Chen lost tonight in the third round to top seed Katie Swan of Great Britain, so no US girl reached the quarterfinals.  Results can be found at the tournament website.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

International Hard Court Recap; Eight More Americans Advance to Second Round at US Open; Tiafoe, Loeb Lose

My recap of last week's ITF Grade 1 International Hard Court Championships, with singles titles for Anna Kalinskaya of Russia and Felix Auger Aliassime of Canada is available today at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

Eight US players picked up wins today at the US Open--five men and three women--with 19 the total number into the second round.

No. 13 seed John Isner and No. 28 seed Jack Sock posted routine wins, with Donald Young recording an impressive upset, coming from two sets down to defeat No. 11 seed Gilles Simon of France 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.  Wild Card Austin Krajicek, the only men's wild card (not including Lleyton Hewitt) to advance to the second round, also posted a comeback in his 3-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(6), 7-6(1) win over Colombia's Santiago Giraldo, his first win at a slam.


Wild card Nicole Gibbs, who reached the third round last year at the US Open, won the final five games of her match with Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain to earn a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 victory.  The crowd on court 7 looked sparse when I watched the last game on the live stream, but Gibbs credited them for helping her advance, calling them "small but mighty" on twitter. Gibbs, who won the NCAA singles title twice and also took an NCAA doubles title, showed some nice touch at the net on match point.

FIRST ROUND WINS US WOMEN:
Vera Lepchenko def. Kirsten Flipkens BEL 6-1, 6-1
WC Nicole Gibbs def. Lourdes Dominguez Lino ESP 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
Q Shelby Rogers def. WC Sachia Vickery 6-2, 6-2

FIRST ROUND WINS US MEN:
John Isner (13) def. Malek Jaziri TUN 6-2, 6-3, 6-4
Donald Young def. Gilles Simon(11) FRA 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
WC Austin Krajicek def. Santiago Giraldo COL 3-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(6), 7-6(1)
Jack Sock(28) def. Victor Estrella Burgos DOM 6-2, 6-3, 6-2
Rajeev Ram def. WC Ryan Harrison 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-1

A total of six wild cards lost on Tuesday, including NCAA champion Jamie Loeb, who fell to No. 4 seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-2, 6-0.  Although the score line suggests a rout, Loeb was in nearly every rally, as USTA coach Kathy Rinaldi mentioned in her commentary on the ESPN live stream. But playing your first WTA level match on Arthur Ashe Stadium against a former world No. 1 and last year's finalist is a tough task, and Loeb will undoubtedly learn from it. Now a pro, and wearing Fila clothing after spending her junior career in Nike, Loeb is scheduled to compete in next week's American Collegiate Invitational.

Kalamazoo champion Frances Tiafoe had his chances against No. 22 seed Viktor Troicki of Serbia, and had the wholehearted support of a large Court 11 crowd, but ended up on the wrong end of a 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 score.  Troicki served too well, with 17 aces, and hit 47 winners with just 19 unforced errors, with his volleys particularly impressive.

Of the ten teenagers in the men's draw, just two advanced to to the second round: 19-year-old Hyeon Chung of Korea, who breezed past James Duckworth of Australia 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 and 19-year-old Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan, who needed nearly three and a half hours to beat fellow qualifier Paul-Henri Mathieu of France 6-4, 2-6, 6-7(7), 6-1, 6-2.

FIRST ROUND LOSSES US WOMEN:
Petra Cetkovska CZE def. Christina McHale 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
Caroline Wozniacki (4) DEN def. WC Jamie Loeb 6-2, 6-0
Q Johanna Konta GBR def. WC Louisa Chirico 6-3, 6-0

FIRST ROUND LOSSES US MEN:
Tomas Berdych (6) CZE def. WC Bjorn Fratangelo 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
Q Jurgen Melzer AUT def. Denis Kudla 6-3, 7-5, 6-1
Viktor Troicki (22) SRB def. WC Frances Tiafoe 7-5, 6-4, 6-3
Lukas Rozol CZE def. WC Jared Donaldson 7-6(7), 6-0, 7-6(4)
Nicolas Mahut FRA def. Sam Querrey 7-5, 7-6(6), 7-5

Wednesday's schedule features three all-American matchups, all in the women's draw.

Wild card Bethanie Mattek-Sands will play CoCo Vandeweghe, Madison Brengle meets qualifier Anna Tatishvili and Irina Falconi faces Venus Williams(23) in the night session on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Qualifier Jessica Pegula plays Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, Serena Williams(1) faces Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, Lauren Davis meets No. 13 seed Ekaterina Makarova of Russia and Madison Keys(19) opens the day session on Ashe against Tereza Smitkova.

Mardy Fish is the only US man left in the top half of the draw; he plays No. 18 seed Feliciano Lopez of Spain.

USTA Girls 18s champions Tornado Alicia Black and Ingrid Neel will play their first round women's doubles match on Wednesday against
Danka Kovinic of Montenegro and Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan.

The wild card team of Tommy Paul and Deiton Baughman will play
the Brazilian team of Thomaz Bellucci and Marcelo Demoliner, and the mixed doubles wild card team of Taylor Fritz and Claire Liu are up against No. 4 seeds Martina Hingis of Switzerland and Leander Paes of India.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Ten American Women Claim First Round Victories at US Open; Kenin, Paul, Shane Fall in New York Debuts

The first day of the US Open saw a slew of upsets, with No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori, last year's finalist, going out to Benoit Paire of France and No. 7 seed Ana Ivanovic falling to Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia.


No. 8 seed Karolina Pliskova also lost to US qualifier Anna Tatishvili, with the 25-year-old originally from the country of Georgia getting the 6-2, 6-1 win in less than an hour.

Tatishvili was one of ten US women to advance to the second round, with the complete results below:

FIRST ROUND WINS US WOMEN:
WC Bethanie Mattek-Sands def. Kateryna Kozlova UKR 6-4, 6-3
CoCo Vandeweghe def. Sloane Stephens(29) 6-4, 6-3
Madison Keys(19) def. Klara Koukalova CZE 6-2, 6-4
Irina Falconi def. WC Samantha Crawford 6-4, 6-2
Venus Williams(23) def. Monica Puig 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-3
Madison Brengle def. Saisai Zheng 6-2, 5-7, 7-5
Q Anna Tatishvili def. Karolina Pliskova(8) CZE 6-2, 6-1
Lauren Davis def. Heather Watson 7–6(3), 7-6(0)
Q Jessica Pegula def. Alison Van Uytvanck BEL 7-5, 6-3
Serena Williams(1) def. Vitalia Diatchenko RUS 6-0, 2-0 ret.

One of the three US women to suffer losses was USTA National 18s champion Sonya Kenin, who went down to Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia 6-3. 6-1.  Duque-Marino served too well against the obviously nervous 16-year-old from Florida, who had no break point opportunities and committed more unforced errors than usual.

FIRST ROUND LOSSES US WOMEN:
Roberta Vinci def. Vania King 6-4, 6-4
Mariana Duque-Marino COL def WC Sonya Kenin 6-3, 6-1
Eugenie Bouchard(25) CAN def. Alison Riske 6-4, 6-3

Only five US men were in action on Monday, with four of them losing.
The sole winner, Mardy Fish, who is retiring after the tournament, defeated Marco Cecchinato 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 in front of a supportive crowd on the Grandstand Court, which will also be retired after this year.

Qualifier Tommy Paul had a 4-1 lead in the first set against No. 25 seed Andreas Seppi of Italy, but lost 11 straight games, as Seppi shook off his early match lethargy. Paul went up 3-0 in the third set, broke Seppi when he served for the match at 5-4, but was immediately broken, with Seppi taking his second chance to close out the victory.

NCAA champion Ryan Shane of Virginia nursed an injury for two months after taking the title in Waco, and had only one victory in the four tournaments he played once he returned.  Chardy had no difficulty in the first two sets, winning them 6-2, 6-1, but in the third Shane began to find his target with his serve. He hit seven aces and won all but two points when he got his first serve in, but he was broken at 4-4, giving Chardy a chance to serve out the match in straight sets.  Shane picked up his only break in that game, with Chardy appearing nervous, and Shane went on to claim the tiebreaker on his second set point, without allowing Chardy a match point.  In the fourth set, Shane's serve deserted him, with seven double faults offsetting his six aces, and Chardy took advantage, staying in points until Shane committed an error.

FIRST ROUND WINS US MEN:
Mardy Fish def. Marco Cecchinato ITA 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-1, 6-3

FIRST ROUND LOSSES US MEN:
Andreas Seppi(25) ITA def. Q Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-0, 7-5
Milos Raonic (10) CAN def. Tim Smyczek 6-4, 7-6(8), 6-1
Jeremy Chardy (27) FRA def. WC Ryan Shane 6-2, 6-1, 6-7(6), 6-2
Fabio Fognini (32) ITA def. Steve Johnson 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(2)

Tuesday's schedule will feature NCAA women's champion Jamie Loeb against No. 4 seed Caroline Wozniacki on Arthur Ashe Stadium, while Frances Tiafoe will make his US Open main draw debut against No. 22 seed Viktor Troicki of Serbia on Court 11.

John Isner(13) and Jack Sock(28) are the only two seeds among the 18 Americans in action on Tuesday.

The mixed doubles draw was released today, with several juniors receiving wild cards.  Taylor Fritz and Claire Liu are the only all-junior team, but Tiafoe will be playing with Sachia Vickery and Stefan Kozlov with Christina McHale. Vicky Duval and Christian Harrison were also given a mixed doubles wild card.

James Blake and Andy Roddick talked about the upcoming group of American boys in this USA Today interview, conducted by Nick McCarvel.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

NCAA Champions Routliffe and Jansen Win US Open Doubles Wildcard; US Open Doubles Draws; Ahn Claims Winnipeg $25K Title; Althea Gibson Biography Debuts on PBS American Masters Friday

Routliffe and Jansen with head coach Jenny Mainz at 2015 NCAAs
The US Open National Playoffs concluded over the weekend, with all three of the teams earning US Open main draw wild cards having college ties.

Reigning NCAA champions Erin Routliffe of Canada and Maya Jansen won the women's title, beating Yasmin Schnack and Katsiaryna Zheltova 6-4, 7-5 in the final. Routliffe and Jansen defending their 2014 title this year in Waco, but knowing from their 2014 experience that they would not receive a wild card as NCAA champions due to Routliffe's Canadian citizenship, they entered the Southern section's qualifying and went on to earn the title.

They will play No. 6 seeds Abigail Spears (UCLA) and newlywed Raquel Kops-Jones(Cal) in the first round.

The men's doubles wild card went to Julio Peralta of Chile and Matt Seeberger, the former UC-Santa Cruz standout who won three NCAA Division III singles titles. The only seeded team to reach any of the finals, the top seeds defeated Ashley Fisher and Nathan Healey 6-4, 6-3. They will play Santiago Giraldo of Colombia and Rameez Junaid of Australia in the first round

The mixed doubles wild card went to two former University of Oklahoma stars, Anda Perianu and Andrei Daescu (that is not them pictured on the National Playoffs landing page) Perianu and Daescu defeated Jacqueline Cako and Joel Kielbowicz 6-2, 6-4 in the final. The mixed doubles draw has not yet been released.
In other doubles notes, Kalamazoo champions Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka have drawn an unseeded team in the first round, Marcus Daniell of New Zealand and Jonathan Marray of Great Britain.  San Diego champions Ingrid Neel and Tornado Alicia Black face the unseeded team of Karin Knapp and Roberta Vinci in the opening round.

Sabrina Santamaria and Kaitlyn Christian, the 2013 NCAA champions who were overlooked for a wild card that year in spite of both being Americans, received a wild card this year (Santamaria was out with an injury last year) and drew top seeds Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza.

The US Open men's doubles draw is here and the women's doubles draw is here.

Kriste Ahn, who graduated from Stanford last year, won her second $25,000 title this week in Winnipeg, beating Sharon Fichman of Canada 6-2, 7-5.  With the win, Ahn, who was seeded No. 5 in the tournament, will climb near the WTA Top 250 for the first time.  She and Lorraine Guillermo (Pepperdine) reached the doubles final, losing to top seeds Fichman and Jovana Jaksic of Serbia.

Bobby Knight has recaps of the four former college players--Kevin Anderson, Eric Johnson, Gonzalo Escobar and Tucker Vorster--who won men's titles this week at College Tennis Today.

Today is the conclusion of Althea Week, designated in honor of the great African-American tennis pioneer Althea Gibson, who is the subject of Rex Miller's biographical film, which debuted this week in New York. Miller's film will be shown on PBS as part of the network's American Masters Series on Friday, September 4 at 9:00 p.m.  Reading the show notes will provide background on how important a figure Gibson was, not just in the tennis world, but in American culture.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Kalinskaya Again Sweeps ITF Grade 1 International Hard Court Championships; Auger Aliasimme Takes Boys Title

©Colette Lewis 2015--
College Park, Maryland--

Top seed Anna Kalinskaya kept intact her perfect record at the ITF Grade 1 International Hard Court Championships Saturday, taking both the singles and doubles titles for the second straight year.  The boys champion is new to Grade 1 success, with 15-year-old Felix Auger Aliassime collecting his first title at that ITF level.

Both singles finals, played simultaneously on the courts of the Junior Tennis Champions Center, were contested by friends and doubles partners, and both were tense and often error-strewn affairs, but No. 7 seed Auger Aliassime's 6-2, 7-6(6) win over fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov produced significantly more emotion.

At 6-4 in the tiebreaker, Shapovalov served what he thought was an ace on his first serve and the center line judge agreed, giving the good signal.  The chair umpire overruled the call however, and Shapovalov argued long and loudly that the serve was good and the chair was incompetent for making such a call. Still seething, he double faulted on his second serve to squander one set point, and Aliassime hit a forehand winner, the only winner of the 14 points played in the tiebreaker, to saved the second set point.  Still failing to get his emotions under control, Shapovalov made a backhand error to give Aliassime a match point, and he converted when Shapovalov again double faulted.

After the match, Shapovalov, who did not shake the umpire's hand, continued his rant, which including the statement "this guy ruined my week."  After several minutes he did calm down, and had an impromptu hit with a young JTCC player, as did Auger Aliassime.

"The linesman called it in, and [the chair umpire] changed the call," said the 16-year-old left-hander, seeded 15th. "I shouldn't have gotten as upset as I got, but there shouldn't be calls like that in a match. That was such an important part of the game. That would have been set and it would have been third set now."

Auger Aliassime was not sure the overrule was correct, but said, "I play my tennis and they call the lines. It was a tough end, we had a great match all the way, it was intense. I understand his frustration if he really saw it in, but as I said, I'm there to play my tennis and the ref called it out.  He's going to be ok, I don't think he's mad at me."

Shapovalov's frustration was building after he failed to hold the break he earned to take a 3-2 lead in the second set. After not getting a single break point opportunity in the first set, Shapovalov needed some momentum badly, but he was immediately broken back in the sixth game after failing to convert two break points.

Auger Aliassime, who had lost to Shapovalov 6-1, 6-2 just two weeks ago at the Canadian Junior Nationals, said his serve was much better today as was his mental outlook.

"Getting beat easily last time, I felt I had less to lose and would have a better match," said Auger Aliassime. "I started out pretty solid, was constructing well my points, playing aggressive and loose at the same time."

Auger Aliasimme's level dropped in the second set and Shapovalov brought his up a bit, but Shapovalov, who had gone the distance in three of his wins, was not happy with his overall level of play during the week.

"I haven't been playing my best tennis," said Shapovalov. "I've been grinding out matches, winning ugly. So I'm happy to be in the final, and I think Felix has been playing great this whole week. In the first set, he was playing too strong. I couldn't really keep up. I was trying to stay in it, trying to fight. I had chances to maybe win it ugly again, but credit's to Felix for playing great, staying tough and pulling through with the win."

Both players are heading to the Grade 1 in Repentigny, Canada next week, then on to the US Open junior championships, where Auger Aliassime is in the main draw and Shapovalov is in qualifying.

"Playing at home is always the best," said Auger Aliassime, who is from Montreal and trains at the Tennis Canada National Centre there. "Next week we're in the province of Quebec, so all the people speak French. That's my first language, but I've been working on my English."


Kalinskaya may be from Moscow, but the 16-year-old has made the Junior Tennis Champions Center her home during the International Hard Courts for the past two years.  She has yet to lose a set in singles or doubles, although in today's 6-4, 7-6(3) win over No. 2 seed Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia she was a point away from her first third set in two years on five different occasions.

Serving at 5-6 in the second set, Kalinskaya saved five set points in the seven-deuce game.

"I was up 30-0 and then I did two double faults," said Kalinskaya, who reached the French Open girls final this year. "So my serve was not working good, I was nervous, but in the set points, I started to move better and I won."

Mihalikova was disappointed she was unable to capitalize on all those chances to force a third set.

"I was so nervous every time when I had advantage," said Mihalikova, the Australian Open girls champion. "When she had advantage, I finally hit the returns I wanted, and said to myself, why not when I had set point?  On my set point, every time I did mistakes, she didn't need to do something."

Kalinskaya recognized the match was not the highest quality, and provided a possible reason.

"It was difficult to take her serve, because she served very well, but I think we both did a lot of mistakes, I think we could do better," said Kalinskaya. "Maybe because we're friends."

In the tiebreaker, errors were more common than winners, but a let called by the chair umpire that neither player heard proved to be Mihalikova's undoing.  Looking incredulously at Kalinskaya and at the chair umpire after what appeared to be an ace, Mihalikova ended up double faulting at 5-3, and Kalinskaya converted the first of her three match points with a perfectly executed drop shot.

Although not as demonstrative as Shapovalov, Mihalikova made it clear that the officiating was not to her liking today.

"They made some--a lot--of mistakes," the 17-year-old said with a smile. "But still, I should play. Today I made a lot of mistakes, and when it was the important time, I did a mistake and Anya won the ball. So today, she deserved it."


Kalinskaya said after the singles match that she was determined to get her friend the doubles title, and the pair again dominated, beating No. 2 seeds Vera Lapko and Iryna Shymanovich of Belarus 6-1, 6-4 in the final.  The top seeds did not lose a set in their five wins.

Kalinskaya, who won the doubles title last year with Evgeniya Levashova, is not playing the Grade 1 next week, nor is Mihalikova. But Kalinskaya believes her success this week, her first tournament of the summer on hard courts, will help her at the US Open Junior Championships.

"This is very good preparation for the US Open," said Kalinskaya who turns 17 in December. "That's why I came here," said Mihalikova. "I came here from clay and it was just so fast for me. But now it's ok. I am already ready for the hard courts and I want to do well in the US Open so bad."

Complete draws can be found at the ITF junior website.