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Monday, July 4, 2022

Disappointing Fourth of July for US Girls, with only Hovde Advancing to Third Round; Qualifiers Take Out No. 4 and No. 6 Seeds in Girls Draw; Fritz and Anisimova Advance to Quarterfinals

 ©Wimbledon 2022--

There were no Independence Day fireworks for two of the three American girls playing in the second round Monday at Wimbledon, with No. 8 seed Qavia Lopez withdrawing with an injury prior to the start of her match with Hayu Kinoshita of Japan and Alexis Blokhina losing the final five games in her 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 loss to No. 7 seed Luca Udvardy of Hungary. Top seed Liv Hovde will now shoulder the hopes for an American girls singles champion, as she defeated Anastasyia Lopata of Ukraine 6-1, 6-0 in 55 minutes.

Lopez had rolled her ankle just a few points from the completion of her 6-1, 7-5 first round win over Denislava Glushkova of Bulgaria on Sunday. She had hoped to be able to play singles today, but was advised against it after consulting medical professionals. Lopez and Hovde, the No. 2 seeds, are scheduled to play their first round doubles match on Tuesday and again Lopez will wait until the day of her match to decide whether to play.

Although Udvardy played well in the final set, particularly after Blokhina could not convert her two game points serving at 3-1, Blokhina was disappointed in her own mental state as the momentum shifted.

"I kept checking out in big moments and that's not usually what I do, and there were a couple of line calls that threw me off," said the 17-year-old from Plantation Florida. 

In the first round of junior singles Saturday and Sunday the juniors had the same access to Hawkeye and its challenge system as the pros, but once the pro players were no longer were assigned to those courts, the cameras were turned off for the girls second round of singles today.

"Yesterday I could at least know mentally that I hit the ball out," said Blokhina. "In the third set, there were like two or three that I was really certain about and it would have made major changes, with 4-3 me or 4-3 down is a big difference, obviously. She played well, but I didn't play the way I needed to play, I didn't play the smartest tennis."

After winning the Easter Bowl in early April, Blokhina played two $25,000 USTA women's Pro Circuit tournaments in Florida, beating both Carol Zhao(Stanford) and Catherine Harrison(UCLA), both of whom just completed outstanding weeks on the pro tour. Zhao won the $100,000 tournament in Charleston last week and Harrison qualified for Wimbledon and made the second round. 

Blokhina still has doubles here, partnering with Udvardy for the second straight week. Their first round match is on Tuesday, but before she sets her sights on the USTA Nationals 18s in San Diego, Blokhina will be competing in Israel next week at the Maccabiah Games.

"It's the Jewish Olympic Games," said Blokhina, who starts her college career at Stanford in September. "I'm going to Israel right after this."

Olivia Lincer would have been the fourth American girl in action today, but earlier this spring she switched from representing the United States to playing under the Polish flag. 

"I grew up in Polish household with Polish traditions," said the 17-year-old, whose father Magic was born in Poland and now owns an academy in Connecticut. "I'm just really proud of my nationality, and even though I don't live there, I feel really close and connected to Poland. Most of my dad's family still lives there. So I think it was more just a personal decision."

Lincer doesn't have a formal relationship with the Polish federation as of yet, but she did catch the attention of former Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska and her husband Dawid Celt, the coach of Poland's Billie Jean King Cup team, who were watching her beat No. 11 seed Johanne Svendsen of Denmark 7-6(0), 7-5.

Svendsen, who reached the Roehampton J1 final last week, served for the first set at 5-3, but her game began to crumble in tiebreaker, with Lincer able to just wait for errors. Lincer was up a break in the second set, failed to serve it out at 5-4, but able to break and hold for the win.

Lincer knew that Svendsen has difficulty staying positive when things don't go her way, but she didn't dwell on what was happening on her opponent's side of the net.

"I've seen her acting a little bit negative in past matches," said Lincer, who has a WTA ranking of 859. "It is an advantage, knowing that she's getting down on herself, but I try to just focus on myself during the match, not think about what's in my opponent's head, because that can get confusing."

Two qualifiers advanced to the third round,: Yu Yun Li of Taiwan defeated No. 6 seed Taylah Preston of Australia, the J1 Nottingham champion, 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 6-3, and Isabella Kruger of South Africa ousted No. 4 seed Nikola Daubnerova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-2. The 17-year-old Kruger received her entry into qualifying based on her WTA ranking of 454, as she hasn't played a junior event since she was 14.

In Wednesday's third round, Lincer will face No. 5 seed Victoria Mboko of Canada, who defeated British wild card Ella McDonald 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 today. They played in the first round of the Grade 1 in College Park last August, with Mboko earning a 6-1, 7-5 win.

The first round of boys doubles saw only one seeded team eliminated, with No. 3 seeds Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez of Mexico and Nishesh Basavareddy losing to two-time junior slam doubles champion Coleman Wong of Hong Kong. Wong and his partner Michael Zheng defeated Pacheco Mendez and Basavareddy 6-3, 6-2.

The all-US teams advancing to Wednesday's second round are Aidan Kim and Cooper Williams, Learner Tien and Ozan Colak, and Roehampton champions Alex Michelsen and Sebastian Gorzny. Nicholas Godsick, playing with Switzerland's Mika Brunold, also advanced. 

Tuesday's schedule features the second round of boys singles and the first round of girls doubles.

Monday's second round results of American juniors:

Luca Udvardy[7](HUN) d. Alexis Blokhina 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Liv Hovde[1] d. Anastasiya Lopata(UKR) 6-1, 6-0
Hayu Kinoshita(JPN) d. Qavia Lopez[8] walkover

Tuesday's second round matches featuring American juniors:

Aidan Kim[Q] v Gabriel Debru[1](FRA)
Michael Zheng v Martin Vergara Del Puerto(PAR)
Alexander Frusina v Bor Artnak[14](SLO)
Ozan Colak v Edas Butvilas[8](LTU)
Learner Tien v Gonzalo Bueno[4](PER)
Nishesh Basavareddy[5] v Peter Privara(SVK)
Sebastian Gorzny v Joao Fonseca(BRA)

Two of the three Americans in men's and women's singles advanced, with Amanda Anisimova and Taylor Fritz reaching their first Wimbledon quarterfinals. No. 20 seed Anisimova, a semifinalist at Roland Garros in 2019 at age 17, ended the run of France's Harmony Tan 6-2, 6-3 and will play No. 16 seed and 2019 champion Simona Halep of Romania on Wednesday.

No. 11 seed Fritz stopped Australian qualifier Jason Kubler's win streak at six, taking a 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 decision. This is the first time the 24-year-old has been past the round of 16 at a major. On Wednesday, Fritz will face No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal, whom he defeated in the Indian Wells final this spring for his first Masters title.

Twenty-year-old Brandon Nakashima battled Nick Kyrgios of Australia to a draw in the first four sets of their Centre Court match, but Kyrgios came out on top 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(2) 3-6, 6-2.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Hovde Adds to Grass Winning Streak with First Round Wimbledon Victory, Qualifier Kim Among Seven US Boys in Second Round; Norrie Beats Paul to Reach Men's Quarterfinal; Scott, Cayetano and Svajda Claim Pro Circuit Titles

 ©Wimbledon 2022--

Wimbledon's Middle Sunday, traditionally a day off, was abandoned by the All England Law Tennis Club this year, with the aim of providing access to tennis entertainment on a prime day for leisure. But it will be a special memory for ten Americans in action on a picture-perfect day in southwest London for another reason, as they all claimed their first victories at the Junior Championships.

Top seed Liv Hovde came in with an undefeated record on English lawns, having won last week's J1 in Roehampton, but the 16-year-old from Texas was able to appreciate the upgrade in the atmosphere.

"It's just amazing, everything's beautiful here," said Hovde, who defeated lucky loser Ana Candiotto of Brazil 6-4, 6-1 on show court 18. "They have a bunch of flowers here."

Hovde's opponent changed at the last minute, when Great Britain's Ranah Stoiber withdrew with a back injury, but Hovde  leaves the scouting to her mother and coach, and while agreeing their efforts were for naught, it didn't faze her.

"It's just another player I have to play, so I didn't think much of it," said Hovde, who is coached by former Australian great Phil Dent.

With Dent not traveling to tournaments with Hovde, he thought it important that she have a hitting partner on this trip, a role filled by Alejandro (Alex) Garcia Cenzano of Spain. But Dent has been encouraging Hovde from his academy back in Keller Texas.

"He told me (winning Roehampton) was a good start for the grass season and to just keep going."

Hovde struggled a bit on serve in the opening set, unable to close it out serving at 5-3. Candiotto had three game points to level the set at 5, but Hovde kept the pressure on and broke to take it. With her serve clicking when it mattered, Hovde saved a break point in the first game of the second set and rolled from there, with her ability to hit winners, 16-5 in her favor, the major difference.

Hovde will face Anastasiya Lopata of Ukraine, who recently signed with Georgia, in the second round Monday.

Two other American girls advanced, with Alexis Blokhina and No. 8 seed Qavia Lopez getting their first victories at Wimbledon. 

Aidan Kim did play Wimbledon junior qualifying last year at Roehampton, but the 17-year-old from Michigan lost in the first round, so his 6-4, 6-3 victory over fellow qualifier Hayato Matsuoka of Japan was gratifying.

"It's beautiful," said Kim, who has now won a match at all four slams after picking up wins at the US Open, Australian Open and Roland Garros the last ten months. "Historic people walking in and out of the places I've been. It's exciting."

Kim played the Grade 1 in Nottingham two weeks ago, getting some grass repetitions there, but a communications mixup and some ill-timed rain kept him out of Roehampton.

Kim would have been eligible for a special exemption into the main draw as a doubles finalist in Nottingham, but he was told he should sign into qualifying at Roehampton after his match so that he would be eligible. 

"There was a rain delay in Nottingham, so apparently, I finished my match after 6 p.m. and that was when sign in for qualifying ended. They automatically pulled me out, because I finished past 6 p.m."

Kim took that disappointment in stride, spending the week practicing, but he will not improve his ITF junior ranking, with no points being given at Wimbledon, while Roehampton did award points.

"It's a little unfortunate, but the prestige is still the same," said Kim, a rising senior who said he is waiting to decide on college or pro tennis after this summer's tournaments. "It's a tournament you don't want to miss. I feel everyone knows how prestigious it is to be here, and how few people are able to come."

Kim faces top seed and Roland Garros champion Gabriel Debru of France in the second round. Debru breezed past British wild card Louis Bowden 6-0, 6-1

Kim was one of five US boys to advance to the second round with victories today, with Learner Tien, Michael Zheng, Sebastian Gorzny and Alexander Frusina earning their first Wimbledon wins in their first attempts. They join Nishesh Basavareddy[5] and Ozan Colak in Tuesday's second round, after they picked up wins yesterday.

One of the five Americans who lost was Roehampton singles finalist and doubles champion Alex Michelsen, who dropped a 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-1 decision to Australian qualifier Edward Winter.

The boys play their first round doubles matches Monday, with the girls second round of singles also on the schedule. The boys second round of singles and the girls first round of doubles will be played Tuesday.

Sunday's first round results of American juniors:

Liv Hovde[1] v Ana Candiotto[LL](BRA) 6-4, 6-1Isabella Kruger[Q](RSA) d. Sonya Macavei 7-5, 5-7, 6-2
Johanne Svendsen[11](DEN) d. Mia Slama 6-3, 6-3
Alexis Blokhina d. Sandugash Kenzibayeva[Q](KAZ) 6-3, 6-3
Qavia Lopez[8] d. Denislava Glushkova(BUL) 6-1, 7-5
Hayu Kinoshita(JPN) d. Kaitlin Quevedo[Q] 6-3, 7-6(3)

Aidan Kim[Q] d. Hayato Matsuoka[Q](JPN) 6-4, 6-3
Michael Zheng d. Hayden Jones[Q](AUS) 6-3, 6-4
Coleman Wong(HKG) d. Jonah Braswell[Q] 7-6(4), 6-2
Learner Tien d. Jack Loutit[Q](NZL) 6-4, 6-0
Edward Winter[Q] d. Alex Michelsen 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-1
Gilles Bailly[7](BEL) d. Nicholas Godsick 6-2, 6-0
Kilian Feldbausch[6](SUI) d. Leanid Boika[Q] 6-1, 6-4
Ignacio Buse[12}(PER) d. Cooper Williams 6-2, 6-4
Sebastian Gorzny d. Viktor Frydrych[WC](GBR) 6-3, 6-4
Alex Frusina d. Lennon Jones[Q](JPN) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4

Monday's second round matches featuring American juniors:

Alexis Blokhina v Luca Udvardy[7](HUN)
Liv Hovde[1] v Anastasiya Lopata(UKR)
Qavia Lopez[8] v Hayu Kinoshita(JPN)

In men's singles, both Americans in action lost, with No. 30 seed Tommy Paul losing to No. 9 seed Cam Norrie of Great Britain 6-4, 7-5, 6-4. Despite his success on the ATP Tour, the former TCU star had failed to advance past the third round in his first 18 majors, but he is now into the quarterfinals, and with Heather Watson's loss today, is the last British player still alive in singles.

No. 23 seed Frances Tiafoe lost to David Goffin of Belgium 7-6(3), 5-7, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 in a four-and-a-half hour marathon on Court 2.

That leaves Taylor Fritz[11] and Brandon Nakashima(Virginia) as the only two US men in singles, with Amanda Anisimova the only American woman remaining.

Monday's fourth round matches featuring Americans:

Brandon Nakashima v Nick Kyrgios(AUS)
Taylor Fritz[11] v Jason Kubler(AUS)
Amanda Anisimova[20] v Harmony Tan(FRA)

Americans captured three of the five singles titles at the USTA Pro Circuit tournaments this week.

Eighteen-year-old Katrina Scott, the No. 2 seed, defeated No. 4 seed Peyton Stearns(Texas) 7-5, 6-3 at the $25,000 tournament in Columbus Ohio, her second Pro Circuit title.

Wild card Eryn Cayetano, a rising senior at USC, won her first Pro Circuit title today at the $15,000 SoCal Pro Circuit tournament in Los Angeles, defeating 14-year-old wild card Iva Jovic 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 in the final. Cayetano and teammate Salma Ewing also won the doubles title as wild cards, beating No. 3 seeds Bunyawi Thamchiwat(Pepperdine) of Thailand and Ya Yi Yang of Taiwan 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 in the final. 

Two-time Kalamazoo 18s National champion Zachary Svajda won the men's $15,000 tournament in Los Angeles, with the No. 2 seed beating former USC All-American and top seed Brandon Holt 7-5, 6-4 for his second career Pro Circuit singles title.

Eighteen-year-olds Ethan Quinn and Daniel Vallejo(Paraguay) won the men's doubles title, with the unseeded pair defeating brothers Keenan and Aidan Mayo, also unseeded, 7-5, 6-4 in the final.

For a recap on the Los Angeles tournaments, see this article from press aide Steve Pratt.

2015 NCAA finalist Carol Zhao(Stanford) of Canada won the $100,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Charleston South Carolina, defeating Himeno Sakatsume of Japan 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, with both players unseeded. Zhao now has four ITF Pro Circuit titles, two in 2017 and two this year.

Alycia Parks and Sachia Vickery won the doubles title, with the unseeded pair beating No. 2 seeds Timea Babos of Hungary and Marcela Zacarias of Mexico 6-4, 5-7, 10-5 in today's final.

At the $25,000 Men's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Dallas, No. 3 seed Yu Hsiou Hsu of Taiwan defeated unseeded Adrian Boitan(Baylor) of Romania 7-5, 6-3 in the singles final.

Unseeded Tyler Zink(Oklahoma State) and Govind Nanda(UCLA) won the doubles titles, beating top seeds Hsu and Dane Sweeny of Australia 6-4, 6-4 in the final.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Basavareddy Picks Up First Junior Slam Victory, Colak Advances to Second Round at Wimbledon Juniors; Nakashima, Fritz Reach Wimbledon Men's Round of 16; 14-year-old Jovic Makes Los Angeles $15K Final

 ©Wimbledon 2022--

With only two of the 18 Americans competing in the main draw of the Wimbledon Junior Championships on Saturday's schedule, and neither of the No. 1 seeds in action, there was still plenty of interest in the younger set as big crowds thronged to the outer courts on a pleasant summer day at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

No. 5 seed Nishesh Basavareddy posted his first victory at a junior slam, defeating  Dylan Dietrich of Switzerland 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

The 17-year-old from Indiana had never been inside the gates at AELTC until this morning, when the juniors were first allowed access, and he found it to be all he had expected.

"As soon as you walk in, you can feel the history and understand why people say that it's their favorite slam," Basavareddy said. "The surroundings are amazing, the fans are amazing; it feels really good playing in front of a lot people."

Basavareddy was down 3-0 in the second set, got it back to to 4-all, but wasn't able to finish it in straight sets, with several crucial calls in his 4-5 service game going against him, after three Hawkeye challenges resulted in points for Dietrich.

"It was probably like a millimeter," Basavareddy said of one of the calls. "I was really frustrated, because I thought I was playing a little better, but I just reset in the third, started out playing pretty well and took it from there."

Although he got 81 percent of his first serves in the third set, Basavareddy did have to save a break point at 2-3 and went down 15-30 at 3-4, but that's when he managed some of his best serving.

"I think my first serve percentage in the first two and a half sets wasn't that high, but at the end I was finding a little more, especially on the bigger points, which is nice," said Basavareddy, who won the final ten points of the match.

After losing in the first round in his last two tournaments--Roland Garros and at last week's Grade 1 warmup in Roehampton--Basavareddy was happy to end that streak.

"To get through the first round, get back in the groove, it's nice to get through this and I hope I can play better and better each round as the matches get tougher."

Unlike Basavareddy, Ozan Colak had experience to draw on as he took the court today against Olaf Pieczkowski of Poland. The 18-year-old from Michigan started a little slowly, but found his form at the end of the second set and rolled to a 7-5, 6-1 victory.

"Last year everything was new," said Colak, who reached the round of 16 here in 2021. "Even walking to the courts, I didn't know the way. This year I feel much more comfortable; I knew what to expect: the balls, the conditions. I just think it's a big advantage mentally more than anything, because I know there's going to be tough times, but you know the place, and it's a lot easier to do it then."

Colak did start slowly, falling behind 3-1 in the first set, but was not troubled by those opening games.

"It was more about establishing my game, and what I wanted to do," said Colak, who will begin his college career at Michigan State this fall. "I was sure that once I started feeling it, I would be in the right position. I calmed myself down, and I was able to lock in my serve, and once I got that going, everything fell into place."

Colak was able to use his slice, both forehand and backhand, to his advantage throughout the match.

"Unfortunately it's sometimes a disadvantage on other surfaces, because I tend to rely on it, because I know I have that skill," Colak said. "But on the grass, it works very well for me, so it's more finding my game and mixing that in as well, because on grass, it's very effective."

Although No. 1 seeds Gabriel Debru of France and Liv Hovde do not play until Sunday, both No. 2 seeds advanced, with Celine Naef of Switzerland defeating British wild card Sarah Tatu 6-1, 6-3 and No. 2 seed Jakub Mensik beating British wild card Henry Searle 6-4, 7-6(4).

With the new schedule this year, which includes play on middle Sunday for the first time, the 16 boys who won today won't play singles again until Tuesday. Doubles begin on Monday for the boys, Tuesday for the girls. Naef and Nikola Bartunkova of the Czech Republic are the top seeds in the girls draw. Roland Garros  champions Mili Poljicak of Croatia and Edas Butvilas of Lithuania are No. 1 seeds in the boys draw. Butvilas won the boys doubles title last year at Wimbledon with Alejandro Manzanera Pertusa of Spain. 

Four of the final 16 men remaining in singles are Americans, after Taylor Fritz and Brandon Nakashima(Virginia) joined Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe in the fourth round. Amanda Anisimova is the only American woman remaining in women's singles.

Third round results of American men and women Saturday July 1:

Amanda Anisimova[20] d. Coco Gauff[11] 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-1
Petra Martic(CRO) d. Jessica Pegula[8] 6-2, 7-6(5)

Cristian Garin(CHI) d. Jenson Brooksby[29] 6-2, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4
Taylor Fritz[11] d. Alex Molcan(SVK) 6-4, 6-1, 7-6(3)
Brandon Nakashima d. Daniel Elahi Galan(COL) 6-4, 6-4, 6-1
Jason Kubler(AUS) d. Jack Sock[Q] 6-2, 4-6, 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3 

Fourth round matches featuring Americans Sunday July 3
Tommy Paul[30] v Cameron Norrie[9](GBR)
Frances Tiafoe[23] v David Goffin(BEL)

First round results for American juniors Saturday:
Nishesh Basavareddy[5] d. Dylan Dietrich(SUI) 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
Ozan Colak d. Olaf Pieczkowski(POL) 7-5, 6-1

First round singles matches featuring American juniors Sunday:

Liv Hovde[1] v Ranah Stoiber(GBR)
Sonya Macavei v Isabella Kruger[Q](RSA)
Mia Slama v Johanne Svendsen[11](DEN)
Alexis Blokhina v Sandugash Kenzibayeva[Q](KAZ)
Qavia Lopez[8] v Denislava Glushkova(BUL)
Kaitlin Quevedo[Q] v Hayu Kinoshita(JPN)

Aidan Kim[Q] v Hayato Matsuoka(JPN)
Michael Zheng v Hayden Jones[Q](AUS)
Jonah Braswell[Q] Coleman Wong(HKG)
Learner Tien v Jack Loutit[Q](NZL)
Alex Michelsen v Edward Winter[Q]
Nicholas Godsick v Gilles Bailly[7](BEL)
Leanid Boika[Q] v Kilian Feldbausch[6](SUI)
Cooper Williams v Ignacio Buse[12](PER)
Sebastian Gorzny v Viktor Frydrych[WC](GBR)
Alex Frusina v Lennon Jones[Q](JPN)

Fourteen-year-old Iva Jovic, who received a wild card into her first pro tournament this week at the $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit event at her home club in Los Angeles, is through to the final, after defeating No. 6 seed Kimmi Hance(UCLA) 7-5, 6-3 in today's semifinal. She will face another wild card, USC All-American Eryn Cayetano, who beat top seed Ya Yi Yang of Taiwain 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

At the $25,000 women's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Columbus, NCAA champion Peyton Stearns(Texas), the No. 4 seed, defeated top seed Katherine Sebov of Canada 7-5, 6-0, and will face No. 2 seed Katrina Scott in the final. The 18-year-old Scott defeated Taylor Ng(Dartmouth) by the same score, with just one minute's difference in the duration of the match.

The doubles final was between two Ohio State wild cards, with Irina Cantos Siemers of Germany and Sydni Ratliff defeating Madeline Atway and recent USC transfer Danielle Willson 6-2, 5-7, 10-4.

Friday, July 1, 2022

June Aces; Hovde Claims ITF J1 Title in Roehampton, Gorzny and Michelsen Take Boys Doubles Championship; Four Americans Qualify for Wimbledon Junior Championships Starting Saturday; Tiafoe and Paul Through to Wimbledon Round of 16

I've arrived in London and am eager to see what will unfold at the third junior slam of the year, but before that begins on Saturday, it's time to look back at the top performances of June.

Roland Garros seems like a long time ago, yet in my monthly column for Tennis Recruiting Network I made sure that the five juniors or former collegians that left Paris as champions weren't forgotten as we turn our attention to the grass season. The USTA Pro Circuit is also back in full swing and current and former collegians have been taking advantage of their opportunities to improve their ATP and WTA rankings.

Liv Hovde won the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton today, defeating No. 9 seed Johanne Svendsen of Denmark 6-2, 6-3. As this Wimbledon Junior championships preview article from the ITF suggests, that is often an indication of success at Wimbledon, with six of the last nine girls Wimbledon champions having won Roehampton the week before. It didn't turn out that way last year however, with Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic falling in the semifinals. 

Sixteen-year-old Martin Landaluce of Spain is having himself quite a first grass season, winning his second consecutive J1 title today at Roehampton with a 7-6(5), 7-5 victory over unseeded Alex Michelsen. Landaluce also has had an tremendous season on clay, more in line with expectations for a Spanish player. He is now a eye-popping 44-6, with one of those rare losses in the first round of the Roland Garros Junior Championships.

Michelsen also fell just short in the all-USA boys doubles final, with partner Sebastian Gorzny. They lost to Learner Tien and Cooper Williams, also unseeded, 6-1, 3-6, 10-5. (CORRECTION: winner was entered incorrectly on ITF junior website. Score is correct but winning team is wrong).

No. 3 seeds Kayla Cross and Victoria Mboko of Canada won the girls doubles title, beating No. 7 seeds Carolina Kuhl of Germany and Tereza Valentova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-1.

The final round of qualifying for the Wimbledon Junior Championships sent four more Americans to the main draw, joining the 14 who received direct entry.

Kaitlin Quevedo[8] defeated British wild card Given Roach 6-3, 6-2 to bring the total of US girls in the main draw to six. 

Aidan Kim[4], Leanid Boika[6] and Jonah Braswell[9] qualified to make an even dozen Americans in the Wimbledon Junior Championships main draw. 

Kim defeated Devin Badenhorst of South Africa 7-6(3), 3-6, 11-9; Boika beat No. 12 seed Togan Tokac of Turkey 6-2, 6-4 and Braswell squeezed past alternate Jelani Sarr 7-6(3), 4-6, 10-7. Braswell, a rising freshman at Florida, will be making his slam debut Sunday.

Only two Americans are on the junior schedule for Saturday, which seems way out of whack until when there are 18 US competitors and half of the first round singles matches are on Saturday's schedule. Although it is still unbalanced, part of the explanation is the necessity of giving the day off to the five Americans who were in the Roehampton finals and the four qualifiers, who are traditionally not scheduled the day after the qualifying concludes.

Third round results of US men and women Friday July 1:

Cameron Norrie[9](GBR) d. Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-1, 6-0
Frances Tiafoe[23] d. Alexander Bublik(KAZ) 3-6, 7-6(1), 7-6(3), 6-4
Jannik Sinner[10](ITA) d. John Isner[20] 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-3
Jack Sock[Q] d. Maxime Cressy 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(1)
Tommy Paul[30] d. Jiri Vesely(CZE) 6-3, 6-2, 6-2

Marie Bouzkova(CZE) d. Alison Riske[28] 6-2, 6-3
Third round matches featuring American men and women Saturday July 2:

Coco Gauff[11] v Amanda Anisimova[20]
Jessica Pegula[8] v Petra Martic(CRO)

Jenson Brooksby[29]
v Cristian Garin(CHI)
Taylor Fritz[11] v Alex Molcan(SVK)
Brandon Nakashima v Daniel Elahi Galan(COL)
Jack Sock[Q] v Jason Kubler(AUS)

American juniors in action Saturday:
Nishesh Basavareddy[5] v Dylan Dietrich(SUI)
Ozan Colak v Olaf Pieczkowski(POL)

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Wimbledon Junior Draws Released with Hovde, Debru Top Seeds; Hovde, Michelsen Reach ITF Roehampton J1 Finals; Eight US Men Reach Third Round at Wimbledon

Qualifying for the Wimbledon Junior Championships doesn't conclude until Friday, but the main draws have been released, with at least five US girls and nine US boys contending for the singles titles.

Liv Hovde is the top seed, with Qavia Lopez seeded No. 8. The other three American girls in the draw, as of now, are Sonya Macavei, Alexis Blokhina and Mia Slama.

The American boys in the draw, as of now, are Nishesh Basavareddy[5], Michael Zheng, Learner Tien, Alex Michelsen, Nicholas Godsick, Cooper Williams, Sebastian Gorzny, Ozan Colak and Alexander Frusina.

Roland Garros champion Gabriel Debru of France is the top seed in the boys draw.

The girls draw is here. The boys draw is here.

Eight Americans are through to the final round of qualifying, with at least one more American guaranteed to advance to the main draw. Jelani Sarr got into qualifying as an alternate after the draws were posted, and he will play Jonah Braswell for a place in the main draw. Sarr defeated British wild card Hugo Coquelin 7-6(3), 6-2 and Braswell, the No. 9 seed, beat Federico Bondioli of Italy 7-5, 2-6, 10-5. Yannik Rahman[13] defeated British wild card Henry Jefferson 3-6, 6-3, 10-3; Aidan Kim[4] beat British wild card Zach Stephens 7-5, 6-3; Leanid Boika[6] got by Daniele Minighini of Italy 6-3, 7-6(3).

Theadora Rabman[12] defeated Ellie Blackford of Great Britain 6-4, 6-3 and Kaitlin Quevedo[8] beat Denise Valente of Italy 6-4, 2-6, 10-6.

All sixteen final round qualifying matches are scheduled for 10:30 a.m at Roehampton.

Also at Roehampton Friday will be the finals of the ITF Grade 1, with Liv Hovde and Alex Michelsen both playing for singles titles, and Michelsen also in the boys doubles final.

Hovde defeated No. 12 seed Lucija Ciric Bagaric of Croatia 6-3, 6-3 to make her fourth Grade 1 final since last March. Hovde will play No. 9 seed Johanne Svendsen of Denmark, who beat unseeded Sayaka Ishii of Japan 6-4, 6-1.

The unseeded Michelsen edged No. 15 seed Coleman Wong of Hong Kong 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(4) and will face No. 13 seed Martin Landaluce of Spain, who ended Sebastian Gorzny's run with a 6-3, 6-1 victory. Landaluce will be going for his second straight J1 title, having won last week's tournament in Nottingham.

Gorzny and Michelsen, the reigning Easter Bowl doubles champions, will face another unseeded American team for the title: Cooper Williams and Learner Tien. 

Gorzny and Michelsen defeated Mihai Alexandru Coman of Romania and Matej Dodig of Croatia 6-4, 6-3 in today's semifinals, while Williams and Tien eliminated the last seeded team, No. 7 Landaluce and Pedro Rodenas of Spain, 6-4, 7-6(1). The girls doubles final will feature No. 3 seeds Kayla Cross and Victoria Mboko of Canada, who beat top seeds Hovde and Qavia Lopez 6-2, 6-4. Cross and Mboko will play No. 7 seeds Carolina Kuhl of Germany and Tereza Valentova of the Czech Republic, who advanced via a walkover from No. 2 seeds Ciric Bagaric an d Nikola Daubnerova of Slovakia.

As a reminder, the two J1 tournaments this month are awarding ITF junior points, but, like the professionals, there will be no points earned at Wimbledon.

With one second round Wimbledon singles match involving American men still not complete, a quarter of the third round participants in men's singles will be Americans, the most at a slam since the 1996 US Open. The winner of the Maxime Cressy/Jack Sock match will be No. 8, joining Steve Johnson, Tommy Paul, Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz, Brandon Nakashima and Jenson Brooksby. Nakashima was particularly impressive today, taking out last year's Wimbledon semifinalist Denis Shapovalov of Canada.

Thursday second round results of Americans:

Coco Gauff[11] d. Mihaela Buzarnescu(ROU) 6-2, 6-3
Jessica Pegula[8] d. Harriet Dart(GBR) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
Amanada Anisimova[20] d. Lauren Davis 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
Alize Cornet(FRA) d. Claire Liu 6-3, 6-3
Ajla Tomljanovic(AUS) d. Catherine Harrison[Q] 6-2, 6-2

Taylor Fritz[11] d. Alastair Gray[WC](GBR) 6-3, 7-6(3), 6-3
Brandon Nakashima d. Denis Shapovalov[13](CAN) 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(6)
Jack Sock[Q] v Maxime Cressy 6-4, 6-4
Alex Molcan(SVK) d. Marcos Giron 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
Richard Gasquet(FRA) d. Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
Jenson Brooksby[29] d. Benjamin Bonzi(FRA) 7-6(3), 7-5, 6-3

Friday's third round matches featuring Americans:

Steve Johnson v Cameron Norrie[9](GBR)
Frances Tiafoe[23] v Alexander Bublik(KAZ)
John Isner[20] v Jannik Sinner[10](ITA)
Jack Sock[Q] v Maxime Cressy 6-4, 6-4, postponed from Thursday
Tommy Paul[30] v Jiri Vesely(CZE)

Alison Riske[28] v Marie Bouzkova(CZE)

Friday's order of play is here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Wimbledon Junior Qualifying Begins Friday with Six Americans Competing; Hovde, Michelsen and Gorzny Reach Roehamption J1 Semifinals; Isner Among Five US Players to Reach Wimbledon Third Round; Geoff Young Named Head Coach at Purdue

Qualifying begins Friday at Roehampton for the Wimbledon Junior Championships, with four US boys and two US girls hoping to win the two matches required to reach the main draw. The Americans boys are Aidan Kim[4], who did not get to play this week's J1 in Roehampton, but did play Nottingham last week; Leanid Boika[6], Jonah Braswell[9] and Yannik Rahman[13]. The American girls are Kaitlin Quevedo[8] and Theodora Rabman[12].

The boys draw is here; the girls draw is here. The order of play for Friday is here.

While most of the Roehampton courts will be given over to the Wimbledon qualifying, four are reserved for the semifinals in singles and doubles at the J1 that always precedes Wimbledon

All three Americans who advanced to the quarterfinals won their matches today: top seed Liv Hovde, unseeded Alex Michelsen and unseeded Sebastian Gorzny. 

Hovde defeated No. 7 Annabelle Xu of Canada, a rising freshman at Virginia, 6-2, 6-3 and will play No. 12 seed Lucija Ciric Bargaric of Croatia in the semifinal. The other girls semifinal will feature No. 9 seed Johanne Svendsen of Denmark and unseeded Sayaka Ishii of Japan. 

After Michelsen defeated top seed Jakub Mensik of the Czech Republic yesterday, Gorzny took out No. 2 seed Mili Poljicak of Croatia 7-5, 7-6(2). The rising TCU freshman, who has now beaten three seeds, will get another in the semifinals: No. 13 Martin Landaluce of Spain, the Nottingham J1 champion. Michelsen, who defeated unseeded William Jansen of Great Britain 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the quarterfinals today, will face No. 15 seed Coleman Wong of Hong Kong. Michelsen beat Wong at the Eddie Herr late last year.

Michelsen and Gorzny are also through to the semifinals in doubles, as are Cooper Williams and Learner Tien. Hovde and Qavia Lopez, the No. 1 seeds, have advanced to the girls doubles semifinals.

Four US men advanced to the Wimbledon third round today with John Isner getting one of his most significant victories at the All England Club when he defeated Andy Murray 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 6-4 on Centre Court. Isner did reach the semifinals in 2018, but taking on Murray, who had beaten him all eight previous times they had played, on his home court was certainly a highlight. It goes without saying that the former Georgia All-American served well, but he also came forward, finished well at the net and was never rattled by the obviously pro-Murray crowd.

"That was an amazing moment for me out there at 37," Isner said in his press conference. "I think that's, to my knowledge, only the third match I played on Centre Court, one of which was at the Olympics in 2012. So I haven't had many opportunities on that court.

"To be able to get a win on Centre against Andy Murray is something I'll certainly I think remember forever. This is why I still play, it's why I still work hard. So I'm still eager to get up in the morning and work out and get my body feeling right, is to have moments like that.

"At 37, it was much easier 10 years ago for sure, but I work my ass off to try to give myself opportunities like that. It kind of makes it all worth it, for sure."

Joining Isner in round three of men's singles are Tommy Paul, Frances Tiafoe and Steve Johnson(USC).

Wednesday's results for Americans:

First round:
Jessica Pegula[8] d. Donna Vekic(CRO) 6-3, 7-6(2)

Second round:
John Isner[20] d. Andy Murray(GBR) 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 6-4
Tommy Paul[30] d. Adrian Mannarino(FRA) 6-2, 6-4, 6-1
Tim Van Rijthoven d. Reilly Opelka[15] 6-4, 6-7(8), 7-6(7), 7-6(4)
Frances Tiafoe[23] d. Maximilian Marterer(GER) 6-2, 6-2, 7-6(3)
Oscar Otte[32](GER) d. Christian Harrison[Q] 3-1, ret.

Alison Riske[28] d. Maja Chwalinska[Q](POL) 3-6, 6-1, 6-0
Marie Bouzkova(CZE) d. Ann Li 6-0, 6-3

Thursday's second round matches featuring Americans:

Coco Gauff[11] v Mihaela Buzarnescu(ROU)
Jessica Pegula[8] v Harriet Dart(GBR)
Lauren Davis v Amanda Anisimova[20]
Claire Liu v Alize Cornet(FRA)
Catherine Harrison[Q] v Ajla Tomljanovic(AUS)

Taylor Fritz[11] v Alastair Gray[WC](GBR)
Brandon Nakashima v Denis Shapovalov[13](CAN)
Maxime Cressy v Jack Sock[Q]
Marcos Giron v Alex Molcan(SVK)
Mackenzie McDonald v Richard Gasquet(FRA)
Jenson Brooksby[29] v Benjamin Bonzi(FRA)

The final Power Five conference head coaching position still vacant was filled today, with former Minnesota men's head coach Geoff Young hired at Purdue. Young, who the associate head coach at UCF this past season, was available when Minnesota dropped men's tennis in 2021.

For a detailed look at Young's background and accomplishments, see this release on his hiring from the Purdue website.