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Friday, September 30, 2016

My Conversation with Agent Sam Duvall; Sewing Wins ITF Title in Grade 2 in Canada; Mmoh Reaches Tiburon Challenger Semis; Kenin into Last Four in Las Vegas

My article this week for the Tennis Recruiting Network is my recent conversation with Sam Duvall, an agent at Topnotch Management. Duvall, who represents John Isner, Steve Johnson, Reilly Opelka and other professional tennis players, has had a decade of experience in the field, and is now head of his own boutique agency. In our talk earlier this month at the US Open, he answered my questions on what an agent does, what he looks for in potential clients, and what advice he would give to juniors and their parents, along with many other topics. Although I have been around agents at junior tournaments for years and I assumed I knew what their job entailed, I found myself learning plenty from Duvall. Please check it out; I think you'll find something of interest, no matter how you're connected to tennis.

The ITF Grade 2 singles finals were completed today in Canada, with 17-year-old Sofia Sewing taking the girls title, the second ITF singles title of her career.  Sewing, the No. 4 seed, defeated No. 3 seed Maria Jose Portillo Ramirez of Mexico 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 in the final, after the two had won the doubles title yesterday.  In the boys final, top seed Juan Carlos Aguilar of Bolivia, the US Open boys doubles champion, defeated No. 2 seed Trent Bryde  6-4, 6-3. The 17-year-old Aguilar now has two ITF singles title, having won the Grade 2 in his home country back in February.

In the USTA Pro Circuit quarterfinals around the country today, lots of young Americans picked up victories.  Starting west and working east, Michael Mmoh reached his first Challenger semifinal at the $100,000 tournament in Tiburon, beating No. 2 seed Bjorn Fratangelo 6-0, 7-5.
The 18-year-old Kalamazoo champion, who had beaten Fratangelo earlier this year in the final round of qualifying for the ATP event in Memphis, broke Fratangelo at 3-4 in the second set, but was unable to serve it out.  He did hold easily in his next service game however, putting the pressure back on Fratangelo. Fratangelo fell behind 15-40 to give Mmoh two match points, and although Fratangelo saved the first with a good first serve, forehand winner combination, Mmoh came up with the forehand pass on the the second match point to claim the victory.

Next up for qualifier Mmoh, who moves into the ATP Top 300 for the first time in his career with the win, will be No. 3 seed Tim Smyczek, who defeated Mitchell Krueger 6-2, 6-4.

Earlier this evening, wild card Mackenzie McDonald recovered from being a set and a break down to No. 4 seed Frances Tiafoe, earning a 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-5 win to return to the Tiburon semifinals for the second straight year.  McDonald will play the only non-American left in the draw, Darian King of Barbados, who beat No. 5 seed Dennis Novikov 7-5, 6-2.  Matches are streamed, with commentary, here.

In the $10,000 Fountain Valley, California Futures, Marcos Giron is the sole American in the quarterfinals, after he defeated No. 3 seed Markos Kalovelonis of Russia 7-6(8), 6-3.  Giron, in just his second pro tournament back after two hip surgeries, will play No. 6 seed Sebastian Fanselow of Germany in the semifinals.  Top seed and University of Virginia freshman Carl Soderlund of Sweden will face No. 4 seed Takanyi Garanganga of Zimbabwe in the other semifinal.

SMU seniors Hunter and Yates Johnson won their second career Pro Circuit title together, defeating Fanselow and Sebastian Bader of Austria 6-4, 7-5 in the doubles final. Neither team was seeded.

At the $50,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Las Vegas, wild card Sonya Kenin reached the semifinals with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 win over wild card Maria Sanchez.  Kenin, 17, will play unseeded Nadia Podoroska of Argentina, who beat No. 8 seed Sachia Vickery 6-1, 6-2.  The other semifinal will feature top seed Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium, a 6-1, 6-4 winner over No. 6 seed Taylor Townsend today, and 17-year-old qualifier Fanni Stollar of Hungary, who defeated Jovana Jaksic of Serbia 6-2, 7-5.

The semifinals of the Stillwater, Oklahoma $25,000 tournament feature two Americans, with qualifier Danielle Collins and 18-year-old Caroline Dolehide aiming to meet in the final. Collins defeated former WTA No. 21 Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 to set up a meeting with unseeded Yuliya Beygelzimer of Ukraine.  The unseeded Dolehide beat qualifier Ronit Yurovsky 6-1, 6-2 to advance against lucky loser Bianca Turati of Italy, a freshman at Texas this fall. Turati moved on when No. 2 seed Ana Vrljic of Croatia retired down 6-3, 3-1.

At the $10,000 tournament in Charleston, SC, No. 3 seed Lauren Embree and No. 2 seed Nicole Coopersmith will meet in one semifinal, with recent Florida State graduate Yukako Noi of Japan facing Ingrid Gamarra Martins of Brazil in the other.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

US Boys Rise to Occasion to Reach Semifinals at Junior Davis Cup, US Girls Advance to Semis with Ease; Sewing, Bryde Earn Spots in ITF Grade 2 Finals in Canada; Seven Americans Make Tiburon Challenger Quarterfinals

The semifinals are set for the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup competitions in Budapest, with the US teams advancing to the final four in distinctly different ways.

After losing to Brazil on Wednesday, the remaining two members of the fourth-seeded US boys team, Sebastian Korda and Sangeet Sridhar, knew they had to win all three matches against No. 5 seed Czech Republic to get into the semifinals. After Keenan Mayo suffered an ankle injury in his first match Tuesday, leaving him unable to compete in the remaining round robin matches, the US had no margin for error. Sridhar came through with a straight set win at No. 2 singles and Korda did the same at No. 1 singles.  The doubles match was still important however, with the winner of that match taking the top spot in the group and the semifinal berth.  In what turned out to be a thriller, the US prevailed 2-6, 6-3, 14-12, saving five match points in the match tiebreaker.  This is the first year the competition has used no-ad and a match tiebreaker in doubles, having played regular scoring and best-of-three in the doubles previously.

The boys will play top seed Canada in a Saturday semifinal, with No. 2 Russia and No. 7 Argentina meeting in the other semifinal.

In contrast, the second-seeded US girls have had no drama whatsoever in advancing to the semifinals, unless you count Claire Liu's lost luggage. Today they defeated the sixth-seeded Czech Republic 3-0 to move into the semifinals, where they will play No. 3 seed Japan.  Top seed Russia will face No. 4 Poland in the other semifinal.

Complete results from the final day of round robin competition:

Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas
Group A
Canada (1) defeated India (8) 2-1
Siddant Banthia (IND) d. Chih Chi Huang (CAN) 16 62 64
Félix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) d. Adil Kalyanpur (IND) 63 60
Félix Auger-Aliassime/Chih Chi Huang (CAN) d. Adil Kalyanpur/Megh Patel (IND) 76(4) 76(3)

Hungary defeated Chile 3-0
Peter Makk (HUN) d. Alan Sanson (CHI) 62 63
Daniel Khin (HUN) d. Ignacio Becerra (CHI) 76(1) 64
Peter Makk/Mate Voros (HUN) d. Garizon Abarzua/Ignacio Becerra (CHI) 3-0 retired

Final Standings:
1. Canada (1) - progresses to semifinals
2. Hungary
3. India (8)
4. Chile

Group B
USA (4) defeated Czech Republic (5) 3-0
Sangeet Sridhar (USA) d. Tomas Machac (CZE) 60 61
Sebastian Korda (USA) d. Ondrej Styler (CZE) 64 75
Sebastian Korda/Sangeet Sridhar (USA) d. Evzen Holis/Ondrej Styler (CZE) 26 63 14-12

Switzerland defeated Brazil 2-1
Yannik Steinegger (SUI) d. Mateus Alves (BRA) 46 64 75
Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA) d. Damien Wenger (SUI) 67(9) 62 64
Henry Von Der Schulenburg/Damien Wenger (SUI) d. Mateus Alves/Gilbert Soares Klier Junior (BRA) 62 62

Final Standings:
1. USA (4) - progresses to semifinals
2. Czech Republic (5)
3. Switzerland
4. Brazil

Group C
China (3) defeated Morocco 3-0
Mu Tao (CHN) d. Ismail Saadi (MAR) 62 62
Zhao Lingxi (CHN) d. Soufiane El Mesbahi (MAR) 62 46 61
Mo Yecong/Zhao Lingxi (CHN) d. Soufiane El Mesbahi/Achraf Nafaa (MAR) 46 60 10-2

Argentina (7) defeated Bulgaria 2-1
Thiago Tirante (ARG) d. Leonid Sheyngezikht (BUL) 64 63
Sebastian Baez (ARG) d. Adrian Andreev (BUL) 62 26 75
Adrian Andreev/Leonid Sheyngezikht (BUL) d. Sebastian Baez/Tomas Descarrega (ARG) walkover

Final Standings:
1. Argentina (7) - progresses to semifinals
2. Bulgaria
3. China (3)
4. Morocco

Group D
Russia (2) defeated Japan (6) 3-0
Timofey Skatov (RUS) d. Rimpei Kawakimi (JPN) 62 61
Alen Avidzba (RUS) d. Naoki Tajima (JPN) 64 36 60
Alen Avidzba/Alexey Zakharov (RUS) d. Takeaki Ito/Rimpei Kawakami (JPN) 64 75

Germany defeated Egypt 3-0
Leopold Zima (GER) d. Adham Gaber (EGY) 60 62
Henri Squire (GER) d. Yusuf Khamis (EGY) 63 67(0) 63
Leopold Zima/Constantin Zoske (GER) d. Adham Gaber/Faris Zakaryia (EGY) 75 63

Final Standings:
1. Russia (2) - progresses to semifinals
2. Japan (6)
3. Germany
4. Egypt

Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas
Group A
Russia (1) defeated Argentina (8) 3-0
Anastasia Potapova (RUS) d. Andrea Farulla (ARG) 60 62
Olesya Pervushina (RUS) d. Lourdes Carle (ARG) 63 63
Varvara Graecheva/Olesya Pervushina (RUS) d. Lourdes Carle/Andrea Farulla (ARG) 61 64

Thailand defeated Belarus 2-1
Thasaporn Naklo (THA) d. Anna Kubareva (BLR) 75 16 61
Yulia Hatouka (BLR) d. Watsachol Sawasdee (THA) 62 76(2)
Thasaporn Naklo/Watsachol Sawasdee (THA) d. Yulia Hatouka/Katyarina Paulenka (BLR) 36 75 10-6

Final Standings:
1. Russia (1) - progresses to semifinals
2. Thailand
3. Argentina (8)
4. Belarus

Group B
Poland (4) defeated Canada (5) 2-1
Maja Chwalinska (POL) d. Isabelle Boulais (CAN) 36 61 75
Iga Swiatek (POL) d. Bianca Vanessa Andreescu (CAN) 36 63 63
Bianca Vanessa Andreescu/Isabelle Boulais (CAN) d. Maja Chwalinska/Stefania Rogozinska-Dzik (POL) 46 64 10-5

Hungary defeated India 3-0
Adrienn Horvath (HUN) d. Shivani Amineni (IND) 64 64
Reka Zadori (HUN) d. Mahak Jain (IND) 36 62 61
Fanni Gecsek/Adrienn Horvath (HUN) d. Shivani Amineni/Sathwika Sama (IND) 63 61

Final Standings:
1. Poland (4) - progresses to semifinals
2. Canada (5)
3. Hungary
4. India

Group C
Japan (3) defeated Great Britain (7) 2-1
Yuki Naito (JPN) d. Eliz Maloney (GBR) 06 63 64
Francesca Jones (GBR) d. Ayumi Miyamoto (JPN) 62 63
Ayumi Miyamoto/Yuki Naito (JPN) d. Francesca Jones/Nell Miller (GBR) 62 63

Uruguay defeated Morocco
Agustina Cuestas (URU) d. Hiba Al Khalifi (MAR) 61 60
Diae El Jardi (MAR) d. Fernanda Secinario (URU) 63 36 62
Agustina Cuestas/Fernanda Secinario (URU) d. Rim Benhadi/Diae El Jardi (MAR) 76(6) 62

Final Standings:
1. Japan (3) - progresses to semifinals
2. Great Britain (7)
3. Uruguay
4. Morocco

Group D
USA (2) defeated Czech Republic (6) 3-0
Claire Liu (USA) d. Karolina Berankova (CZE) 62 61
Amanda Anisimova (USA) d. Denisa Hindova (CZE) 62 63
Claire Liu/Catherine McNally (USA) d. Karolina Berankova/Radka Buzkova (CZE) 64 62

Peru defeated New Zealand 2-1
Dana Guzman (PER) d. Tamara Anderson (NZL) 60 63
Anastasia Iamachkine (PER) d. Nina Paripovich (NZL) 64 62
Tamara Anderson/Emilia Price (NZL) d. Almudena Boza/Dana Guzman (PER) 57 76(4) 10-8

Final Standings:
1. USA (2) - progresses to semifinals
2. Czech Republic (6)
3. Peru
4. New Zealand

The ITF Grade 2 in Canada has a rare Friday final, with two Americans vying for singles titles.  Sofia Sewing, the No. 4 seed, will face doubles partner and No. 3 seed Maria Jose Portillo Ramirez of Mexico in the girls final, while No. 2 seed Trent Bryde will meet top seed Juan Carlos Aguilar of Bolivia.

Sewing defeated No. 2 seed Carson Branstine 6-4, 6-4, while Portillo Ramirez took out top seed Natasha Subhash 6-4, 6-1.

Bryde outlasted unseeded Canadian Dan Martin 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 and Aguilar beat unseeded Caleb Chakravarthi 6-0, 6-2.

Either Portillo Ramirez or Sewing will sweep the titles this week, as the top seeds won the doubles championship together today, beating unseeded Imani Graham and Taysia Rogers 6-2, 6-1 in the final.

Unseeded Victor Krustev of Canada and Alexandre Rotsaert won the boys doubles title, beating No. 3 seed Jack Mingjie Lin and Luka Vukovic of Canada 6-3, 7-5.

At the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger, Dennis Novikov(5), Frances Tiafoe(4) and wild card Mackenzie McDonald reached the quarterfinals with wins today, with Darian King of Barbados, a 6-7(3), 6-2, 4-2, ret. winner over top seed Benjamin Becker of Germany, the only non-American in Friday's final eight.  Novikov will play King, while McDonald and Tiafoe will face off in the other quarterfinal.

In Southern California, Marcos Giron is the only American remaining in the $10,000 Fountain Valley Futures.  He will play No. 3 seed Markus Kalovelonis of Russia in Friday's quarterfinals.

The $50,000 Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Las Vegas features four Americans in the quarterfinals, including 17-year-old Sonya Kenin. Kenin will face fellow wild card Maria Sanchez in the quarterfinals, while Sachia Vickery(8) and Taylor Townsend(6) play unseeded Nadia Podoroska of Argentina and top seed Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium respectively.

At the $25,000 women's tournament in Stillwater, Oklahoma, three Americans remain, and two will play each other in the quarterfinals, with qualifier Ronit Yurovsky taking on Caroline Dolehide after both defeated seeded players today.  The third American is qualifier Danielle Collins, who will face unseeded Alexsandra Wozniack of Canada.

The $10,000 women's tournament in Charleston, SC features three Americans in the final eight, all of them in the bottom half.  No. 2 seed Nicole Coopersmith will play No. 5 seed Jaeda Daniel, while No. 3 seed Lauren Embree takes on LSU recruit Jade Lewis of New Zealand.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Mmoh Defeats Kozlov to Reach Tiburon $100K Quarterfinals; Injury Strikes US Boys Junior Davis Cup Team Again, US Girls Cruise in Second Round

Eighteen-year-olds Michael Mmoh and Stefan Kozlov have met surprisingly infrequently in their long junior and now pro careers, with Mmoh now holding a 2-0 edge after his 7-5, 6-4 win today in the second round of the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger.  Mmoh had beaten Kozlov in the first round of the $25,000 Long Beach, California Futures back in January by exactly the same score, with Kozlov, the No. 4 seed, coming off a title the previous week.

Mmoh, who qualified into this week draw, got a break to open the match, but was immediately broken back,  and both players held until 5-all, when Kozlov was broken at love.  Serving for the set, Mmoh held at 30, hitting a forehand winner to claim the point, game and set. Mmoh went up 3-1 in the second set, but Kozlov got the break back and took a 4-3 lead, but serving at 4-4, Kozlov fell behind 15-40, saved those two break points but not a third, when a wayward pair of forehands from deuce gave Mmoh the break.

Although there were some long baseline rallies, Mmoh seemed committed to finishing at the net more often and in the final game, he continued to pressure Kozlov, who was unable to contend with that aggressive strategy from Mmoh.

Mmoh is now into his second career Challenger quarterfinal, with his first coming last October at the $50,000 Challenger in Las Vegas. After five straight days of play in qualifying and main draw, he will get a day off Thursday before he takes on No. 2 seed Bjorn Fratangelo. Mmoh and Fratangelo are two of the four Americans through in the bottom half of the draw, with Mitchell Krueger and No. 3 seed Tim Smyczek playing in the other quarterfinal. Fratangelo and Mmoh met in the final round of qualifying at the ATP event in Memphis back in February, with Mmoh claiming a 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(6) victory. Smyczek is 3-0 head-to-head with Krueger.

The top half will play its second round Thursday, with Frances Tiafoe, Mackenzie McDonald, Brian Baker and Dennis Novikov (who play each other) aiming for quarterfinal appearances.

At the $10,000 Futures in Fountain Valley, California, UCLA recruit Keegan Smith earned his first ATP point with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Pepperdine senior and fellow qualifier Stefan Menichella. Other US winners in first round action today were qualifier Hunter Johnson and No. 8 seed Marcos Giron.

The first round of the $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit women's tournament in Las Vegas was completed today, with Kristie Ahn, Maria Sanchez and Sonya Kenin posting victories.  Ahn defeated No. 7 seed  Montserrat Gonzalez of Paraguay 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, Sanchez advanced when Sherazad Reix of France retired trailing 6-3, 3-0, and Kenin defeated qualifier  Anna Zaja of Germany 6-4, 6-4. Kayla Day, who turned 17 today, got in as a lucky loser after falling to Zaja yesterday, but drew top seed Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium and dropped a 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 decision.  For on-site coverage of today's action, see this article from press aide Steve Pratt.

At the $25,000 women's tournament in Stillwater, Oklahoma, US players winning their first round matches today were qualifiers Ronit Yurovsky, Danielle Collins and Catherine Harrison, Ellie Halbauer(7), Bernarda Pera(3) and Caroline Dolehide. Former USC star Giuliana Olmos of Mexico advanced to the second round when top seed Barbora Stefkova of the Czech Republic retired trailing 6-4, 1-0.

The $10,000 women's tournament in Charleston, SC also completed its first round today, with qualifiers Madeline Meredith, Quinn Gleason and Elli Mandlik, along with seeds Ingrid Neel(6) and Nicole Coopersmith(2), posting victories.

The second day of play in the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup did not go well for the fourth-seeded US boys, who fell to unseeded Brazil 2-1 Wednesday in Budapest.  In the second set of his opening match against Switzerland on Tuesday, Keenan Mayo turned his ankle and suffered ligament damage. So although he was able to finish the match and get the victory, Mayo could not play today against Brazil. Instead, it was Sangeet Sridhar who played at No. 2 singles, losing to Mateus Alves 6-1, 6-3, while Sebastian Korda outlasted Thiago Seyboth Wild 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(2), meaning the doubles point would decide the winner. Alves and Gilbert Soares Klier Junior beat Korda and Sridhar 6-3, 6-4 to claim the victory, leaving the US in a precarious position for Thursday's match with the fifth-seeded Czech Republic. To have any chance to advance, the US must beat the Czech Republic, who are 2-0 and clinch a semifinal berth with a win.

The unfortunate injury to Mayo is reminiscent of last year, when Sam Riffice was injured in the second round and was unable to play in the final round robin match, with No. 8 Japan winning that 3-0 over the US, seeded No. 3.

In other Junior Davis Cup groups, top seed Canada can advance with a win over No. 8 India, No. 2 Russia and No. 6 Japan will play for a place in the semifinals, and the winner between unseeded Bulgaria and No. 7 seed Argentina will also reach the final four.

In Junior Fed Cup, the second-seeded US girls had no difficulty, beating Peru 3-0, and will play No. 6 seed Czech Republic, who is also undefeated, for a place in the semifinals.  No. 4 Poland and No. 5 Canada will vie for a semifinal berth, as will No. 3 Japan and No. 7 Great Britain.  Top seed Russia will advance if they beat No. 8 seed Argentina, who lost today to Thailand. Complete results are below.

Live scoring and live streaming (for 4 courts) are available. More on the day's action can be found at the ITF Junior website.

Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas
Group A

Canada (1) defeated Chile 3-0
Nicaise Muamba (CAN) d. Alan Sanson (CHI) 60 36 64
Félix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) d. Ignacio Becerra (CHI) 60 60
Félix Auger-Aliassime/Nicaise Muamba (CAN) d. Garizon Abarzua/Ignacio Becerra (CHI) 64 75

Hungary defeated India (8) 3-0
Mate Voros (HUN) d. Siddhant Banthia (IND) 62 61
Daniel Khin (HUN) d. Adil Kalyanpur (IND) 64 64
Daniel Khin/Mate Voros (HUN) d. Adil Kalyanpur/Megh Patel (IND) 46 63 10-3

Group B
Brazil d. USA (4) 2-1
Mateus Alves (BRA) d. Sangeet Sridhar (USA) 61 63
Sebastian Korda (USA) d. Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA) 36 64 76(2)
Gilbert Soares Klier Junior/Mateus Alves (BRA) d. Sebastian Korda/Sangeet Sridhar (USA) 63 64

Czech Republic (5) defeated Switzerland 2-1
Henry von der Schulenburg (SUI) d. Tomas Machac (CZE) 64 46 64
Ondrej Styler (CZE) d. Damien Wenger (SUI) 64 61
Evzen Hollis/Ondrej Styler (CZE) d. Yannik Steinegger/Henry von der Schulenburg (SUI) 62 64

Group C
Argentina (7) defeated China (3) 3-0
Thiago Tirante (ARG) d. Mu Tao (CHN) 76(1) 61
Sebastian Baez (ARG) d. Zhao Lingxi (CHN) 62 75
Sebastian Baez/Tomas Descarrega (ARG) d. Mo Yecong/Zhao Lingxi (CHN) 76(7) 61

Bulgaria defeated Morocco 3-0
Leonid Sheyngezikht (BUL) d. Achraf Nafaa (MAR) 63 63
Adrian Andreev (BUL) d. Soufiane El Mesbahi (MAR) 60 60
Yoan Georgiev/Leonid Sheyngezikht (BUL) d. Achraf Nafaa/Soufiane El Mesbahi (MAR) 64 76(7)

Group D
Russia (2) defeated Egypt 3-0
Timofey Skatov (RUS) d. Adham Gaber (EGY) 60 36 60
Alen Avidzba (RUS) d. Yusuf Khamis (EGY) 62 62
Timofey Skatov/Alexey Zakharov (RUS) d. Adham Gaber/Yusuf Khamis (EGY) 60 63

Japan (6) defeated Germany 2-1
Rimpei Kawakami (JPN) d. Constantin Zoske (GER) 62 61
Naoki Tajima (JPN) d. Henri Squire (GER) 62 63
Leopold Zima/Constantin Zoske (GER) d. Rimpei Kawakami/Naoki Tajima (JPN) 63 16 10-8

Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas

Group A
Russia (1) defeated Belarus 3-0
Anastasia Potapova (RUS) d. Katyarina Paulenka (BLR) 61 62
Olesya Pervushina (RUS) d. Anna Kubareva (BLR) 76(0) 60
Olesya Pervushina/Anastasia Potapova (RUS) d. Yuliya Hatouka/Katyarina Paulenka (BLR) 64 60

Thailand defeated Argentina (8) 2-1
Thasaporn Naklo (THA) d. Azul Pedemonti (ARG) 63 63
Lourdes Carle (ARG) d. Watsachol Sawasdee (THA) 64 75
Thasaporn Naklo/Watsachol Sawasdee (THA) d. Lourdes Carle/Andrea Farulla (ARG) 63 62

Group B
Poland (4) defeated Hungary 3-0
Maja Chwalinska (POL) d. Adrienn Horvath (HUN) 76(11) 60
Iga Swiatek (POL) d. Reka Zadori (HUN) 62 61
Maja Chwalinska/Iga Swiatek (POL) d. Fanni Gecsek/Adrienn Horvath (HUN) 61 62

Canada (5) defeated India 3-0
Isabelle Boulais (CAN) d. Shivani Amineni (IND) 76(8) 61
Bianca Vanessa Andreescu (CAN) d. Mahak Jain (IND) 61 61
Isabelle Boulais/Layne Sleeth (CAN) d. Shivani Amineni/Sathwika Sama (IND) 76(7) 76(4)

Group C
Japan (3) defeated Morocco 3-0
Yuki Naito (JPN) d. Rim Benhadi (MAR) 60 60
Ayumi Miyamoto (JPN) d. Diae El Jardi (MAR) 76(9) 76(6)
Yuki Naito/Naho Sato (JPN) d. Hiba Al Khalifi/Diae El Jardi (MAR) 60 61

Great Britain (7) defeated Uruguay 3-0
Eliz Maloney (GBR) d. Agustina Cuestas (URU) 63 62
Francesca Jones (GBR) d. Lucia De Santa Ana (URU) 60 60
Francesca Jones/Nell Miller (GBR) d. Agustina Cuestas/Fernanda Secinaro (URU) 64 62

Group D
USA (2) defeated Peru 3-0
Catherine McNally (USA) d. Dana Guzman (PER) 63 61
Amanda Anisimova (USA) d. Anastasia Iamachkine (PER) 63 62
Claire Liu/Catherine McNally (USA) d. Almudena Boza/Anastasia Iamachkine (PER) 63 61

Czech Republic (6) defeated New Zealand 3-0
Karolina Berankova (CZE) d. Emilia Price (NZL) 61 60
Denisa Hindova (CZE) d. Tamara Anderson (NZL) 64 62
Karolina Berankova/Radka Buzkova (CZE) d. Nina Paripovich/Emilia Price (NZL) 62 61

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Qualifying Complete at Three Women's USTA Pro Circuit Events; Mmoh, Kozlov to Meet in Tiburon Challenger Second Round; US Teams Start Junior Davis, Fed Cup with Victories

Qualifying was completed today at the three women's USTA Pro Circuit events in Las Vegas, Stillwater, Oklahoma, and Charleston, South Carolina.

At the $50,000 tournament in Las Vegas, there are only four places for qualifiers in the main draw. Those went to Anna Zaja of Germany, Julia Elbaba, Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic and Fanni Stollar of Hungary.  Zaja defeated US Open champion and top qualifying seed Kayla Day 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, while Elbaba defeated Chanel Simmonds of South Africa 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. 2014 US Open girls champion Bouzkova, now 18, defeated Pepperdine sophomore Luisa Stefani of Brazil, 6-2, 6-3 and 17-year-old Stollar beat former Baylor star Ema Burgic Bucko of Bosnia 6-3, 6-4.  In first round action, Jamie Loeb defeated No. 3 seed Julia Boserup 7-5, 6-4, while Taylor Townsend(6) and Sachia Vickery(8) both won three-setters to advance to the second round. Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium is the top seed.

In Stillwater, a $25,000 level tournament, eight qualifiers are through to the main draw: Giuliana Olmos of Mexico(USC), Michaela Gordon, Catherine Harrison(UCLA), Danielle Collins(Virginia), Ronit Yurovsky(Michigan), Alexandra Sanford, Sofya Zhuk of Russia and Romania's Gabriela Talaba(Texas Tech junior).  The only two Americans in first round action today were wild card Morgan Coppoc and Usue Arconada, with both falling to seeded players. Barbora Stefkova of the Czech Republic is the top seed.

At the $10,000 tournament in Charleston, South Carolina, 15-year-old Elli Mandlik, daughter of Hana Mandlikova, qualified, as did South Carolina freshman Mia Horvit, Notre Dame graduate Quinn Gleason, Madeline Meredith and 15-year-old Chloe Beck, who will be playing in her first Pro Circuit main draw.  Lauren Embree, who had announced her retirement back in April, is in the main draw, and she won her first round match today, as did Amy Zhu(Michigan) and Jaeda Daniel.

Two USTA Pro Circuit events for men are on this week's schedule, with a $10,000 Futures in Fountain Valley, California and the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger, which I mentioned in yesterday's post. Kalamazoo champion Michael Mmoh, who qualified for Tiburon with a victory of Denis Shapovalov of Canada Monday, advanced to the second round when Tennys Sandgren retired with Mmoh leading 4-6, 7-6(5), 2-0. Sandgren served for the match at 5-4 in the second set and had three match points, but a backhand error, a double fault and a bold Mmoh forehand drop shot erased them. In the tiebreaker, Sandgren had the match on his racquet, serving at 5-4, but Mmoh's return winner, then two missed forehands by Sandgren gave Mmoh the set. Sandgren took a medical time out after the set and continued to play, but after dropping serve in the first game and a love hold by Mmoh, Sandgren retired.

Mmoh's opponent in Wednesday's second round is none other than his longtime friend Stefan Kozlov, who won his first round match on Monday. Kozlov, the No. 6 seed, lost to Mmoh earlier this year in the first round of the $25,000 Long Beach Futures.  The match, third on after 11 am Pacific, will be streamed (without commentary) here.

In Fountain Valley, Keegan Smith, who just announced his verbal commitment to UCLA, qualified for his first Futures with a win yesterday and will play Pepperdine senior Stefan Menichella, also a qualifier, in Wednesday's first round.   In first round action today, US Open boys finalist Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia defeated No. 7 seed Alexios Halebian 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(1) and wild card Evan Zhu came back to defeat Nick Chappell 1-6, 7-6(11), 7-5 in three hours and 14 minutes. Zhu's next opponent is top seed Carl Soderlund of Sweden, who is a freshman at the University of Virginia.

The first day of Junior Davis and Junior Fed Cup produced few surprises, with the only seeded team to fall No. 3 Junior Davis Cup seed China, who lost to Bulgaria 2-1.

The US boys, seeded No. 4, needed a doubles win to get past Switzerland 2-1. Keenan Mayo won at No. 2 singles, but Sebastian Korda dropped his match at No. 1 singles.  Korda and Sangeet Sridhar won the doubles match in straight sets to clinch the win.  They will play Brazil, who lost 3-0 to No. 6 seed Czech Republic, on Wednesday.

The US girls, seeded No. 2, lost only three games in three matches, crushing New Zealand 3-0.  Their opponent Wednesday is Peru, who lost to No. 6 seed Czech Republic 2-1.

The ITF Junior website has more on today's matches.  Live scoring and live streaming (for 4 courts) is available.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Junior Fed Cup, Junior Davis Cup Play Begins Tuesday, Mmoh Qualifies for Tiburon $100K; Redlicki Wins Southern Intercollegiates; Fall ITF US Junior Swing Starts in Austin

The Junior Fed Cup and Junior Davis Cup, the ITF team competitions for those age 16-and-under, begin Tuesday in Budapest, with the US girls seeded No. 2 and the US boys seeded No. 4.

The first three days of competition consist of round robin group play. Those countries finishing on top of the four-country groups advance to the semifinals.  The US girls--Amanda Anisimova, Claire Liu, Caty McNally--are in the group with No. 6 seeds the Czech Republic, Peru and New Zealand, with New Zealand their first opponent.  The US boys--Sebastian Korda, Keenan Mayo, Sangeet Sridhar--are in the group with No. 5 seeds the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Brazil, with their first opponent Tuesday Switzerland.

There have been a few nomination changes from those announced last week, three in the girls draw, one in the boys draw.  Fourteen-year-old Denisa Hindova, who played for the Czech Republic in August's ITF World Junior Tennis 14-and-under competition, has replaced Lucie Kankova. Adrienn Horvath has replaced Timea Visontal for host Hungary, and Hiba El Khalifi has replaced Oumaima Aziz for Morocco. In Junior Davis Cup, Gilbert Soares Klier Junior replaces Joao Lucas Reis for Brazil.

The top seed in the Junior Fed Cup is Russia, followed by the USA, Japan and Poland.  The top seed in Junior Davis Cup is defending champion Canada, followed by Russia, China and the USA.

Live scoring is available here, and live streaming for courts 1-4 is scheduled to be available here.

Michael Mmoh, who was on the US teams that won the World Junior Tennis championship in 2012 and the Junior Davis Cup in 2014, qualified for the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger today by defeating 2016 Wimbledon boys champion Denis Shapovalov of Canada 6-4, 6-4. Mmoh will face Tennys Sandgren in the first round.  Fellow 18-year-olds Frances Tiafoe and Stefan Kozlov are also in the draw, with the sixth-seeded Kozlov winning his first round match today over Guilherme Clezar of Brazil, and No. 4 seed Tiafoe getting by 2014 NCAA finalist Alex Sarkissian 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in his first round match.

I had planned on going to the final of the Division III men's Central regional at Kalamazoo today, but because two University of Chicago players won their semifinals, the match was played in Chicago today instead. No. 8 seed David Liu defeated Peter Leung 6-3, 6-2.  The doubles final was also an all-Chicago contest, with unseeded Tyler Raclin and Max Hawkins defeating No. 9 seeds Erik Kerrigan and Ninan Kumar 6-2, 6-2.  Complete results from the regional can be found here.

The women's singles final in the regional in New England was a replay of last May's NCAA singles final, with Julie Raventos of Williams coming out on top this time, beating Eudice Chong of Wesleyan 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Chong did get a regional title however, winning the doubles title with Victoria Yu over Raventos and Linda Shin, the two-time NCAA champions.

Other regional results can be found at the ITA tournament page.

Michael Redlicki of Arkansas won the Southern Intercollegiate Championships in Athens Georgia today, with the top seed beating No. 11 seed Spencer Papa of Oklahoma 6-4, 6-4 in the final.  Unseeded Walker Duncan and Jan Zielinski of Georgia won the doubles title, beating No. 5 seeds Maxx Lipman and Elliott Orkin of Florida 4-6, 7-5, 10-5.

After only the US Open Junior Championships on the calendar for September, the ITF Junior Circuit returns in the United States with this week's Grade 5 in Austin, Texas.  That, along with a Grade 4 next week in Wichita Falls, leads up to the ITF Grade B1 in Tulsa, which I will be covering again this year.  Several top US juniors are in Canada this week for the Grade 2 in Montreal.  Juan Carlos Aguilar of Bolivia is top boys seed, with Trent Bryde seeded No. 2.  In the girls draw, Natasha Subhash and Carson Branstine are the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Ohio State's Torpegaard Wins ATP Challenger in Columbus; McDonald, Smith, El Mihdawy Earn Futures Titles

Mikael Torpegaard at 2016 NCAA Championships in Tulsa
photo courtesy Bill Kallenberg, CapturedInAction.com
ATP Challengers on college campuses aren't new, and the wild cards given to the home team's top players usually result in a win or two, rarely more.  The $50,000 Columbus Challenger is new, with this week's tournament in just its second year at the Ohio State Varsity tennis Center, yet it was able to deliver what other events couldn't: a title for the local wild card.

Mikael Torpegaard, a junior from Denmark, was evidently not satisfied with making the final in his first appearance at the Challenger level. Taking on top seed Benjamin Becker of Germany in the championship match this afternoon, Torpegaard added another first to his resume, an ATP Top 100 win, by beating the former Baylor star 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.

Torpegaard started well and seized the only break point opportunity of the first set for either player at 4-4. Torpegaard closed out the set with a confident hold, but Becker went up 3-0 in the second set and got another break on his way to drawing even in the match. Torpegaard was able to get a break at 2-3, with Becker throwing in two of his four double faults in the set in that game, and he held for 5-2.  Becker went down 15-40 in the final game, saved one match point, but not the second, and Torpegaard had claimed the championship.  His ATP ranking will rise to around 370 as the 2016 NCAA singles finalist prepares for his next event, the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa next month.

Earlier in the day,  2015 Columbus singles champion, Dennis Novikov, teamed with Mikelis Libietis of Latvia to win the doubles title. The unseeded pair defeated unseeded Peter Polansky and Philip Bester of Canada 7-5, 7-6(4) in the final. It's Novikov's third Challenger doubles title of 2016, while it's Libietis's first of the year.

Mackenzie McDonald at 2016 NCAA Championships in Tulsa
photo courtesy YourGameFace.com
While 2004 NCAA singles champion Becker was unsuccessful in his final, 2016 NCAA champion Mackenzie McDonald had no trouble picking up his first Pro Circuit title at the $10,000 Futures in Irvine, California. The top seed defeated No. 2 seed Jan Choinski of Germany 6-0, 6-3 in just 47 minutes to add the singles title to the doubles title he won on Friday.

Next up for McDonald is the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger, where he reached the semifinals last year. McDonald received a wild card into the main draw, as did Brian Baker, Noah Rubin and Robby Bellamy of USC. Bellamy won his wild card in a shoot-out between the semifinalists at the Battle in the Bay collegiate event.  In Monday's qualifying in Tiburon, Kalamazoo champion Michael Mmoh will face Wimbledon boys champion Denis Shapovalov of Canada for a place in the main draw.

Recent Georgia graduate Austin Smith won his first Pro Circuit title today, defeating unseeded Daniel Cukierman of Israel 6-1, 6-2 in the final.  Smith, who won three matches to qualify, dropped only one set en route to the title.  Smith will play his second and final round of qualifying for next week's $25,000 Futures in Israel on Monday.

At the $25,000 Futures in Canada, top seed Adam El Mihdawy won his fourth Futures title of the year, beating No. 7 seed Brayden Schnur of Canada 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.

Another top seed won at the $75,000 women's tournament in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with Luxembourg's Mandy Minella defeating No. 3 seed Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay 6-4, 7-5.

Former USC All-American Maria Sanchez won the doubles title in Albuquerque, with partner Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands. The No. 3 seeds defeated No. 2 seeds Minella and Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-2, 6-4 in the final.