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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Jamrichova and Jones Meet Again for a Junior Slam Title at Wimbledon; Budkov Kjaer and Rottgering Reach Boys Final; Razeghi, Grant and Jovic Advance to Doubles Finals; Lee Plays for 14U Title Sunday

©Colette Lewis 2024--

Rematches in junior slam finals are rare, but Renata Jamrichova of Slovakia and Emerson Jones of Australia will meet again for the Wimbledon girls title after facing off in Australia in January. The last time the same two girls contested two slam finals in the same year was 2000, when Maria Emilina Salerni of Argentina and Tatiana Perebiynis of Ukraine met in the Wimbledon and US Open girls finals.

Jamrichova will be hoping to emulate Salerni, who won both titles that year, and in today's semifinal, the 17-year-old looked every bit the junior slam champion she is, defeating unseeded Vendula Valdmannova of the Czech Republic 6-0, 6-2. 

Valdmannova had defeated three seeds to advance to her first slam semifinal, but Jamrichova was nearly perfect in the first set, committing just two unforced errors. After she broke Valdmannova to open the second set, the crowd around Court 4 was actively supporting the underdog in her quest for a game, but Jamrichova stubbornly refused to concede her service game at 1-0, saving eight break points, mostly with big serves, to take a 2-0 lead. Valdmannova did win the next game, to loud applause, but Jamrichova was too consistent to give the 16-year-old Czech a path back into the match.

Jamrichova credits her serve with doing most of the damage this week in her five straight-sets victories, but still sees that shot as a work in progress.

"Right now, yeah, in the moment, I'm comfortable, but some tournaments my serve is really bad," said the 5-foot-11-inch left-hander. "My serve's working this week, that's a big thing for me, the lefty-serve and the aggressive game."

Jamrichova lost in the semifinals to champion Clervie Ngounoue last year at Wimbledon, so reaching the final here, in her last junior tournament, was important to her.

"I'm just excited an a bit relieved that I'm in the final," said Jamrichova, who won the girls doubles title with Tereza Valentova at Roland Garros. "Last year I lost semis Wimby and also US Open, but then got into the final in Australia and here. I just want to leave the court with a big smile on my face, and it doesn't matter if I win or lose."

Jamrichova, who defeated Jones 6-4, 6-1 in the Australian girls final, is not surprised to see Jones as her opponent in Sunday's 3 p.m. final.

"We had a amazing match from my side in Australia, so I hope it's going to be another great match," said Jamrichova, who would be the first Slovakian to claim a Wimbledon girls title. "She's playing super good on the grass, because she's pretty small, so the ball's coming to her racquet so good, she's low, good serve. The movement is a bit tougher for me on grass because I'm tall, but it's not that much different from hard."

The third-seeded Jones has also advanced to the final without dropping a set, ending the streak of US girls Wimbledon champions at two with her 7-5, 6-1 win over No. 6 seed Iva Jovic. 

Jones got off to a 4-1 lead, but Jovic fought back, breaking at love at 2-4 and holding to pull even. Jovic saved two set points to hold for 5-all, but after an easy hold by Jones, Jovic was broken, with Jones rifling a backhand return winner at 15-40.

As important as the last three games of the first set were, the first game of the second proved to be the turning point. Jones saved six break points in the eight-deuce game, with her lethal backhand doing most of the damage, and she seized control in the second.  

"That was such a long game, and I was thinking I probably need to get this game because it's been so long," said Jones, who turned 16 on Sunday. "Whoever wins this game is going to be better mentally. I felt a bit more relaxed when I got that game."

Jovic said that she and Jones have similar games, so execution is paramount.

"It's tough to get that rhythm that you usually get, when it's ok, this is what's working," said the 16-year-old Californian, who lost to Jones by the exact same score in the Traralgon J300 final in January. "So it's just who is going to do what they do better. She just played really well today. I think we've both improved since (Traralgon), but I think she played better in my eyes today than in that match. It was just a tough one for me today, but hopefully I'll get some revenge later in the year."

The girls final features the two Australian finalists, while the boys championship match has two first-time slam finalists, with both unseeded Mees Rottgering of the Netherlands and No. 2 seed Nicolai Budkov Kjaer of Norway having fallen in the semifinals in Melbourne before getting over that hump today at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

Budkov Kjaer needed just over an hour to get past unseeded Naoya Honda of Japan 6-3, 6-2, while Rottgering saved three set points to close out No. 16 seed Theo Papamalamis of France 6-4, 7-5 in two sets.

Although Budkov Kjaer had one of his easier matches today, he wasn't entirely pleased with his performance.

"I played good, but I think my serve was a bit off, especially in the second set," said the 17-year-old, who "I was not serving the way I usually do or wanted to. But overall, I'm very happy with my performance and maybe I saved my serve for the final."                                                                      
With the grass season so short for juniors, Budkov Kjaer is happy to have experience from last year and last week to draw on, reaching the third round at 2023 Wimbledon and the quarterfinals at Roehampton. 

"When you play on grass before, you know what to expect, what the surface requires, how the court feels," said Budkov Kjaer, who is the first Norwegian boy to reach a junior slam final, something his neighbor and three-time major finalist Casper Ruud never accomplished. "The experience on it plays a big role. I love it, I love everything here. The grass is very special to play on, only two weeks a year, so it's a privilege to play on it. Only the best players in the world play on the grass, because it's so short."

Rottgering feels privileged to play on the grass for another reason, after an ab injury suffered at Roland Garros kept him out of competition, including Roehampton's J300 last week, until Wimbledon. 

But after beating top seed Kaylan Bigun in the quarterfinals and  No. 16 seed Theo Papamalamis of France 6-4, 7-5 in today's semifinals, Rottgering is confident he can take another step forward Sunday.

"I started really bad this week, didn't find my level," said Rottgering, who had to decline the main draw wild card at the Amersfoort Challenger next week due to his success here at Wimbledon. "But from the last three matches, I've gotten a lot of confidence and I'm really happy with my performance."

Serving at 4-5 in the second set after letting an early break slip away, Rottgering saved three set points, with Papamalamis missing a second serve return on the first, Rottgering forcing an error on the second and hitting a winner on the third. He then got a series of backhand errors from Papamalamis in the next game and closed out the match on his first match point with a good first serve.

"I was just thinking 'don't lose, don't lose, don't lose, don't lose," the 17-year-old left-hander said. "He was playing unreal, he made few mistakes, was playing really quick and he knew my weaknesses, so he played really well."

When asked what those weaknesses are, Rottgering said, "I'm not going to say those. I can say it after Wimbledon."

Rottgering had the opportunity to play on Margaret Court in his quarterfinal match at the Australian Open Junior Championships this year, so he is not intimidated by the thought of playing on Court One Sunday.

"I've played on big courts in my life and so has Nico, so I think I'll manage," Rottgering said. "I think it's going to be a normal match."

If their previous match is any indication, the fans can expect a close one. In last year's semifinals of the J300 in Belgium, on clay, Rottgering claimed a 5-7, 7-6(7), 6-4 victory.

Three Americans will play for a Wimbledon doubles title Sunday: Jovic, Tyra Grant and Alex Razeghi. 

Jovic and Grant, the No. 2 seeds, have reached their third consecutive junior slam doubles final, with the Australian Open champions and Roland Garros finalists defeating No. 6 seed Jones and Vittoria Paganetti of Italy 7-5, 7-6(5) in the semifinals. They will play No. 7 seeds Mika Stojsavljevic and Mingge Xu of Great Britain, who defeated unseeded Julie Pastikova of the Czech Republic and Julia Stusek of Germany 6-4, 6-1.

Two unseeded teams will contest the boys doubles final, with Razeghi and German partner Max Schoenhaus facing Jan Klimas and Jan Kumstat of the Czech Republic. Both took down seeded American teams, with Razeghi and Schoenhaus defeating No. 3 seeds and Roehampton champions Kaylan Bigun and Jagger Leach 7-6(2), 6-3 and Klimas amd Kumstat taking out No. 7 seeds Max Exsted and Cooper Woestendick 6-4, 7-5.

The 14U tournament also concludes on Sunday, with American Jordan Lee facing Takahiro Kawaguchi of Japan for the boys title and Jana Kovackova of the Czech Republic playing Keisija Berzina of Latvia.  Kovackova downed Megan Knight of Great Britain 2-6, 6-3, 10-8 and Berzina defeated Xinran Sun of China 6-2, 6-4. 

Kawaguchi defeated Stan Put of the Netherlands 7-6(8), 6-4 and Lee played inspired tennis in his 6-3, 6-1 win over Dongjae Kim of Korea.

"I like the grass a lot and I think it suits my game," said Lee, a 14-year-old from Orlando. "I'm an aggressive player, like to play through the court and come to the net a lot, obviously when I can. At first it was tough adjusting to my movement, especially in the corners. I've been playing pretty well this week, but I think this was probably my best match, but overall this week has been great, and in the finals tomorrow, I'm going to try to sustain this level."

Saturday 14U results of Americans:

Jordan Lee d. Dongjae Kim(KOR) 6-3, 6-1

Raya Kotseva d. Welles Newman 7-5, 6-3
Sijia Zhang(CHN) d. Maggie Sohns 6-4, 6-0
Michael Antonius d. Eric Lorimer(GBR) 6-3, 3-6, 10-7

All five of the sets played in the men's and women's doubles finals were decided in tiebreakers. 

Unseeded Harri Heliovaara of Finland and former UNC-Asheville star Henry Patten of Great Britain won their first men's slam title, saving three match points in a 6-7(7), 7-6(8), 7-6(9) win over No. 15 seeds Jordan Thompson and Max Purcell of Australia. For more on the unexpected men's champions, see this article from wimbledon.com.

Taylor Townsend won the women's doubles championship, her first major, with Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic. Townsend and Siniakova, the No. 4 seeds defeated No. 2 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada and Erin Routliffe of New Zealand 7-6(5), 7-6(1) in tonight's championship match. For more on the women's final, see this article from wimbledon.com.

Friday, July 12, 2024

Jovic Avenges Roehampton Final Loss to Reach Wimbledon Junior Championships Semifinals; Rottgering Ousts Top Seed Bigun; Seven Americans Compete in Saturday's Doubles Semifinals; Lee Advances to 14U Semifinals

©Colette Lewis 2024--

Three of the pre-tournament favorites saw their dream of a Wimbledon Junior Championships singles title come to an end Friday, with top seed and Roland Garros champion Kaylan Bigun and both of last week's Roehampton champions eliminated in the quarterfinals. 

Unseeded Mees Rottgering of the Netherlands didn't play Roehampton last week to give the ab he injured at Roland Garros more time to heal. The 17-year-old had lost to fellow left-hander Bigun in the semifinals at May's ITF J500 in Milan, but was confident grass would give him with a better chance for victory in today's rematch, played under cloudy and cool conditions on Show Court 12.

Rottgering got very few opportunities on Court 12, but he converted the only break point Bigun gave him and went on to record a 7-6(3), 6-3 victory.

"He's serving really good, so I knew it was tough to break him," said Rottgering, who saved three break points in the match, all in his first three service games of the opening set. "I wasn't paying very well in the beginning, missed a lot shots in the rally. But on big points, I know how to play, and I know how to play on break points, and I think I managed that very well. And in the tiebreak, I got lucky with a net cord, but I managed well mentally."

His confidence on significant points was apparent in the tiebreaker; while he did get a fortunate net cord on one of them, he did not make any unforced errors, with a missed first serve return the sum total of his mistakes in the 10 points.

With Bigun serving at 1-2 in the second set, Rottgering used his forehand to force errors from Bigun, earning his only break point of the match at 30-40. Bigun made an unforced error and that was the match, indicating just how small the margins were throughout the contest. He lost to Jan Kumstat of the Czech Republic in Australia this year

After losing 6-1, 6-3 to Jan Kumstat in the semifinals of the Australian Open in January, Rottgering is determined to put lessons learned there to good use.

"At Australia, I made the semis as well and I didn't play very well there, so I hope I can play better tomorrow," Rottgering said. "I'm kind of nervous, but I'm also excited."

Rottgering's opponent in the semifinals is No. 16 seed Theo Papamalamis of France, who end the run of unseeded Jagger Leach 6-3, 6-3.

After getting broken in the first game of the match, Papamalamis quickly found his form, finishing the match with 26 winners and just 13 unforced errors.

This is the Wimbledon debut for Papamalamis, but with his willingness to move forward, he suspected he would thrive on the grass.

"Fortunately, I played in Roehampton, and I think it was a good idea," said the 18-year-old, who lost to Maxim Mrva of the Czech Republic in the third round last week. "I tried to improve my play on grass, because I have never played on it, first time, and I feel better and better during the week, and now it's very good."

Rottgering and Papamalamis have played twice, and Papamalamis has won both, but he is discounting those victories given when they occurred.

"But it was back in time, because he is younger," said Papamalamis, who will be joining Texas A&M in the fall of 2025. "Three years ago I won, and two years ago I won, clay and hard court. But is was two years ago, so it doesn't count."

The other boys semifinal will feature unseeded Naoya Honda of Japan and No. 2 seed Nicolai Budkov Kjaer of Norway. Honda, one of the last players to move into the main draw, defeated Roehampton champion Rafael Jodar of Spain 6-4, 6-4; Budkov Kjaer avenged his Roehampton quarterfinal loss to Maxim Mrva of the Czech Republic 7-6(2), 6-4.

A rematch of last Friday's girls Roehampton final was expected to be another thriller, after Teodora Kostovic of Serbia saved match points to defeat Iva Jovic 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(2) in a match moved indoors due to inclement weather. The sixth-seeded Jovic was having none of that today on Court 8, playing a near perfect match to post a 6-3, 6-2 victory over no. 15 seed Kostovic.

Statistics don't always tell the story of a match, but just how well Jovic played today is reflected in the numbers. She had eight unforced errors and 16 winners, in contrast to Kostovic, who had 22 winners, but 36 unforced errors, more than four times what Jovic allowed.

"I didn't realize that, but it felt like a good one," said Jovic, who was determined not to squander the lead as she had in Roehampton. "In Roehampton she went on a really long bathroom break after the first set and I kind of think I let my mind wander a little bit, gave her an opening in the second and she's really good at that if you give her a little bit, she gets energetic and it just starts rolling for her. I just told myself I needed to play every point like it's life or death, because if you give her a little bit, she'll give you something back."

The 16-year-old Jovic, who reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros, her best previous result in a junior slam, said she is starting to see the benefits of all the work she's done to improve her serve.

"I've been working a lot on my serve every day, targets, baskets with Tom (Gutteridge, USTA National Coach)," Jovic said. "Changing it a lot, technically, always tweaking it, so I'm happy that it's showing."

With the improvement in that shot, Jovic can be more aggressive when returning.

"It honestly changes your mind set a little bit," said the Torrance California resident. "When you can hold, you can be a little more lose on the return game and go a little bigger. If you go big, you're probably going to break once per set, so it has shifted my mentality and given me the opportunity to be a little more relaxed on return games."

Jovic will need that freedom against No. 3 seed and Australian Open finalist Emerson Jones of Australia, who advanced to the semifinals with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Monika Stankiewicz of Poland. Jones, who has yet to lose more than five games in a match this week, defeated Jovic in the final of the ITF J300 warmup event in Traralgon Australia in January 7-5, 6-1.

Top seed Renata Jamrichova, who defeated Jones in the Australian Open final, advanced to the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Rositsa Dencheva of Bulgaria. She will face unseeded Vendula Valdmannova of the Czech Republic, who defeated No. 10 seed Jeline Vandroome in the only three-setter in Friday's quarterfinals, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Valdmannova served for the match at 5-1 and 5-3 in the third set, but didn't get to match point either time, missing an easy forehand putaway at 5-3, 30-40 to give Vandromme all the momentum. The 16-year-old from Belgium went up 40-15, but double faulted twice in the next three points, with a unforced forehand error sandwiched in between. With Valdmannova finally holding a match point, another unforced forehand error by Vandromme put Valdmannova in her first junior slam semifinal.

"When you're leading 5-1, looking into semis, you're shaking more," said Valdmannova, who played a memorable match with two-time junior slam champion Alina Korneeva as a qualifier here last year. "Then I just told myself, it's a normal match, it's not the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, so just play your best."

Valdmannova felt the pressure shifted back to Vandromme once she was close to pulling even in that final game.

"I could tell she was getting nervous, so I just took the advantage and just kept playing," Valdmannova said. 

Although Valdmannova has seen her ranking continue to rise since last summer, she still considers herself an underdog who can play with less pressure.

"I'm just going to go in and enjoy the match," Valdmannova said. "She the favored player to win, I'm the outsider, so I'm just going to enjoy it. I'm still an outsider, although after this tournament, I may not be."

Although Jovic is the only American left in singles, she and six other Americans are still in contention for the doubles championships.  

Jovic and Tyra Grant, the No. 2 seeds and Australian Open champions, defeated No. 7 seeds Iva Ivanova of Bulgaria and Wakana Sonobe of Japan 6-2, 6-1 to advance to a meeting with No. 6 seeds Jones and Vittoria Paganetti of Italy.

Top seeds and defending girls doubles champions Alena Kovackova and Laura Samson were defeated by No. 7 seeds Mika Stojsavljevic and Mingge Xu of Great Britain 6-4, 7-5. Stojsavljevic and Xu will play Julie Pastikova of the Czech Republic and Julia Stusek of Germany, who lost in the Roehampton doubles final last week to Grant and Jovic.

The boys Roehampton doubles champions are also still alive, with No. 3 seeds Bigun and Leach winning a tight one over No. 6 seeds Budkov Kjaer and Great Britain's Viktor Frydrych 7-6(9), 4-6, 10-7.  At 7-all in the match tiebreaker, Bigun hit a defensive lob that found the baseline off an overhead smash, and when Leach put away the startled reply with a backhand winner, they rode that momentum to the next two points and the match.

An American boy is assured of being in the doubles final, after Alex Razeghi and his partner Max Schoenhaus of Germany saved a match point at 9-8 in the tiebreaker to defeat top seeds Mrva and Federico Cina of Italy 3-6, 7-5 11-9.

The third Australian Open junior champions still in contention for a Wimbledon title are No. 7 seeds Max Exsted and Cooper Woestendick, who defeated unseeded Daniil Sarksian of Russia and Tianhui Zhang of China 6-4, 6-7(2), 10-2.  They will play unseeded Czech team of Jan Klimas and Kumstat, who beat Jodar and Andreas Santamaria Roig 4-6, 7-6(2), 10-7.

In the women's doubles, Taylor Townsend will play for the Wimbledon title Saturday, with Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic. The No. 4 seeds will face No. 2 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada and two-time NCAA champion Erin Routliffe(Alabama) of New Zealand.

After a second day of round robin play, the semifinals are set for Saturday in the Wimbledon 14 and under tournament.

Jordan Lee finished undefeated in his group and has advanced to the semifinals, where he'll play Dongjae Kim of Korea. The other boys semifinal will feature Takahiro Kawaguchi of Japan and Stan Put of the Netherlands.

Jana Kovackova of the Czech Republic and Megan Knight of Great Britain will meet in one girls semifinal, with Keisija Berzina of Latvia taking on Xinran Sun of of China in the other.  

Results of Friday's round robin matches of Americans:
Xinran Sun(CHN) d. Raya Kotseva 6-3, 6-3 
Megan Knight(GBR) d. Welles Newman 3-6, 6-3, 10-5
Jana Kovackova(CZE) d. Maggie Sohns 6-1, 7-6(5) 

Jordan Lee d. Aran Selvaraasan(GBR) 6-2, 6-1
Jordan Lee d. Rafalentino Ali Da Costa(INA) 6-3, 6-1
Michael Antonius d. Livas Eduardo De Carvalho Damazio(BRA) 6-4, 6-0
Michael Antonius d. Niall Pickerd-Barua(GBR) 6-3, 6-2

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Jovic Saves Match Point to Set Up Repeat of Last Week's Roehampton Final, Bigun Comes Back, Leach Cruises to Reach Wimbledon Quarterfinals: Round Robin Play Continues Friday in 14U Event

©Colette Lewis 2024--

Iva Jovic has been playing tennis long enough to know just how slim the margins can be at the top of the junior game. In last week's ITF J300 Roehampton final, Jovic was unable to convert match points; today in the third round of the Wimbledon Junior Championships, the No. 6 seed saved one herself trailing No. 11 seed Wakana Sonobe of Japan 4-6, 4-5, 30-40.

"Honestly, at that point I was like, if I go out here, I want to go out being aggressive," said the 16-year-old from Torrance California. "I went for a big serve and I was ripping, could have easily missed one of those balls. I had her on the stretch, she neutralized really well, and then she hit the tape with that one forehand. It's tennis, and little margins like that can make a big difference."

Jovic closed out the game with a blistering backhand winner, and didn't lose a game after that, reeling off nine straight games for 4-6, 7-5, 6-0 win.

"It doesn't make sense," Jovic said. "Unlucky last week for me, had a couple of match points and ended up losing, so I guess I had some good karma this week."

Awaiting Jovic in the quarterfinals is No. 15 seed Teodora Kostovic, who saved those match points in the Roehampton final to claim the title. Kostovic took out No. 2 seed Laura Samson of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4 in today's third round to extend her grass winning streak to nine, albeit with an asterisk.

"This time it'll be on the grass, actually," said Jovic, referring to rain forcing the Roehampton final to move to indoor hard courts.  "I'm excited to play her on the grass and use what I learned today. It's definitely going to be tough tomorrow. At Roehampton, she did a little bit better job adjusting to the surface--obviously it was one point, I could have won anyway--but she was playing more hard court tennis, and it was a pretty slow hard court. I was still in the grass mentality, and she adjusted a little better. Today, I think I learned from that and was able to adjust before it was too late, so hopefully I can do that again."

The other quarterfinal in the bottom half features unseeded Monika Stankiewicz of Poland and No. 3 seed Emerson Jones of Australia. In the top half, No. 1 seed Renata Jamrichova of Slovakia came from 4-1 down in the opening set to defeat Sonja Zhiyenbayeva of Kazakhstan 7-5, 6-4 and will play unseeded Rositsa Dencheva of Bulgaria in the quarterfinals. No. 10 seed Jeline Vandromme of Belgium will play Vendula Valdmannova of the Czech Republic, who took out No. 4 seed Tyra Grant 6-3, 7-5.

Top seed Kaylan Bigun got his first real test this week, with No. 13 seed Amir Omarkhanov of Kazakhstan taking the first set in a 7-6(4) tiebreaker, before Bigun quickly evened the match with a 6-0 second set.

The third set reverted to the tense back-and-forth of the first set, but Bigun got a couple of unforced backhand errors from Omarkhanov to get the break and closed out the match with some big serving to advance to his second consecutive Wimbledon Junior Championships singles quarterfinal.

"It was what my brother (Meecah) called a testing match, but I'm happy with the way I competed and stayed locked in, even though I wasn't feeling my best on the court today," said the 18-year-old left-hander. 

Bigun said changing his return position helped him get into more points.

"I moved my return positioning further back, so I could have more time to swing," Bigun said. "I was missing returns on second serves and all that, so I just stepped back to give myself a little more time to look, and I stayed there the rest of the match, felt more comfortable there."

The rise to No. 1 in the world in the ITF junior rankings on the heels of his Roland Garros singles title has given Bigun confidence in his approach during a match's big moments.

"Obviously you gain confidence in your mindset when you're in those tough situations," Bigun said. "I've figured out what works for me, how I need to act, be present in every point, and I think that's what's important, what keeps you calm in those moments. For me, I focus on my breathing, tell myself a few key words, honest just try to stay present in the point and not think a game ahead."

Bigun will face unseeded Mees Rottgering of the Netherlands in the quarterfinals, who took out the last British player standing, unseeded Charlie Robertson, 7-6(5), 6-2 on show court 12.

Rottgering, an Australian Open semifinalist this year, felt that the crowd was definitely pro-Robertson, but fair to him.

"It isn't easy playing a person at home," said the left-hander, who turned 17 on Sunday. "But the crowd was very nice for me, they were also supporting me, and I played very well at the end."

Rottgering wasn't certain that he was going to play the Wimbledon Junior Championships after suffering an ab injury at Roland Garros and being unable to compete in the Roehampton warmup event.

"I was injured and I wasn't really sure if I would even play Wimbledon," said Rottgering, who has received a main draw wild card into the ATP Challenger in the Netherlands next week, on clay. "I couldn't imagine that I was in the quarters; I'm very happy with the result and want to keep going, of course."

Rottgering and Bigun have met twice, with Rottgering winning their first meeting in 2023 in Colombia, then falling in three sets in the semifinals of May's J500 in Milan, which Bigun won.

"It's going to be tough, but two times was a close match, we played good matches, so we'll see," Rottgering said.

The third American quarterfinalist is unseeded Jagger Leach, who defeated qualifier Flynn Thomas of Switzerland 6-3, 6-2.  

Leach knew Thomas would present a different challenge than the big-serving No. 6 seed Jan Kumstat of the Czech Republic, who he beat in the second round Wednesday.

"It definitely took me a few games to adjust," said the 17-year-old right-hander, who has now reached his 2024 goal of making a junior slam quarterfinal. "Yesterday Jan is a power player, he wants to keep the points short and he was just ripping for the corners. Today, it was the opposite; my opponent was playing more behind the baseline, really solid, making a lot of balls. I didn't feel like I really needed to change anything that I did from yesterday, but I knew I was going to be the one pulling the trigger on most points, so I was just staying selective until I got a ball I liked and that was my game plan."

Leach will face No. 16 seed Theo Papamalamis of France, who defeated No. 3 seed Federico Cina of Italy 6-2, 0-6, 6-3, winning an 11-deuce game to close it out, after Cina had saved six match points. 

In the boys bottom half, Roehampton champion Rafael Jodar of Spain, who dominated No. 4 seed and Roland Garros finalist Tomasz Berkieta of Poland 6-0, 6-3 in today's third round, will face Naoya Honda of Japan, who, like Jodar, is unseeded.

No. 10 seed Maxim Mrva will take on No. 2 seed Nicolai Budkov Kjaer of Norway for the second time in two weeks, having beaten Budkov Kjaer in the quarterfinals of the Roehampton tournament  in two tiebreakers.  In today's third round, Budkov Kjaer defeated No. 15 seed Cooper Woestendick 6-1, 6-4.

Seven Americans have advanced to the doubles quarterfinals, including Australian Open champions  Grant and Jovic, the No. 2 seeds here this week, and Australian Open champions Max Exsted and Woestendick, the No. 7 seeds this week.

Roehampton champions Bigun and Leach, the No. 3 seeds, have also reached the quarterfinals, as has Alex Razeghi and his partner Max Schoenhaus of Germany.

The girls doubles quarterfinals are not quite set, with a late evening rain shower causing one match to be suspended.

The first two rounds of the girls round robin competition in the 14U event were nearly completed, with just one on court when the rain arrived. The boys, who played one round today, will play two rounds Friday, with the boys and girls semifinalists determined by group standings after Friday's matches.

The girls draw is here; the boys draw is here.

Thursday's 14U round robin results of Americans:

Daniella Britton(GBR) d. Maggie Sohns 6-2, 4-6, 10-6
Maggie Sohns d. Zoe Doldan(PAR) 6-4, 6-0
Welles Newman d. Sijia Zhang(CHN) 6-2, 6-4
Welles Newman d. Claudia Chacon(VEN) 6-0, 6-0
Raya Kotseva d. Liv Zingg(GBR) 6-3, 6-2
Raya Kotseva d. Tori Russell(AUS) 6-2, 6-2

Takahiro Kawaguchi(JPN) d. Michael Antonius 6-1, 6-2 
Jordan Lee d. Taiki Takizawa(JPN) 6-0, 6-4

Friday's 14U round robin matches featuring Americans:

Raya Kotseva v Xinran Sun(CHN)
Welles Newman v Megan Knight(GBR)
Maggie Sohns v Jana Kovackova(CZE)

Jordan Lee v Aran Selvaraasan(GBR)
Jordan Lee v Rafalentino Ali Da Costa(INA)
Michael Antonius v Livas Eduardo De Carvalho Damazio(BRA)
Michael Antonius v Niall Pickerd-Barua(GBR)

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Unseeded Jagger Leach Among Five Americans Advancing to Junior Championships Round of 16 as Sunshine Returns to Wimbledon; 14U Tournament Round Robin Play Begins Thursday

©Colette Lewis 2024--

Jagger Leach is enjoying his first Wimbledon as a competitor, although as Lindsay Davenport's son, this is not his first trip to the All England Lawn Tennis Club, and the 17-year-old pronounced it his favorite place in the world.

His comfort level here was evident in his 6-4, 7-6(6) second round victory in the Wimbledon Junior Championships, when he withstood a barrage of 14 aces from Australian Open boys finalist and No. 6 seed Jan Kumstat of the Czech Republic to record a 6-4, 7-6(6) victory.

Although Leach saw seven match points come and go, he stayed calm, riding the roller coaster that comes with Kumstat's power tennis. 

"I was maybe starting to get a little uncomfortable towards the end," Leach said. "But I went to my tools, I've been working on that, so I fell back on my training in the big moments and it helped me."

Leach took an early lead in the second set and held on to it, while Kumstat's errors kept him from putting any pressure on Leach. Down 3-5 in the second, Kumstat played a service game that exemplified the challenges he presented.  After three unforced errors gave Leach a 40-0 lead, Kumstat proceeded to hit three consecutive aces and went on to win the game.

"He hit four aces in that game, three back-to-back-to-back," Leach said. "But that's where I felt like there was nothing I could do, so I had no regrets. But at 5-4, I didn't totally go for my shots and got a little passive and a little bit tight, when I had my match points on my serve, so I was a little bit bummed after that game because I wasn't playing the points on my terms, but hoping for an error."

After failing to convert his fifth and sixth match points, Leach ran out to a 5-1 lead in the tiebreaker, but Kumstat got in back to 5-all by eliminating his unforced errors. 

At 5-all Leach hit a shot that was called out, but the line umpire's call was overruled by the chair umpire, and Leach went on to win the replayed point to give himself a seventh match point.

With no Hawkeye challenge available in their match, there was nothing Kumstat could do once the chair overruled the call, and the random nature of who gets Hawkeye and who doesn't in junior matches remains a sore spot for all juniors.

"I don't completely understand it because there have been pro matches on all the courts," Leach said. "My first match we didn't have it to start, and then when we came back (the next day) to finish it, we did. I don't understand the system, maybe it's a huge hassle if it's a junior court and it's a lot of money, and I just don't know. I almost feel like it would be better not to have the challenge system at all than to have it for one set and not the other. There were a few today where I would have liked to have had a challenge and a few that I'm maybe happy my opponent didn't have a challenge."

On his seventh match point, Leach missed a backhand just wide, but broke Kumstat with a backhand winner to earn No. 8 and found a first serve on that one, with Kumstat's return going just long.

Leach will face qualifier Flynn Thomas of Switzerland on Thursday, with Thomas beating wild chard Charlie Swaine of Great Britain 6-2, 7-5.

Top seed Kaylan Bigun defeated Thomas Faurel of France 6-3, 6-4, and No. 15 seed Cooper Woestendick came back to beat Daniele Rapagnetta of Italy 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Woestendick fell behind 5-1 in the first set, but began to work his way back into the match, and kept his mental state positive, even after going down a break to open the second set.

"I broke right back, and from then on I raised my level and it was pretty good tennis from then on," said the 17-year-old from Kansas. "I think mentally he broke a little bit, which was fantastic for me. My mental state was locked in throughout the whole match, which is one thing I've been happy with; realistically that's how I got to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, I was super tough."

Woestendick, who qualified last year, had match points in his first round match but didn't convert them, attributing that disappointment to nerves.

"Everytime I would serve, I was shaking on the way up, looking at Centre Court in the background" Woestendick said. "This year, I just feel so much more comfortable in general, I didn't put any pressure on myself at all to do well, and it's making me play better, emotionally more stable, which will ultimately lead to better results."

Woestendick was careful to say he wasn't looking beyond his first two matches, but is eager to play No. 2 seed Nicolai Budkov Kjaer of Norway, who defeated Tianhui Zhang of China 6-2, 6-4.

"I'm excited," Woestendick said. "Obviously I take it match by match but when I saw I was in his section, the goal was to have a shot at him."

ITF J300 Roehampton champion Rafael Jodar of Spain continued his grass court mastery, beating No. 14 Reda Bennani of Morocco 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

Jodar, who will be joining the University of Virginia Cavaliers in January of 2025, has surprised himself with all the success he's had on a surface alien to him, although he can see why his game is thriving on it.

"Roehampton was my first time on grass," said the lanky 17-year-old, who is now up to 21 in the ITF junior rankings. "I came three days before Roehampton, but I adapted very, very quickly.  I have a good serve, and that helps me a lot to build the points. And my forehand and backhand are flat. I thought before coming here it was going to be tough, with it my first time, but I'm very happy with my level."

Jodar decided on Virginia after also considering Duke and TCU. 

"I decided to go to UVA because of the coaches, the facilities, everything was incredible, amazing," said Jodar, who didn't consider college in the United States as an option until he began to hear from Division I coaches. "Many coaches called to say they are there if I want to go their universities, and I'm very happy that many coaches wanted me."

In addition head coach Andres Pedroso, recent UVA graduate Inaki Montes was another Cavalier helping to persuade Jodar to come to Charlottesville.  

"I've been talking with him a lot since the first time Andres talked with me," Jodar said. "When I was there in October, visting the facilities and everything Inaki was with me, introducing me to the team and the coaches, so it's good. With me, Keegan Rice, Stiles Brockett, and Roy Horovitz, there are many players, so I am very happy with the job Andres did."

In addition to the three US boys advancing, two US girls have made the third round, with both No. 6 seed Iva Jovic and No. 4 seed Tyra Grant returning after starting their matches last night. With drizzle sending them girls home Tuesday night with no matches completed, it was a relief to finally have a rain-free day, with partly cloudy skies allowing all second round singles and all but two first round girls doubles matches to be completed.

Jovic won the first set over Chara Esquiva Banuls 6-0, but trailed 0-2 when play was suspended Tuesday.  Jovic immediately got back on track, and went on to win six more games in a row for a 6-0, 6-2 victory.

Grant was down 3-5, with Mayu Crossley of Japan serving for the first set when their Tuesday evening match was suspended. Crossley closed out that set, but Grant found her form, posting a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory.

"Today it was just like playing one game, starting a new match," said the 16-year-old, who is now training with Jean-Rene Lisnard at the Elite Tennis Center in Cannes France. "Let's see what happens, just play every game, take what happened in the first and use it in the rest of the match."

The long wait on Tuesday took its toll on Grant, although not having to play until later Wednesday gave her time to reset.

"Yesterday we were there ready to play from 11 and we ended up starting at 6:30 and ended up going back (off) at 8," Grant said. So today I had time to relax mentally and pace myself and even though I still lost the first set, it was way better in the second and third mentally. I was less tired mentally, ready to rally more, just play a full match."

Grant will play unseeded Vandula Valdmannova of the Czech Republic, who beat No. 14 seed Antonia Vergara Rivera of Chile 6-3, 6-2.

Wednesday's first round results of Americans:
Sonja Zhenikhova(GER) d. Kristina Penickova[9] 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4
Tyra Grant[4] d. Mayu Crossley(JPN) 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
Jeline Vandromme[10](BEL) d. Annika Penickova[Q] 6-3, 7-5
Iva Jovic[6] d. Charo Esquiva Banuls(ESP) 6-0, 6-2

Kaylan Bigun[1] d. Thomas Faurel(FRA)  6-3, 6-4
Matthew Forbes d. Naoya Honda(JPN) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
Jagger Leach d. Jan Kumstat[6](CZE) 6-4, 7-6(6)
Federico Cina[3](ITA) d. Kase Schinnerer[Q] 7-6(7), 4-6, 6-2
Cooper Woestendick[15] d. Daniele Rapagnetta(ITA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-3

Thursday's third round matches featuring Americans:
Kaylan Bigun[1] v Amir Omarkhanov[13](KAZ)
Jagger Leach v Flynn Thomas[Q](SUI)
Cooper Woestendick[15] v Nicolai Budkov Kjaer[2](NOR)

Tyra Grant[4] v Vendula Valdmannova(CZE)
Iva Jovic[6] v Wakana Sonobe[11](JPN)

The first round of doubles competition featured several upsets, with boys No. 2 seeds Petr Brunclik of the Czech Republic and Jangjun Kim of Korea falling to Andrea De Marchi and Rapagnetta of Italy 6-4, 1-6, 12-10, and 2023 girls finalists Hannah Klugman and Isabelle Lacy losing to Rositsa Dencheva and Elizara Yaneva of Bulgaria 6-3, 1-6, 10-7.

The last American in the men's or women's Wimbledon singles, Taylor Fritz, lost in the quarterfinals today to Lorenzo Musetti of Italy 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.

The 14U tournament begins Thursday with two rounds of round robin play for the girls and one round for the boys, with the reverse of that schedule on Friday.

The boys round robin groups are here; the girls round robin groups are here.

Thursday's 14U round robin matches featuring Americans:
Maggie Sohns v Daniella Britton(GBR)
Maggie Sohns v Zoe Doldan(PAR)
Welles Newman v Sijia Zhang(CHN)
Welles Newman v Claudia Chacon(VEN)
Raya Kotseva v Liv Zingg(GBR)
Raya Kotseva v Tori Russell(AUS)

Michael Antonius v Takahiro Kawaguchi(JPN)
Jordan Lee v Taiki Takizawa(JPN)

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Sodden Day at Wimbledon Junior Championships With No Matches Completed; Navarro and Paul Fall in Quarterfinals; 14U Draws Released; James Blake on College Tennis; USTA National Clay Courts Update

©Colette Lewis 2024--

Four days into the Wimbledon Junior Championships just 64 singles matches and three doubles matches have been completed, with Tuesday's second round singles washed out due to steady rain from 11 a.m. until nearly 5 p.m.

The girls first round doubles matches were cancelled before noon, and the boys second round singles matches were cancelled a couple of hours later, leaving only the 16 girls second round singles matches on the schedule. More hours of waiting ensued before the girls finally took the courts, but the sun never appeared, drops kept falling and another two-hour delay was the result. Another attempt at play began around 7:20, but the grass was slippery and although a few points were played on a few courts, none of the matches were close to finishing when play was cancelled for the day at 8 p.m.

Tomorrow's forecast still has a slight chance of rain, but is much improved for the remainder of the week, at least for now. The boys second round of singles, the resumption of the girls second round singles and the first round of doubles for both boys and girls are on Wednesday schedule, and they have moved Wednesday's start time up a half an hour to 10:30 am to facilitate getting back on schedule. 

Wednesday's second round junior matches featuring Americans:
Kaylan Bigun[1] v Thomas Faurel(FRA)
Matthew Forbes v Naoya Honda(JPN)
Jagger Leach v Jan Kumstat[6](CZE)
Kase Schinnerer[Q] v Federico Cina[3](ITA)
Cooper Woestendick[15] v Daniele Rapagnetta(ITA)

Kristina Penickova[9] v Sonja Zhenikhova(GER) 5-5, postponed
Mayu Crossley(JPN) leads Tyra Grant[4] 5-3
Iva Jovic[6] leads Charo Esquiva Banuls(ESP) 6-0, 0-2
Annika Penickova[Q] v Jeline Vandromme[10](BEL)

The Wimbledon men's and women's quarterfinals were played under the roofs of Court One and Centre Court, with both Tommy Paul and Emma Navarro unable to advance. 

No. 7 seed Jasmine Paolini of Italy defeated No. 19 seed Navarro 6-2, 6-1, while defending champion and No. 3 seed Carlos Alcaraz[3] beat No. 12 seed Tommy Paul 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.  Former Longhorn Lulu Sun of New Zealand, who helped Texas claim the NCAA team title in 2021, lost to Donna Vekic 5-7, 6-4, 6-1, with the qualifier seeing her seven-match Wimbledon winning streak come to an end.

In her press conference after the match, Navarro admitted to disappointment at the result, but was encouraged by her performance in this tournament overall.

"I played the best tennis I've ever played in my life this tournament," said the University of Virginia's 2021 NCAA singles champion. "It's really exciting to know I have that level inside of me. I know I'll keep improving on it. I know this isn't the last time I'm going to be in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. I know I'll be back."

The last American left in singles, No. 13 seed Taylor Fritz, plays No. 25 seed Lorenzo Musetti of Italy tomorrow.

Now in its third year, the Wimbledon U14 tournament is scheduled to begin on Thursday, with five Americans in the 16-player fields.  The three US girls competing are Welles Newman, Maggie Sohns and Raya Kotseva. The two US boys competing are Michael Antonius and Jordan Lee. Although round robin play doesn't have seedings per se, Antonius is at the top of his group, and as the Les Petits As champion, a favorite for the title, as is Jana Kovackova, the Tennis Europe No. 1 in the 14s. Kovackova  defeated Newman, who is at the top of her group, in the Junior Orange Bowl final last December. Eddie Herr 14s champion Joyce Geng of Canada is also in the field.

The girls round robin draw is here; the boys round robin draw is here.

I had an opportunity to ask James Blake a question in the mixed zone that was held this morning for competitors in the Invitational Doubles tournament that was supposed to start today. When Blake went to Harvard in 1997-99, college tennis wasn't a well-regarded pathway for those who wanted to play professionally, but with all the success college players have had recently, I asked him what changes in the sport had led to college tennis's recent rise.
"I think part of it is the physicality of the sport. The fact that sometimes it takes longer to get to where you want to be and where you can be effective physically. So it takes a little more development. Going to college for a year, two years, having free training, that makes a big difference.

The other thing I see is the longevity. It used to be, especially for women, if I don't make it by the time I'm 18 or 19, I'm never going to make it, because women are retiring at 28 years old, and I don't have time. But now you can see them play after having kids, playing late into their 30s, so it gives them more ability to say, ok, I can continue to grow in college and still have a long career.

The John Isners on the men's side, he went for four years, Steve Johnson went for four years and still had very successful, long careers, so I think just seeing that and realizing that makes a big difference.

Now, very recently, the NIL (Name Image and Likeness) money can change things a little bit too. There's real money and you can get more there than if you were playing Futures, make more if you're getting six-figure deals from a big school. You wouldn't have made that playing the Tulsa Futures, or whatever. If you can do that and get the best training, have a good coach, have good training partners every day, it's definitely becomes more of a path now with NIL. 

It can actually give you a boost to start financially. Most of us when we started didn't have that. You're scraping by financially, staying four in a room, driving from Future to Future to build up those points until you can finally make it to Challengers and make some money so you can splurge on Outback and Applebee's. It's a process, and this can always jump start your process. I feel those players that had that kind of financial freedom early on, it gave them a little bit of an advantage.

Let's say they have $500,000 in the bank as a purse to work with. Now it's just a matter of budgeting it. How am I going to spend it? Am I going to spend it on a coach, a PT, a nutritionist, what about my training? And then the travel. Maybe I'm 6'4" and need to go first class because it hurts my legs, you can budget that and have that opportunity, as opposed to those that don't have that, there's only one option. I can't afford a coach, I can't afford gut string, I can't afford first class, I can only rent a car. That changes things. So if they get NIL money for a year or two, and they can use that, ok, now I can get my start. It makes a big difference."

Although the time difference makes it impossible to keep up with the USTA National Clay Courts, I did use the rain delay to check on the early round results, and thought it might be useful to provide an update on how the Top 8 seeds have fared. Click on the headings to see the draws and current results.

USTA National Clay Courts Top 8 Seeds:

1. Braeden Gelletich
2. Dylan Long
3. Ronit Karki
4. Mitchell Sheldon
5. Aidan Atwood
6. Lachlan Gaskell (out rd 2)
7. Shaurya Bharadwaj
8. Jack Satterfield

1. Gus Grumet
2. Gregory Bernadsky
3. Liam Alvarez
4. Erik Schinnerer
5. Graeme Angus
6. Omar Rhazali
7. Lucas Smith
8. Arjun Prabhakar

1. Tristan Stratton
2. Akshay Mirmira
3. Mason Vaughan
4. Luca Sevim
5. Tabb Tuck
6. Victor Pignaton
7. Gadin Arun
8. Carter Jauffret

1. Daniel Gardality
2. Evaan Mohan
3. Pranav Vignesh
4. Michael Chervenkov
5. Tony Xu
6. Blount Williams
7. Davidson Jackson (out rd 4)
8. Ayush Ananthuni (out rd 4)

1. Claire Hill
2. Anita Tu
3. Sophia Holod
4. Blair Gill (out rd 3)
5. Katie Spencer
6. Addison Bowman
7. Bella Payne
8. Lera Alexin (out rd 2)

1. Olivia Traynor
2. Alexandra Wolf
3. Carlota Moreno
4. Reagan Levine
5. Lyla Middleton
6. Riley Lepsi (out rd 2)
7. Kennedy Drenser-Hagmann
8. Lyla Messler (out rd 2)

1. Reiley Rhodes
2. withdrew
3. Enya Hamilton
4. Daniela Del Mastro
5. Allison Wang
6. Savannah Schmitz
7. Elle Groslimond
8. Emma Prose

1. Nadia Poznick
2. Leala Kramer (out rd 2)
3. Isha Manchla
4. Roxanne Luu
5. Anna Kapanadze
6. Jacqueline Nick
7. Tara Guhan
8. Violetta Mamina

Monday, July 8, 2024

First Round Complete at Wimbledon Junior Championships, with Top Seed Bigun, Roehampton Finalist Jovic Earning Victories; Wild Card Ceban Continues Grass Success Ousting Fifth Seed; Fritz's Comeback Makes Two US Men in Quarterfinals; Spizziri Wins Another $25K

©Colette Lewis 2024--


A year ago, Iva Jovic was missing her first opportunity to compete at the Wimbledon Junior Championships, with a serious injury keeping her out of competition for five months. After waiting an extra day due to rain on Sunday, the 16-year-old from Southern California finally made her debut at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, posting a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Julie Pastikova of the Czech Republic.

"I just remember being at home, and I was on crutches this time last year," Jovic said. "I was on ESPN Plus, watching all of my friends all day. It was summer, I didn't have too much school to do, so I was obsessed, watching all the scores, following all the matches. It's definitely nice to be here on the tennis court than to be on my couch in Los Angeles."

Jovic, seeded sixth this week, reached the final of last week's ITF J300 in Roehampton, her first grass tournament, although due to rain, the final was played on indoor hard. Jovic lost to Teodora Kostovic of Serbia 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(2), while claiming the doubles title with Tyra Grant.

"I think that was a disadvantage to me," Jovic said of the move indoors. "I don't know how many days in my life I've played indoor hard court; in SoCal we don't have that. Hats off to her, she played some good tennis last week, but I was right there."

Jovic had been told she had the game to excel on grass, but was wary until she finally competed on it.

"I've had coaches tell me the grass would suit me, but I didn't really know what to expect, because clay was supposed to be horrible for me, considering the way I play, and I've had some solid results on clay, so I'm like, you know what? who knows?," 
Jovic said.

"But now, I'm technically undefeated on grass, if you don't count the indoor hard final," Jovic joked. "I'm a little mad at ITF for having it 83 percent win percentage on grass, with no note the final was on hard court."

Jovic had no trouble in the first set Monday against Pastikova, but the 16-year-old Czech served for the second set at 5-3, when Jovic's level dropped serving at 3-4, 40-15. But Jovic rode some well-timed anger to claim the next four games and her first Wimbledon victory.

"I honestly just got a little pissed off at myself when I got broken," Jovic said. "We don't need to be here another hour, so let's be a little more intense with our feet, focus, and that helped me."

Jovic will face Charo Esquiva Banuls of Spain in the second round Tuesday.

Boys top seed Kaylan Bigun extended his junior slam winning streak to eight matches, with the Roland Garros boys champion defeating 16-year-old British wild card Max Carrier 6-0, 6-3. 

Bigun knows he is viewed differently now than he was at last year's Wimbledon Junior Championships, when he reached the quarterfinals unseeded.

"Obviously all these people have expectations, you have an aura around you a little bit more," said the 18-year-old left-hander from California, who is now training in Orlando. "This was a tournament I marked on my calendar at the beginning of the year, it is one of my favorite places to play. I wanted to enjoy it, because I don't know how many junior tournaments I have left, so I wanted to come here and experience every thing that's Wimbledon. I definitely have good memories from last year, cause this was the first slam I made a push into the later rounds, so it definitely is special. The grounds are unreal, the all-white factor, you feel like you're playing in a part of history, the players that have played here and the people who have come to this tournament."

Bigun is still planning to join the UCLA Bruins this fall, although a junior slam title does present options that may not have been there before.

"I'm taking it week by week, but for now, the plan is still for college tennis," Bigun said. "I'm super stoked, the coaches and guys, everyone is really welcoming and I feel like family there. I am really excited to attend."

Bigun will face incoming Kentucky freshman Thomas Faurel of France in Tuesday's second round, after Faurel defeated Maximo Zeitune of Argentina 7-6(4), 7-6(5).

Although the top four seeds in both draws advanced to the second round, No. 5 seed Luca Preda of Romania was eliminated by 15-year-old wild card Mark Ceban of Great Britain. Ceban had won the first set 7-6(2) on Sunday before the match was suspended, then returned today to take the second set 6-4.

Ceban, who won the Wimbledon 14U tournament last year, earned his wild card by winning the British National 16s championship, but had already marked himself as a threat when he reached the Roehampton semifinals last week, again as a wild card.

"Playing here last year helped me quite a lot, to feel comfortable, to try to keep my focus," Ceban said. "Playing here before brings back good memories, I have confidence here. You have to believe you can beat these guys, and I've focused on holding my service games."

Being much younger than most of the Roehampton and Wimbledon Junior competitors means Ceban doesn't have much knowledge of his opponents, but he did have a chance to watch watch Preda at Roehampton, where the Romanian was a quarterfinalist.

"I was trying to play aggressive, dictate the points more," said Ceban, who has been working with Alastair Filmer for the past several months and credits that relationship with his recent results. "Play front-foot tennis, really commit to my shots, and it worked out."

Ceban's second round opponent Tuesday is Hoyoung Roh of Korea.

The other British wild card to produce an upset Monday was 17-year-old Flora Johnson, who beat No. 7 seed Alena Kovackova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-2.

Three first round boys doubles matches were completed before drizzle halted play for the day at around 6 p.m., but boys doubles will now be put on hold, with only second round singles and girls first round doubles on the schedule for Tuesday. Unfortunately there is currently an 80 percent chance of rain in the forecast by early afternoon.

Monday's first round junior results of Americans:

Kaylan Bigun[1] d. Maximilian Carrier[WC](GBR) 6-0, 6-3
Kase Schinnerer[Q] d. Jamie Diack[WC](GBR) 7-5, 6-3
Cooper Woestendick[15] d. Tom Sickenberger[Q](GER) 6-3, 6-2
Jagger Leach d. Izan Almazan Valiente(ESP) 7-6(2), 7-5

Iva Jovic[6] d. Julie Pastikova(CZE) 6-1, 7-5
Tyra Grant[4] d. Lilli Tagger[Q](SUI) 6-4, 7-6(3)
Eliska Tichackova(CZE) d. Thea Frodin 6-4, 6-3 
Kristina Penickova[9] d. Yelysaveta Kotliar(UKR) 6-2, 6-1
Mia Pohankova[Q](SVK) d. Shannon Lam 6-2, 6-3

Tuesday's second round junior matches featuring Americans:
Kristina Penickova[9] v Sonja Zhenikhova(GER)
Tyra Grant[4] v Mayu Crossley(JPN)
Annika Penickova[Q] v Jeline Vandromme[10](BEL)
Iva Jovic[6] v Charo Esquiva Banuls(ESP)

Kaylan Bigun[1] v Thomas Faurel(FRA)
Matthew Forbes v Naoya Honda(JPN)
Jagger Leach v Jan Kumstat[6](CZE)
Kase Schinnerer[Q] v Federico Cina[3](ITA)
Cooper Woestendick[15] v Daniele Rapagnetta(ITA)

Taylor Fritz's comeback from two sets down to beat Alexander Zverev of Germany gives the United States two men's Wimbledon quarterfinalists for the first time since 2000, when there were three: Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Jan-Michael Gambill. No. 13 seed Fritz, who beat No. 4 seed Zverev 4-6, 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-3, joins Tommy Paul in the quarterfinals. Fritz and Paul met twice in junior slam finals in 2015, with Paul winning Roland Garros and Fritz claiming the US Open. 

Monday's fourth round results of Americans:
Taylor Fritz[13] d. Alexander Zverev[4] 4-6, 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-3
Barbora Krejcikova[31] d. Danielle Collins[11] 7-5, 6-3 

Tuesday's quarterfinals featuring Americans:
Emma Navarro[19] v Jasmine Paolini[7](ITA)
Tommy Paul[12] v Carlos Alcaraz[3](ESP)

I neglected to mention in last night's post that Eliot Spizzirri(Texas) won his second consecutive ITF men's $25,000 tournament Sunday, in Laval Canada. The two-time ITA Player of Year, seeded seventh, defeated qualifier Karl Poling(Princeton, North Carolina) 6-4, 6-2 in the final, after winning the Tulsa $25K title in June.

Qualifier Govind Nanda(UCLA) and No. 3 seed Stefan Dostanic(USC) met in the final of the SoCal Pro Series M15 in Lakewood California, with Nanda claiming a 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 victory.

In the women's W15 Lakewood final, unseeded 19-year-old  Rachel Gailis(Florida) defeated qualifier India Houghton(Stanford) 6-3, 6-4 for her first pro title.