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Thursday, May 29, 2008

French Open Junior Qualifying Underway, Only One Possible Qualifier From U.S.

A big merci to Pierrick, our correspondent from France who did such an excellent job of reporting on Les Petits As in February, for keeping us dialed in on the French Open junior qualifying taking place at Montrouge Tennis Club in Paris.

Although both tournaments start on the middle Sunday, the U.S. Open juniors qualifying is on Friday and Saturday; in Paris, it is Thursday and Friday, so the first round was completed today. The sparse number of American players who took a chance on qualifying--one girl and three boys--is now down to one, as Alexa Guarachi, Harry Fowler and Ty Trombetta dropped their opening matches. Tennys Sandgren won his, and if he defeats Yannick Reuter of Belgium tomorrow, he will join Ryan Harrison, Bradley Klahn, Chase Buchanan and Jarmere Jenkins in the main draw. There are three U.S. girls: Melanie Oudin, Madison Brengle and Mallory Burdette. For the qualifying draws, see the French Federation website. All the above mentioned boys played this week's Grade 1 in Belgium, the Astrid Bowl. Fowler and Trombetta lost in the first round, Harrison and Sandgren in the second and Jenkins and Klahn in the quarterfinals. Buchanan plays unseeded Ilija Vucic of Serbia in the semifinals Friday. The ITF junior website is not being updated regularly, but the draws are available on the astrid-bowl.com under the heading Tableaux.

The ITF junior site published this preview, which I think is a good one. After his five-set loss to Andy Murray, France's Jonathan Eysseric is definitely one to watch; he recently won a 10K in Turkey on clay, and his ATP ranking, now inside 400, will assure that he's seeded in the top eight. The article mentions Guido Pella of Argentina, the Italian Open winner, but not Serbian Filip Krajinovic, who is waltzing through the draw at the Astrid Bowl despite not being seeded, and has earned a special exemption into the main draw with his performance, as has Milos Raonic, the big-serving Canadian.


5.0 Player said...

Some interesting junior tennis news from those very recent European ITF tournaments. Did anyone notice that Tomic, the first seed, got beat 2 & 0 by someone and that Harrison lost 2 & 1. One has to wonder if these other players have a huge advantage being more used to red clay.

I also noticed that David Souto Vargas seems to continue his jinx over Miccini. Souto Vargas prevailed again in 3 sets; this time Miccini had to retire.

Brent said...

Boy, Harrison and Jenkins both got lit up this week. Looks like Buchanan is into the finals on the back of his second default victory of the week. Regardless, a nice run. Harrison certainly hasn't continued the momentum from his ATP victory. The French will be interesting.

george said...

I think Filip Krajinovic should go all the way in Belgium and make a good breaktrough in Roland Garros as well. This kid is really something!

La magia - MHZ said...

The french will be very interested.
Like i'm form argentina ill talk a bit more about Pella. His victory at Bonfiglio was his first tourn. thit adidas clothes. He has a contract with IMG and a huge potential. (at my blog - in spanish - i have a HQ image of Guido)
A lefty with powerr and flat strokes but that managed clearly well the spins. really one to watch with Eysericc and Zé Pereyra.

sory for my poor english

tennisobserver said...

The cut-off for the French Open Jrs. qualies was 89 for boys and main was 51. Saw that all the American boys who could qualify went to Paris. Collete is the USTA finally supporting all its junior players who qualify for jr. slams?

Colette Lewis said...

There appears to have been a change in the elite junior support language on the High Performance section of usta.com. Here is the current link. Note the grant is only for those who qualify for the main draw.

floridatennis said...

Hey collete

Considering there are only 8 boys and 6 girls in the top ITF 100 ridiculous that the USTA does not support all its players that qualify to play the junior slams. IT's not as if the USTA does not have the resources. Suggest you put a suggestion box up for the new head of high performance so he can get some views from the trenches outside the ivroy tower view of USTA high performance.

AndrewD said...

5.0 player,

With kids like Tomic, clay is something they get to practise on only when they go to Europe and, even then, only for a day or two, at most, before playing an event (Australia has few red clay courts and in Queensland, where Tomic is based, there aren't any). Not surprisingly it can take those players a few events to fully adjust their strokes (in Tomic's case; quite flat off the forehand)and mindset. In all reality, they might not be able to make the adjustment before the clay circuit is over and they're on to grass and hardcourts.

Regardless, it's the same advantage Australian, English and American players used to enjoy when grass was in vogue. The clay-courters used to struggle to adjust and, often times, wouldn't come to grips with the foreign surface before the circuit was finished.

Of course, the French players continually display no trouble in adjusting their games to clay, hard courts or grass so any excuses just don't wash.

Pierrick said...

To AndrewD,

There aren't THAT many clay courts in France. I mean, there are obivously more clay courts in France than in the US for example, but not as many as in Spain or other countries. The clubs that have clay courts are usually rich clubs located in big cities. The majority of the courts are hard courts (less expensive and easier to maintain) or fake clays - just a concrete court with brick powder scattered over it. This type is the most frequent among clay courts, and players often complain because they are not "real, genuine" clay courts. Besides, more and more clubs end up sweeping off the clay to turn the courts into regular hard courts.
Talking about clay, I have a question regarding those green clay courts I've seen in America. What kind of clay is that? Has the clay been dyed? Is the bounce similar to that of a red clay court?
Thanks for your answers.

paris5.0 said...

As an American 5.0 living in Paris went to see the first round of jr. qualies and impressed with the grit and quality of play of the two Americans I saw. Sandgrens very solid, played a hard fought match and won. Down in the third and came back, never stopped fighting. Saw Fowler, quick, great anticipation, and forehand. Assumed he had won because when I left he had the first set 6-3 and was up 3-0 in the second. Both will be contenders here on red clay in Paris next year, no doubt about that.

Brent said...

Wow, rough draw for the American boys. Buchanan has to play Eysseric in the first round and Harrison has to play Raonic, who just beat him 1 & 1. Youch.

Colette Lewis said...

I've asked Harold Solomon, the French Open finalist who now coaches at his academy in Ft. Lauderdale, to explain the difference in U.S. and European clay in our next Coaches Q and A segment.

Pierrick said...

Thank you Colette! I look forward to it. The action shots of the second slide are great, by the way.