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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Melichar, Efferding Win in College Station; Pegula Beats Panova in MPS Qualifying; Rafter, Molik To Coach Australian Jr. Davis & Fed Cups

The Grade 4 ITF in College Station wrapped up today, with No. 13 seed Nicole Melichar and No. 12 seed Jeremy Efferding winning their first ITF titles. Efferding, 15, defeated No. 6 seed Shane Vinsant 6-4, 6-0 in singles, and also beat him in doubles. Efferding and Andrew Korinek defeated Vinsant and Spencer Newman 4-6, 6-0, 10-7.

Melichar, also 15, beat unseeded Hideko Tachibana 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, and I believe, by making the final Melichar earned a Special Exempt spot in the International Spring Championships in Carson. Melichar had reached the final of another Texas ITF last October, losing to Elizabeth Begley, but one of the players she defeated along the way, Jessica Pegula, had an even bigger win than Melichar today.

Pegula, who received a wild card into the qualifying for the $220,000 WTA event in Ponte Vedra Beach, defeated 20-year-old Alexandra Panova of Russia, ranked 181, 6-3, 6-0. Pegula, also 15, gets former Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli, ranked 13th, in her next qualifying match. Bartoli was down 6-1, 3-1 to Lauren Albanese today, but rallied for a 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 win. Alison Riske, who won a qualifying wild card in a tournament last month, lost in the first round, as did Gabriela Paz. Melanie Oudin won her opening qualifying match against Anna Tatishvili. For the qualifying draw, see the MPS Group website. For the College Station results, see the TennisLink site.

A trio of Texas boys got an opportunity to play qualifying at the U.S. Clay Court Championships today, but none were able to make an impact. Harry Fowler, Ben Chen and Daniel Whitehead all fell in straight sets in today's first round. Filip Krajinovic of Serbia did win his opening match in qualifying. For full results, see the ATP draws.

Tennis Australia has gotten some big names to coach their Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup teams, with Patrick Rafter and Alicia Molik being selected to work with the top 16-and-under players for the upcoming international competition. For more details, see the ITF junior website.