Tuesday, September 28, 2010

U.S. Girls Advance as Junior Fed Cup Begins in Mexico; Third Round of Waco ITF Wednesday

There were upsets aplenty today in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, where the first round of the Junior Fed Cup and Junior Davis Cup was completed today. The biggest shock came in the Junior Davis Cup, when top seed France was blanked by unseeded Latvia. Two of the other eight seeds in the Junior Davis Cup were beaten, with No. 5 Czech Republic and No. 8 China losing to India and Argentina respectively. Although No. 3 Japan, No. 4 Great Britain and No. 6 Chile won their matches, they needed to take the doubles point to do so, which indicates that there is a lot of parity among the boys teams. Among the seeds, only No. 2 Canada and No. 7 Australia won both singles matches today. The U.S. boys did not qualify for the Junior Davis Cup this year, losing to Canada in the North American regional. Mexico, as host, receives a wild card into the event.

In the Junior Fed Cup, the U.S. girls, seeded No. 4, beat the Czech Republic 3-0, with Grace Min and Krista Hardebeck picking up the two singles points and Min and Kyle McPhillips taking the doubles point. The U.S. team's next match is against No. 5 seed Japan, which was upset by France today 2-1, with France winning both singles points. There was no surprise result among the top 4 seeds, with China (1), Russia (2) and Ukraine (3) advancing, but No. 7 Bolivia and No. 8 Germany both lost, to Australia and Belarus respectively. No. 6 seed Uzbekistan defeated Paraguay.

Iron girl Daria Gavrilova heads the Russian Junior Fed Cup team, hoping to lead them to the title for the second straight year. After winning the U.S. Open girls title on the 12th of this month, the world's top-ranked junior went to the Redding $25K, where she reached the quarterfinals, and to last week's $75K in Albuquerque, where she lost in the second round, after beating Michelle Larcher de Brito in the first. Fortunately for her, Albuquerque is also in high altitude (both cities are over a mile high), so her adjustment time for the conditions in Mexico wasn't as short as it may have seemed.

The ITF is covering the tournament in great detail on its website, Susan Mullane is there again as the photographer, and they are doing live streaming of a few matches at this website.

The U.S. ITF circuit is in Waco this week, and 13-year-old Julia O'Loughlin has already eliminated the No. 1 seed in second round play today. As is often the case for low-level ITF events (Waco is a Grade 5), there are lots of "upsets", as top local players who do not compete regularly on the circuit often beat those who have accumulated enough points for seeding. There are only three seeded players left in the girls round of 16. Seven of the 16 boys seeds remain, but not No. 1 seed Srikar Alla, who lost to Charles Boyce of Cedar Hill Texas, which is less than 90 miles north of Waco. For complete results, see the TennisLink site.