Five from US Qualify for Australian Open; Sajous' Double Duty; Teen Tennis Draws Posted, Play Begins Sunday
Sorry for the late post, but I wanted to have the results from the final round of qualifying at the Australian Open first. It was a good day for American players, led by Donald Young, who breezed past former Old Dominion star Izak Van Der Merwe of South Africa 6-3, 6-1, to reach the main draw. Young, who qualified in Australia last year and won a round, lost only 11 games in three qualifying wins this week. Ryan Sweeting is the other American man qualifying; he beat Alex Kuznetsov yesterday to advance to the main draw. Unfortunately for the host country, no Australians made it through qualifying.
Three of the 12 women's qualifiers are from the U.S., with CoCo Vandeweghe, Irina Falconi and Jamie Hampton winning their final round matches in straight sets. Falconi has now qualified for slams in her first two attempts as a professional. It's interesting to note that all three played in the USTA's wild card tournament won by Lauren Davis, with Davis beating both Hampton and Vandeweghe. Speaking of Davis, she is writing a blog for usta.com, which can be found here. For complete draws, see australianopen.com.
There are plenty of examples of the difficulties a player encounters when he or she is trying to work through the lowest level of tennis's minor leagues. Today's case in point is the challenges faced by former Florida Atlantic and University of Texas player Olivier Sajous. Sajous, who lost to Wayne Odesnik in the finals of the wild card tournament for the Pro Circuit tournament in Plantation, and in the final round of qualifying to Andrei Daescu, got in to the main draw as a lucky loser and has reached the final of the $10,000 event. Unfortunately for him, he was forced to qualify for the next Futures, in nearby Tamarac, Florida, so he had to play a second match after winning his semifinal in Plantation. Usually a semifinalist receives a special exemption from qualifying, but two other Plantation semifinalists were also in Tamarac qualifying, Matej Bocko and Daniel Smethurst, and because they had higher ATP rankings than Sajous, they would have received the special exempts.
Sajous played and won his first Tamarac qualifying match, but lost to UCLA recruit Marcos Giron 6-3, 6-0 today. You can't help but wish the Haitian Davis Cupper receives a wild card into a bigger event soon. After the past couple of days, there's no denying he's willing to work for it, if given the chance.
Sajous plays Luka Gregorc of Slovenia in Sunday's Plantation final. In the final of the women's $25,000 in Plantation, No. 7 seed Alexandra Cadantu of Romania meets No. 8 seed Sharon Fichman of Canada. For complete draws, see the usta.com Pro Circuit results page.
The first of the two big 14-and-under tournaments, Aegon International Teen Tennis, begins main draw play on Sunday. Junior Orange Bowl 12s champion Nicole Frenkel qualified, while the three other U.S. girls on the trip, Julia O'Loughlin, Kenadi Hance and Carolyn Xie were given main draw slots. O'Loughlin is seeded 4 and Xie is seeded 9, and they have byes Sunday.
On the boys side, all four U.S. players were given main draw berths, with defending champion Stefan Kozlov (3), Henrik Wiersholm (9), and Francis Tiafoe (14) all seeded. Eduardo Nava is the fourth U.S. boy on the trip, and he is scheduled to play on Sunday.
For the draws and order of play, see the LTA website.