USTA Junior Boys Team vs. Alabama; Plaza Cup Begins Saturday; Kozlov Repeats as Teen Tennis Champion; Styslinger Qualifies in AO Juniors
We were fortunate to escape mid-winter in Michigan this week for our annual visit to South Florida for the Plaza Cup, a USTA regional tournament with level 3 points. Other than the date change--it was held over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend the previous four years--there aren't any changes of note. It's a 32-draw three-day event with a full feed-in and doubles for 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s. I will primarily be covering the boys and girls 18s and boys 14s at Salvadore Park, which features 13 Har-Tru courts. For the draws, see the TennisLink site.
Usually on this trip I try to spend a couple of days at one of the Futures events, but with the USTA National Junior team's match with Alabama scheduled for yesterday, there wasn't much time for that. (My coverage of that event was posted this morning on the Tennis Recruiting Network website.) I did stop by the Tamarac Futures, held at the Woodmont Country Club, which is the site of the Synergy Tennis Academy. I had a chance to talk with Diego Ayala, one of the principals, who I knew from his coaching on the junior circuit. He spoke of the renovations that had been completed in the year and a half since they've taken over the 20-court facility, and in addition to the Futures tournament, now in its second year there, they are hoping to add national junior events.
I watched the four quarterfinals in the company of the Challenger Tennis blog's proprietor, and I'll leave him to recount the tennis shots made and the emotions on display, but rest assured, there were plenty of both. Phillip Simmonds of the U.S. will play No. 3 seed Alex Bogdanovic of Great Britain in one semifinal, while Dan Smethurst of Great Britain meets Daniel Garza of Mexico in the other. In the women's $25K in Lutz, on the other side of the state, qualifier Jessica Pegula has continued her excellent play, reaching the semifinals with a straight-set win over Jennifer Elie, also of the U.S. Pegula took out Julia Boserup and top seed Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal in her first two main draw matches.
The first round of four rounds of qualifying for the Weston Futures was completed, despite widespread rain in the afternoon throughout the area. Many of the players in the match I covered yesterday advanced to the second round. For complete results, see the Pro Circuit page at usta.com.
At the Aegon International Teen Tennis 14-and-under event, 12-year-old Stefan Kozlov repeated as champion with a 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 victory over doubles partner Henrik Wiersholm. The girls title went to Anastasiya Rychagova of Russia, who defeated Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia 6-1, 6-1. For complete draws, see the LTA website.
Next up for the U.S. 14-and-under quartets is Les Petits As in Tarbes France. All eight Americans are in the main draw, which begins Monday.
Qualifying is complete at the Australian Open Junior championships, and Mac Styslinger of the U.S. earned a place in the main draw with two wins on Friday. The draws have not yet been released, but the ITF junior website has a preview of the action, which begins Sunday. Marcia Frost will be covering the U.S. juniors matches for collegeandjuniortennis.com.