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Monday, May 16, 2011

Collins, Corinteli Win Titles at Plantation ITF; Stephens Wins 50K; Sock Takes Fourth Straight HS Title; Giron's Streak Continues at Italian Open


Lots of news in junior tennis that went to the backburner over the NCAA regional weekend, so it's time to catch up.

At the ITF Grade 4 in Plantation, unseeded qualifier Danielle Collins collected her first ITF title, which is not surprising, considering the two-time Spring National champion had played only two prior to last week: The Eddie Herr in 2009, and the Easter Bowl this year. Collins dropped her only set of the tournament in the semifinals to International Spring Champion Samantha Crawford, coming away with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 win and beat last week's champion and No. 4 seed Allie Kiick in the final 6-0, 6-2. Fifteen-year-old Luca Corinteli, also unseeded beat 13-year-old wild card Stefan Kozlov in the final 1-6, 7-6(3), 6-3, having beaten his USTA training partners Nikko Madregallejo and Thai Kwiatkowski in the quarterfinals and semifinals. Kwiatkowski and Madregallejo won the doubles title 6-3, 6-2 over No. 3 seeds Mate Cutura of Croatia and Marlu Van Vuuren of South Africa. The girls doubles title went to top seeds Jennifer Brady and Taylor Townsend, who beat No. 5 seeds Chalena Scholl and Katrine Steffensen. Townsend is putting together an amazing streak in ITF doubles, having won 25 consecutive matches in five straight ITF tournaments dating back to a finals loss in the Atlanta ITF back in October. This is the first ITF tournament she's won without Gabby Andrews as her partner. For complete results from Plantation, see the ITF Junior website.

Another streak continued today in Milan, as Marcos Giron won his first round match at the Grade A Italian Open, his 19th consecutive ITF junior singles victory. Giron defeated Kaichi Uchida of Japan 6-2, 6-4. He will play No. 8 seed Joao Sorgi of Brazil in the second round. Alexios Halebian and Bjorn Fratangelo also advanced to the second round after wins today, but No. 14 seed Shane Vinsant, Connor Farren, Mitchell Krueger and Mac Styslinger lost their opening matches on the red clay. The only US girl remaining is Tristen Dewar, who has not yet played her first round match. The other two American girls, Stephanie Nauta and Christina Makarova, lost their first round matches to seeded players today.

Top seeds Hugo Dellien of Bolivia and Irina Khromacheva of Russia, who won the Grade 1 title in Santa Croce Saturday, won their opening matches, but there were other surprises. No. 2 seed Eugenie Bouchard of Canada lost her first round match, and No. 6 seed George Morgan of Great Britain was beaten by 15-year-old Italian wild card Gianluigi Quinzi. The ITF website hasn't been updated, but results are available at the club's website.

Also in Italy, but no longer playing junior events, is 18-year-old Sloane Stephens, who won her first ITF Women's Circuit title at the $50,000 tournament in Reggio Emilia. Stephens, the No. 6 seed, beat No. 2 seed Sabine Lisicki of Germany in the semifinals and top seed Anastasiya Yakimova of Belarus in the final, both in straight sets. Stephens is now at a career-high WTA ranking of 138.

Jack Sock has been playing high school tennis the past couple of months, and on Saturday he won his fourth consecutive state high school championship. There have been many articles in the past few weeks focusing on Sock's high school career and his future, with the decision about turning pro or going to college the big question. Sock has been saying since he won the US Open boys title in September that he would delay his decision until he graduates from high school, and he hasn't wavered from that. This feature from the Kansas City Star reveals there were people who objected to Sock playing high school tennis and questioned his amateur status, which I can't remember ever hearing about for Sock or any other high school tennis player. For the account of Sock's win at the state championships, see this article from the Topeka Capital-Journal.

The Pro Circuit is relatively quiet this week, with the French Open qualifying part of the reason. Five American men are in qualifying, which begins tomorrow: Alex Bogomolov, the No. 1 seed, Alex Kuznetsov, 18th seed Ryan Harrison, 9th seed Bobby Reynolds and Jesse Witten. For the draw, see rolandgarros.com.

Former Arkansas All-American Blake Strode won the $10,000 Futures in Tampa, defeating top seed Lester Cook 6-3, 6-4 in the final. Ashley Fisher of Australia and Chris Haggard of South Africa, the No. 3 seeds, won the doubles title over former University of Texas star Josh Zavala and his partner Clayton Almeida of Brazil.

At the $50,000 women's event in Raleigh, NC, Petra Rampre of Slovenia defeated No. 6 seed Camila Giorgi of Italy 6-3, 6-2. The top-seeded doubles team of Canadians Sharon Fichman and Marie-Eve Pellettier defeated Beatrice Capra and Asia Muhammad 6-1, 6-3 in the final.

This week there is one Pro Circuit event, a $10,000 women's tournament in Landisville, Pa. Brooke Austin, Robin Anderson, Julia Casselbury and Skylar Morton received wild cards. Morton plays Chanelle Van Nguyen in the first round Tuesday.

For complete draws, see the Pro Circuit page at usta.com.