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Thursday, September 1, 2011

USO Junior Qualifying Draws Posted; Stephens Beats Peer to Reach Third Round at US Open

Qualifying for the juniors begins Friday, and the draws are available now at usopen.org. In keeping with the theme of the young American women breaking out at this US Open, there are 14 US girls in the 32-player qualifying draw, only five of which are wild cards. It looks as if the special exempts from the Canada ITF were cleared, with the two "next in" on the acceptance lists not appearing in the qualifying draws.

The US girls in qualifying are: Kimberly Yee(WC), Kelsey Laurente(14), Natalia Maynetto, Katrine Steffensen, Lauren Herring(3), Jennifer Brady, Nicole Gibbs, Tristen Dewar(15), Jamie Loeb(WC), Chalena Scholl(WC), Catherine Harrison(WC), Denise Starr(WC), Blair Shankle and Julia Elbaba(13).

There's a much smaller representation of US boys in the qualifying draw, with only Emmett Egger and Alex Petrone joining the five wild cards: Nikko Madregallejo, Spencer Papa, Martin Redlicki, Michael Redlicki and Noah Rubin.

Brett Clark and Thai Kwiatkowski are the final two recipients of wild cards in the boys main draw. For the initial list of wild cards, see this post. Hannah King has received the wild card that Allie Kiick was originally granted and did not need.

The order of play for junior qualifying can be found on Thursday's schedule.

You may also notice the two night matches at Arthur Ashe on the schedule with Christina McHale playing Maria Kirilenko and Jack Sock taking on Andy Roddick. I arrive in New York tomorrow, so if the travel schedule doesn't get out of sync, I may be able to see a bit of those two matches.

A quick note from Canada's Grade 1. Qualifier Sachia Vickery has reached Friday's semifinal, where she will meet 14-year-old Canadian Francoise Abanda, the No. 15 seed. The other semifinal is No. 2 seed Eugenie Bouchard of Canada against No. 5 seed Indy de Vroome of the Netherlands. In the boys semifinals, top seed Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic will face No. 15 seed Julien Cagnina of Belgium. Great Britain's Oliver Golding, the No. 10 seed, will play the winner of tonight's match between Liam Broady of Great Britain and Filip Horansky of Slovakia. Draws and results are available at the tournament's website.

Today, 18-year-old Sloane Stephens added to the US Open excitement generated by Christina McHale's and Irina Falconi's upsets Wednesday, beating No. 23 Shahar Peer of Israel 6-2, 7-6(4). Stephens served very well in the opening set, and Peer was making a lot of unforced errors. The commentators on the usopen.org stream thought Peer might have taken Stephens lightly, but after a few games, Peer knew she had to pick up her level, and in the second set she did. She served for the second set after breaking Stephens at 3-4, but never got a set point, hitting a routine rally ball wide at 30-40. Stephens gave Peer a chance in the next game, but at deuce Peer made two forehand errors on consecutive points to make it 5-5. After two easy holds, it was on to the tiebreaker, and although it didn't produce a lot of scintillating winners, it was interesting to see how the inexperienced Stephens and the veteran Peer reacted to the pressure. Stephens didn't get many first serves in, but was steady on her second serve, and she showed great patience in many of the points. Peer made two backhand errors to give Stephens a 6-3 lead and three match points. Stephens sailed a forehand way wide to give one away, but on the next one, she stroked a forehand winner to set up a meeting with No. 16 seed Anna Ivanovic of Serbia.

Vania King also beat a seed today, taking out No. 29 seed Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia 6-2, 6-0. That gives the US five women in the third round, the most since 2004, when there were eight.

There was a lot of doubles action today, with mixed results for the NCAA champions. Texas A & M's Jeff Dadamo and Austin Krajicek lost to the Colombian team of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 7-6(2), 6-4, while Stanford's Hilary Barte and Mallory Burdette beat another US wild card team, Alexa Glatch and Jamie Hampton 6-4, 6-4.

In mixed doubles, Steve Johnson and Irina Falconi teamed for a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic and Horia Tecau of Romania. Jack Sock and Melanie Oudin also won their first round match in mixed doubles, saving a match point in the deciding tiebreaker to beat Vladimira Uhlirova of the Czech Republic and Filip Polasek of Slovakia 6-4, 0-6, 11-9.

Draws can be found at usopen.org.