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Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Australian Open Preview; Teen Tennis Boys Championship Match Again Features Two Americans; Black in TT Girls Singles Final, Wins Doubles

I spent the day at the Pro Tennis World Futures in Sunrise today, and I'll have more on the second round matches in a separate post later tonight, but I wanted to pass along a link to the Australian Open Junior Championship preview I wrote for the Tennis Recruiting Network. Last night, after I submitted the story, qualifier Krista Hardebeck beat Russia's Yulia Putintseva, the No. 3 seed, 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the final of the Grade 1 in Traralgon. She will play No. 6 seed Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia in the final Friday (Thursday night here in the US). Top seed Luke Saville of Australia will play No. 16 seed Filip Peliwo of Canada in the boys final. For draws, see the ITF Junior website.

I also wanted to update everyone on the results of today's action at the Teen Tennis 14-and-under tournament in Bolton, England. For the second consecutive year, two American boys will meet in the final, with Michael Mmoh, the No. 3 seed, playing No. 15 seed Francis Tiafoe for the title. Last year, Stefan Kozlov beat Henrik Wiersholm in the final. Mmoh beat Nathan Ponwith of the US 6-0, 6-3, while Tiafoe, a semifinalist last year, eliminated top seed Kenneth Raisma of Estonia 7-6(3), 7-5. The unseeded American team of William Blumberg and Ponwith won the doubles title over the two singles finalists however, beating Mmoh and Tiafoe 3-6, 7-5, 10-7.

Although seeded No. 8, Tornado Ali Black of the US had no trouble with top seed Olga Fridman of Ukraine, taking a 6-2, 6-1 decision to reach the final. She will no doubt be tested by the British crowd, who will be supporting their own Maia Lumsden, the No. 5 seed, who beat No. 11 seed Emma Higuchi of the US 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 in the semifinals.

Black has already secured one Teen Tennis title, as she and fellow American Nicole Frenkel, the No. 4 seeds, beat No. 3 seeds Lumsden and Jazzy Plews of Great Britain 6-2, 5-7, 10-6.

For complete draws, see the Tennis Europe website.