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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Top Seeded Estonian and Three Americans in Teen Tennis Boys Semis, Black and Higuchi in Girls Semis; Australian Open Junior Qualifying Draws

The USTA teams at the Aegon Junior International Teen Tennis in Bolton continued to find success, with three boys and two girls reaching the semifinals. Michael Mmoh, the third seed in the boys event, was the only player seeded to reach the semifinals. Francis Tiafoe, the 15th seed, advanced today with a 7-6(6) 7-6(3) win over No. 7 seed Daniel Bennett of Great Britain, and unseeded Nathan Ponwith took out No. 2 seed Samuel Sippel of Germany 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. William Blumberg, the fourth American boy on the trip, lost to top seed Kenneth Raisma of Estonia 6-4, 6-3. Tiafoe and Raisma will play in one semifinal, with Ponwith and Mmoh the other.

The boys doubles champions will be Americans, with No. 4 seeds Mmoh and Tiafoe taking on unseeded Blumberg and Ponwith in the final.

Tornado Ali Black, the No. 8 seed, and Emma Higuchi, the No. 11 seed, won through to the semifinals today. Black defeated No. 4 seed Aleksandra Pospelova of Russia 6-3, 6-0 and Higuchi downed No. 2 seed Simone Alipieva of Denmark 6-4, 6-3. Black and Nicole Frenkel will play for the doubles title, taking on Great Britain's Mai Lumsden and Jazzi Plews.

For complete results, see the Tennis Europe website.

On the other side of the globe, qualifier Krista Hardebeck beat fellow American Taylor Townsend 6-4, 6-2 to reach the semifinals of the Grade 1 in Traralgon, thereby earning a special exemption into the Australian Open junior championships. At least that's my guess, since she doesn't appear in the Australian Open qualifying draw that was released on Wednesday.

US girls in qualifying are Catherine Harrison, Elysse Graci and Julia Elbaba. The US boys in qualifying are Trey Strobel, Harrison Richmond and Mackenzie McDonald.

The qualifying draws are posted at the ITF junior website.