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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Papa Wins ITF Grade 1 Banana Bowl; Grade A Copa Gerdau Begins Monday; Sony Ericsson Wild Cards, Qualifying Draws Released

Spencer Papa, who reached the semifinals of the Grade 1 Asuncion Bowl in Paraguay last week, collected his first Grade 1 singles title yesterday, winning the Banana Bowl in Brazil as an unseeded wild card. Papa, who trains at the USTA's Boca Raton National Center, beat No. 15 seed Daniel Santos, No. 3 seed and Asuncion Bowl champion Gianluigi Quinzi, and No. 10 seed Juan Ignacio Galarza on the red clay before taking out qualifier Quentin Halys in the semifinals. In the final, Papa beat unseeded Pietro Licciardi of Italy 6-2, 6-3, completing his run to the title without dropping a set.

Chalena Scholl, who won the Asuncion Bowl to bring her ITF ranking into the Top 20, beat top seed Montserrat Gonzalez of Paraguay in the quarterfinals of the Banana Bowl, but fell in the semifinals to eventual champion Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan. That ended Scholl's South American win streak at 13, as she had won the Uruguay Bowl two weeks ago as well.

Danilina won the doubles title too, with she and partner Zuzanna Maciejewska of Poland, the No. 1 seeds, beating unseeded Ferny Angels Paz of Peru and Katrine Steffensen of the US 6-1, 6-2 in the final. Quinzi, of Italy and Christian Garin of Chile, the No. 2 seeds, won the boys doubles title with a 4-6, 6-0, 10-7 victory over No. 8 seeds Jorge Panta Herreros and Santos of Peru.

The main draw of the Grade A Copa Gerdau begins Monday, also in Brazil, with three Americans reaching the main draw through qualifying. Jared Donaldson, Louisa Chirico and Rima Asatrian will join 16 other Americans in the main draw. In what seems like a violation of the separation of players from the country procedure called for in the ITF rules, Donaldson and Chirico have both been placed against other Americans in the first round. Chirico will play top seed Kyle McPhillips, while Donaldson has been drawn to face Papa, seeded 16th. The other US players competing in the main draw are Mackenzie McDonald(14), Thai Kwiatkowski, Luca Corinteli, Stefan Kozlov, Martin Redlicki, Trey Strobel, Denise Starr, Blair Shankle, Stephanie Nauta(16), Tornado Ali Black, Sachia Vickery(8), Steffensen, Kelsey Laurente and June Lee. Thiago Monteiro of Brazil is the top seed and defending champion. The ITF preview, which doesn't quite have the seedings right on the girls side, is available here.

The main draw wild cards for the Sony Ericsson were announced yesterday, and the lack of young American girls among that group was surprising. Venus Williams is the only US woman to receive a wild card. The others went to: Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada, Olivia Rogowska of Australia, Alisa Kleybanova of Russia, Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia, Heather Watson of Great Britain, Garbine Muguruza Blanco of Spain and Zhang Shuai of China.

Three American men did receive wild cards: Ryan Harrison, Denis Kudla and Jesse Levine. The other two went to Marinko Matosevic of Australia and Fernando Gonzalez of Chile, who is retiring after the tournament.

The qualifying draws were posted this evening, and include more wild cards. The men's qualifying wild cards went to Gastao Elias of Portugal, Marco Chiudinelli of Switzerland, Sergi Bubka of Ukraine, Dan Evans of Great Britain and Tim Smyczek of the US.

The women's qualifying wild cards went to Lauren Davis and Madison Keys of the US, Naomi Broady of Great Britain, Caroline Garcia of France, Indy De Vroome of the Netherlands and Anastasia Pivovarova of Russia. Young American women in qualifying who did not receive main draw wild cards are Sloane Stephens, Jamie Hampton, Alison Riske, Irina Falconi and Varvara Lepchenko. Stephens plays the 15-year-old De Vroome in the opening round of qualifying Monday. The qualifying draw and Monday's order of play can be found at the tournament website.


USA Papa said...

Congratulations to Spencer Papa - happy to see a great person improving so much and doing so well.