French Junior Championships Begin Sunday with 13 Americans in Main Draw; Stephens in Women's Fourth Round; Hibi Reaches Final of $10K, Sanchez and Pegula Vie for $50K Title
The draws have been released and play begins on Sunday for the Roland Garros Junior Championships. There will be 48 junior singles matches Sunday, with top seeds Taylor Townsend of the US and Luke Saville of Australia, the reigning Australian Open junior champions, in action against French wild cards.
Townsend plays Manon Arcangioli and Saville faces Maxime Hamou, while No. 2 seeds Annika Beck of Germany and Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy are also on Sunday's schedule. The 18-year-old Beck, who received her seeding based on a WTA ranking of 165, plays Victoria Bosio of Argentina, while Quinzi, the 16-year-old winner of the Grade A in Milan last month, is up against Alexios Halebian of the US.
The United States has 13 players in the main draw, with six of them seeded. In addition to Townsend, girls seeds from the US are Chalena Scholl(9), Sachia Vickery(10) and Allie Kiick(16). Unseeded US girls are Kyle McPhillips, Jennifer Brady and Krista Hardebeck. Vickery, who won the doubles title in the Grade 1 in Belgium yesterday, is not on the schedule, nor is Brady. Christina Makarova, who was seeded last week in Belgium, but did not play, giving her opponent a walkover in the second round, was a late withdrawal. Other late withdrawals were No. 4 Yulia Putintseva, a Russian who has recently begun playing for Kazakhstan, and Indy de Vroome of the Netherlands, who is 11 in the current ITF junior rankings.
In the boys draw, Mitchell Krueger(8) will play on Sunday, but No. 12 seed Mackenzie McDonald, also of the US, is not on the schedule. In addition to Krueger and Halebian, Spencer Papa, Noah Rubin and qualifier Thai Kwiatkowski of the US wiill also play their opening round matches Sunday. McDonald is in a very difficult quarter of the draw, which includes No. 3 seed Liam Broady of Great Britain, No. 5 seed Filip Peliwo of Canada, the Australian Open finalist, and equally dangerous, unseeded Thiago Monteiro of Brazil. Monteiro just won a Futures in Brazil on clay, so he is eager to improve upon his indifferent results in the past three junior slams.
The Russian girls make up the biggest contingent in the junior draw, with nine players, including three seeds. This is excluding the French boys, who have ten, but eight of those are wild cards. There are no French girls in the main draw based on their own rankings--all eight are wild cards. The six US players in the field are the most in the boys draw (again excepting France's wild cards), with Great Britain, Italy and Australia each having four competitors. After the Russian girls, it's the US with seven competitors and Canada with four.
The complete draws can be found at the tournament website. The qualifying draws are available at the ITF junior website.
Nineteen-year-old Sloane Stephens is just a year removed from junior eligibility, but she has reached the fourth round of the women's event, where she will meet Samantha Stosur of Australia, the No. 6 seed, on Sunday. Stephens has picked up straight-set wins over Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the US and Mathilde Johansson of France this week, and a lot of new fans, at least fans who had not jumped on her bandwagon after her appearance in the third round at the US Open last September. For more on Stephens, see this article from the New York Times.
In the less glamorous US Pro Circuit, two other teenagers reached finals with wins today. Mayo Hibi, the 16-year-old California resident who plays ITF tournaments under the Japanese flag, reached her first Pro Circuit final in the $10,000 tournament in Hilton Head, SC, defeating qualifier Breaunna Addison of the US 7-6(2), 6-3. Hibi, the No. 7 seed, will play No. 3 seed Jessica Moore of Australia in Sunday's final. In the doubles final today, No. 2 seeds Anamika Bhargava and Sylvia Krywacz of the US took the title over the unseeded team of Jelena Durisic of Slovenia and Rio Kitagawa of Japan 6-1, 6-4.
At the $50,000 Sacramento challenger, 18-year-old Jessica Pegula of the US came back from 4-1 down in the third set to defeat Samantha Crawford 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 and earn a place in the final against former Southern California All-American Maria Sanchez. The fourth-seeded Sanchez, who has been playing great tennis all spring, beat No. 7 seed Valeria Solovieva of Russia 6-0, 6-1 in the semifinals.
For complete draws for both tournaments, see the Pro Circuit page at usta.com.