Monday, June 18, 2012

Nine US Men Win in Opening Day of Wimbledon Qualifying, Edmund Raises British Hopes; Women's Qualifying Starts Tuesday; ITF Junior Update

The opening round of qualifying at Wimbledon was good for American men, with nine of the 12 winning their first round matches. It wasn't a good day for the British men, with seven of the nine wild cards failing to advance to Tuesday's second round of play.

The US men advancing were Michael Yani, Michael Russell(4), Jesse Levine(5) (10-8 in the third), Tim Smyczek, Ryan Sweeting(21), Rajeev Ram(8), Denis Kudla, Wayne Odesnik(20) and Brian Baker.  Bobby Reynolds(14), was the only seeded American to lose, dropping a tough 11-9 in the third decision to Erik Chvojka of Canada. Alex Kuznetsov lost to Ryan Sweeting in the only all-American first rounder, and Robby Ginepri went out to Sergei Bubka of Ukraine.

The only two British players to advance were Chris Eaton, who beat Australian teenager Ben Mitchell 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-4, and 17-year-old Kyle Edmund. Edmund had the best win of his brief career today, defeating No. 12 seed and current ATP No. 102 Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-4. Edmund, whose ATP ranking is 1300, will play Marcel Felder of Uruguay Tuesday. In a somewhat surprising development, I haven't been able to find any press accounts of Edmund's win, but it ended late and today was busy, with the Birmingham final (which Melanie Oudin won over Jelena Jankovic), the start of the Eastbourne tournaments, and the David Nalbadian Queens Club default aftermath. I'm sure should Edmund post another win on Tuesday, he will get sufficient attention.

The women's draw, which is 96, not 128 like the men's, is out and the first round of qualifying begins Tuesday for 12 main draw berths.

There are ten American women in the qualifying draw: Tetiana Luzhanska, Madison Brengle, Madison Keys, Grace Min, Alison Riske, Gail Brodsky, Julia Cohen(19), Alex Glatch, CoCo Vandeweghe(14) and Jill Craybas.

Keys and Min are among six juniors competing in the qualifying, and I am using the ITF age restrictions in determining that. French Open champion Annika Beck of Germany is joined by 2010 French girls champion Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, Saisai Zheng of China and wild card Katy Dunne of Great Britain.

For the draws and results, see the Wimbledon website.

In ITF Junior action, 14-year-old Ana Konjuh of Croatia continued her outstanding spring on the clay, winning the Grade 1 tournament in Offenbach, Germany last week.  It is her fifth title of the year, and her second Grade 1 in as many months, and her ITF world junior ranking is now all the way up to 18. At the time of the French cutoff, it wasn't high enough to get her in there, but after her Grade 1 win last month, her ranking rose enough to receive entry into the main draw at Wimbledon.

Orange Bowl 16s champion Hyeon Chung of Korea took the boys title in Offenbach, his first Grade 1 title. Chung, now ranked 22, will not be playing Wimbledon.

In last week's Grade 4 in Guatemala, unseeded 14-year-old Ellie Halbauer of the US won her first ITF junior title. Halbauer beat No. 4 seed Jennifer Paola Artiga Henriquez of El Salvador 6-1, 6-3 in the final. Artiga Henriquez had beaten Halbauer in the final of the previous week's Grade 4 in El Salvador.