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Saturday, August 18, 2012

US Boys Win ITF 14U World Junior Tennis Championships, Slovakia Takes Girls Title; Vickery, Gibbs Reach Final Round of Qualifying for New Haven; US Open National Playoffs

all photos taken at 2012 International Spring Championships, Carson, Calif.

The top-seeded US boys 14-and-under team of William Blumberg, Michael Mmoh and Francis Tiafoe won the ITF World Junior Tennis championships today in the Czech Republic, defeating defending champion and No. 2 seed Korea 2-0. Mmoh downed YunSeong Chung 6-4, 6-3 at No. 2 singles and Tiafoe clinched the victory by defeating DuckHee Lee 7-5, 6-4 at No. 1. The doubles was not played. This is the first time the US boys have won the title since Christian Harrison, Alexios Halebian and Tyler Gardiner accomplished it in 2008.  This victory will be part of the legacy of coach Michael Sell, who is leaving the USTA soon to move to Baton Rouge Louisiana, where his wife has taken the head coaching job at LSU.

The girls title went to the unseeded Slovak Republic team, who beat No. 2 seeds Great Britain 2-1, in a match that lasted over five hours.  The match at No. 2 singles between Slovakia's Tereza Mihalikova and Great Britain's Jazzi Plews was over three hours long, with Mihalikova saving match points in her 7-6(2), 4-6, 7-5 victory. Gabriella Taylor kept Great Britain in the match with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Victoria Kuzmova at No. 1, but the doubles went to the Slovak team 6-2, 7-5, to give them a 2-1 win. The US girls, the No. 1 seeds, finished seventh with a win over Canada on Friday.

For an article on today's championship matches, see the ITF junior website. The results of today's matches can be found here.

The qualifying for the WTA tournament in New Haven next week is into its second day, with wild cards Sachia Vickery and Nicole Gibbs both reaching the final qualifying round with wins today.  Gibbs defeated No. 4 seed and WTA No. 77 Lourdes Dominquez Lino of Spain 6-3, 6-3, while Vickery advanced with a 6-3, ret. win over Anastasia Rodionova of Australia. Vickery plays top qualifying seed Timea Babos for a spot in the main draw, while Gibbs takes on the winner of this afternoon's match between Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino and Garbine Muguruza, both of Spain.

At the ATP tournament in Winston-Salem, there are lot of college players in this weekend's qualifying, which has two rounds scheduled for today.

The men's semifinals for the US Open National Playoffs are set for Sunday, with the top three seeds--Clement Reix, the former Clemson star, recent UCLA grad Nick Meister and Nikita Kryvonos--and unseeded Eric Hechtman, the former Miami standout, still alive for the qualifying wild card at stake in Monday's final. The women's quarterfinals are still in progress.

The draws for the US Open National Open playoffs can be found here.