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Monday, September 24, 2012

Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup Begin Tuesday, with US Teams Top Seeds; Halbauer Takes Third Straight ITF Title, Ouellet-Pizer Sweeps in Puerto Rico

The ITF 16-and-under Junior Fed Cup and Junior Davis Cup competitions   begin in Barcelona, Spain on Tuesday with round robin group play. In the draws made today, both US teams were given the No. 1 seeds.

The girls team of Taylor Townsend, Gabby Andrews and Louisa Chirico will start off against unseeded Spain on Tuesday, but that could be a tricky opener, as Spain features Sara Sorribes, who won the 16-and-under European Championship this summer and two $10,000 events last month, all on red clay, the same surface as the Real Club de Polo de Barcelona. Sorribes, whose WTA ranking of 507 is the best in the field, has not played on any surface other than clay all year. The other seeded teams are: Russia(2), Brazil(3), Latvia(4), Italy(5), Australia(6), Egypt(7) and China(8). Russia also gets a tough opener, facing unseeded Germany, which features world No. 3 Antonia Lottner.

The US boys team of Noah Rubin, Stefan Kozlov and Jared Donaldson will face Brazil in the opening round. The other seeded boys teams are: Italy(2), Australia(3), France(4), Korea(5), Russia(7) and Sweden(8).

Sandy Harwitt is in Barcelona covering the tournament for the ITF, and her articles can be found both at the ITF Junior website and her own site, tennishorts.com.

The complete draws and results will also be available here.

In ITF junior competition over the weekend, Drew Halbauer of the US picked up his third straight tournament title, winning the Grade 5 tournament in Puerto Rico to give him his 15th victory on the ITF circuit this month. It wasn't easy, as Halbauer, the top seed, needed a third set tiebreaker to beat No. 2 seed Andres Alfonzo Paredes of Venezuela 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4). It was the third time in his five wins that Halbauer dropped the opening set.

In the girls draw in Puerto Rico, 15-year-old Chloe Ouellet-Pizer won her first ITF titles, taking the singles and doubles despite being unseeded. Ouellet-Pizer beat No. 6 seed Katarina Guarino, also of the US, 6-3, 6-0 in the final, and did not drop a set in her five victories. Ouellet-Pizer and Helen Altick, unseeded in doubles, beat unseeded Olivia Hauger and Meghan Kelley, also of the US 1-4, 4-1, 10-8. I'm not sure why the doubles sets were only played to four games, but it was that way throughout the tournament, except for a couple of boys matches early on.

Nicolas Jarry, who won the Grade 4 Delray Beach ITF back in May, won his second title last week at the Grade 4 in Chile. Jarry, the No. 5 seed, beat No. 4 seed Jaime Galleguillos of Chile 6-4, 6-3 in the final.

This week the ITF fall circuit in the United States gets underway with the Grade 5 in Waco, followed by the Grade 4 in Wichita Falls next week and then the Pan American B1 Closed in Tulsa, which I will be covering live beginning October 8th.