New Yorker Chirico Among Five US Players Qualifying for US Open Junior Championships; Top Seeds Townsend and Coppejans Kick Off Sunday's First Round
Flushing Meadows NY
The US Open has been part of Louisa Chirico's summers since she was a little girl. After her 7-6(2), 6-4 win over Renata Zarazua of Mexico in Saturday's final round of junior qualifying, the 16-year-old will now be a part of it, reaching the main draw as a wild card.
"I live like 25 minutes away, so I come every year," said Chirico, who drives in from Westchester county. "Last year I wasn't in qualies, but I came to watch. I'm just so excited to be playing this year."
On Friday, Chirico defeated No. 14 seed Kanika Vaidya of Indonesia 6-2, 6-2, but acknowledged she had a much tougher road against Zarazua.
"She's a good player," said Chirico, who trains at the USTA's National Center and has played on the practice courts outside the grounds where the junior qualifying is held. "She gets a lot of balls back, she doesn't miss much and she can hit it too. So it's always tough to play against people like that. I started off pretty well, got a little bit tight, maybe lost my focus a little bit, but got it back. The second set was pretty close the whole time and I got the break at the end."
Although Chirico was on a far court and the spectator seating was two courts away, she still had the support of friends and family.
"My friends live pretty close too, so a bunch of them came out, and my family," Chirico said. "It's nice being an American here at the US Open, the crowd gets behind you."
Chirico was one of four US girls who reached the main draw via qualifying. Fourteen-year-old Nicole Frenkel surprised Japan's Mayo Hibi, who lives and trains in Southern California, 6-2, 6-4. Hibi was a finalist in the US Open National Playoffs for a qualifying wild card and had beaten top seed Zarah Razafimahatratra of Madagascar in Friday's first round of qualifying.
Tornado Black, seeded No. 11, advanced over Basak Eraydin of Turkey 6-2, 6-3 and wild card Rasheeda McAdoo, daughter of NBA Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo, beat Emma Higuchi 6-4, 5-7, 6-2. Higuchi had stunned No. 4 seed and former ITF Top 10 junior Indy de Vroome of the Netherlands on Friday. Denise Starr, the No. 16 seed, lost to No. 2 seed Victoria Rodriguez of Mexico 6-1, 6-1.
The only US boy to survive the two rounds of qualifying was 14-year-old Michael Mmoh, who won a marathon one hour and 40 minute second set over No. 3 seed Jorge Panta Herreros of Peru and came away with a 4-6, 7-6(7), 3-0 ret. victory.
Francis Tiafoe, Mmoh's teammate of the ITF World Junior Tennis championship team, lost to No. 8 seed Karen Khachanov of Russia 7-5, 6-2 and Mitch Stewart came back from 4-0 down in the third set, but ultimately lost to No. 5 seed Vasco Mensurado of Portugal 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-4.
None of the qualifiers will play on Sunday, but there are 32 junior matches on the schedule, including 17 involving Americans.
Top seed Taylor Townsend will open the day session at 11 a.m. on Court 11 against Laura Ucros of Colombia, and Kimmer Coppejans of Belgium, the boys No. 1 seed, will play Matteo Donati of Italy to open play on Court 13. No. 2 seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan will meet wild card Gabby Andrews second on Court 7, where I'll be checking in often, as there are five matches featuring US juniors there.
Two dangerous unseeded floaters in the girls draw, Samantha Crawford of the US, who qualified into the women's draw, and Francois Abanda, who today won the ITF Grade 1 in Canada, did not land in any seed's first round. Crawford plays Zuzanna Maciejewska of Poland in a battle of the 6-footers, and Abanda, who will not play until Monday, meets wild card Brooke Austin of the US.
Unseeded Kyle Edmund, who reached the semifinals here last year, will play No. 14 seed and local product Noah Rubin in the opening round on Monday. Edmund drew Mitchell Krueger in the first round at the Wimbledon junior championships, and that turned out to be one of the tournament's most memorable matches.
Nick Kyrgios of Australia, the No. 7 seed, won the boys title in Canada, beating Liam Broady of Great Britain 6-2, 6-3. Abanda beat Carol Zhao, also of Canada, by the same score in the girls final. Kyle McPhillips of the US won the doubles title with Elise Mertens of Belgium, beating Erin Routliffe and Zhao 2-6, 6-1, 10-6. The boys doubles title went to Filip Bergevi of Sweden and Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark, who defeated Gabriel Friedrich of Brazil and Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 7-6(5), 6-3.
As of this evening, there were no lucky losers needed in either the boys or girls draws, and no one received entry via a special exemption.
Complete draws can be found at usopen.org.
If you missed my US Open Junior preview from Thursday, it can be found at the Tennis Recruiting Network.