Wednesday, September 26, 2012

US Teams Aim For Semifinals in Junior Davis and Junior Fed Cup Play; Shishkina, Stewart Move into Second Round at Amelia Island 10K

Day two of the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup in Barcelona saw both top-seeded US teams pick up 3-0 wins. Louisa Chirico and Taylor Townsend won their singles matches against unseeded Korea and Townsend and Gabby Andrews won their doubles match to go 2-0 in Group A. The US girls can advance to the semifinals with a win over No. 7 seed Egypt, who lost today to unseeded Spain 2-1. If Egypt beat the US and Spain beats Korea, three teams will be 2-1, so then percentage of sets and games won will determine who advances. If Spain loses to Korea and Egypt win, Egypt would advance based on their head-to-head win over the US.

The US boys provided more drama. Stefan Kozlov won his match against Japan in straight sets, but Noah Rubin trailed Ken Onishi 6-4, 5-3 before saving two match points and going on to post a 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-2 victory. The US doubles team of Donaldson and Kozlov completed the 3-0 sweep with a three-set doubles win. Donaldson, who has only played doubles in the first two ties, is the subject of this ITF Junior website article from Sandy Harwitt about his decision to train in South America the past two years. One correction--despite what his ITF profile says, Donaldson is not left-handed.

The US boys will play No. 7 seed Russia, with a much simpler scenario than the girls'. Both teams are 2-0, so whichever team wins Thursday will advance to the semifinals.

All of the other boys seeds also won today, and in something of an oddity, every one of the 16 teams are either 2-0 or 0-2. This means both seeds in each group will play each other for a berth in the semifinals, with the winner advancing with a perfect 3-0 record.

There were many more upsets in girls play. No. 3 Brazil fell to Belarus, giving No. 5 Italy a clear path to the semifinals if they can beat Brazil Thursday. Mexico beat No. 6 Australia, leaving all four teams in Group C with 1-1 records. I will not even attempt to lay out the scenarios for that group. No. 2 Russia is also 2-0, and they will advance to the semifinals with a win Thursday over unseeded South Africa.

For today's results, see the ITF Junior website. All the draws, matches, scores, etc. are available here.

Live scoring is available at this website.

At the $10,000 Amelia Island Pro Circuit event, 14-year-old Maria Shishkina picked up her first win on the professional circuit. After posting three victories in qualifying, Shishkina defeated Denise Starr 6-0, 6-4 in the first round today.  Qualifiers Katerina Stewart, 15, and Miami freshman Kelsey Laurente also won their first round matches today, while Jamie Loeb advanced to the second round with a win on Monday. 

First round action is not yet complete out west at the men's Futures in Irvine and the women's $50,000 Party Rock Open in Las Vegas.  Wild card Samantha Crawford lost her opening match to No. 4 seed Anastasia Rodionova of Australia 6-4, 6-3, Crawford's first competition since capturing the US Open girls title earlier this month. Crawford was the subject of this feature in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which provides a look at her time living in China as a pre-teen.