Sorry for the late post, but I was watching NCAA champion Steve Johnson's 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-2 loss to No. 10 seed Nicolas Almagro of Spain in the first round of the Australian Open. As Brad Gilbert said several times, there was no doubt that Johnson belongs at that level, and his commitment to going for his shots at the most critical moments is certainly entertaining to watch. That was his fifth main draw singles match in a slam, so that lack of experience may have been the difference in the final set.
Today in Venezuela, Christina Makarova won the singles title at the Grade 1 Copa Gatorade, defeating No. 13 seed Camila Giangreco Campiz of Paraguay 7-6(4), 6-1. Makarova, the No. 1 seed, won the doubles title, with Katrine Steffensen Saturday via a walkover. It was the 16-year-old Californian's first Grade 1 title in her fourth final at that level (including the Grade B1 Pan American Closed).
No. 4 seed Luca Corinteli fell in the boys final to No. 2 seed Jorge Panta Herreros of Peru 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, but got some revenge in the doubles final. Corinteli and Guillermo Nunez of Chile, the top seeds, defeated Panta Herreros and Diego Pedraza of Colombia, the No. 2 seeds, 6-3, 6-3 in the championship match.
At the Grade 1 Loy Yang going on now in Australia, Thai Kwiatkowski is the only American still alive after two rounds. Mackenzie McDonald and Martin Redlicki lost in the first and second rounds respectively, although both are still alive in doubles. McDonald is partnering Mazen Obama of Egypt and Redlicki is teaming with Wayne Montgomery of South Africa. There are no US girls in that draw.
The Aegon Teen Tennis tournament in Bolton, one of the most important European 14-and-under tournaments of the year, is underway in England, with first round matches completed today. Of the eight Americans in the draw, six are seeded and had byes: No. 8 Michaela Gordon, No. 5 CiCi Bellis and No. 16 Claire Liu in the girls draw, and No. 16 Sam Riffice, No. 12 Patrick Kypson and No. 6 seed Gianni Ross in the boys draw.
Jaeda Daniel, the unseeded US girl, won her first round match over qualifier Georgia Drummy of Ireland 6-4, 6-3, and Noah Makarome, the unseeded US boy, won his first round match over Great Britain's Ewen Lumsden, Junior Orange Bowl winner Maia Lumsden's brother, 6-3, 6-4.
All the US doubles teams are seeded, so they did not play today.
For complete draws, see the Tennis Europe website.