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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Chirico Wins Grade 1 Banana Bowl, Papa and Kozlov Take Second Straight Doubles Title; ITF Grade A Copa Gerdau and ATP/WTA Sony Open Qualifying Begin Monday

I've missed a lot this past week while devoting my time and energy to the USTA 18s Spring National Championships, so I'll be catching up on it all in the next few days.

Louisa Chirico continued her breakout year by picking up her first ITF Grade 1 title at the Banana Bowl in Brazil.  The 16-year-old New Yorker, who reached the final of the $25K in Surprise AZ last month as a qualifier, told me last year at the USTA 18s Clay Courts in Memphis that she really enjoys playing on the surface.  Playing in her first tournament of the South American junior swing, Chirico was unseeded, but won all six of her matches in straight sets, defeating four seeds along the way. In the final, Chirico beat No. 15 seed Alice Matteucci of Italy 6-1, 6-1.

Chirico was one of five US girls in the quarterfinals, along with qualifier Nicole Frenkel, top seed Christina Makarova, Tornado Black and Rianna Valdes.

The boys title at the Banana Bowl went to Johan Sebastien Tatlot of France, who also won the Grade 1 Asuncion Bowl the previous week. The 16-year-old, seeded 12th, beat top seed Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 in the final.  Thai Kwiatkowski was the sole American boy in the quarterfinals; he lost to Tatlot in two tiebreakers.

The boys doubles champions were also the same as the Asuncion Bowl with Spencer Papa and Stefan Kozlov of the US claiming their second straight Grade 1.

Kozlov and Papa, the No. 4 seeds, beat No. 3 seeds Quentin Halys of France and Pedro Cachin of Argentina 4-6, 6-3, 10-7.  The girls doubles title went to No. 3 seeds Laura Ucros of Colombia and Constanza Vega of Argentina, who beat Ingrid Gamarra Martins and Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 6-4, 3-6 10-7.

At the Grade 1 in Malaysia, top seed Borna Coric of Croatia took the boys title and Ipek Soylu of Turkey won the girls title. No. 12 seed Katrine Steffensen of the US reached the quarterfinals.

The Grade A Copa Gerdau in Brazil begins Monday, with qualifying completed today.  Javier Restrepo of the United States has advanced to the main draw, joining 12 other American boys in the field.  They are:

Dennis Uspensky, Martin Redlicki, Mackenzie McDonald(8), Thai Kwiatkowski(3), Farzin Danny Amiri, Dan Kerznerman, Spencer Papa(7), Stefan Kozlov(14), Justin Butsch, Michael Mmoh, Luca Corinteli(10) and JC Aragone.

Quinizi is again the top seed this week.

The US girls in the draw are: Christina Makarova(1), Rianna Valdes, Madison Bourguignon, Louisa Chirico, Elysse Graci, Tornado Black, Nicole Frenkel, Dasha Ivanova and Alexandria Stiteler.

Only three Americans are in the entries for the two Grade 1s this week, with Katrine Steffensen and Usue Arconada in the Philippines, and Julian Zlobinsky in Croatia.

Qualifying for the Sony Open begins on Monday, with several prominent junior girls receiving wild cards.  After her win last week at the $10,000 Pro Circuit tournament in Gainesville, Allie Kiick will step up a level in Key Biscayne, where she received a qualifying wild card. Kiick will play No. 10 seed Lara Arruabarrena of Spain on Monday in the first round of qualifying.  Other qualifying wild cards went to Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Jarmila Gajdosova, Orange Bowl and Australian Open girls finalist Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and Irina Khromacheva of Russia.

Men's wild cards in qualifying went to 16-year-old Orange Bowl quarterfinalist Deiton Baughman, Ryan Sweeting, Yuki Bhambri of India, Robby Ginepri and Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan.

Other young Americans in the qualifying draw include Jack Sock, Steve Johnson, Lauren Davis, Mallory Burdette and Maria Sanchez.

It was also announced this evening the Rhyne Williams has received a main draw wild card, joining James Blake, Lleyton Hewitt, Guido Pella and Christian Harrison.  Denis Kudla, who reached the final of this week's very strong Dallas challenger as a qualifier, losing to Jurgen Melzer of Austria 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 today, was unfortunately not granted a wild card.

The order of play for Monday's Sony Open qualifying is here. The qualifying draws are available here.


Tennisforlife said...

If you are Christian Harrison would you not be embarrassed to get yet another main draw WC ( 12 out of 25 events) with no chance to win a round ahead of Denis Kudla who worked his way through qualies to the finals of a very tough challenger. Having said all that Denis got in 7 tough maches and picked up 75 ATP points. Steve Johnson on the other hand got in one match on the back of his WC and no points. Maybe Denis has it figured out!

Too bad said...

The Sony Open deserves to be a weaker tournament with a weaker draw than IW. Kudla has a good run and takes his ranking higher than a number of qualifying entrants. He's ranked one spot behind Johnson. But, we know IMG events are not about merit. Then, they really thought Gulbis, one of the hottest players on tour & someone who has played a crazy number of matches the past few weeks, would try to qualify for the third week in a row? I don't feel sorry for them for missing Nadal, Federer, etc. Seems like karma.