Sponsored by IMG Academy

Monday, April 22, 2013

Easter Bowl ITF Recap; Lee Wins Asian Closed; Barty Helps Australia Stay in Fed Cup World Group

My recap of the ITF Grade B1 Easter Bowl is available today at the Tennis Recruiting Network. If you weren't able to follow my daily coverage, this article should provide a review of the highlights of the week. The 14s and 16s recap will be available on Friday, and I hope to have the videos and slideshow for all the age divisions ready by then too.

The Asian B1 Closed was held last week in India, and 14-year-old Korean Duck Hee Lee took the title, beating unseeded Ken Onishi of Japan 7-6(3), 7-6(4). Lee, who is deaf, was the No. 8 seed in the 32-draw tournament, and by winning it, he has assured himself a place in the French Open junior championships. His ITF junior ranking jumped 45 spots to No. 38, but he has already played in the main draw of a junior slam after qualifying and winning a round at the Australian Open juniors this year. 

Unseeded Snehadevi Reddy of India, 16, won the girls title and lifted her ITF ranking to 76.

It's almost and off-week in junior tennis, with only three tournaments on the global schedule, but one of them is a Grade 1 in France, on outdoor clay.  Dennis Uspensky is the only US player in either draw and he won his first round match.  Orange Bowl champion Laslo Djere of Serbia is the top boys seed, with Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia the top girls seed.

Ostapenko had a memorable weekend, with the 15-year-old going 4-0 in Fed Cup singles in the Europe/Africa Group II playoffs, helping Latvia get promoted to Group I.

In the World Group Playoffs, which the decides who will be among the top 8 in 2014, the United States beat Sweden 3-2, with Serena Williams winning both her singles matches and Venus Williams, subbed in for Sloane Stephens, clinching it without doubles needing to be played.  There were several rain delays in Delray Beach, Fla., but it was nothing like the tie between Switerzland and Australia, also in the World Group Playoffs, where two straight days of rain in Chiasso Switzerland pushed the competition to today. Matches were played simultaneously, with Sam Stosur winning two singles, but after  Jarmila Gajdosova lost her match to Romina Oprandi, Captain Alicia Molik subbed in 16-year-old Ashleigh Barty, who clinched the tie for Australia with a 6-3, 6-4 win over WTA No. 56 Stefanie Voegele.

Barty, who hasn't played a junior event in almost a year, has been playing on the US Pro Circuit clay this spring, with her best result a semifinal two weeks ago in Pelham, a $25,000 event.

For more on Australia's win over Switzerland and Barty's contribution, see this article.

There were two other notable junior performances last week, with 16-year-old Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil winning the $10,000 event in Turkey and unseeded 17-year-old Elise Mertens of Belgium picking up her first ITF Women's singles title at the $10,000 event in Egypt.