Townsend Reaches French Junior Quarterfinals, Rubin and Chirico Advance to Third Round; Kick-off Weekend Draft for ITA Team Indoor Starts Wednesday
Last year as the top seed at the French Open junior championships, Taylor Townsend lost to Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia in the third round. Schmiedlova went on to reach the final, losing to Annika Beck of Germany in three sets. This year, as the No. 11 seed, Townsend has already reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros, defeating unseeded Victoria Rodriguez of Mexico 6-2, 6-3 in one of two third round girls matches played Tuesday.
Although she won't play again until Thursday, Townsend already knows she will face No. 2 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, who defeated Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 today.
Townsend's straightforward win may have been the result of her determination to be done and ready for Tuesday night's ITF Champions dinner, held annually during the second week of the French Open, which honors those named 2012 ITF champions. Sandy Harwitt has more on Townsend's preparations for the gala at the ITF Junior website.
In addition to Townsend, two other American juniors advanced, with both Louisa Chirico and Noah Rubin reaching the round of 16 with straight-set wins. Chirico let a 4-1 lead in the opening set slip away against Maria Marfuntina of Russia and fought off two set points in the first set tiebreaker before converting her fourth set point on her way to a 7-6(9), 6-2 win. Chirico, a 17-year-old from New York, will face qualifier Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain, who beat No. 7 seed Katy Dunne of Great Britain 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 in a nearly three-hour match. Both Chirico and Sorribes Tormo have had success on the WTA tour as well, with Chirico ranked 406 and Sorribes Tormo 355.
Rubin took control of his match with unseeded Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan early and survived a tight second set to defeat the 2012 US Open boys semifinalist 6-1, 6-4. Rubin will play No. 5 seed Kyle Edmund of Great Britain on Wednesday. Edmund and Rubin met in the first round of the US Open juniors last year, with Edmund posting a 6-3, 6-3 win.
Another intriguing third round rematch will feature No. 3 seed Laslo Djere of Serbia against unseeded Christian Garin of Chile, in a rematch of the 2012 Grade 1 Eddie Herr final. Djere was up 6-0, 4-1 over Garin before losing nine straight games in a seesaw contest that Garin eventually won 0-6, 6-4, 7-5.
Two other US juniors fell in tight battles with seeds Tuesday. Jamie Loeb lost to top seed and ITF No. 1 Ana Konjuh of Croatia 7-5, 6-4. Loeb fought back from 4-1 down in the opening set to level it at 5, but failed to convert on her break point at 5-5, while Konjuh did just that in the next game to grab the first set. Again down in the second set, Loeb broke back immediately for 3-2 ,then held, but with Konjuh serving at 4-4, Loeb didn't convert on her two break points and, similar to the first set, was broken herself. Overall, Konjuh was 4 of 8 converting break points, while Loeb was only 2 of 9.
Stefan Kozlov had lost twice to Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy, the No. 6 seed this week, not winning a set, but in today's second round match Kozlov pushed Quinzi, only to see his record against hime fall to 0-3 after a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 defeat. In the third set, Kozlov had only one break point, in the sixth game, and he failed to convert it, while Quinzi was able to take his opportunity when it came, at 4-4 15-40, and serve it out.
There are no American juniors remaining in the doubles after today. Rubin and Martin Redlicki lost their second round match to Ken Onishi and Takashi Saito of Japan 6-4, 4-6, 10-1, while Luca Corinteli and Spencer Papa failed to convert two match points in the third set match tiebreaker and lost to No. 7 seeds Nishioka and Jorge Brian Panta of Peru 7-5, 4-6, 12-10 in the first round. Top boys seeds Clement Geens of Belgium and Nikola Milojevic of Serbia lost their first round match Tuesday, leaving only three of the eight boys seeds still in the draw.
In girls doubles, Chirico and her partner Varvara Flink of Russia lost to No. 2 seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-2 in the first round. Christina Makarova and her partner Sandra Samir of Egypt lost to Adrijana Lekaj of Croatia and Viktoriya Lushkova of Ukraine 6-3, 6-4 in a second round contest.
Complete draws can be found at the Roland Garros website.
The ITA's draft for January's Kick-off Weekend begins Wednesday with the women. I've been busy following the French Open, so I had my first look at the host sites today, and I was surprised to see the Florida women listed there at No 1. I knew North Carolina had changed its mind and was going to defend its title, but I hadn't heard that Florida would be in for 2014. Stanford is the only school eligible to participate that isn't doing so on the women's side. Virginia is again the host for the women's National Team Indoor tournament next February.
The men's draft, which is Thursday, features all the eligible men's teams hosting, with Texas A&M getting the automatic bid as host of the National Team Indoor tournament in February.