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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hauger Upsets Top Seed Flink in Australian Open Juniors; Top Seed Yastremska Loses at Les Petits As; Giron Wins Sherwood Cup; Rubin, Altamirano Join Davis Cup as Hitting Partners

Genunine upsets are rare at the junior slams, primarily because not all of a country's best juniors play the ITF circuit.  Two recent US Open junior champions--Jack Sock and Samantha Crawford--were unseeded wild cards, and even though last year's Australian Open boys finalist Thanasi Kokkinakis was unseeded, he had results in the ITF Pro Circuit that kept his run to the final from being characterized as a string of upsets.

Tuesday in Australia, we had a true upset, with Olivia Hauger of the United States defeating top seed and ITF No. 3 Varvara Flink of Russia 6-4, 6-3 in the second round of the girls junior competition.  The 16-year-old Hauger, ranked 144, is playing in her first junior slam, while this is the 17-year-old Flink's seventh. The Tulsa resident, who trains at Trent Tucker's Regional Training Center, had never played a Grade A event before; Flink has been in four Grade A finals, winning two of them, including last month's Orange Bowl.  When the two met last month in the second round of the Eddie Herr, Flink came away with a 6-0, 6-2 victory, and there was no reason to expect a different result in Melbourne, with Flink coming off a title run at the Grade 1 in Traralgon last week.  But Hauger changed the script, getting through several difficult stages in the match to record one of the biggest upsets I can recall at the junior slam level, at least involving an American junior.

Up just one break in the first set at 4-1 and 5-2, Hauger lost the break serving for it at 5-3, but broke Flink to take the first set.  Top boys seed Alexander Zverev of Germany had lost the first set to qualifier Ryotero Matsumura of Japan, but he managed to scrap by 4-6, 6-2, 9-7, and that same result seemed likely in this match, especially when Hauger was broken in the third game of the second set.  But she got the break right back, winning three games in a row to take a 4-2 lead. She wasn't able to keep the break, but Flink couldn't take advantage, losing her serve again to give Hauger a 5-3 lead and the chance to serve for the match.  Because I was only watching the live scoring, I have no idea how the final game really progressed, but Hauger held to 15, leaving the top half of the draw, already missing No. 3 seed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine, wide open for a surprise finalist.

Hauger plays unseeded Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia Wednesday(tonight in the US), while Stefan Kozlov will meet unseeded Boris Pokotilov of Russia.  Complete draws can be found at the tournament website.

On the other side of the world, in Tarbes France, top seed Dayara Yastremska of Ukraine was beaten in the first round of Les Petits As. Yastremska, who lost to qualifier Ulyana Shirokova of Russia 7-6(0), 6-3, joins No. 2 seed Olesya Pervushina of Russia and Teen Tennis winner Maria Tanasescu of Canada, the No. 15 seed, on the sidelines.  All four US doubles teams won their first round matches today, with Andrew Fenty and Axel Nefve taking out No. 2 seeds Alen Avidzba and Savriyan Danilov of Russia 6-2, 4-6, 10-6.

See the tournament website for draws and results.

Marcos Giron, Billy Martin and Clay Thompson (courtesy photo)

At the Sherwood Cup, one of the top West Coast singles tournaments before the dual match season begins this week, UCLA dominated the singles competition, with all four semifinalists Bruins.  Clay Thompson beat freshman Gage Brymer 6-4, 6-3 and Marcos Giron beat freshman Mackenzie McDonald 6-4, 6-4 to set up the final, a reprise of a Southern California junior rivalry.  No. 3 seed Giron defeated No. 1 seed Thompson 7-5, 6-3 in yesterday's final.  Giron then caught a flight to Hawaii, where he received a wild card into the Maui Challenger.
Clay Thompson has received a wild card into the Dallas Challenger the first week of February.

For results prior to the semifinals, see this article from the UCLA website.

The United States Davis Cup team was announced Monday, with John Isner, Sam Querrey and the Bryan brothers named to compete against Great Britain January 31- February 2 in San Diego.

Noah Rubin and Kalamazoo 18s champion Collin Altamirano are the practice partners.

See the complete release at usta.com.


Tennisfanatic said...

Colette, there is quite a difference when one player's last tournament was Winter Nationals ( lost in the round of 64) at the end of December and has had 3 weeks off ....

And the other young woman just came off a BIG WEEK LONG ITF tournament a week before.
Who was more rested...

I am all for rooting for Americans and hoping for the next US champion, but this is not it.

Circumstances won out here, not talent.

Excuses are weak said...

In typical tennis fashion, a player has a great win and someone has to crap all over it. I am not sure why the excuses are necessary. A #3 ITF player can't play two events in a row, really? No one is saying she is the next Serena, just that it was an exciting victory for her. One could argue since Hauger's last event was winter nats that she wasn't tournament ready, yet she beat someone with much more experience in these high level events. Did the opponent have a cold, a blister, was she tired? Who knows, but so what, a win is a win, just give her that. Real players don't want excuses made for any win or loss. Congrats to Hauger on a nice W.

zootennisfan said...

To Excuses are weak - Man I could not have said it better! A win is a win. And actually I believe tournament tough beats a 3 week rest anyday!!! Great win to Hauger.