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Monday, January 20, 2014

Les Petits As Starts with Upsets; Kingsley Wins Grade 2 Event in India; Abanda Takes $25K in Port St. Lucie; Kozlov into Third Round in Australian Open Juniors

Opening day at Les Petits As in Tarbes, France began with two major upsets: Yshai Oliel and Olesya Pervushina, the No. 2 seeds, both were beaten in their first round matches. Oliel, of Israel, lost to Jake Hersey of Great Britain 6-4, 6-4, while Pervushina of Russia was eliminated by Grace Joyce of the United States 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.  Although the first round is not yet complete, with some matches scheduled for Tuesday, all eight Americans were in action today, and all advanced to the second round.

Elysia Bolton defeated Emma Bardet of France 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, No. 4 seed Claire Liu beat Neli Sunjic of Croatia 7-5, 6-0 and No. 16 seed Abigail Desiatnikov got past Simona Waltert of Switzerland 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-2.

Roscoe Bellamy, seeded No. 12, advanced to the second round with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Georgia's Nikoloz Davlianidze, and Teen Tennis finalist Andrew Fenty, the No. 14 seed, beat Zura Tkemaladze of Georgia 6-2, 6-4.  Unseeded Keenan Mayo and Axel Nefve also advanced, with Mayo beating Daniils Batmanovs of Latvia 6-1, 6-1 and Nefve defeating wild card Nicolas Tepmahc of France 6-0, 6-3.

Top seeds are Alen Avidzba of Russia, who won today, and Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine, who doesn't play her first round match until Tuesday.  Draws and live scoring can be found at the tournament website.

Fifteen-year-old Raveena Kingsley of the United States picked up her first ITF junior title in India last week.  The unseeded Kingsley beat No. 7 seed Zhanlan Wei of China 6-4, 6-3 in the final, and did not lose a set in the Grade 2 tournament.  With the title, her ITF junior ranking is now inside the Top 200.  Anudeep Kodali and Sameer Kumar both lost in the first round of singles, but won the doubles title.

The winners of the Grade 1 Copa Gatorade singles titles were unseeded Olga Fridman of Ukraine and No. 6 seed Nicolas Alvarez of Peru. Alvarez overcame No. 2 seed Orlando Luz of Brazil 3-6, 6-2, 6-0, while Fridman defeated  Greetje Minnen of Belgium 6-2, 6-3.

Jessica Ho of the United States and Anna Blinkova of Russia won girls doubles title, with the No. 5 seeds defeating No. 3 seeds Rafaella Baquerizo of Ecuador and Luisa Stefan of Brazil 6-3, 6-3. Jordi Arconada, who plays under the Argentina flag but lives and trains in College Park, Maryland, partnered Alex Sendegeya of Great Britain to win the boys doubles title. The No. 3 seeds beat No. 4 seeds Tallon Griekspoor and Tim Van Rujthoven of the Netherlands 6-1, 2-6, 11-9.

At last week's Grade 1 in the Czech Republic, Czech Zdenek Kolar, a 17-year-old qualifier playing in his third ITF junior tournament won eight matches to claim the boys singles title. Unseeded 14-year-old Evgeniya Levashova of Russia won the girls singles title.

On the Pro Circuit in Florida, two Canadian qualifiers met in the final of the $25,000 event in Port St. Lucie, with 16-year-old Francoise Abanda collecting her first title on the professional circuit thanks to a 6-3, 6-4 win over 27-year-old Heidi El Tabakh. Abanda, who has struggled with injuries in the past two years, won eight matches--three in qualifying and five in the main draw--losing only two sets during the week.

At the $10,000 tournament in Sunrise, 19-year-old Kyle Edmund of Great Britain won his fourth Futures title, all of them on clay, defeating 18-year-old Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 6-0, 6-3 in the final. Edmund's name has come up regularly as a possible member of the British Davis Cup team which will travel to San Diego next month to play the United States on clay.

This week's Pro Circuit events are a $25,000 women's tournament in Daytona Beach and a $10,000 men's tournament in Weston, Florida as well as a $50,000 Challenger for men in Maui.  Marcos Giron of UCLA has been given a wild card into the Maui Challenger.

At the Australian Open junior championship, No. 2 seed Stefan Kozlov came perilously close to defeat for the second straight day, trailing Simon Soendergaard of Denmark 7-6(8), 3-0 in their second round match. But the 15-year-old from Florida battled back to win 6-7(8), 7-5, 6-0 and will have the day off from singles Tuesday to recover, although he is scheduled in doubles.

Kozlov's doubles partner Michael Mmoh was not as fortunate, with the No. 5 seed falling to unseeded Marc Polmans of Australia 6-3, 7-5 in the second round. For more on Polmans and the success of the Australian boys, see the ITF junior website's coverage.

Katrine Steffensen and Olivia Hauger play their second round matches tonight (Tuesday in Australia), with Hauger up against top seed Varvara Flink of Russia and Steffensen getting another crack at 13-year-old Australian Destanee Aiava, who beat Steffensen in the second round at last week's Grade 1 in Traralgon.

For complete draws, see the tournament website.