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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Querrey, Riske, Davis into Third Round at Australian Open; AO Junior Wild Cards, Final Round of Qualifying; Fenty, Nefve Reach Teen Tennis Semifinals

Sam Querrey defeated No. 23 seed Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 in second round play at the Australian Open, assuring at least one US man will reach the third round in Melbourne.  Jack Sock and Donald Young will attempt to join him Thursday, with Young playing No. 24 seed Andreas Seppi of Italy and Sock taking on No. 25 seed Gael Monfils of France. Both Young(2005) and Monfils(2004) are former Australian boys champions.

Last year's participants in the boys championships, winner Nick Kyrgios and finalist Thanasi Kokkinakis, are the sole Australian men remaining in the draw.  Kokkinakis plays top seed Rafael Nadal of Spain, while Kyrgios will take on No. 27 seed Benoit Paire of France.

Alison Riske and Lauren Davis joined Serena Williams as American women reaching the third round. Riske breezed past Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium 6-1, 6-1 while Davis had a considerably tougher time, but got past Julia Goerges of Germany 7-5, 2-6, 6-4. It is the 20-year-old Davis's first appearance in the third round of any slam.  She plays 19-year-old Eugenie Bouchard of Canada, the No. 30 seed, next. Somewhat surprisingly, the two have played only once, with Bouchard ending Davis's 20-match ITF junior winning streak in the third round of the 2011 Australian Open juniors 6-0, 6-3. Riske will play No. 9 seed Angelique Kerber of Germany next.

Christina McHale meets No. 10 seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark later tonight, with Varvara Lepchenko and No. 13 seed Sloane Stephens also in action in second round play. Lepchenko plays No. 11 seed Simona Halep of Romania, while Stephens meets Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia.

For the full schedule and draws, see the tournament website.

In a few hours, the qualifying for the Australian Open junior championships will be complete and you can follow the results at the tournament's Tennis Australia website. No. 12 seed Ulises Blanch, the only American in the qualifying, has advanced to the final round, where he will play No. 3 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy.

The wild cards for the main draw, all but one to Australians:

Fajing Sun (China)
Daniel Nolan
Oliver Anderson
Max Purcell
Jake Delaney
Brian Tran
Blake Mott
Mitchell Harper

Chloe Hule
Seone Mendez
Anja Dokic
Linda Huang
Zoe Hives
Petra Hule
Kaylah McPhee
Sasha Bollweg

Destanee Aiava reached the semifinals of the Traralgon Grade 1, so I believe she got a special exemption, and will be in the main draw as well. Daniel Guccione, in the Traralgon doubles final, also received special exemption entry.

In Traralgon, the girls final is top seed Varvara Flink of Russia against No. 10 seed Fiona Ferro of France and the boys final is unseeded Omar Jasika of Australian against top seed Alexander Zverev of Germany.

At the Grade 1 Copa Gatorade in Venezuela, three US girls have advanced to the second round: No. 8 seed Abi Altick had a bye, while Sofia Sewing and Jessica Ho advanced easily in their first round matches.  Keshav Vellodi, who won his first round match, is the only US boy in the draw. The top boys seed is Joao Menezes of Brazil and the top girls seed is Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic.

At the Nike International Teen Tennis tournament in Bolton, Andrew Fenty of the US upset top seed Yshai Oliel of Israel 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the semifinals.  He is joined by teammate Axel Nefve, who advanced with a walkover.  Fenty will play No. 4 seed Felix Auger Aliassime of Canada, who beat Keenan Mayo in three sets, while Nefve will play Nicola Kuhn of Germany, the No. 2 seed, who beat Roscoe Bellamy in three sets.  Mayo and Bellamy did reach the doubles final, which is scheduled to be played Thursday.

There was another surprise in the girls draw, with Junior Orange Bowl 14s champion Claire Liu, the No. 2 seed, falling to No. 11 seed Ali Collins of Great Britain 6-4, 6-4 in today's quarterfinals. (For more on Scotland's Collins, see this feature).  With the doubles loss of Liu and Grace Joyce in the semifinals, the US girls are out of the tournament.

The draws can be found at the Tennis Europe tournament website.