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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Twelve US Juniors on Monday's Packed Wimbledon Schedule; Donaldson, Stewart, Smith and Novikov Claim Futures Titles

Some of the US juniors attending the USTA reception Sunday afternoon

Middle Sunday at Wimbledon is a tradition that can be frustrating for fans and players, particularly when the tournament is behind schedule, but for those who work a grand slam, having a day off in its midst is much appreciated.

The USTA took advantage of the unique day to host a reception at Cannizaro House, just off Wimbledon Common, for the Americans competing in the junior draw, along with their coaches and family members.  Dave Haggerty, the current USTA president, CEO and chairman, has been hosting these Team USA events at every junior slam since last year's French Open, and when he learned last month that I would be at Wimbledon this year, he invited me to attend.  In addition to Haggerty, USTA Executive Director Gordon Smith was there, as was board member Tommy Ho. Patrick McEnroe, General Manager of Player Development, Jay Berger, head of men's tennis, Ola Malmqvist, head of women's tennis, and National coaches Nicolas Todero and Leo Azevedo were also at the late afternoon gathering, which was only dampened by the occasional brief shower.

Most of the juniors attending had yet to play, after Saturday's rain had allowed only seven junior matches to be finished. Logan Smith, Alex Rybakov and Dasha Ivanova were among the seven winners Saturday, so they have Monday off, but most of the other US juniors are scheduled, some of whom will not get on until late in the day, with six matches planned for some courts.  Raveena Kingsley who had her match with Simona Heinova of the Czech Republic suspended Saturday, having lost the first set in a tiebreaker and at 3-3 in the second set, is not on Monday's schedule (UPDATE: as of Monday morning, the suspended junior matches have now appeared on Monday's order of play). Kaitlyn McCarthy, Sofia Kenin, Usue Arconada, Tornado Alicia Black and Katrine Steffensen are scheduled to play Monday, but CiCi Bellis and Michaela Gordon are not.  All the US boys--Francis Tiafoe, Stefan Kozlov, Michael Mmoh, Taylor Fritz, Dennis Uspensky, Noah Rubin and Henrik Wiersholm--are scheduled for their first round matches Monday.

A few first round doubles matches are usually played on Monday, but with the courts so busy with professional matches, they will wait until Tuesday at least.

The draws and order of play for Monday can be found at the Wimbledon website.

Four Americans claimed singles titles today, three on the USTA Pro Circuit and one in Canada.

Jared Donaldson won his third straight Futures title, winning the $15,000 tournament in Oklahoma City.  The 17-year-old, seeded sixth, defeated unseeded Andrew Harris(Oklahoma) of Australia 6-3, 6-2 in the final.  Top seeds Mackenzie McDonald(UCLA) and Martin Redlicki won the doubles title, beating No. 3 seed Jesus Bandres(East Tennessee State) of Venezuela and Gonzalo Escobar(Texas Tech) of Ecuador 4-6, 7-6(3) 10-8.

Unseeded Connor Smith(Ohio State), won his second Futures title, claiming the championship of the $10,000 tournament in Rochester, NY.  Smith defeated No. 6 seed Jean-Yves Aubone(Florida State) 6-2, 6-3 in Sunday's final.  Smith also collected the doubles title with Daniel Nguyen(USC), with the No. 4 seeds defeating top seeds Liam Broady and Luke Bambridge of Great Britain 6-3, 6-3.  It was Smith's third straight Futures doubles title with his third different partner.

In the $15,000 Futures in Canada, No. 3 seed Dennis Novikov(UCLA) defeated top seed Filip Peliwo of Canada 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 to take the title, his third Futures title.  Rik De Voest of South Africa and Matt Seeberger(UC-Santa Cruz) won the doubles title, beating No. 3 seeds Hans Hach of Mexico and Brayden Schnur(North Carolina) of Canada 5-7, 7-5, 10-5.

Katerina Stewart and Josie Kuhlman met in the final of a $10,000 women's Pro Circuit tournament for the second week in a row, and again it was Stewart coming out on top. The 16-year-old from Florida, seeded No. 5, downed unseeded Florida recruit Kuhlman 6-1, 7-6(2) in Charlotte, NC.  Stewart has now won three $10,000 titles, all since March.  No. 2 seeds Lena Litvak(Harvard) and Alexandra Mueller won the doubles title, defeating juniors Andie Daniell and Sophie Chang 6-3, 6-3.

This week's Pro Circuit events in the United States are a $10,000 Futures in Pittsburgh and the $50,000 Challenger in Winnetka for the men, but there are no women's events.