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Friday, June 27, 2014

Wimbledon Junior Championships Begins Saturday with 6 of 18 US Players in Action; Rublev, Ostapenko Win Roehampton Titles; Donaldson Downs Altamirano to Reach Semis in OKC Futures

©Colette Lewis 2014--
Wimbledon, England--

Court 19 empty Friday evening, but will host junior matches on Saturday

I've arrived in England to cover the Wimbledon Junior Championships, which will feature nine US boys and nine US girls in the main draw.

Two of them--Henrik Wiersholm and Kaitlyn McCarthy--drew the No. 1 seeds.  McCarthy will play No. 1 seed Ivana Jorovic of Serbia on Saturday and Wiersholm will play No. 1 seed and French Open boys champion Andrey Rublev of Russia on Monday. Wiersholm took Rublev to three sets in the second round of the French Open earlier this month, losing 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Rublev won the Roehampton Grade 1 singles title today, defeating No. 6 seed Johan Sebastien Tatlot of France 6-4, 2-6, 6-2. That win extended the 16-year-old's winning streak to 17 straight, including a Futures title back in May.

The girls title at Roehampton went to Eddie Herr champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.  The unseeded 17-year-old defeated No. 5 seed Kristina Schmiedlova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-3.  No. 4 seeds Priscilla Hon of Australia and Fanny Stollar of Hungary won the girls doubles title, beating No. 2 seeds Paul Badosa Gibert and Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov of Spain 3-6, 6-3, 10-8.

In the boys doubles final between two unseeded teams at Roehampton, Jan Choinski of Germany and Hubert Hurkacz of Poland defeated Tatlot and Corentin Moutet of Franch 6-4, 7-5.

Back to the Wimbledon draws, where two surprise entrants appeared in the boys division: 2013 Wimbledon boys finalist Hyeon Chung and Duck Hee Lee, both of Korea.  Neither were on the initial acceptance list but both received wild cards.  Chung, who is seeded No. 2 due to his ATP ranking of 299, is actually still competing in the Nan Chang Challenger in China, where he has reached the quarterfinals, with the semifinals also scheduled for Saturday. Lee, the No. 10 seed at Wimbledon, was playing a Futures in Korea this week, but lost in the second round. Needless to say, neither will have much of an opportunity to adjust to a vastly different time zone and surface.

Those two late additions may have bumped qualifier Noah Rubin out of the seedings, but my calculations show he still should have been seeded based on his ATP ranking of 539.  I will have to clarify what miscalculation I made, but Rubin is not seeded, and will play British wild card Jamie Malik in a Monday match.

Michaela Gordon also came through qualifying, and as with all qualifiers, will have two days off, opening their tournament on Monday.
All told, there are 15 boys singles matches and 13 girls singles matches on tap for Saturday.  In addition to McCarthy, two other US girls will be in action--Dasha Ivanova, who plays Qiu Yu Ye of China, and Raveena Kingsley, who faces Simona Heinova of the Czech Republic.

No. 2 seed CiCi Bellis, No. 3 seed Tornado Alicia Black, Katrine Steffensen, Sofia Kenin and Usue Arconada are Americans projected to play their first round matches on Monday.

Three US boys will take the courts Saturday, with Logan Smith playing Marc Polmans of Australia, Alex Rybakov taking on wild card Rhett Purcell of Great Britain and No. 7 seed Francis Tiafoe meeting Martin Blasko of Slovakia.

In addition to Rubin and Wiersholm, four other US boys will start their tournament on Monday--Stefan Kozlov(6), Michael Mmoh(11), Dennis Uspensky and Roehampton semifinalist Taylor Fritz.

For the complete draws, see the Wimbledon website.

Back in the United States, Jared Donaldson stayed undefeated in Futures events this month, defeating Collin Altamirano 6-2, 6-1 to reach the semifinals of the $15,000 Oklahoma City Futures and avenging his loss in the 2013 Kalamazoo final.  Donaldson is now 13-0 in Futures play in June.  He will play Raymond Sarmiento(USC) in the semifinals Saturday.