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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Three-time Junior Slam Finalists Kozlov, Black Join Qualifier Dolehide in US Open Junior Championships Round of 16; American Collegiate Invitational Starts Thursday

©Colette Lewis 2014--
Flushing Meadows, NY--

Stefan Kozlov has reached the finalist of both the Australian Open and Wimbledon Junior Championships; Tornado Alicia Black is the 2013 US Open girls finalist, and both No. 4 seeds took a step toward another junior slam final with hard-fought victories today on the Grandstand.

Kozlov, defeated qualifier Rafael Matos of Brazil 7-6(2), 6-4, in a much closer match than their first round encounter at Wimbledon this year, which Kozlov won 6-4, 6-1.

"I think grass is probably not his best surface," said Kozlov, who broke Matos serving for the first set at 5-4 and dominated the ensuing tiebreaker with his net play. "He played much better today, and I really wasn't expecting him to play that well. It was a tough battle. It was hot, tough conditions, windy."

Kozlov got an early break in the second set, but Matos, an 18-year-old left-hander, had his opportunities to pull even. He couldn't convert any of his four break points however, and Kozlov protected his lead to move into Thursday's third round.

Kozlov said he is feeling no pressure to reach another junior slam final, even though he said this may be his last junior tournament.

"If it happens, it happens, we'll see," said the 16-year-old Floridian.  "It's obviously tough losing two finals in one year, but it's tennis you know. I'm happy it happened in the juniors, instead of the pros, so I have motivation to keep going forward. There's always another tournament, and I'm here at the US Open preparing for my next match again."

That match will be against Seong chan Hong of Korea, who defeated Reilly Opelka 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.  Hong and Kozlov don't have recent history in ITF Juniors, but Hong, who is 17, got the better of Kozlov in two Junior Orange Bowl finals: the 12s in 2009 and the 14s in 2011.

Kozlov's junior US Open will not end with a doubles title, as he pulled out of doubles after suffering a slight wrist sprain on Tuesday.  He and Andrey Rublev, the top seeds, gave a walkover to Viktor Durasovic of Norway and Nicolae Frunza of Romania.

Black followed Kozlov onto the Grandstand, but she faced an opponent she had lost to on grass in the second round of the Grade 1 in Roehampton back in June.  Black lost to Slovakian Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4, 6-1 then, but found her hard court groove in the final set to post a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory.

"I was a little bit scared coming into the match," said the 16-year-old from Florida, who was happy to get to play on the Grandstand court, which is eventually targeted for demolition with the USTA's new master plan for the National Tennis Center. "The first set was good, the second set was a little bit tougher. I wasn't moving my legs as much and was a little bit more frustrated, but in the third set I stayed calm and pulled it off."

Black said the surface was one factor in the reversal of the outcome of their previous encounter.

"I'm American, so I'm not over in England, playing on grass all the time," said Black, who reached the quarterfinals at the Wimbledon Juniors in July. "I love hard courts, and the US Open hard courts. I feel like that gives me an advantage."

Black will play qualifier Vera Lapko of Belarus in Thursday's third round.

The third American to advance to the third round Wednesday is Caroline Dolehide, who beat fellow qualifier Nadia Podoroska of Argentina 6-3, 6-2.  Dolehide played on Court 5, one of the new show courts, and got to see her name on the big screen that serves as the scoreboard on these television friendly courts.

"That was exciting," said Dolehide. "I could get used to this."  Dolehide, who won both her qualifying matches in routine fashion and beat 13th- ranked Marketa Vondrouskova of the Czech Republic on Monday, said she isn't surprised by the jump her game has taken this tournament.

"I feel like I have no pressure," Dolehide said. "I'm 15 and am at the US Open, so all I have to do is go out and play my heart out, and I think that's what I've done the past few days, and that's what I have to keep doing."

Dolehide feels the surface also fits her game perfectly.

"They're fast courts and they're high bouncing," said Dolehide, who turns 16 on Friday.  "I have a big serve and a big forehand, so if you put that together, I should do well in this tournament."

Dolehide had seen a 5-1 lead in the first set disappear against Vondrousova on Monday, but she was able to keep that out of her mind when she was broken serving at 4-1 in the second set, breaking Podoroska in the next game and serving out the match at 15.

"I forgot about that match and moved forward," Dolehide said. "But I do have to work on closing it off, and making sure I win that last point, not give in. I think that helped me today."

Dolehide will play No. 6 seed Jil Teichmann of Switzerland Thursday.

Wild card Francesca Di Lorenzo lost to No. 3 seed Iryna Shymanovich of Belarus 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 and Alex Rybakov went out to No. 5 seed Quentin Halys of France 6-4, 6-2.

The big upset of the day saw boys No. 2 seed and silver medalist Orlando Luz of Brazil ousted by big serving Jan Choinski of Germany 6-2, 6-2.

The doubles quarterfinals are set, with two Americans still in the hunt for a title.  Taylor Fritz and Tim Van Rijthoven of the Netherlands, the No. 5 seeds, will play Durasovic and Frunza in the boys quarterfinals. CiCi Bellis, playing with Vondrousova and seeded No. 1, will play No. 7 seeds Kuzmova and Kristina Schmiedlova of Slovakia in the girls quarterfinals, also on Thursday.

For complete draws, see usopen.org.

The American Collegiate Invitational begins Thursday, with Jamie Loeb and Marcos Giron the top seeds.  Links to draws are here.  The complete USTA release is below:


New York-Area Players Jamie Loeb, Julia Elbaba, Kristie Ahn in Field
Competing for Possible 2015 US Open Main Draw Wild Card

FLUSHING, N.Y., September 3, 2014 – The American Collegiate Invitational, the inaugural college competition at the US Open, begins Thursday, September 4, with NCAA champions Marcos Giron (UCLA) and Danielle Collins (University of Virginia) among the top American men and women competing for possible main draw wild cards into the 2015 US Open.

The winners of the American Collegiate Invitational will receive main draw wild card entries into the 2015 US Open, if the men’s champion is ranked No. 250 or better and the women’s champion No. 150 or better. Otherwise, the winners will receive 2015 US Open qualifying wild cards. The champions will also get wild cards into two USTA Pro Circuit events, while each runner-up will get one.

“College tennis plays such a significant role in the vitality of American tennis, and it’s important that we are able to highlight some of America’s best college players on a worldwide stage at the US Open,” said USTA Chairman, CEO and President Dave Haggerty.

“We are excited to make college tennis a bigger part of the US Open,” said US Open Tournament Director David Brewer. “Many collegians continue on to successful pro careers, so we look forward to showcasing some very talented players.”

The eight-player men’s and women’s Invitational tournaments will be played Thursday through Saturday on new West Stadium Courts 5 and 6. The full, eight-player fields are as follows:

Men’s Field:
Greg Andrews (Notre Dame, Richland, Mich.)
Marcos Giron (UCLA, Thousand Oaks, Calif.)
Jared Hiltzik (Illinois, Wilmette, Ill.)
Peter Kobelt (Ohio State, New Albany, Ohio)
Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA, Piedmont, Calif.)
Alex Sarkissian (Pepperdine, Glendale, Calif.)
Ray Sarmiento (USC, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.)
Clay Thompson, (UCLA, Venice Beach, Calif.)

Women’s Field:
Kristie Ahn (Stanford, Upper Saddle River, N.J.)
Jennifer Brady (UCLA, Boca Raton, Fla.)
Hayley Carter (North Carolina, Hilton Head, S.C.)
Alex Cercone (Florida, Seminole, Fla.)
Danielle Collins (Virginia, St. Petersburg, Fla.)
Julia Elbaba (Virginia, Oyster Bay, N.Y.)
Olivia Janowicz (Florida, Palm Bay, Fla.)
Jamie Loeb (North Carolina, Ossining, N.Y.)


Go Hoos said...

Any details on Mitchell Frank's withdrawal? I assume it's the back injury he suffered in the 2d set vs Kozlov.

Joe said...

The USTA claims to be promoting college tennis… A couple of years ago the USTA was all about distancing themselves from the collegiate scene, even to the point where they put out an edict not allowing officials to wear anything remotely associated with the USTA while working collegiate events. And now this???? The American Collegiate Invitational sure is a dinky little draw. Looks like the USTA is trying anything they can do to make money by pimping out college players to fill outer courts for a couple of days. I only hope the USTA will at least give the players a commemorative US Open towel for their troubles. But based on the USTA’s unwritten but widely known objective to make the most money possible for lining the pockets of their Board of Directors, I doubt the players will get anything for missing classes. I also hope the USTA puts them in better hotels than the last time they hosted a college event.

doug said...

Doug says... isn't Francis Tiafoe an American?

Colette Lewis said...

Did I say he was something else? Not sure what you mean