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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

14 US Men in Action as Australian Open Qualifying Gets Underway; Anderson, Loeb Among Qualifiers at Plantation $25K

Qualifying is underway in Melbourne for the first grand slam of the year, with 14 Americans in the men's draw of 128.  With that many entrants, the most of any country (France and Australia both have 12), it's likely a few will play each other and there are two of those: Jarmere Jenkins is facing Rajeev Ram, the 23 seed, and Wayne Odesnik is playing Ryan Harrison.

The other American men vying for the 16 main draw spots are Tim Smyczek(4), Alex Kuznetsov, Bradley Klahn(30), Jared Donaldson, Michael Russell, Robby Ginepri, Austin Krajicek, Rhyne Williams, Tennys Sandgren and Chase Buchanan.  Eight of the 14 have played Division I college tennis, along with an additional six international players: Aleksandr Nedovyesov, Somdev Devvarman, Tim Puetz, JP Smith, James McGee and current Oklahoma sophomore Andrew Harris, who received a wild card.

Live streaming is available at the Australian Open website.

The women's qualifying draw, which has a field of 96 for 12 qualifying spots, will be released later tonight and will be available here.

The seeds were announced for the main draw today, with just one US man, John Isner (19), seeded. Three US women are seeded: Serena Williams(1), Venus Williams(18) and Varvara Lepchenko(30). Madison Keys missed getting the final seed by one point. The 32 seed went to 17-year-old Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, the 2013 ITF World Junior Champion.

Qualifying was completed today for the $25,000 women's Pro Circuit event in Plantation, with UCLA's Robin Anderson and North Carolina's Jamie Loeb earning places in the main draw.  Anderson beat top qualifying seed Katy Dunne of Great Britain in the second round and advanced to the main draw when 16-year-old Tornado Alicia Black, the No. 13 seed, retired at 3-3 in the first set. Anderson will play wild card Allie Kiick, coming back from a long injury layoff, in the first round. Loeb defeated 16-year-old Maria Shishkina 6-4, 6-4 and will play No. 8 seed Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands.  Stanford graduate Kristie Ahn, Bernarda Pera, 16-year-old Katarina Jokic of Serbia and 17-year-old French Open girls champion Darya Kasatkina of Russia also advanced to the main draw with wins today.

Sonya Kenin, who has withdrawn from the Australian Open junior championships, was given a wild card into the main draw, but the venue where she won the Orange Bowl last month was not as kind to her today. She was beaten by Reka-Luca Jani of Hungary 6-4, 6-4. Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal is the top seed.

I'm not sure what the problem has been at the men's $10,000 Futures in Sunrise, but all final round qualifying scores, if in fact completed, are not yet posted.  Francis Tiafoe, Anudeep Kodali and Northwestern graduate Raleigh Smith have made the main draw.  Last week's champion Christian Lindell of Sweden is the top seed. Deiton Baughman, who earned a special exemption into the main draw by reaching the semifinals last week in Plantation, won his first round match, coming back from two breaks down in the third set to beat Romain Arneodo of Monaco 6-0, 4-6, 7-5.

The $15,000 Futures in Long Beach California resorted to short scoring in their qualifying due to rain on Saturday and Sunday, but they have completed their qualifying. USC senior Yannick Hanfmann advanced to the main draw, as did Columbia senior Winston Lin and former Cal Poly All-American Andre Dome. Americans Sahak Bazrganian, who ended Ryan Sweeting's comeback in the first round of qualifying, and Mico Santiago also reached the main draw. Dennis Novikov is the top seed, and he advanced to the second round with a 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4 win over Eric Quigley.