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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Australian Open Junior Wild Cards, Final Round of Qualifying; Grade 1 Traralgon Finals Set; Anisimova, Han Oust Top Seeds as Five Americans Reach Teen Tennis Semifinals

The final eight players in both the boys and girls main draws at the Australian Open junior championships will be decided tonight, when the second and final round of the qualifying is completed in Traralgon. All three US girls in the qualifying lost their first round matches last night.

The wild cards for the main draw, all but two to Australians, are below:

Boys:
Yibing Wu, China
Alex De Minaur, Australia
Alexei Popyrin, Australia
Brian Tran, Australia
Scott Jones, Australia
Mitchell Harper, Australia
Daniel Hobart, Australia
Blake Ellis, Australia


Girls:
Michaela Haet, Australia
Jaimee Fourlis, Australia
Xinyu Gao, China
Petra Hule, Australia
Chloe Hule, Australia
Nicole Kraemer, Australia
Violet Apisah, Australia
Baijing Lin, Australia

The finals are set at the Grade 1 in Traralgon. Australia's Kimberly Birrell, a wild card seeded No. 6, will play unseeded Canadian Katherine Sebov for the girls championship.  The boys final will feature No. 6 seed Seong Chan Hong of Korea and No. 10 seed Tim Van Rijthoven of the Netherlands. 

Raveena Kingsley and Jessica Ho, the last Americans still alive there, lost their doubles semifinal 6-0, 6-4 to Vera Lapko of Belarus and Tereza Mihailkova of Slovakia, who will play Olga Fridman of Ukraine and Elina Nepliy of Russia in the final.  The boys doubles final has Van Rijthoven and Akira Santillan of Australia facing Marko Osmakcic of Switzerland and  Andrea Pellegrino of Italy.  Osmakcic and Pellegrino received the two special exemptions into the main draw of the Australian junior singles due to their success in doubles in Traralgon.  Nepliy was one out of qualifying at the freeze date, so she did not receive a special exemption, but she did move into qualifying and won her first round match Wednesday.

In the men's and women's Australian Open, Bethanie Mattek-Sands was the only American to advance to the third round Wednesday, with 13 more getting their chance Thursday (tonight in the US). Christina McHale and qualifier Tim Smyczek lost, but Smyczek's 4-hour battle with Rafael Nadal, won by the No. 3 seed 6-2, 3-6, 6-7(2), 6-3, 7-5, was the talk of the tennis world today. Much of the conversation centers on Smyczek's sportsmanship when Nadal was serving for the match at 6-5 in the fifth.  Ben Rothenburg has more on the incident and the reaction for the New York Times.


At the Nike Junior International Teen Tennis tournament in Bolton, England, three of the girls semifinalists are from the US and two of the boys semifinalists.  Amanda Anisimova, the No. 8 seed, defeated No. 1 seed Oona Orpana of Finland 6-3, 6-2 to advance against compatriot Hurricane Tyra Black.  Black, the No. 14 seed, defeated unseeded wild card Holly Fischer of Great Britain by the same score.  Caty McNally, the No. 2 seed, defeated unseeded Victoria Allen of Great Britain 6-3, 6-4.  McNally will play French qualifier Loudmilla Bencheikh in the semifinals. McNally and Anisimova have reached the doubles final against the unseeded British team of Sonay Kartal and Mae McCutcheon, which will be played on Thursday.

photo courtesy YourGameFace.com, March 2014


Nathan Han, seeded No. 12, took out top seed Jack Draper of Great Britain 1-6, 6-1, 6-1 to advance to the semifinals, where he will meet No. 10 seed Lodewijk Weststrate of the Netherlands.  Weststrate defeated No. 16 seed Cannon Kingsley 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2 to prevent an all-American semifinal. Wild card Anton Matusevich, the other US boy in the semifinals, defeated No. 9 seed Duje Ajdukovic of Croatia 7-5, 6-2 to set up his encounter with No. 2 seed Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria, who has yet to lose more than four games in a set.   No. 4 seeds Han and Govind Nanda defeated top seeds Roi Ginat of Israel and Mihailo Popovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-4 to advance to Thursday's final, where they will meet No. 2 seeds Weststrate and Nini Dica of Romania. 

Complete draws are available at the Tennis Europe tournament site.

At the $10,000 Futures in Weston, wild card Francis Tiafoe and qualifier Dennis Uspensky won their first round matches, while Reilly Opelka fell to top seed Christian Lindell of Sweden.  Connor Smith and Greg Ouellette also picked up victories.

In Daytona Beach, Samantha Crawford, Sachia Vickery, Lauren Embree and Maria Sanchez reached the second round of the $25,000 tournament there. For the second week in a row, top seed Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal lost in the first round, this time to Elise Mertens of Belgium.

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