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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Four US Women Start Australian Open Qualifying; Novaks Named Junior Tournament Directors of the Year; Tiafoe Beats Second Seed King in Sunrise Futures

The women's qualifying at the Australian Open has begun, with just four Americans in the 96-player draw, but with 16 US women in the main draw, that's no cause for alarm.  In action today are Alexa Glatch, Julia Boserup, Louisa Chirico and No. 24 seed Anna Tatishvili. 

Nine US men won their first round matches Wednesday. Advancing to the second round are Jarmere Jenkins, Tim Smyczek, Alex Kuznetsov, Bradley Klahn, Wayne Odesnik, who will play their second round matches Friday (Thursday night here in the US), and Jared Donaldson, Michael Russell, Austin Krajicek and Chase Buchanan, who are playing tonight (Thursday in Australia).

Live streaming is available here.  Qualifying draws are here.

Lorraine Novak, center, helps draw teams for the 2014 USTA event in Mobile

Lisa Stone at Parenting Aces announced her website's first annual award for top junior tennis tournament director of the year. Mobile's Scott and Lorraine Novak were the winners, and you can read about their philosophy in Stone's post. My husband and I have gone to Mobile every spring for ten years, and we have always been impressed by their commitment to improve. Also please read all the names of the other tournament directors nominated. These are people who have enhanced junior tennis, and should be congratulated on doing it so well that someone took the time to provide Lisa with a nomination.

The weather has cooperated at the three Pro Circuit tournaments in the US, with the first rounds completed today.

At the $25,000 women's tournament in Plantation, 19-year-old Samantha Crawford ousted top seed Michele Larcher de Brito of Portugal 6-1, 6-3. Qualifier Robin Anderson, a senior at UCLA, beat No. 4 seed Allie Kiick, a wild card, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 and qualifier Kristie Ahn, the recent Stanford grad, defeated former UNC start Sanaz Marand 6-3, 6-0. 

In nearby Sunrise, at the $10,000 Futures, Francis Tiafoe, who won four qualifying matches, went down in the first set to No. 2 seed Darian King of Barbados 6-0.  But the 16-year-old, playing in his first competition since the US Open Junior Championships, came back to win the match 7-6(7), 6-3.  He will play fellow qualifier Tommy Mylnikov, the 19-year-old Canadian, for a place in the quarterfinals. Recent Northwestern graduate Raleigh Smith picked up his first ATP point, beating No. 5 seed Chuhan Wang of China 6-3, 6-4.

At the $15,000 Futures in Long Beach, Stefan Kozlov beat qualifier Karim Hossam of Egypt 6-3, 6-1 to advance to a second round meeting with top seed Dennis Novikov.  USC's Yannick Hanfmann joined teammate Eric Johnson in advancing to the second round, as did UCLA's Mackenzie McDonald.