Fritz, Kumar Advance at Australian Open Juniors, Second Seed Luz Upset; Arconada Wins $10K Title; Potapova, Draper Top Seeds at Les Petits As
Taylor Fritz and Sameer Kumar reached the second round of the Australian Open junior championships Sunday in Australia, joining the four Americans already securing their opening round wins on Saturday. Fritz hit 13 aces and won 31 of 33 of his first-serve points in his 6-1, 6-4 victory over Slovakia's Alex Molcan, and said after the match that he felt no discomfort from the shoulder. The tournament website featured an article about Fritz's win (great to see junior coverage there so early in the tournament). Fritz will play Mandresy Rakotomalala of France Tuesday.
Kumar needed two hours to subdue Japanese qualifier Renta Tokuda, but the Stanford recruit came away with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 victory. He will play No. 9 seed Mikael Ymer of Sweden in the second round. Mia Horvit and Raquel Pedraza lost their first round matches to French opponents, with Horvit losing 6-3, 6-3 to Margot Yerolymos and Pedraza falling 6-2, 6-2 to Tessah Adrianjafitrimo.
The big story of the day in the juniors was the loss by No. 2 seed Orlando Luz of Brazil, who fell meekly to Germany's Tim Sandkaulen 6-1, 6-2. The only other seed going out on Sunday was No. 16 Tami Grende of Indonesia, who lost to Australian Sara Tomic 6-3, 6-1, although Traralgon champion and No. 7 seed Seong Chan Hong of Korea was severely tested by 2013 Junior Orange Bowl finalist Alex Di Minaur of Australia. Di Minaur, who received a wild card as the Australian 16s National champion, came up just short in a 7-5, 5-7, 8-6 loss. For more on Sandkaulen's upset and also more on Fritz, see the Stuart Fraser report for the ITF junior website.
In doubles, No. 3 seeds Mmoh and his partner Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia advanced, but top seeds Hong and Yunseong Chung of Korea fell to Australians Jake Delaney and Marc Polmans. Ho and Kingsley lost their first round match, as did Hauger and Horvit, both playing with French partners. Pedraza (with Wushuang Zheng of China) and Will Blumberg (second-seeded, with Luz) will play their first round doubles matches Monday.
Also on Monday (Sunday night here in the US), Blumberg, Olivia Hauger, Jessica Ho and Raveena Kingsley are scheduled to play their second round singles matches.
At the $10,000 ITF Women's event in Saint Martin, Guadeloupe, Usue Arconada picked up her first title at that level, defeating top seed Victoria Bosio of Argentina 7-5, 3-6, 6-1. The 16-year-old from Maryland got the only break of the first set at 5-all in the first and went up 2-0 in the second set, but the 20-year-old Bosio fought back to send it to a third set. Arconada got an early break again in the third, and this time she did not give it back, breaking for a 5-1 lead and serving it out on her second match point.
At the $10,000 Weston Futures, No. 7 seed Benjamin Balleret of Monaco won a singles title to go along with his doubles championship, beating Francis Tiafoe 7-5, 6-4. In the first set, Balleret broke to serve for the set, went down 0-40, but won the next five points to take the game. Tiafoe was broken in the first game of the second set, got it back level at 2, but was immediately broken again, and this time Balleret protected the lead, serving the match out at love.
In Daytona Beach, 17-year-old Darya Kasatkina of Russia won her second $25,000 tournament since winning the French girls title last spring, beating Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-2, 4-6, 6-0. No. 3 seeds Jan Abaza and Sanaz Marand won the doubles title, beating Mertens and her partner Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands, the No. 4 seeds, 6-4, 3-6, 10-6.
The women now move south to Sunrise, Florida, where the qualifying is underway for the $25,000 event there. CiCi Bellis is the top seed in qualifying.
There are two men's Pro Circuit events next week--the $50,000 Challenger in Maui and the $10,000 Futures in Palm Coast, Florida, where qualifying concludes on Monday.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Les Petits As, the biggest 14-and-under tournament in Europe certainly, and possibly the world, begins tomorrow in Tarbes, France. The top seed in the girls draw is no surprise, with Eddie Herr and Junior Orange Bowl champion Anastasia Potapova of Russia claiming that spot. Unfortunately, Teen Tennis champion Caty McNally, the No. 3 seed, landed in Potapova's half of the draw, so there will be no repeat of the Eddie Herr final. The No. 2 seed is wild card Iga Swiatek of Poland, who lost in the semifinals of last month's Junior Orange Bowl to Potapova, who saved a match point in the third set tiebreaker that decided the match. Amanda Anisimova, who lost to McNally in the Teen Tennis final, is the No. 5 seed. The other two members of the USTA girls team, Hurricane Tyra Black and Whitney Osuigwe, are not seeded.
Jack Draper of Great Britain is the top boys seed, with Timofey Skatov of Russia at No. 2. Anton Matusevich of the US, who won the Teen Tennis title, is not in the draw. Nathan Han, a Teen Tennis semifinalist, is the only US boy to be seeded; he is No. 6. Other US boys competing are Govind Nanda, Cannon Kingsley and Leighton Allen. William Grant and Andrew Puscas lost in qualifying. Draws are available at the tournament website, or at the Tennis Europe tournament page.