ITF Announces Field for April's Junior Masters; 18 Americans in Action at Australian Open; Other News and Notes
The ITF today announced the fields for its new April competition in China, the Junior Masters. As I mentioned in my annual Intriguing Questions column for the Tennis Recruiting Network last week, there didn't seem to be a clamor to participate by the top juniors, but the ITF did receive commitments from World Junior champion Andrey Rublev of Russia and No. 2 Shilin Xu of China. Reserved for the top eight players in the ITF year-end rankings, the ITF only had to reach to No. 13 to fill those draws, with Gabby Ruse of Romania and Marcelo Zormann of Brazil the last two players in. Zormann is the only one of the 16 players no longer eligible to compete in the ITF juniors--he turns 19 in June.
CiCi Bellis, the ITF girls World Junior champion, is not playing, nor is Stefan Kozlov. The US will be represented by Taylor Fritz and Michael Mmoh.
The ITF also mentioned in this announcement that it has received commitments for wild cards for the winners, but all commitments are for Challenger level or below. Matches will be live streamed.
Andrey Rublev, Russia
Orlando Luz, Brazil
Jaume Munar, Spain
Taylor Fritz, USA
Yunseong Chung, Korea
Michael Mmoh, USA
Duckhee Lee, Korea
Marcelo Zormann, Brazil
Shilin Xu, China
Jelena Ostapenko, Latvia
Iryna Shymanovich, Belarus
Jil Teichmann, Switzerland
Kristina Schmiedlova, Slovakia
Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov, Spain
Marketa Vondrousova, Czech Republic
Gabby Ruse, Romania
Six Americans kicked off play in Australia last night, with three of them--qualifier Tim Smyczek, Christina McHale and Bethanie Mattek-Sands posting victories. McHale's 12-10 in the third win over qualifier Stephanie Foretz of France was especially notable, given her oncourt vomiting at 4-4 in the third.
That leaves 18 Americans on tonight's schedule, including two in high profile matches, with Sloane Stephens facing two-time women's champion Victoria Azarenka and Taylor Townsend meeting No. 8 seed Caroline Wozniacki. The order of play is available at the tournament website.
At the Nike International Junior Teen Tennis in Bolton, all three seeded US girls advanced, with Amanda Anisimova(8), Caty McNally(2) and Tyra Hurricane Black(14) reaching the third round with straight set wins. Whitney Osuigwe lost to No. 7 seed Paula Joukanen of Finland 6-4, 5-7, 7-5. Two of the US boys who lost went out to the top two seeds, with Andrew Puscas losing to No. 1 Jack Draper of Great Britain and Leighton Allen falling to No. 2 seed Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria. Nathan Han(12) and Cannon Kingsley(16) won their matches, but No. 8 seed Govind Nanda lost. Qualifier William Grant beat the No. 7 seed, and wild card Anton Matusevich defeated the No. 4 seed, giving the US four boys in the final 16.
Complete draws are here.
Qualifying is complete at the $10,000 Weston Futures, with 18-year-old Dennis Uspensky and 17-year-old Reilly Opelka the two American qualifiers. Opelka defeated former Georgia star Wil Spencer, who had won his first Futures title last November after a lengthy hiatus, 6-2, 6-3 in the final round of qualifying today. The final round of qualifying will be played Tuesday at the $25,000 women's event in Daytona Beach, but the draw is out. Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal is again the top seed. Plantation champion Sachia Vickery has drawn wild card Katerina Stewart, and CiCi Bellis will play Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands in the first round. Plantation finalist Samantha Crawford received a special exemption into the main draw and will play a qualifier.
|Photo of associate coach Kwinta and Quiroz via USC's twitter account|
Those speculating on the future of Jennifer Brady now have all the evidence they need that she is indeed back competing on the collegiate level this spring. Brady, currently 217 in the WTA rankings, won the Freeman Memorial tournament in Las Vegas, beating Giuliana Olmos of Southern Cal 7-6, 0-6, 7-5. Kyle McPhillips of UCLA won the National Collegiate Tennis Classic in Palm Springs, beating Lorraine Guillermo of Pepperdine 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
In dual match action, the second-ranked Duke women survived 4-3 against William and Mary Sunday, and today, the No. 12 Duke men defeated No. 18 Kentucky 5-2 in Lexington. No. 14 Notre Dame had beaten Kentucky 4-3 on Saturday.
The No. 34 Northwestern men defeated No. 19 Vanderbilt 4-3 in Nashville Sunday, and No. 15 ranked Baylor defeated No. 5 Georgia 4-3 in Waco Sunday.
The ITA has announced the hiring of a search firm to fill its Executive Director's position now that David Benjamin has set a July date for his retirement. The release, with link to the job description, is here.
The Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland has announced a partnership with former ATP star and now coach Brian Gottfried and the Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida. For more on the partnership between the JTCC and the college prep school, see the school's website. The JTCC has also recently announced a partnership with Wilson.