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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Kumar, Fritz Reach Third Round of Australian Open Juniors; 15 Americans in Second Round at Ecuador Grade 1; Pro Circuit Update; Men's Recruiting Class Rankings

Sameer Kumar joined Raveena Kingsley and Taylor Fritz in the third round of the Australian Open Junior Championships, while Raquel Pedraza, Michael Mmoh and Will Blumberg have advanced to the quarterfinals in doubles, with all six in action Wednesday (Tuesday night here in the United States).

Kumar needed more than two hours and four match points before eliminating No. 9 seed Mikael Ymer of Sweden 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.  That has earned the Stanford recruit a meeting with another seed, No. 6 Duck Hee Lee of Korea, who beat Kumar in the first round of the US Open last summer. For more on Kumar's win and his experience as a spectator in the Tim Smyczek - Rafael Nadal match, see this Stuart Fraser report for the ITF junior website.  Fraser also spoke to Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia, who knocked out No. 2 seed Jill Teichmann of Switzerland 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-5.

Other girls seeds to lose in the second round Tuesday were No. 9 Luisa Stefani of Brazil,  who fell to Canadian Charlotte Robillard-Millette 7-5, 6-1, and No. 15 seed Mariam Kolodziejova of the Czech Republic, who was eliminated by Australian Destanee Aiava 6-3, 7-6(5).  With Teichmann and Stefani's losses, No. 6 seed Kimberly Birrell of Australia is the only remaining seed in the bottom half of the draw.

Fritz defeated Mandresy Rakotomalala of France 6-1, 6-2 Tuesday to advance against Marko Osmakcic of Switzerland. Osmakcic, who received entry via a special exemption for being in the doubles final at Traralgon, took out No. 13 seed Juan Jose Rosas of Peru 6-1, 6-2.

Kingsley, who won her second round on Monday, will play Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia for a place in the quarterfinals.

Pedraza and her partner Wushuang Zheng of China defeated the eighth-seeded team of Mia Lumsden and Katie Swan 0-6, 6-4, 10-5 to advance to the quarterfinals against No. 4 seeds Sara Tomic of Australia and Shilin Xu of China.  Top girls seeds Anna Blinkova of Russia and Dalma Galfi of Hungary lost to Xinyu Gao of China and Olivia Tjandramulia of Australia 7-6(5), 6-4.

Mmoh, partnering Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia, and Blumberg, partnering Orlando Luz of Brazil, will play each other in the semifinals if the No. 3 seeds and No. 2 seeds pick up wins in Wednesday's quarterfinals.

For complete draws, see the tournament website.

The draws at the ITF junior website weren't updated for two days for the Grade 1 in Ecuador, but they have been now, with the first round complete.  Ten US boys and five US girls are into the second round, with any seeded player getting a bye.  Boys winning their first round matches include qualifiers Gianni Ross, Vasil Kirkov and Patrick Kypson, Mwendwa Mbithi, and Sam Riffice, who is playing his first tournament since sweeping the 16s Eddie Herr and Orange Bowl titles last month. The seeded US boys are Ulises Blanch(2), Emil Reinberg(3), Anudeep Kodali(10), Liam Caruana(14) and Hady Habib(16).

There are five US girls through to the second round, with Meghan Kelley, Sofia Sewing and lucky loser Delaney Edwards winning their opening match.  Francesca Di Lorenzo(7) and Alexandra Sanford(11) had first round byes.

No US players were in action in singles today at Les Petits As.  The seven remaining will play second round singles matches on Wednesday.

At the $10,000 Pro Circuit Futures in Palm Coast, Florida, Tommy Paul, a special exempt entry, reached the second round with a 7-6(5), 6-1 win over Markus Eriksson of Sweden.  Francis Tiafoe, last week's Weston finalist, will play fellow wild card Alexios Halebian Wednesday. Reilly Opelka, who also received a wild card, plays former Florida No. 1 Florent Diep, a qualifier, and Nathan Ponwith, who qualified, plays No. 8 seed Daniel Dutra da Silva of Brazil. Northwestern sophomore Konrad Zieba, who won a wild card tournament to receive entry, lost to No. 2 seed Connor Smith 6-2, 6-3.  Former Tulsa star Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador is the top seed.

The qualifying was completed today at the $25,000 women's Pro Circuit event in Sunrise, Florida, with CiCi Bellis the only American winning in the final round.  Wild card Katerina Stewart defeated No. 4 seed Allie Kiick 6-3, 6-3, and former USC star Maria Sanchez defeated No. 3 seed Dinah Pfitzenmaier of Germany 2-6, 7-6(3), 7-5.  For the third week in a row, Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal is the top seed in a Florida $25,000 tournament. She takes on Orange Bowl champion Sonya Kenin, a wild card, in the first round. Louisa Chirico and 16-year-old Anna Kalinskaya of Russia also received wild cards.

The $50,000 Maui Challenger is underway, and live streaming is available at usta.com.  Rhyne Williams and Jared Donaldson have already posted first round wins.

The Tennis Recruiting Network has published its winter recruiting class rankings for men, with Duke finishing atop the poll, followed by Stanford, Georgia, Florida and Vanderbilt.  For the complete list, click here.