My Eight Intriguing Questions for 2015; Tiafoe, Baughman Reach Sunrise Futures Semifinals; Nine US Juniors in Grade 1 in Traralgon Australia Main Draw
It's an annual tradition for me, to sit down in January and come up with eight questions I'm eager to have answered in the upcoming year. I had no difficulty coming up with what I'm looking forward to learning in 2015, and you can read all about it at the Tennis Recruiting Network.
I'll be recapping the final round of qualifying action at the Australian Open in tomorrow's post, with Sunday a day off prior to the start of the main draw.
At the $10,000 Futures in Sunrise, Florida, 18-year-old Deiton Baughman and 16-year-old Francis Tiafoe have reached the semifinals. Baughman, who received a special exempt into the tournament after making the semifinals last week in Plantation, won his third straight match 7-5 in the third, this time beating qualifier Young Seok Kim of Korea 1-6, 6-1, 7-5. He will meet another qualifier Saturday in Samuel Bensousson of France.
The other semifinal will feature yet another qualifier in Tiafoe, who, like Bensousson, has now won seven matches: four in qualifying and three in the main draw. Tiafoe, playing in his first tournament since last September, defeated No. 7 seed Markus Ericsson of Sweden 6-1, 6-2 and will play No. 8 seed Benjamin Balleret of Monaco, who at 32, is twice Tiafoe's age. Balleret beat No. 3 seed Connor Smith (Ohio State) in today's quarterfinal, but Smith will have a chance for revenge in the doubles final, when he and Emilio Gomez(USC), the No. 2 seeds, face Balleret and his partner Romain Arneodo, also of Monaco.
At the $15,000 Futures in Long Beach, Stefan Kozlov lost to No. 6 seed Frederik Nielsen of Denmark 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-0. Nielsen will play 2014 NCAA finalist Alex Sarkissian(Pepperdine) in one semifinal, while the other semifinal will feature No. 3 seed Jason Jung(Michigan) against qualifier Takanyi Garanganga of Zimbabwe. The doubles title went to No. 3 seeds Eric Quigley(Kentucky) and Nick Meister(UCLA), who beat last week's LA Futures champions Dennis Novikov(UCLA) and Dimitar Kutrovsky(Texas), the No. 4 seeds, 6-3, 6-2. Steve Pratt has more on today's action in this article.
The semifinals of the $25,000 women's tournament in Plantation are set, with Samantha Crawford playing Elise Mertens of Belgium in the top half, and Sachia Vickery, the No. 3 seed, playing Russian qualifier Darya Kasatkina, the reigning French Open girls champion.
The first round of the Grade 1 in Traralgon Australia is underway, with five US girls and four US boys on Saturday's schedule. Raveena Kingsley(8) and Jessica Ho have lost their first round matches, Madison Bourguignon has won hers, with Raquel Pedraza and Mia Horvit yet to play. The US boys in the draw--Taylor Fritz(3), Michael Mmoh(5), William Blumberg and Sameer Kumar--will play later tonight. Orlando Luz of Brazil and Jil Teichmann of Switzerland are the top seeds. This Tennis Australia tournament site updates scores throughout the day.