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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Three US Girls Reach Semifinals in ITF Grade 2 in Chile; Paul Advances to Another Futures Quarterfinals; Bellis' Opponent Defaulted in Surprise $25K

Three US girls advanced to the semifinals of the ITF Grade 2 in Chile, with the fourth, Dominique Schaefer, who now plays for Peru, a longtime resident of California.

The ITF head-to-head feature says No. 8 seed Sofia Sewing and No. 9 seed Schaefer "have never met before" but while that may be true in ITF competition, it isn't the case in major international 16s competition. Sewing, who went through qualifying in Chile this week, beat Schaefer in the final of the 16s Eddie Herr last December, and the following week Schaefer defeated Sewing en route to the Orange Bowl 16s final.

The other semifinal features Gabby Pollner, the No. 7 seed, against No. 2 seed Alexandra Sanford, who have met previously in ITF competition. Sanford beat Pollner last fall in the third round of the Grade 4 in Wichita Falls, Texas.  Pollner and Sanford are playing doubles together, as are Schaefer and Sewing, and both teams have reached the finals.

In the boys draw, the only American to reach the quarterfinals was No. 10 seed Sami Kirberg, who lost to No. 2 seed Marcelo Barrios Vera of Chile 7-5, 6-2 today.  Jack Barber and Liam Caruana, the No. 3 seeds, have advanced to the boys doubles final, where they'll play Barrios Vera and Juan Rosas of Peru, the No. 1 seeds.

In Pro Circuit action today, Tommy Paul reached his third Futures quarterfinal of the year in Plantation, avenging his second round loss last week to former Clemson star Yannick Maden of Germany, the No. 4 seed.  Paul defeated Maden 7-5, 6-1 to set up another rematch, this time against No. 8 seed Patricio Heras of Argentina, who kept Paul from reaching his first Futures final two weeks ago in Palm Coast by defeating him in two tiebreakers.   Eighteen-year-old Joao Menezes of Brazil took out top seed Antal Van Der Duim of the Netherlands and will play qualifier Naoki Nakagawa of Japan, also 18 years old. Seventeen-year-old Orlando Luz of Brazil has also reached the quarterfinals.

At the $25,000 women's Pro Circuit event in Surprise, Arizona, a default overshadowed another great day for American players, six of whom have reached the quarterfinals.  That includes CiCi Bellis, who advanced when her opponent, No. 8 seed Susanne Celik of Sweden, was defaulted for hitting a ball in anger that struck an official on the next court. Celik had let a big lead get away, no doubt leading to her frustration.  For more details, see the Twitter timeline of Jeff Sikes, who was at the match.

In addition to Bellis, Caitlin Whoriskey (who turned 27 today), Lauren Embree, Maria Sanchez(7), Sanaz Marand and qualifier Jessica Failla also reached the quarterfinals, as did 18-year-old Francoise Abanda of Canada. Sanchez is the only seed remaining.