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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Arconada, Di Lorenzo, Blumberg and Mateas Reach Grade A Quarterfinals in Brazil; Only Teens Remain at Orlando $10K; Tiafoe, Paul Reach Bakersfield Futures Quarterfinals

The US is guaranteed a semifinalist in the ITF Grade A Campeonato Internacional in Porto Alegre Brazil, with William Blumberg and Catalin Mateas winning today to set up a quarterfinal meeting.  No. 6 seed Blumberg, who lost his first match in the Banana Bowl last week, defeated qualifier Geronimo Espin Busleiman of Argentina 6-3, 6-1 in today's third round. Espin Busleiman is 32-7 (including qualifying) on the South American clay courts this year, so that is an impressive win for Blumberg.  Mateas, who played only one match on South American clay prior to this week, defeated No. 3 seed Bogdan Bobrov of Russia 6-3, 7-6(3) today, the second seed he's beaten in three matches. Mateas leads the head-to-head, having beaten Blumberg twice, both times in straight sets, in 2013.

Banana Bowl champion Usue Arconada had no trouble reaching the quarterfinals, with the No. 3 seed downing Lara Escauriza of Paraguay 6-3, 6-1. Arconada, who reached the quarterfinals of this tournament last year, will play No. 7 seed Chihiro Muramatsu of Japan, who defeated Maria Mateas 6-1, 6-1.

Banana Bowl finalist Francesca Di Lorenzo took the upper hand in her recent rivalry with Jaqueline Cristian of Romania, the sixth seed, beating her 3-6, 7-5, 6-1. The No. 10 seed had split her two previous decisions with Cristian this year.  Di Lorenzo will play doubles partner Luisa Stefani of Brazil, the No. 4 seed, in the quarterfinals. It is her first appearance in a Grade A quarterfinal.

Ulises Blanch is in the doubles semifinals with partner Manuel Pena Lopez of Argentina, and the girls doubles semfinals is full of Americans. No. 6 seeds Kayla Day and Alexandra Sanford, both of whom lost today in singles, defeated the top-seeded doubles team of Julieta Estable of Argentina and Maria Fernanda Herzao Gonzalez of Colombia 7-6(5), 5-7, 10-5. They will play No. 4 seeds Arconada and her partner Emilie Francati of Denmark in one semifinal.  In the other, No. 3 seeds Di Lorenzo and Stefani will face unseeded Meghan Kelley and Emiliana Arango of Colombia.

Live streaming of Stadium Court is available at the tournament website.

The quarterfinals are set for the $10,000 women's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Orlando, with the oldest playing remaining 19-year-old top seed Irina Khromacheva of Russia.  Khromacheva will face 15-year-old qualifier Kylie McKenzie, who beat 27-year-old Alexandra Mueller 6-3, 6-2 for her second pro tour victory.  Wild card Claire Liu, 14, defeated 16-year-old Sonya Kenin 6-4, 6-2 and will play Canadian 17-year-old Ayan Broomfield.  Southern Cal recruit Rianna Valdes, who is 18, will play 16-year-old wild card Raveena Kingsley and 16-year-old qualifier Fanni Stollar of Hungary will play No. 2 seed and Gainesville champion Katerina Stewart, who is 17.

At the $15,000 Futures in Bakersfield, 17-year-olds Tommy Paul and Francis Tiafoe have advanced to the quarterfinals. Paul defeated Deiton Baughman 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, and wild card Tiafoe defeated qualifier Andre Dome(Cal Poly) 5-7, 6-4, 7-5.  Tiafoe will meet No. 3 seed Darian King of Barbados in the quarterfinals, after King thwarted a 2013 Orange Bowl final rematch by beating Stefan Kozlov 1-6, 6-1, 6-1.

Connor Farren, who has been unable to crack the top six with any regularity at Southern Cal, picked up a big win today, defeating No. 4 seed Connor Smith(Ohio State) 6-4, 6-1, and will take on Paul in the quarterfinals.

Qualifier Walker Duncan has yet to play his second round match.

The Oracle Challenge, in its second year, will begin on Friday at the BNP Paribas Open, with three of the top four Division I men's teams among the participants.  In addition to Oklahoma, Baylor and Southern Cal, Columbia, Tulsa, Cal, Purdue and BYU will compete in the tournament (UC-Irvine will fill in for BYU on Sunday).  The draw for the event is here.