Claremont ITF Grade 4 Semifinals Set; Fritz, Tiafoe and Stewart Reach Pro Circuit Quarterfinals; Teens Continue to Impress in Miami
The semifinalists have been determined at the ITF Grade 4 in Claremont, all from the US, but none of the top seeds are among them. Three unseeded boys have reached the final four, with 17-year-old Johnathan Small, seeded No. 13 the oldest remaining competitor. Small will face 15-year-old Alexandre Rotsaert, while the other semifinal will feature two Southern California rivals, wild card Jacob Brumm and 16s Kalamazoo finalist Connor Hance.
The girls semifinals features three 15-year-olds, with No. 10 seed Victoria Emma facing No. 15 seed Meible Chi, younger sister of 2014 NCAA finalist Lynn Chi of Cal. Seventeen-year-old Hanna Chang, the No. 4 seed, will play unseeded Anette Goulak in the other semifinal.
For complete draws and Friday's order of play, see the USTA site.
Seven of the eight quarterfinalists at the $15,000 Calabasas Futures are from the US, including 17-year-olds Taylor Fritz and Francis Tiafoe. Fritz, a wild card, overwhelmed top seed Fabiano De Paula of Brazil, ranked 211, 6-2, 6-0 and will face No. 6 seed Jason Jung in the quarterfinals. Jung defeated Fritz 1-6, 7-6(7), 6-4 in the semifinals of the January Futures tournament in Los Angeles.
Tiafoe, last week's Bakersfield champion, received a special exemption into the main draw, and he continued his winning streak, beating Alexander Ward of Great Britain 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. In last night's first round, Tiafoe beat No. 4 seed Darian King of Barbados 6-7(5), 7-5, 2-0 ret., with King's retirement apparently not for injury or illness, but simply frustration. Steve Pratt had this account of the match's ending out in his daily release. Next for Tiafoe is No. 8 seed Mitchell Krueger, who beat Ernesto Escobedo 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-3.
Former UCLA teammates Mackenzie McDonald and Clay Thompson will play in another quarterfinal, with qualifier McDonald downing Mico Santiago, also a qualifer, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 and wild card Thompson beating Stefan Kozlov 6-3, 6-3. A third Bruin in the bottom half is Dennis Novikov, the No. 2 seed, who beat South African Fritz Wolmarans 7-5, 6-2. The 2012 Kalamazoo champion will face the only international player remaining, 31-year-old Giovanni Lapentti of Ecuador, who beat qualifier Sekou Bangoura 6-2, 6-4.
At the $25,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Palm Harbor, Florida, Katerina Stewart, Allie Kiick and Alexa Glatch have reached the quarterfinals. Stewart, a qualifier, defeated former WTA No. 66 Mindy Minella of Luxembourg 6-1, 6-1 and will next face Glatch, who beat No. 7 seed Olivia Rogowska of Australia 3-6, 6-0, 6-4. Allie Kiick posted a fine comeback win, defeating No. 3 seed Paula Ormaechea of Argentina 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-3. Kiick, who won the final six games of the match, will play Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil in the quarterfinals.
Americans did not fare well today at the Miami Open, with Venus Williams posting the only win of the six US players in singles action today. But the surge of teenagers continued, with three boys picking up first round wins, and wild card Paula Badosa Gibert of Spain reaching the third round. The 17-year-old Badosa Gibert defeated lucky loser Saisai Zheng of China 6-1, 7-5 to set up a meeting with No. 14 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic.
Unlike Badosa Gibert, whose best showing in a junior slam was the quarterfinals of at the French and Wimbledon last year, the three boys who reached the second round are all junior slam champions. Qualifier 2013 Australian Open boys champion Alexander Zverev of Germany, still just 17, defeated Sam Groth of Australia 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-4; 2014 French Open boys champion Andrey Rublev of Russia, also 17, defeated Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 and 18-year-old Borna Coric of Croatia, the 2013 US Open boys champion, defeated Andreas Haider-Mauer of Austria 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(3). They join Hyeon Chung of Korea in the second round, and according to the ATP, four teenagers in the second round of Miami is the most since 2007.
Tonight, another former junior slam champion, Daria Gavrilova, who was Russian when she won the US Open girls title in 2010, defeated No. 2 seed Maria Sharapova 7-6(4), 6-3. Gavrilova, the world junior champion in 2010, is living in Australia now and has applied for citizenship there.