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Monday, March 16, 2015

Grade A Underway in Porto Alegre Brazil; 14-year-old Auger-Aliassime Qualifies for Challenger; Fritz Selected in World Team Tennis Draft; TCU Men Top Illinois; Corsillo Wins Longines Event, Trip to Paris

The ITF Grade A in Porto Alegre Brazil is underway, with 18 US juniors in the main draw.

US boys competing in the year's second Grade A are Emil Reinberg(13), Anudeep Kodali, Hady Habib, Ulises Blanch(7), William Blumberg(6), Catalin Mateas, Liam Caruana and Sameer Kumar(15).

The US girls are Olivia Hauger, Alexandra Sanford(11), qualifier Abigail Desiatnikov, Francesca Di Lorenzo(10), Andrea Kevakian, Maria Mateas, Ndindi Mwaruka, Meghan Kelly, Kayla Day(14) and Banana Bowl champion Usue Arconada(3).

The top boys seed is Banana Bowl champion Orlando Luz of Brazil, who is defending his title this week.  The girls No. 1 seed is Julieta Estable of Argentina.


In my February Aces, I featured 14-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada, who won two ITF junior singles titles along with one in doubles in Mexico.  Today Auger-Aliassime made a huge splash on the ATP Challenger circuit, winning his third match to qualify for the $50,000 event in Drummondville Canada.  Auger-Aliassime's first round qualifying win was over 15-year-old Canadian Jack Lin, but his second, over Australian veteran Chris Guccione was notable, even if Guiccione's ranking was barely inside the top 1000.  Auger-Aliassime's victory today, over 29-year-old South African Fritz Wolmarans, the fourth seed, ranked 433, put his prospects in a different realm, as he became the youngest Challenger qualifier since Patricio Alvarado in 2004.

The match was streamed on the ATP Challenger site, and Auger-Aliassime wowed everyone who tuned in with his movement, technique, court sense and power. His patience, given the circumstances, was also impressive.  Unfortunately, Auger-Aliassime suffered an abdominal strain and pulled out of the main draw, with Wolmarans taking his place as a lucky loser.  If you are interested in seeing some of the highlights of the match, Joey Hanf has assembled some on You Tube.

The World Team Tennis draft took place today, and early in the proceedings, the first round in fact, the San Diego Aviators selected 17-year-old Taylor Fritz.  Fritz, the only amateur selected, will be joined by Raven Klaasen, Chanelle Scheepers, Kveta Peschke and marquee player Madison Keys on the team coached by John Lloyd. Former collegians Irina Falconi, Nicole Gibbs, Jarmere Jenkins, Tennys Sandgren and Chase Buchanan were also drafted. The complete draft can be found here.

The fourth-ranked Illinois men won two matches against Top 10 opponents in two days, but a third, against No. 17 TCU in Fort Worth, was too much to ask. After picking up 4-2 road wins over No. 8 Texas and No. 9 Texas A&M Saturday and Sunday, Illinois lost to the Horned Frogs 4-0 in a match that lasted a mere hour and forty minutes, according to College Tennis Today.  In this article from the Daily Illini, breaking team rules is the reason given for Farris Gosea's indefinite suspension.

Each year, one 12-and-under player from the US wins an opportunity to compete in Paris during the French Open with other international qualifiers in the Longines Future Tennis Aces competition. Boys and girls alternate each year and this year the boys will be competing in Paris.  This past weekend Jameson Corsillo earned the all expenses paid trip for himself and a parent or guardian, defeating Saiprakash Goli 6-1, 6-7, 6-3 in the final of the eight-boy round robin event in Delray Beach.  Complete results from the US tournament and more about the Paris event can be found here.

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