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Monday, March 23, 2015

Neel Gets Top 100 Win in Miami Open Qualifying; Clark Wins Second Straight ITF Title; California ITF Junior Circuit Gets Underway in Claremont

The two US juniors in qualifying today at the Miami Open had dramatically different results, with Ingrid Neel shocking No. 7 seed and WTA 85 Donna Vekic of Croatia 6-1, 6-2, while Michael Mmoh lost to No. 21 seed Alejandro Falla of Colombia 6-1, 6-2.

The 16-year-old Neel, who reached the Orange Bowl final as a qualifier back in December, has a $10,000 Pro Circuit title on her resume, but she had never won a main draw match above that level before today. 

The third IMG Academy junior with a wild card, Fanni Stollar of Hungary, had a tough turnaround after playing in the singles final in the Orlando $10K yesterday. The 16-year-old played her first round of qualifying against No. 18 seed Irina Falconi, who prevailed 6-0, 7-6(0).  In addition to Neel and Falconi, Austin Krajicek, Chase Buchanan and Grace Min also won their opening matches in qualifying.  Draws, including the men's singles, which was released today, are available here.

Play in the women's main draw begins on Tuesday, with CiCi Bellis taking on fellow wild card Indy de Vroome of the Netherlands.  Shelby Rogers and Madison Brengle will also play their first round matches on Tuesday, against Monica Niculescu of Romania and Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia, respectively. Tuesday's WTA schedule is available here.

I covered the Grade A in Brazil in yesterday's post, but that leaves lots of other junior results to mention today.  Before I get into that, congratulations are in order for Usue Arconada and William Blumberg, who have reached career-highs in the ITF junior rankings. Arconada is up to No. 8 with her back-to-back titles, and Blumberg has climbed to No. 15 with his appearance in the Grade A final.

Americans swept the singles titles in the ITF Grade 4 in Panama.  Zeke Clark, who won the Grade 3 in Costa Rica last week, was seeded No. 3 this week, and he again beat an American in the final, this time unseeded Johnathan Small 6-0, 6-4.  The girls singles title went to Amanda Meyer, the No. 4 seed, who beat No. 6 seed Ali Collins of Great Britain 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in the final.  Collins and compatriot Francesca Jones, the No. 4 seeds, won the doubles title over Meyer and Anna Dollar, the No. 2 seeds, 6-2, 4-6, 10-6.

At the Grade 1 in Croatia, Alex Molcan of Slovakia swept the boys titles, but there's some confusion about who won the girls title.  No. 3 seed Molcan defeated top seed Mikael Ymer of Sweden 7-6(3), 6-3 in the singles final, and partnered Hubert Hurkacz of Poland to take the doubles title, with the No. 2 seeds beating No. 5 seeds Nicolae Frunza of Romania and Vitalii Shcherba of Ukraine 6-2, 6-3.

The ITF's tournament home page gives Aleksandra Pospelova of Russia as the winner of the girls singles and doubles, but the actual draw shows No. 4 seed Pospelova losing to No. 3 seed Miriam Kolodziejova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2 in the singles final. Kolodziejova received the winners points in the current rankings, so I'm assuming she is the champion, especially since a kind person on twitter confirmed there was mention of Kolodziejova's win in the Czech media.  Top seeds Pospelova and Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia won the doubles, beating No. 6 seeds Georgia Cracium and Oana Gavrila of Romania 6-0, 2-6, 10-7.

At the ITF Grade 1 in Malaysia, another Czech girl took the title, 15-year-old Lucie Kankova.  Seeded No. 16, Kankova beat top seed Naiktha Bains of Australia, as well as the No. 7 and No. 9 seeds, then collected her first Grade 1 title in her first Grade 1 appearance when No. 5 seed Olivia Tjandramulia of Australia retired at 6-2, 6-7(5), 2-2 in the final. Kankova won two Grade 4s last year.  The boys title went to No. 4 seed Nam Hoang Ly of Vietnam, who won his first Grade 1 title with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over No. 2 seed Chan-Yeong Oh of Korea.  Ly also won the doubles title, partnering Alberto Lim of the Philippines for a 7-6(4), 6-2 win over Hao Wu and Yibing Wu of China.  Bains and Tjandramulia won an all-Australian girls doubles final, beating Petra Hule and Maddison Inglis 6-3, 6-2.

The three-tournament ITF Junior California swing is underway, with the Grade 4 in Claremont this week, followed by the ITF Grade 1 in Carson and the ITF Grade B1 Closed at the Easter Bowl.  I'll have a look back at the first 10 years of the International Spring Championships in Carson tomorrow for the Tennis Recruiting Network, and I'll be covering it and the Easter Bowl in person for the eleventh straight year.

This week in Claremont, Mia Horvit is the top girls seed and Alexey Nesterov of Russia is the No. 1 boys seed.  Draws and the order of play can be found here.