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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Nine US Juniors Advance to Round of 16 at Brazil Grade A; Young Qualifiers, WCs Advance at Orlando $10K; Steve Johnson Tennisography Friday on Tennis Channel


It was another good day for American juniors at the ITF Grade A Campeonato Internacional in Porto Alegre Brazil, with six US girls and three US boys advancing to the round of 16.

The seeded American girls advancing are Usue Arconada(3), Francesca Di Lorenzo(10), Alexandra Sanford(11) and Kayla Day(14).  Two other US girls defeated seeds today, with Meghan Kelley topping No. 6 seed Maria Fernanda Herazo Gonzalez of Colombia 6-2, 7-5, and Maria Mateas ousting No. 9 seed Thaisa Pedretti of Brazil 6-3, 6-3. It is the first Grade A third round appearance for Kelley and Mateas.  Di Lorenzo's win sets up her third meeting this year with No. 8 seed Jaqueline Cristian of Romania; they have split those two matches, with the winner surrendering only 2 games.

Arconada will play Lara Escauriza of Paraguay, who challenged Arconada in the first round of the Grade A in Mexico City late last year, losing 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-4.

Two unseeded US boys also advanced, making up for the two seeds who lost. Liam Caruana defeated Giovanni Fonio of Italy 6-1, 6-1 and Catalin Mateas downed Lucas Koelle of Brazil 5-7, 6-2, 7-5.  As with his sister, Catalin is in a Grade A third round for the first time. William Blumberg, seeded sixth, also advanced, but Emil Reinberg(13) and Ulises Blanch(7) lost in straight sets.

The tournament's Stadium court features live streaming, which can be found here.

Speaking of streaming, the ITF will stream the inaugural Junior Masters from China next month. In the lead-up to that tournament, they are providing profiles of the 16 participants. The first two are Gabby Ruse of Romania and Marcelo Zormann of Brazil.  Michael Mmoh and Taylor Fritz are the US juniors competing in the event.

In addition to the Grade A, there are two Grade 1s this week, in Croatia and in Malaysia.  Australian Open girls champion Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia was the top seed in Croatia, but in her first junior action since Melbourne, she lost 6-4, 6-4 in the second round to 241st-ranked Silvia Chinellato of Italy. Mikael Ymer of Sweden is the top boys seed, and has advanced to the third round.

In Malaysia, Naiktha Bains of Australia, the top girls seed, and Jumpei Yamasaki of Japan the top boys seed, are through to the third round.

At the $10,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Orlando, five young qualifiers have advanced to the second round, three of them from the US.  USTA 16s champion Kylie McKenzie won her first match in the main draw on the professional circuit today, a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Karolina Stuchla of the Czech Republic. Sophie Chang and Kelly Chen were the other US qualifiers to post victories.  Sonya Kenin, who received a special exemption after reaching last week's final in Gainesville, continued her excellent play, defeating No. 3 seed Petra Rampre of Slovenia 6-4, 7-5. Fourteen-year-old wild card Claire Liu picked up her first win on the professional circuit yesterday, defeating Petra Januskova of Canada 6-3, 6-1.

At the $15,000 men's Futures in Bakersfield, California, 18-year-old qualifier Walker Duncan claimed his first ATP point after failing to make the main draw in eight previous attempts (he received one main draw wild card). Duncan defeated Mico Santiago 6-2, 6-4.  Tommy Paul, Stefan Kozlov, Deiton Baughman, Francis Tiafoe and Connor Farren(Southern Cal) also picked up first round wins.

Tennis Channel is premiering its tennisography of Steve Johnson Friday at 7:00 p.m. in between coverage of a BNP Paribas men's quarterfinal and women's semifinal.  Obviously college tennis has played a huge role in Johnson's tennis life, and this preview shows him back at Southern Cal practicing with some of his former teammates.

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