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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Bellis Leads US Team in Junior Fed Cup Qualifying; Tiafoe Beats Fratangelo to Advance to Sarasota Challenger Quarterfinals

The North/Central American & Caribbean final qualifying for the World Junior Tennis competitions and Junior Fed Cup and Junior Davis Cup is coming up in two weeks in Boca Raton, and the players selected by the USTA to represent it in the round robin competition include CiCi Bellis.

Bellis was on the US team that won the World Junior Tennis title for 14-and-under players back in 2013, and last year led the Junior Fed Cup team to the 16-and-under title, so her participation this year, in her final year of eligibility, seemed unlikely.  This does not mean she will play in the September final competition in Madrid, if the US qualifies April 30-May 2 as it is expected to do, but it does reunite her with the 2013 team at least for the qualifying.

Junior Fed Cup:
CiCi Bellis
Michaela Gordon
Claire Liu

Junior Davis Cup:
Sam Riffice
Vasil Kirkov
Gianni Ross

World Junior Tennis girls:
Caty McNally
Amanda Anisimova
Hurricane Tyra Black

World Junior Tennis boys:
Adam Neff
Brandon Nakashima
Govind Nanda

Although the Junior Davis Cup team is a good one, it's too bad there wasn't room on the team for Oliver Crawford, given his domination in Southern California the last two weeks.

I will be covering the North American qualifying in person, which for the World Junior Tennis portion of the event, will feature the US, Canada, Mexico and Guatemala.  In the Junior Davis Cup round robin, Aruba will join the US, Canada and Mexico as the fourth team; in the Junior Fed Cup round robin, it will be the Dominican Republic joining the US, Canada and Mexico.  The top two finishers will receive spots in the World Finals, which are in August for the 14-and-under teams and September for the 16-and-under teams.

The quarterfinals are set for Friday at the $100,000 Sarasota Challenger, with qualifier Frances Tiafoe earning his place this evening with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Bjorn Fratangelo.  Tiafoe, who received a wild card into qualifying, won three three-setters to reach the main draw, then defeated friend and fellow 17-year-old Michael Mmoh, who had received a wild card, 6-3, 6-4 in the first round.  Against Fratangelo, who had posted a grueling comeback win over No. 3 seed Paolo Lorenzi on Tuesday, Tiafoe's forehand did most of the heavy lifting throughout the match, and even when he was down a break at 4-2 in the second set, Tiafoe was able to maintain his composure and keep the pressure on Fratangelo.

Tiafoe will play Chase Buchanan in the quarterfinals on Friday, the fifth American he has faced in six matches.  Buchanan defeated Mitchell Krueger 6-2, 6-2 earlier today.  Jared Donaldson is the third American in the quarterfinals, and will play No. 2 seed Federico Delbonis of Argentina.


Awais said...

Tiafoe didn't receive a wildcard into qualifying, his ranking was high enough he didn't need one.

He deserved wildcard into the main draw more than Mmoh did. Maybe in Savannah.