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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Luz, Vondrousova Win Milan Grade A Titles, Rise to Top Spot in ITF Junior Rankings; French Junior Championships Begin Sunday

It's been a long day of travel, and I hope to get to bed early, so I can get on French Open time, but I've got a lot of catching up to do on what went on in junior tennis while I was covering the NCAAs for 12 days.

The ITF Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan finished on Sunday, with Brazil's Orlando Luz and Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic winning the singles titles, and Vondrousova also claiming the doubles championship.

With those results, Luz and Vondrousova have moved into the No. 1 position in the ITF junior rankings.

The top-seeded Luz was in a race with No. 2 seed Taylor Fritz for the ITF No. 1 ranking last week, but the second-seeded American lost to No. 5 seed Corentin Denolly of France in the semifinals and that was enough to vault Luz ahead of him.  In the final, Luz beat Denolly  6-4, 6-7(2), 7-6(3), and the 17-year-old Brazilian is now a clear favorite for the boys title at the French Open Junior Championships, which begin Sunday.  In addition to Fritz's semifinal, other US juniors with good results in Milan include William Blumberg and Nathan Ponwith, who reached the quarterfinals.

Michal Dembek of Poland and Patrik Niklas-Salminen of Finland won the boys doubles title, defeating Marcelo Barrios Vera of Chile and Juan Jose Rosas of Peru 4-6, 6-1, 11-9.

No. 2 seed Vondrousova, who turns 16 next month, defeated No. 7 seed Charlotte Robillard-Millette of Canada 6-2, 6-2 in the singles final. and didn't lose more than four games in any set in her six victories. She teamed with Miriam Kolodziejova, also of the Czech Republic, to win the girls doubles title, with the No. 2 seeds defeating top seeds Dalma Galfi of Hungary and Katie Swan of Great Britain 3-6, 6-2, 10-2.

This week's warmup tournament for the French is the Grade 1 Astrid Bowl in Belgium, with both Luz and Robilllard-Millette withdrawing. Sam Riffice moved into the top spot in the draw, replacing Luz, and he has advanced to the third round, as have US boys Vasil Kirkov, Nathan Ponwith(9) and Ulisses Blanch(6).  US girls into the third round are Francesca Di Lorenzo(5) and 15-year-old qualifier Nada Dimovska.

Two weekends ago, Chase Colton and 13-year-old Whitney Osuigwe won the ITF Grade 4 singles titles in Plantation.  The ninth-seeded Colton defeated No. 5 seed Patrick Kypson 6-2, 6-4, while wild card Osuigwe, only eligible to begin ITF play after her 13th birthday last month, defeated No. 9 seed Carson Branstine 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.  Osuigwe is now 9-1 in her ITF junior career, which includes just two tournaments.

Kypson and John McNally won the doubles in Plantation, with the No. 6 seeds beating unseeded Juan Martin Ramirez Mejia of Colombia and Marcelo Arturo Rodriguez Mojica of Panama 6-0, 4-6, 10-3.  The girls doubles title in Plantation went to No. 5 seeds Victoria Emma and River Hart of Canada. They defeated No. 7 seeds Branstine and Taylor Johnson 2-6, 6-3, 10-5.

Last week's Grade 4 in Sweden produced an American champion with Sangeet Sridhar, the No. 3 seed, taking the singles title with a 6-1, 6-1 decision over Kristofer Siimar of Estonia, the No. 4 seed. Sridhar also reached the doubles final.

The teenaged winners of the USTA's French Open reciprocal wild cards, Frances Tiafoe and Louisa Chirico, fell in their opening round matches in Paris over the weekend.  Chirico lost to No. 9 seed Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-4, 6-2, and Tiafoe lost to Slovakia's Martin Klizan 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.  For more on Tiafoe's loss, see this USA Today article. Sandra Harwitt spoke with Chirico in Paris for this Tennis Shorts article.