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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Qualifying for French Open Junior Championships Begins Thursday; Ponwith, Kirkov, DiLorenzo in Belgium's Grade 1 Quarterfinals; Wimbledon Junior Acceptances

The qualifying draws came out today for the French Open Junior Championships and available at the ITF junior website.  As is frequently the case, the French Open is the most difficult of the junior slams to get into, as evidenced by the cutoffs, which are determined when the qualifying draws are made.

The ITF junior ranking main draw cutoff this year for boys was 47, for the girls it was 53.  To get into qualifying, a player needed an ITF world ranking of 77, the last girl to get into this year's French qualifying was ranked 106 at the time of acceptances.

Three Americans are in qualifying: Emil Reinberg, who plays No. 3 seed Jake Delaney of Australia in the opening round, Maria Mateas, who moved into qualifying from the alternate list, and Alexandra Sanford, the No. 13 seed.

Since I posted the acceptances earlier this month, both Claire Liu, who had an injury that kept her from competing at the ITF World Junior Qualifying earlier this month, and Ingrid Neel, who was unsure as to whether she was going to play the French when I spoke to her in April, have withdrawn.

I don't have access to the main draw wild cards, but from what I can determine, both Tim Sandkaulen of Germany and Felipe Cunha Silva of Portugal have received special exemptions due to reaching the quarterfinals at the Grade 1 in Belgium this week. One girls special exemption appears to have gone to Valeryia Zeleva of Russia; Katharina Hobgarski of Germany is also in the quarterfinals of Belgium, but she was the next player into the main draw anyway, so she will probably not be listed as an SE in the draw.

Speaking of the Grade 1 Astrid Bowl in Belgium, three US juniors are still alive: No. 9 seed Nathan Ponwith, who beat No. 8 seed Alejandro Tabilo of Canada for the second time in two months, taking a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 decision; Vasil Kirkov, who defeated No. 7 seed Denis Klok of Russia 6-7(8), 6-3, 6-2; and No. 5 seed Francesca Di Lorenzo, who beat Ulyana Grib of Belarus 6-1, 6-1. Di Lorenzo and partner Luisa Stefani of Brazil, the top seeds, are into the doubles semifinals.

Tommy Paul and Michael Mmoh, both of whom are in the boys main draw at Roland Garros, are warming up in Futures events, where they've reached the quarterfinals.  Paul, who made the semifinals of the $10,000 Futures in Spain last week, is in Italy this week. Alex Rybakov, who is also in the boys main draw at the French Open, also reached the semifinals in Spain. He lost in the second round in Italy this week. Mmoh is playing a $15,000 Futures in Romania, and he reached the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win over top seed Hans Podlipnik-Castillo of Chile. Mmoh will play 2013 Eddie Herr champion and 2014 Youth Olympic Games gold medalist Kamil Majchrzak of Poland.

The Wimbledon Junior Championships acceptance list is out, with seven US boys and nine US girls receiving entry into the main draw.  Taylor Fritz, Michael Mmoh, William Blumberg, Nathan Ponwith, Reilly Opelka, Ulises Blanch and Tommy Paul are the boys. As with the French, Paul received entry based not on his junior ranking, but on his ATP ranking which is well inside the 750 bar set for main draw.  Three other boys, the same three who received entry at Roland Garros, are in on their ATP rankings: Viktor Durasovic of Norway, Juan Pablo Ficovich of Argentina and Theo Fournerie of France.  Emil Reinberg and Sam Riffice are in qualifying, with Rybakov the fifth alternate.

The US girls with direct main draw entry are: Usue Arconada, Sonya Kenin, Michaela Gordon, Raveena Kingsley, Francesca DiLorenzo, Caroline Dolehide, Ingrid Neel, CiCi Bellis and Claire Liu. Katerina Stewart withdrew.  US girls accepted into qualifying are Kayla Day, Alexandra Sanford and Tornado Alicia Black, who received entry based on her WTA ranking of 417. Fiona Ferro of France is the only girl accepted into the main draw based on her WTA ranking, which must be inside 400.

Notably absent from the Wimbledon acceptances is current world No. 1 Orlando Luz, who is playing the juniors in Paris. Four other ITF junior Top 25 boys are not entered: Andrey Rublev(2), Stefan Kozlov(5), Mikael Ymer(14) and Roman Safiullin(23).

Twenty of the current Top 25 are in the girls draw, with only Iryna Shymanovich(4), Gabby Ruse(8), Jelena Ostapenko(14), Anhelina Kalinina(21) and Kristina Schmiedlova(23).