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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Bellis Saves Match Point, Joins Six Other US Juniors in French Open Third Round; Pro Circuit Main Draw Action Underway in Bethany Beach and Winston-Salem

Andrey Rublev and CiCi Bellis at ITF Champions Dinner Tuesday night
(photo via ITF Twitter account)
The annual ITF Champions dinner tonight in Paris features the 2014 world junior champions. Andrey Rublev of Russia and CiCi Bellis were both in attendance, but I imagine it was a happier occasion for Bellis than it might have been after she saved a match point to beat Sofya Zhuk of Russia 4-6, 6-1, 8-6 in the second round at the French Open Junior Championships.

According to the Bellis quote in the ITF Junior website article by Sandra Harwitt, the match point, with Zhuk serving at 6-5, 40-30 in the third set, could have gone either way. "That match point, I actually hit the net, the ball skimmed the net but went over," the fourth-seeded Bellis told Harwitt. Bellis won the next two points to even the match, but she had to save four break points in the next game to stay in front. Serving at 6-7, Zhuk had four game points, but Bellis again took the last three points on Zhuk's serve to record the win.

Bellis is joined in the third round by No. 3 seed Katerina Stewart, who had no difficulty with qualifier Priscilla Hon of Australia in a 6-4, 6-2 victory.  Caroline Dolehide is the third US girl in the round of 16; she advanced on Monday and had Tuesday off. Stewart will play No. 14 seed Anna Blinkova of Russia Wednesday and Bellis faces No. 13 seed Miriam Kolodziejova of the Czech Republic, who she beat in the second round of the Orange Bowl last year 6-1, 7-6(3).

No. 7 seed Usue Arconada lost to Aliona Bosolva Zadoinov of Spain 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2.  No. 5 seed Dalma Galfi of Hungary lost to 15-year-old Olesya Pervushina of Russia 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 and No. 15 seed Julieta Estable of Argentina was beaten by Emily Arbuthnott of Great Britain 4-6, 6-0, 6-1.

Four US boys advanced to the third round. No. 6 seed Michael Mmoh defeated Mate Valkusz of Hungary 6-3, 6-3, No. 13 seed Tommy Paul cruised to a 6-1, 6-3 win over Felipe Cunha-Silva of Portugal and No. 2 seed Taylor Fritz beat Tim Sandkaulen of Germany 6-3, 7-6(4), coming from 5-3 down in the second set to end the match in two sets.  Reilly Opelka defeated No. 14 seed Mikael Ymer of Sweden 6-4, 6-4 and will play top seed Orlando Luz of Brazil on Wednesday. For the second day in a row, Luz lost the first set, and in today's second round against Gian Marco Moroni of Italy he trailed 6-3, 3-1 before finding his form for a 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-0 victory.

Mmoh's opponent Wednesday is No. 12 seed Theo Fournerie of France, who is seeded based on his ATP ranking of 514. Paul faces unseeded Djurabeck Karimov of Uzbekistan, who took out No. 3 seed Seong-chan Hong of Korea 6-2, 6-3.

In the only boys third round match between players who have played before, Fritz faces No. 16 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. Tsitsipas defeated Fritz 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of the Orange Bowl last year, en route to the final.

No. 5 seed Viktor Durasovic of Norway, seeded based on his ATP ranking of 465, went out, in just under three hours, to Argentina's Manuel Pena Lopez by a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 score. Although not technically an upset, No. 15 seed Casper Ruud of Norway took out unseeded 2014 finalist Jaume Munar of Spain 1-6, 7-5, 6-2.

US boys losing in the second round were Alex Rybakov, Ulises Blanch and Nathan Ponwith, all unseeded.

All 16 third round singles matches are scheduled for Wednesday, as are the remaining second round matches in doubles.

In the double matches played Tuesday, Sonya Kenin and Katie Swan of Great Britain, the No. 2 seeds, won their first round match, while Francesca Di Lorenzo (with Brazil's Luisa Stefani) won her second round doubles match.  Michaela Gordon (with Canada's Charlotte Robillard-Millette, the No. 4 seed) lost to Jil Teichmann of Switzerland and Shilin Xu of China 6-1, 2-6, 10-8.  No. 6 seeds Dolehide and Stewart and Arconada(with Argentina's Nadia Podoroska, seeded No. 5) play their second round matches Wednesday, as does Kenin.

No. 3 seed Mmoh (with Japan's Akira Santillan) and No. 4 seeds William Blumberg and Paul, advanced to the quarterfinals with straight-set wins today. Fritz (with Luz, seeded No. 1) plays his second round doubles match on Wednesday.

The draws are available here.

After a break at the end of May, the USTA Pro Circuit is back, with a $10,000 women's event in Bethany Beach, Delaware.  And although not a part of the USTA Pro Circuit, an ITF $15,000 Futures event is being held for the first time at Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Eighteen-year-old Ana Paul Neffa de Los Rios is the top seed in Bethany Beach, with Jacqueline Cako (Arizona State) the No. 2 seed. Qualifiers included 14-year-old Abigail Desiatnikov, making her main draw debut in a Pro Circuit tournament.

At Wake Forest, former Princeton All-American Matija Pecotic of Croatia is the top seed, with former Kentucky All-American Eric Quigley the No. 2 seed. 2015 NCAA finalist Noah Rubin, who is unseeded, won his first round match today.

For a comprehensive look at all the current and former college men playing in ITF and ATP events around the world, see College Tennis Today.