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Monday, June 1, 2015

Eleven US Juniors Reach Second Round of French Championships, Dolehide Advances to Round of 16; Tennis Recruiting Network's Ranks Stanford Women, Georgia Men No. 1 in 2015 Recruiting Classes

The first round of the French Open Junior Championships was completed today, with 11 US juniors through to the second round. One, Caroline Dolehide, played her second round match today, and she advanced to the round of 16.

After picking up two first round wins on Sunday, US boys claimed five more today, with only two of them in straight sets.  No. 6 seed Michael Mmoh defeated Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 6-2, 6-3 and No. 13 seed Tommy Paul managed to avoid a third set against Jumpei Yamasaki of Japan with a 6-2, 7-6(3) win.  Nathan Ponwith had just won the second set from Germany's Louis Wessels Sunday night when play was called for darkness, but the delay didn't help Wessels, as Ponwith jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead and closed out a 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory.

Alex Rybakov found his form for a 4-6, 6-0, 6-2 win over Aziz Dougaz of Tunisia and Reilly Opelka got by Alvaro Lopez San Martin of Spain 6-7(5), 7-6(3), 6-3.  Opelka and Lopez San Martin were holding serve regularly, with the first break going to the Spaniard with Opelka serving at 3-4 in the second set. Serving for the match, Lopez San Martin was broken at love, a highly improbable occurrence given the way the match had been going. Opelka won the second set tiebreaker, and got the only break he needed early in the third set to post his second junior slam win.

No. 9 seed William Blumberg could not record his second junior slam win, falling to Alexander Bublik of Russia 3-6, 7-6(3), 9-7.  Blumberg had a match point at at 5-6, 30-40 in the second set, but Bublik held, won the tiebreaker, then took a 2-0 lead in the third set. Blumberg fought back, breaking and holding for 2-2, then went up 4-3 and 5-4, but was himself broken back each time. Serving for the match at 5-4, he won only one point in the game, but held his next two service games. After Bublik held for 8-7 however, Blumberg was broken at love to end the match.

The US girls had mixed results. No. 4 seed CiCi Bellis defeated Greet Minnen of Belgium 6-1, 6-1 in under an hour, but Raveena Kingsley and No. 11 seed Sonya Kenin both fell in three sets.  Kingsley's match with top seed Marketa Vondrousova was continued from Sunday, with Kingsley taking the first set 7-5, but Vondrousova holding a 4-1 lead in the second. Kingsley won only three more games when play resumed, with Vondrousova pulling away for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 victory.  Kenin played Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia, who was the highest ranked player not seeded, and Kenin was broken at love in the final game to given Zidansek a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory.

In addition to Kenin, the only other seeded girl to fall in Monday's first round action was Australian Open champion Tereza Mihalikova, who went out to Fiona Ferro of France 6-3, 6-1.

For reasons unclear to me, four girls second round singles matches were played today, while two first round girls doubles matches were not.  Caroline Dolehide was one of the four advancing to the round of 16, with the 16-year-old from Illinois beating wild card Margot Yerolymos of France 6-3, 6-3. Yerolymos had beaten No. 2 seed Shilin Xu of China on Sunday. Dolehide will play No. 16 seed Anna Kalinskaya of Russia in the third round.  Jill Teichmann of Switzerland cruised past No. 9 seed Gabby Ruse of Romania 6-1, 6-2 and will play Australian Open finalist and No. 8 seed Katie Swan of Great Britain, who beat Canadian Katherine Sebov 7-5, 7-5.

The doubles began today with most Americans in action advancing. Usue Arconada(No. 5 seed with Nadia Podoroska), Michaela Gordon(No. 4 seed with Charlotte Robillard-Millette), Francesca Di Lorenzo(with Luisa Stefani) and Dolehide and Katerina Stewart(No. 6 seeds) have all reached the second round in girls doubles.

Taylor Fritz (No. 1 seed with Orlando Luz), Mmoh(No. 3 seed with Akira Santillan) and Blumberg and Paul(No. 4 seeds) all reached the second round with straight-set wins today.

Sixteen boys singles and seven boys doubles matches (three first round, four second round) and 12 girls singles and six girls doubles matches (two first round, four second round) are on Tuesday's schedule.

Draws are available here.  For more on today's action, see the ITF junior website.

The Tennis Recruiting Network has published its 2015 Recruiting Class rankings, with the Stanford women and Georgia men taking the top spots in the voting.  I participate in the voting twice every year, recognizing that it is subjective and not especially predictive, but the poll does provide an opportunity for everyone to see most of the incoming recruits in a big picture kind of way, and it provides marketing material for SIDs who search for ways of promoting their schools' programs.