Three Qualifiers Reach Quarterfinals at International Hard Court Championships; Fifteen Americans in Action Thursday in Second Round of US Open Qualifying
©Colette Lewis 2015--
College Park, Maryland--
Three qualifiers, all playing in just the third ITF tournament of their junior careers, advanced to the quarterfinals of the Grade 1 International Hard Court Championships with straight set wins on an unusually refreshing midsummer day in the Washington DC area.
Amanda Anisimova, who will be 14 next Monday, continued her run, posting her fifth consecutive straight-set win, which includes two qualifying victories over the weekend. In Wednesday's third round, Anisimova beat unseeded Abigail Desiatnikov 6-4, 7-5, saving two set points with USTA 16s girls champion Desiatnikov serving at 5-3 in the second set. Anisimova will face No. 2 seed and Australian Open girls champion Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia in the quarterfinals, with Mihalikova defeating Karman Thandi of India 6-3, 6-0.
The second girls qualifier to reach the quarterfinals is 17-year-old Madison Battaglia, who took out a seed for the second day in a row. Battaglia defeated No. 14 seed Jessica Hinojosa Gomez of Mexico 6-3, 6-3, with No. 6 seed Iryna Shymanovich of Belarus her opponent on Thursday.
Battaglia, who won an ITF Grade 5 title in Bermuda this summer, said her lack of familiarity with her international opponents has allowed her to concentrate on her own game.
"I haven't really known most of the people I've played, which is a good thing," said Battaglia, who defeated No. 3 seed and ITF No. 17 Wushuang Zheng of China 6-1, 6-3 on Tuesday. "I've never played them, I don't know anybody they've played, so it's just going in there, focusing on myself, playing my game and having fun."
Hinojosa Gomez took a medical timeout right after breaking Battaglia, who was serving at 3-1 in the second set, but Battaglia didn't let that disruption bother her.
"I stay relaxed, and I took a couple of practice serves and then came out and played even better," said the New Yorker, who trains at the John McEnroe Academy. "I didn't worry about what was wrong with her. I just went out there and played."
Battaglia, who won three matches in qualifying, called her win over Zheng "a good confidence boost. And I thought today, I played really well."
As for her decision to begin playing ITF tournaments this summer, Battaglia said her coach Felix Alvarado, who also coached Jamie Loeb throughout her junior career, encouraged it.
"I did really well last year in my section in USTA," said Battaglia. "So I wanted to play different tournaments and my coach wanted me to play ITFs to see how they go. So I played the Grass Courts, my first one, because that was close to home. Then I played Bermuda, and this is my third one, because this was close to home too, relatively close. I thought it would be good to go to, and it has been been really fun so far."
In addition to the two qualifiers, one other unseeded American girl advanced to the quarterfinals, with Kelly Chen defeating No. 13 seed Ioana Pietroiu 6-2, 6-2. Chen will play No. 5 seed Vera Lapko of Belarus, a Wimbledon semifinalist, in the quarterfinals.
Top seed and defending champion Anna Kalinskaya of Russia had her hands full with 13-year-old wild card Caty McNally, barely avoiding a third set in her 7-5, 7-6(9) win. McNally had two set points in the tiebreaker, but Kalinskaya came up with big shots on both. For her part, McNally saved three match points in the tiebreaker, but double faulted on the fourth to give Kalinskaya the win. The Russian will play No. 8 seed Maia Lumsden of Great Britain, who beat Kylie McKenzie 7-5, 6-2.
The third qualifier in the quarterfinals is Jake Van Emburgh, who beat No. 10 seed Artem Dubrivnyy of Russia 6-2, 6-4. Van Emburgh's win, his second over a seed, assured an American boys semifinalist, with Van Emburgh facing unseeded Trent Bryde next. Bryde defeated qualifier Oliver Crawford 7-5, 6-1.
Australian Alex De Minaur defeated No. 2 seed Casper Ruud of Norway 6-2, 6-4, leaving No. 5 seed Nathan Ponwith as the highest seed remaining in the boys draw. Ponwith overcame a slow start against No. 12 seed Lev Kazakov of Russia, but earned a 6-7(5) 6-1, 6-1 victory to set up a meeting with De Minaur in the quarterfinals.
Kalamazoo 16s finalist Alexandre Rotsaert had played his first two matches at the University of Maryland courts, so adjustments for the faster courts at the Junior Tennis Champions Center were necessary. He managed to find his game just in time, beating Alan Rubio Fierros of Mexico 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-3, after Rubio Fierros had served for the match at 6-5 in the second set.
"I had practiced on these courts, but I hadn't played any matches on them," said Rotsaert. "They're much faster over here, so this was like a first round for me. I came out and everything was like a blur....slowly, slowly I started playing a little better. At 6-5, I was a little worried. I kind of earned it, but he kind of gave it to me too, a couple of stupid errors and he started cramping a bit. He started getting a little impatient, going for shots he shouldn't have and I capitalized on that and had a really good breaker."
Rubio Fierros began to really struggle with his movement, apparently due to cramps, late in the third set, and became very aggressive as a result.
"At 5-3 in the third, he just started ripping it," said Rotsaert, who showed no signs of any fatigue during the three-hour match. "Going ace, ace, and I was like, what's going on?"
But Rotsaert said he has learned to ignore the disruption that a visible injury or illness can create, and he closed out the match with no further difficulty.
Next up for Rotsaert is No. 7 seed Felix Auger Aliassime of Canada, who defeated unseeded Vasil Kirkov 6-3, 6-2.
"I'm excited to play Felix, he's such a great player," said Rotsaert. "I really look forward to try and give it my best."
Rotsaert has respect for Auger Aliassime's ATP Challenger victories, but he's not intimidated by those results.
"He's a really good player, but he's a kid, like all of us," Rotsaert said. "You have to be able to do it, but he's playing with no pressure [in ATP Challengers]. Coming into a junior tournament, it's much tougher, everyone here's gunning for you. I was hoping to get him first round, but I guess it's the quarters."
The fourth quarterfinal will be between No. 15 seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada and No. 6 seed Alberto Lim of the Philippines, both of whom won three-set struggles. Shapovalov defeated unseeded Gianni Ross 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-2 and Lim got by his doubles partner Tung-lin Wu of China, the No. 9 seed, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Complete draws and Thursday's order of play can be found at JTCC.org.
On the second day of qualifying at the US Open, American players had five wins and ten losses. Complete US results from today's first round and the Thursday second round matches of the 15 Americans remaining are below.
Anna Tatishvili def. Gabriela Dabrowski CAN 6-4, 6-2
Taylor Townsend def. Pauline Parmentier FRA 6-2, 7-5
Mitchell Krueger WC def. Niels Desein BEL 6-1, 6-2
Daniel Nguyen def. Philip Bester CAN 7-6(7), 2-6, 6-4
Reilly Opelka WC def. Christian Lindell SWE 7-6(2), 6-4
Naomi Osaka JPN def. Katerina Stewart 7-6(8), 7-6(5)
Shuai Zhang CHN def. Jennifer Elie WC 6-3, 6-0
Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor ESP def. Usue Arconada WC 6-0, 7-5
Elizaveta Kulichkova RUS def. Jennifer Brady 6-2, 6-4
Ipek Soylu TUR def. Maria Sanchez 5-7, 7-5, 6-1
Kiki Bertens NED def. Robin Anderson WC 6-2, 6-4
Renata Voracova CZE def. Bernara Pera WC 2-6, 6-4, 6-2
Guido Andreozzi ARG def. Stefan Kozlov WC 6-2, 5-7, 6-3
JP Smith AUS def. Jesse Witten WC 7-6(5), 6-1
Alejandro Gonzalez  COL def. Marcos Giron WC 7-6(1), 6-2
Americans in Second Round Qualifying Thursday:
Dennis Novikov vs. Matthew Ebden (AUS)
Daniel Nguyen vs. Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN)
Mitchell Krueger WC vs. Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO)
Noah Rubin WC vs. Guido Pella (ARG)
Tommy Paul WC vs. Jose Hernandez-Fernandez (DOM)
Reilly Opelka WC vs. Kimmer Coppejans (BEL)
Taylor Townsend vs. Daria Kasatkina (RUS)
Jessica Pegula vs. Margarita Gasparyan (RUS)
Claire Liu WC vs. Jana Cepelova (SVK)
Melanie Oudin vs. Yafan Wang (CHN)
Shelby Rogers vs. Mandy Minella (LUX)
Anna Tatishvili  vs. Laura Pous-Tio (ESP)
CiCi Bellis vs. Romina Oprandi (SUI)
Raveena Kingsley WC vs. Tereza Mrdeza (CRO)
Vicky Duval WC vs. Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS)