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Friday, October 2, 2015

September Aces; US Girls Advance to Junior Fed Cup Final; Holt and Smith Take Doubles Title at Futures; McDonald into Tiburon Challenger Semis

My monthly review of the top performances by junior and college players is up today at the Tennis Recruiting Network, featuring, among others, US Open champions Taylor Fritz, who hasn't played since then, and Hungarian Dalma Galfi, who has reached the semifinals of a $15,000 ITF Women's Circuit event in Australia.

At the Junior Fed Cup and Junior Davis Cup competition in Madrid, the US girls, seeded No. 2,  returned to the finals for the second year in a row, defeating No. 3 seed Russia 2-1.

Kayla Day, who played No. 2 singles in three of the four ties, got the Americans off to a fast start, defeating Elena Rybakina 6-4, 6-3, but at No. 1 singles, Claire Liu struggled in the opening set against Olesya Pervushina, losing it 6-2.  Liu quickly took the second set 6-1, but lost serve in a long opening game in the third set. Down 2-0, Liu won five games in a row, with Pervushina's double faults particularly damaging in that stretch.  Pervushina finally held for 5-3 and when Liu went down 15-40 serving for the match, another change of momentum seemed likely.  But an ace and a missed second serve return cost Pervushina, who saved one match point when Liu double faulted, but couldn't save the second, with Liu clinching the tie by a 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 score.  Day and Michaela Gordon lost the moot doubles point to make the final score 2-1.

The US will play the Czech Republic in Sunday's final, with the top seed needing to come back twice to advance past No. 4 seed Canada. Bianca Andreescu gave Canada a 1-0 lead, but world No. 2 Marketa Vondrousova defeated Charlotte Robillard-Millette at No. 1 singles to make it 1-1.  The Czech team of Vondrousova and Anna Slovakova lost the first set of the doubles to Andreescu and Robillard-Millette, but came back to post a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory and secure their place in the final.

The Junior Davis Cup final will feature No. 1 Canada against No. 5 Germany, a rematch of last year's ITF World Junior Tennis 14-and-under team championships, won by Germany.

Germany had the much tougher time advancing, but Nicola Kuhn won a three-setter at No. 1 singles over Toru Horie of Japan and teamed with Marvin Moeller to win the doubles to give Germany a 2-1 victory over the No. 8 seeds.

Canada swept past No. 4 seed Russia, the fourth straight match they have won 3-0.

The third-seeded US boys lost to second-seeded Australia 2-1 today, with the Americans' point coming from Vasil Kirkov's 6-4, 6-3 win over Alex De Minaur.  The best the US boys can finish now is seventh, if they defeat No. 7 seed the Czech Republic on Saturday.

Below are the semifinal results and the US boys results.  The other results are available at the ITF tournament site.  For photos and a video of the US girls, see the ITF Junior Facebook page.

Girls Semifinals 
CZECH REPUBLIC (1) defeated CANADA (4) 2-1:
Bianca Andreescu (CAN) d. Monika Kilnarova (CZE) 62 46 63
Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) d. Charlotte Robillard-Millette (CAN) 60 64
Anna Slovakova/Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) d. Bianca Andreescu/Charlotte Robillard-Millette (CAN) 26 63 62
USA (2) defeated RUSSIA (3) 2-1:
Kayla Day (USA) d. Elena Rybakina (RUS) 64 63
Claire Liu (USA) d. Olesya Pervushina (RUS) 26 61 63
Evgeniya Levashova/Elena Rybakina (RUS) d. Kayla Day/Michaela Gordon (USA) 36 75 62

Boys Semifinals
CANADA (1) defeated RUSSIA (4) 3-0:
Denis Shapovalov (CAN) d. Alen Avidzba (RUS) 64 63
Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) d. Artem Dubrivnyy (RUS) 64 75
Felix Auger-Aliassime/Denis Shapovalov (CAN) d. Alen Avidzba/Mikhail Sokolovskiy (RUS) 61 63
GERMANY (5) defeated JAPAN (8) 2-1:
Yunosuke Tanaka (JPN) d. Marvin Moeller (GER) 63 57 64
Nicola Kuhn (GER) d. Toru Horie (JPN) 67(4) 76(2) 61
Nicola Kuhn/Marvin Moeller (GER) d. Toru Horie/Yunosuke Tanaka (JPN) 63 63

Boys 5th-8th place play-offs
AUSTRALIA (2) defeated USA (3) 2-1:
Blake Ellis (AUS) d. Patrick Kypson (USA) 76(5) 36 62
Vasil Kirkov (USA) d. Alex de Minaur (AUS) 64 63
Blake Ellis/Alexei Popyrin (AUS) d. Vasil Kirkov/Patrick Kypson (USA) 36 61 62


The singles semifinals are set at three of the four Pro Circuit events this week, with the $10,000 women's tournament in Charleston again falling behind schedule with more rain.

At the $10,000 Laguna Niguel Futures, the semifinals will feature No. 3 seed Wil Spencer against unseeded Lucas Gomez of Mexico and unseeded Phillip Simmonds against No. 4 seed Nik Scholtz of South Africa.  Spencer defeated No. 7 seed Noah Rubin 6-4, 3-6, 6-4; Gomez advanced over 16-year-old qualifier Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia 1-6, 7-5(5), 7-5; Scholtz beat No. 8 seed Clay Thompson 7-6(3), 6-2, and Simmonds downed qualifier Hendrik Jebens of Germany 7-6(5), 7-5.

The doubles championship was played this afternoon, with wild cards Brandon Holt and Riley Smith taking the title. The high school seniors, both future USC Trojans, beat No. 4 seeds Spencer and Junior Ore 6-4, 6-3.  Holt and Smith, the US Open boys finalists and third place finishers in Kalamazoo, did not lose a set in their four victories. 

At the $50,000 women's event in Las Vegas, No. 6 seed Nicole Gibbs and No. 7 seed Shelby Rogers advanced to the semifinals.  Gibbs will play Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands, while Rogers will play No. 3 seed Romina Oprandi of Switzerland. 

UCLA's Mackenzie McDonald has reached his second Challenger semifinal at the $100,000 tournament in Tiburon.  The 20-year-old advanced to a meeting with top seed Denis Kudla when his quarterfina opponent, No. 6 seed Bjorn Fratangelo, retired with a back injury trailing 4-0 in the first set. The other semifinal will feature No. 3 seed Tim Smyczek and 18-year-old Quentin Halys of France.  McDonald, with partner Deiton Baughman, have also advanced to the doubles semifinals as wild cards. Links to the tournament's live stream can be found at the tournament website.

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