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Thursday, October 1, 2015

US Girls Advance to Junior Fed Cup Semifinals, US Boys Lose to Japan; Blackman on Sports Illustrated Tennis Podcast; UCLA's McDonald Reaches Tiburon Challenger Quarterfinals

Two countries--Canada and Russia--still have an opportunity to sweep the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup titles this weekend in Madrid, but the United States, which did it last year, is not among them.

The US girls, the No. 2 seeds, are still in contention for a second straight title, after defeating No. 6 seed Spain 3-0, with Michaela Gordon and Claire Liu posting singles victories to clinch the Americans' spot in the semifinals. They will play Russia on Friday, with the No. 3 seeds defeating No. 8 seed Brazil 3-0.

The other girls semifinal will feature top seeds the Czech Republic, who beat No. 5 Australia 2-1, and No. 4 seed Canada, who defeated unseeded Japan 3-0.

In Junior Davis Cup, the top half went as projected, with No. 1 Canada, a 3-0 winner over the No. 7 seeds the Czech Republic, meeting No. 4 seed Russia, who defeated No. 6 seed Argentina 2-1.

The bottom half semifinal is more surprising, with No. 8 seed Japan taking on No. 5 seed Germany.

The US boys, who won two difficult ties to start the competition, couldn't overcome the hamstring injury to Sam Riffice on Wednesday. Patrick Kypson and Vasil Kirkov both lost their singles matches, putting Japan in the semifinals before the doubles point, also won by Japan, was played.

Germany was expected to contend for the boys championship after winning the ITF World Junior Tennis 14-and-under title last year, but when Rudolf Molleker did not make the trip, their chances appeared to take a hit, and they were seeded No. 5.  But Nicola Kuhn, like Molleker just 15 years old, stepped in to the No. 1 spot and has dominated, losing just four game in his first two matches, then beating US Open semifinalist Alex De Minaur of No. 2 seed Australia 6-3, 6-2 today, clinching the tie with the Germans' second point.  At 97, Kuhn is a full 70 spots lower in the ITF junior rankings than De Minaur, but he dominated today.

The US boys will play Australia on Friday in the 5-8 playoff.

Live streaming of selected matches is available here.  Live scoring is here.

Complete results below:

Girls Group A
CZECH REPUBLIC (1) defeated AUSTRALIA (5) 2-1:
Jaimee Fourlis (AUS) d. Monika Kilnarova (CZE) 61 57 62
Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) d. Destanee Aiava (AUS) 62 61
Anna Slovakova/Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) d. Destanee Aiava/Seone Mendez (AUS) 63 64
Suzan Lamens (NED) d. Paula Baranano 61 61
Maria Lourdes Carle (ARG) d. Isolde de Jong (NED) 36 75 64
Paula Baranano/Maria Lourdes Carle (ARG) d. Isolde de Jong/Suzan Lamens (NED) 75 46 61

Girls Group B
CANADA (4) defeated JAPAN 3-0:
Bianca Andreescu (CAN) d. Mai Hontama (JPN) 62 62
Charlotte Robillard-Millette (CAN) d. Kimika Sakata (JPN) 62 63
Bianca Andreescu/Vanessa Wong (CAN) d. Ayumi Miyamoto/Kimika Sakata (JPN) 63 61
GREAT BRITAIN (7) defeated COLOMBIA 2-1:
Sofia Munera (COL) d. Ali Collins (GBR) 64 26 63
Katie Swan (GBR) d. Emiliana Arango (COL) 64 75
Ali Collins/Katie Swan (GBR) d. Emiliana Arango/Sofia Munera (COL) 61 63

Girls Group C
RUSSIA (3) defeated BRAZIL (8) 3-0:
Evgeniya Levashova (RUS) d. Nathalia Gasparin (BRA) 61 61
Olesya Pervushina (RUS) d. Thaisa Pedretti (BRA) 26 64 62
Evgeniya Levashova/Elena Rybakina (RUS) d. Marcelle Cirino/Nathalia Gasparin (BRA) 63 60
Tatiana Pieri (ITA) d. Chen Pei Hsuan (TPE) 64 26 62
Federica Bilardo (ITA) d. Lee Yang (TPE) 62 63
Monica Cappelletti/Tatiana Pieri (ITA) d. Chen Pei Hsuan/Lee Yang (TPE) 57 62 62

Girls Group D 
USA (2) defeated SPAIN (6) 3-0:
Michaela Gordon (USA) d. Paula Arias Manjon (ESP) 61 36 64
Claire Liu (USA) d. Eva Guerrero Alvarez (ESP) 64 62
Kayla Day/Claire Liu (USA) d. Noelia Bouzo Zanotti/Eva Guerrero Alvarez (ESP) 61 60
NEW ZEALAND defeated EGYPT 2-1:
Laila Elnimr (EGY) d. Valentina Ivanov (NZL) 63 62
Nina Paripovich (NZL) d. Dalila Said (EGY) 36 75 63
Lauren Alter/Valentina Ivanov (NZL) d. Laila Elnimr/Dalila Said (EGY) 67(5) 75 75

Boys Group A
CANADA (1) defeated CZECH REPUBLIC (7) 3-0:
Benjamin Sigouin (CAN) d. Michael Vrbensky (CZE) 60 76(7)
Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) d. Patrik Rikl (CZE) 64 16 4-3 ret.
Denis Shapovalov/Benjamin Sigouin (CAN) d. Daniel Velek/Michael Vrbensky (CZE) 76(2) 36 62
POLAND defeated HONG KONG 2-1:
Konrad Fryze (POL) d. Sou Ming Chun Alan (HKG) 57 63 76(2)
Kacper Zuk (POL) d. Lam Ching (HKG) 62 64
Cheung Ngai Long/Lam Ching (HKG) d. Konrad Fryze/Daniel Michalski (POL) 63 36 75

Boys Group B
RUSSIA (4) defeated ARGENTINA (6) 2-1:
Alen Avidzba (RUS) d. Santiago Rodriguez Taverna (ARG) 76(5) 36 64
Artem Dubrivnyy (RUS) d. Tomas Etcheverry (ARG) 64 63
Camilo Ugo Carabelli/Santiago Rodriguez Taverna (ARG) d. Artem Dubrivnyy/Mikhail Sokolovskiy (RUS) 64 62 
Jonas Eriksson Ziverts (SWE) d. Yu Hua Chen (TPE) 75 63
Hsu Tyu Hsiou (TPE) d. Karl Friberg (SWE) 61 62
Hsu Tyu Hsiou/Yu Hua Chen (TPE) d. Linus Bergevi/Jonas Eriksson Ziverts (SWE) 75 75

Boys Group C
JAPAN (8) defeated USA (3) 3-0:
Yunosuke Tanaka (JPN) d. Patrick Kypson (USA) 62 06 61
Toru Horie (JPN) d. Vasil Kirkov (USA) 76(4) 64
Yuta Shimizu/Yunosuke Tanaka (JPN) d. Vasil Kirkov/Patrick Kypson (USA) 76(5) 64
BRAZIL defeated SPAIN 2-1:
Andres Fernandez Canovas (ESP) d. Gabriel Bugiga (BRA) 64 62
Gabriel Decamps (BRA) d. Nikolas Sanchez-Izquierdo Vivar (ESP) 62 64
Gabriel Decamps/Enzo Kohn (BRA) d. Alejandro Davidovich Fukina/Andres Fernandez Canovas (ESP) 75 46 62

Boys Group D
GERMANY (5) defeated AUSTRALIA (2) 2-1:
Marvin Moeller (GER) d. Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 75 36 63
Nicola Kuhn (GER) d. Alex de Minaur (AUS) 63 62
Alex de Minaur/Blake Ellis (AUS) d. Marvin Moeller/Maximilian Todorov (GER) 67(7) 75 61

Nicolas Mejia (COL) d. Joshua Howard-Tripp (RSA) 63 62
Sergio Hernandez (COL) d. Richard Thongoana (RSA) 64 60
Alejandro Hoyos/Nicolas Mejia (COL) d. Albertus Kruger/Richard Thongoana (RSA) 06 62 62

Two USTA Player Development items.  The Team USA quarterly forum was last night, and if you missed it, it should be available here, although you may need to register to access it.

General Manager Martin Blackman was a guest on Sports Illustrated's Jon Wertheim's Beyond the Baseline podcast this week.  Blackman discusses the challenges and expectations for American tennis, with Lake Nona, setting the bar high for the current junior boys, the lack of women's coaches, the role teams play in attracting youngsters to the sport, and what success will look like for him among the topics.

Except for the $10,000 women's event in Charleston, where rain has intervened, the quarterfinals are set at the other USTA Pro Circuit events.  

At the $10,000 Laguna Niguel Futures, No. 3 Wil Spencer is the top seed remaining.  He will play No. 7 seed Noah Rubin in the quarterfinals. Sixteen-year-old qualifier Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia took out top seed Thales Turini of Brazil 7-6(3), 6-2 to make his first Futures quarterfinal, and he will go against unseeded Lucas Gomez of Mexico. No. 4 seed Nik Scholtz and No. 8 seed Clay Thompson will play in the third quarterfinal, with Phillip Simmonds and qualifier Hendrik Jebens, a San Diego State junior, facing off in the bottom quarter.

US Open boys doubles finalists Brandon Holt and Riley Smith, high school seniors who received a wild card, have reached the doubles final, and they have yet to be taken a match tiebreaker. They will play the unseeded team of Spencer and Junior Ore in Friday's final.

At the $50,000 women's event in Las Vegas, Nicole Gibbs(6), Alexa Glatch(5), Jennifer Brady, Shelby Rogers(7) and Anna Tatishvili(2) have reached the quarterfinals. 

In Tiburon, California, where the $100,000 ATP Challenger is taking place, UCLA junior Mackenzie McDonald is among those reaching the quarterfinals.  McDonald, a wild card, led Sekou Bangoura 6-3, 3-0 in their second round match today, only to watch as the former Florida star reeled off eight straight games.  Trailing 2-0 in the third, McDonald got the break back and held, but couldn't put any pressure on Bangoura's serve after that.  Serving at 5-6, McDonald went down 30-40, but a huge forehand pass just catching the sideline saved the match point for McDonald and he held to force a tiebreaker.  The 20-year-old from nearby Piedmont, California dominated it, going up 6-1 before securing the 6-3, 3-6, 76(3) victory. 

McDonald will play No. 6 seed Bjorn Fratangelo in one of Friday's quarterfinals.  Top seed Denis Kudla meets No. 7 seed Blaz Rola of Slovenia. Mitchell Krueger will play 2014 US Open boys finalist Quentin Halys of France, and former Wisconsin Badger Marek Michalicka of the Czech Republic will face No. 3 seed Tim Smyczek.