Sunday, October 4, 2015

US Girls Fall in Junior Fed Cup Final, Canadian Boys Win Junior Davis Cup; Smyczek Saves Match Points to Win Tiburon Challenger; Pre-qualifying Complete at Women's ITA All American Championships

Junior Davis Cup winners Canada and
Junior Fed Cup winners Czech Republic
(photo via the ITF Junior Facebook page)
The top seeds took the Junior Fed Cup and Junior Davis Cup titles today in Madrid, but both needed wins in the deciding doubles point to do so.  The Czech Republic defeated the second-seeded USA team for their first Junior Fed Cup title since 2001, with Marketa Vondrousova proving to be too strong for the Americans.  The Canadian boys won the country's first Junior Davis Cup title, beating Germany in a tense three-set doubles match.

The US girls got off to a great start, with Kayla Day taking out Monika Kilnarova 6-3, 6-1.  The 16-year-old left-hander from Santa Barbara was much stronger on serve than Kilnarova, who held only twice in the match, the second time when she trailed 5-0 in the second set.

Unfortunately for the US, the tables were turned in the No. 1 singles match, with Vondrousova, who was No. 1 in the ITF junior rankings until Dalma Galfi replaced her at the top last month, taking a 7-5, 6-4 decision over Claire Liu.  Liu had beaten Vondrousova in their previous two meetings, in the Junior Orange Bowl 14s final in 2013 and last year at the Eddie Herr ITF.  But Liu struggled with her serve, particularly her toss, all day, and even though she fought back to break Vondrousova twice when serving for the first set, she was broken for a fourth time at 5-all and Vondrousova finished it, on her fifth set point, with a nifty drop shot winner.

Trailing 2-0 and 4-2 in the second set, Liu again fought back, but she was broken at 4-all, and Vondrousova converted on her second match point.

Day, who played doubles in place of Michaela Gordon, and Liu were certainly the underdogs going into the doubles, with Vondrousova a two-time girls doubles slam champion, although she had not won them with Anna Slovakova, her fellow left-hander. But Day and Liu played poorly to start the match and lost the first ten games before Liu finally held her serve. That wasn't nearly enough however, and as she had done against No. 4 seed Canada in the semifinals, Vondrousova brought the Czech team back from 1-0 down to claim the win.

In Junior Davis Cup, Canada got off to a good start, with Denis Shapovalov beating Marvin Moeller 6-1, 6-4 at No. 2 singles.  But Nicola Kuhn, who was named the Most Valuable Player in a losing cause, defeated Felix Auger Aliassime 6-3, 6-3 in the No. 1 singles match.  Auger Aliassime had beaten Kuhn at No. 2 singles in the 14-and-under World Junior Tennis final in the Czech Republic last year, with Germany coming back to win 2-1.

Unlike last year, Auger Aliassime played in the deciding doubles match in this final, and he and Shapovalov, the US Open boys champions, took a tense 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Kuhn and Moeller.

For more on the finals, see the report from the ITF junior website.

The results of the finals and the third place matches are below.  For all of today's results, see the ITF tournament site.

CZECH REPUBLIC (1) defeated USA (2) 2-1:
Kayla Day (USA) d. Monika Kilnarova (CZE) 63 61
Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) d. Claire Liu (USA) 75 64
Anna Slovakova/Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) d. Kayla Day/Claire Liu (USA) 60 62

Girls 3rd-4th place play-offs 
CANADA (4) defeated RUSSIA (3) 3-0:
Bianca Andreescu (CAN) d. Evgeniya Levashova (RUS) 62 62
Charlotte Robillard-Millette (CAN) d. Olesya Pervushina (RUS) 63 75

Bianca Andreescu/Vanessa Wong (CAN) d. Evgeniya Levashova/Elena Rybakina (RUS) 61 36 63

CANADA (1) defeated GERMANY (5) 2-1:
Denis Shapovalov (CAN) d. Marvin Moeller (GER) 61 64
Nicola Kuhn (GER) d. Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 63 63
Felix Auger-Aliassime/Denis Shapovalov (CAN) d. Nicola Kuhn/Marvin Moeller (GER) 63 36 62

Boys 3rd-4th place play-offs
RUSSIA (4) defeated JAPAN (8) 3-0:
Alen Avidzba (RUS) d. Yunosuke Tanaka (JPN) 64 62
Artem Dubrivnyy (RUS) d. Toru Horie (JPN) 63 60
Alen Avidzba/Mikhail Sokolovskiy d. Yuta Shimizu/Yunosuke Tanaka (JPN) 62 64

In Sunday's USTA Pro Circuit finals, the only singles champion from the US is Tim Smyczek, who beat fellow American Denis Kudla 1-6, 6-1, 7-6(7), saving four match points, to take the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger. Kudla, the No. 1 seed, served for the match at 5-3 in the third set, but the third-seeded Smyczek saved a match point there, then two more serving at 4-5, then another in the tiebreaker, before finally securing the win and a return to the ATP Top 100.  Top seeds Johan Brunstrom of Sweden and Frederik Nielsen of Denmark won the doubles title, beating No. 4 seeds Carsten Ball and Matt Reid of Australia 7-6(2), 6-1 in the final. 

At the women's $50,000 tournament in Las Vegas, Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands took her second straight USTA Pro Circuit final, beating No. 7 seed Shelby Rogers 6-3, 6-1 in the final.  Krajicek, who won the $75,000 Albuquerque tournament last week as a qualifier and received a special exemption into Las Vegas, will return to the WTA Top 200 with this title. The 26-year-old was ranked as high as 30 when she was a teenager. 

Wild cards Nicole Gibbs and Julia Boserup took the doubles title, beating top seeds and Albuquerque champions Sanaz Marand and Paula Goncalves of Brazil 6-3, 6-4 in the final. 

South Africa's Nik Scholtz, who completed his eligibility at Ole Miss this spring, won his sixth career Futures title today at the $10,000 tournament in Laguna Niguel, California.  The No. 4 seed defeated No. 3 seed Wil Spencer 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

The women's $10,000 tournament in Charleston, South Carolina was rained out for the third straight day, with a second round match still not completed.  Monday's order of play can be found here.

The pre-qualifying is complete at the women's ITA/Riviera All American Championships.  Those reaching the 64-player qualifying draw are: North Carolina's Jessie Aney(9-16), Texas Tech's Gabriela Talaba, Duke's Kaitlyn McCarthy(9-16) and Ellyse Hamiln(9-16), USC's Rianna Valdes(7), Pepperdine's Luisa Stefani(9-16), Arkansas's Shannon Hudson and Oklahoma State's Kelsey Laurente.  Qualifying begins on Tuesday for the women. 

In Tulsa, the men still have another round of pre-qualifying Monday, and those who win will play immediately in the first round of qualifying. Both draws are available at the ITA tournament page.