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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Blanch Reaches Traralgon Grade 1 Final; Altick, Clark Advance in Australian Open Junior Qualifying; Khan, Noel and Ong in Bolton Semifinals; Little Change in ITA Team Rankings

Ulises Blanch has advanced to his second Grade 1 final of the month, with the No. 9 seed defeating No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the semifinals at Traralgon.  It's the second consecutive match that Blanch has won from a set down. He will face Australian wild card Blake Ellis, who took out Orange Bowl champion and No. 2 seed Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-4. Blanch, who reached the Coffee Bowl final earlier this month, is looking for his first Grade 1 title in his third appearance.  Ellis has played in a Grade 1 just twice, both times at this tournament, while playing mostly Futures with a few lower level ITF junior events thrown in.

The girls final will feature No. 3 seed Anna Kalinskaya of Russia against No. 4 seed Vera Lapko of Belarus.

Live scoring is here, with complete draws at the ITF junior website.

In Australian Open qualifying, which is held at the same venue in Traralgon, Abi Altick and Zeke Clark have both advanced to the final round.  Altick, the No. 5 seed, defeated Jessica Saviacic of Australia 6-3, 6-2 and Clark, the No. 1 seed, downed Australian Bernard Nkomba 6-2, 6-2.  The final round of qualifying is Thursday(tonight in the US), with the juniors beginning play in Melbourne on Saturday. I will have a preview coming out for the Tennis Recruiting Network Friday morning.

Live scoring for the qualifying in available here. I believe this is new this year, which means Australia now joins the US Open as the only junior slams with live scoring for qualifying.

Day Three at the men's and women's Australian Open was not kind to Americans, with Austin Krajicek, Nicole Gibbs, Noah Rubin, Irina Falconi and Denis Kudla all bowing out.  Lauren Davis and top seed Serena Williams were the lone US players to advance to the third round. Day four will see nine Americans in action: Madison Keys(15), John Isner(10), Jack Sock(25), Steve Johnson(31), Rajeev Ram, Vania King, Varvara Lepchenko, Tim Smyczek and Madison Brengle.

On the other side of the world, in Bolton, England, three Americans have advanced to the semifinals of the 14-and-under Nike International Teen Tennis tournament.  No. 5 seed Alexa Noel defeated No. 15 seed Holly Fischer of Great Britain 6-3, 7-5, while unseeded Vanessa Ong continued her march through the draw with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Kylie Bilchev of Great Britain. Noel and Ong will meet in the semifinals, assuring an American finalist. They also have reached Thursday's doubles final, where the No. 4 seeds will face the unseeded Canadian team of Ariana Arseneault and Sofiya Babych. The other semifinal will be top seed Himari Sato of Japan against No. 3 seed Qinwen Zheng of China.


Unseeded Faris Khan will take on top seed Boris Devald of Croatia in the semifinals after beating unseeded Shunsuke Mitsui of Japan 6-2, 6-2. The other boys semifinal will be between No. 2 seed Harold Mayot of France and No. 3 seed Alexander Gaponenko of Israel.

The ITA Team rankings were released today, with some switching around, but all the same teams. The complete rankings can be found by clicking on the links below.

MEN:
Jan 20                                           Jan 5
1
    Virginia
                          1
2
    Oklahoma
                          2
3
    TCU
                          3
4
    Baylor
                          4
5
    Texas A&M     
                          5
6
    Georgia
                          7
7
    Illinois
                          6
8
    USC
                          8
9
    Ohio State
                         10
10
    North Carolina
                          9

WOMEN:
Jan 20                                           Jan 5
1
    Vanderbilt
                          1
2
    USC
                          2
3
    Florida
                          3
4
    Georgia
                         T-4
5
    North Carolina
                         T-4
6
    California
                          6
7
    Stanford
                          8
8
    Virginia
                          7
9
    UCLA
                          9
10
    Texas A&M
                         10

Bobby Knight has more on the rankings at College Tennis Today.

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