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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Blanch Wins Traralgon Grade 1 Title; Clark Qualifies for Australian Open; Noel Reaches Bolton Final; Day and Kenin to Meet in Wesley Chapel $25K Quarterfinals

Ulises Blanch warmed up for the Australian Open Junior Championships by winning his first Grade 1 title in Traralgon. Now 11-1 on the year after reaching the Grade 1 Coffee Bowl final earlier this month, the ninth-seeded Blanch defeated wild card Blake Ellis of Australian 6-1, 6-4 in Thursday's final.

Vera Lapko of Belarus won the girls title, with the No. 4 seed downing No. 3 seed Anna Kalinskaya of Russia 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Two unseeded teams won the doubles titles, with Piotr Matuszewski and Kacper Zuk of Poland beating Elliot Benchetrit and Evan Furness of France 6-4, 6-4 for the boys championship, and Nina Kruijer of the Netherlands and Ioana Minca of Romania winning the girls title with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over twins Lee and Zani Barnard of South Africa.

Zeke Clark will play in his first junior slam main draw, after the top seed in qualifying beat No. 12 seed Jie Cui of China 6-2, 6-1.  Olga Danilovic of Serbia, who upset defending champion Sonya Kenin at the Orange Bowl this year, was the No. 1 girls seeds in qualifying and she also got through.  Abi Altick, the No. 5 seed in qualifying, lost to No. 15 seed Georgia Drummy of Ireland 6-2, 7-6(2) to fall short of the main draw. Complete draws for qualifying are available here.

Day Four of the Australian Open saw five Americans advance to the third round, joining Serena Williams and Lauren Davis, who play their third round matches Friday.  Madison Keys(15), John Isner(10), Steve Johnson(31), Varvara Lepchenko and Maidson Brengle will play their third round matches Saturday.

At the Nike International Teen Tennis 14-and-under event in Bolton, England, No. 5 seed Alexa Noel has advanced to the final, beating unseeded Vanessa Ong 1-6, 6-0, 7-5 in today's semifinal.  Noel will play No. 3 seed Qinwen Zheng of China, who took out top seed Himari Sato of Japan 6-4, 7-6(5).  Zheng defeated Noel 6-4, 6-3 in the consolation draw of the Junior Orange Bowl 14s last month.  Noel has already earned one Teen Tennis title, in doubles, partnering Ong to a 6-0, 7-5 win over unseeded Canadians Ariana Arseneault and Sofiya Babych in the finals as the No. 4 seeds.

The boys final will feature the top two seeds, with No. 1 Borna Devald of Croatia against No. 2 seed Harold Mayot of France. Devald defeated Faris Khan 6-3, 6-1 in today's semifinals, while Mayot downed No. 3 seed Alexander Gaponenko of Israel 6-4, 6-2.  No. 4 seeds Mayot and partner Lilian Marmousez, also of France, beat top seeds Devald and Mortiz Stoeger of Germany 7-5, 6-3 to claim the boys doubles championship.

The quarterfinals are set at the two Pro Circuit events in Florida.  At the $25,000 women's tournament in Wesley Chapel, 16-year-old wild card Kayla Day will play 17-year-old qualifier Sonya Kenin for a place in the semifinals, which will be a first at the $25,000 level for both players. Day's 6-2, 6-2 win over Lauren Embree today put her in the quarterfinals of a Pro Circuit event for the first time, while Kenin's 6-4, 6-1 victory over No. 6 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, last week's $25K champion, puts her into the quarterfinals of a $25,000 tournament for the second time.  Kenin and Day have played twice, but way back in the 14s age division in 2012, with Kenin taking both. Other US players into the quarterfinals are the top three seeds, Shelby Rogers, Kat Stewart and Kristie Ahn.

Three Americans remain in the draw of the $10,000 Futures in Sunrise: top seed Tommy Paul, No. 2 seed Sekou Bangoura, and No. 8 seed Wil Spencer.  Bangoura and Spencer will play in Friday's quarterfinals; Paul faces No. 6 seed Tigre Hank. Sixteen-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov, who lost to Spencer today in singles, will contest the doubles final on Friday. The US Open boys doubles champion, playing with former Texas A&M-Corpus Christi standout Peter Nagy of Hungary, will meet No. 2 seeds Isak Arvidsson of Sweden and Kaichi Uchida of Japan in the final.