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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Grade 1 Coffee Bowl Semifinals Feature Six Americans; Current Collegians Shine in LA Futures; Les Petits As Entries; Crawford into Brisbane Semis

The Grade 1 Coffee Bowl in Costa Rica is always popular with American juniors, with its night matches, paying spectators, ballrunners and officiating crews setting it apart from most junior events. This year's tournament had 39 US juniors in the singles main draws at the start, and the Americans managed to improve on that mathematical ratio, with 6 of the 8 semifinalists from the US.

Obviously there will be an American in both finals, with two all-US semifinals on tap for Friday.  Top seed Amanda Anisimova will play No. 14 seed Ellie Douglas after Anisimova defeated unseeded Malene Helgo of Norway 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 and Douglas beat unseeded Tatiana Pieri of Italy 6-4, 2-6, 6-1.  Hurricane Tyra Black, the No. 10 seed, beat unseeded Nicole Anderson 6-2, 6-3 in today's quarterfinals and will play the winner of tonight's match between No. 8 seed Dominque Schaefer of Peru and unseeded Maria Viviani of Italy in the semifinals.  Even with three semifinalists however, the girls are one short of matching last year's all-US semifinals, with Michaela Gordon defeating Usue Arconada in the final.  CiCi Bellis won in 2014, so the US is looking for its third straight girls champion.

The US boys have not had a champion since Noah Rubin beat Connor Farren to win it in 2012.  This year, either JJ Wolf or Zeke Clark will represent the US in the final.  The third-seeded Clark defeated qualifier Kyrylo Tsygura 7-5, 6-3, while No. 10 seed Wolf ousted top seed Alberto Lim of the Philippines 6-4, 6-2 this afternoon.  Wolf and Clark played in the semifinals of the ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed last October, with Wolf taking a 6-1, 7-5 decision.  In the other semifinal, No. 2 seed Ulises Blanch, into the semifinals for the second straight year, will face the winner of tonight's match between No. 11 seed Constantin Bittoun Kouzmine of France and unseeded Juan Martin Jalif of Argentina. Blanch defeated unseeded Jaimee Angel of France 6-2, 7-6 in the quarterfinals.

The tournament website has draws, the order of play and a link to the live streaming.

The first round of the $25,000 Futures in Los Angeles was finally completed today, and the second round will go well into the night here in the Eastern time zone, but several current collegians had notable wins today.  

NCAA champion Ryan Shane, a senior at Virginia, defeated No. 7 seed Deiton Baughman 7-5, 7-5 and qualifier Tom Fawcett, a sophomore at Stanford, beat qualifier Nicholas Hu, a senior at Harvard, 6-2, 6-4. In another all-qualifier first round match, USC freshman Jake DeVine picked up his first ATP point, defeating Virginia junior Thai Kwiatkowski 6-4, 6-3.  In yet another all-qualifier first round match, USC senior Max De Vroome beat Martin Redlicki, a sophomore at UCLA, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5(3). 

The entry list for Les Petits As tournament later this month has been published, with the Americans I mentioned in a post late last month traveling to Europe for both that event and the Nike International the week before. I was hopeful that the tournament's organizers would offer Junior Orange Bowl finalist Naomi Cheong a wild card, but the two non-French players receiving main draw wild cards are Holly Fischer of Great Britain and Noa Krznaric of Croatia, both with 2003 birth years. The complete list is at the Tennis Europe tournament website.

In Brisbane, qualifier Samantha Crawford has reached her first WTA semifinal.  In Thursday's quarterfinal, she defeated Andrea Petkovic of Germany 6-3, 6-0 playing power tennis of the Petra Kvitova variety and making a big impression on media and fans who had not seen her play before.  Here's the WTA website's article on Crawford's latest big win.