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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Kenin, Paul Win Pro Circuit Titles; Johnson Captures Copa Barranquilla Championship; Blanch into Australian Open Second Round; Les Petits As Starts Monday

Sonya Kenin won her first title on the Pro Circuit today, with the 17-year-old from Pembroke Pines Florida defeating unseeded Jesika Maleckova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-2 at the Wesley Chapel Florida $25,000 tournament. Kenin, whose previous best showing on the Pro Circuit was as a finalist at a $10,000 tournament last spring, began her march to the title last Saturday. Nine days and eight wins, including over No. 6 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia and top seed Shelby Rogers, later, Kenin was the champion, and she closed out Maleckova in just over an hour Sunday afternoon.

Tommy Paul won his second consecutive $10,000 Futures title and the fourth of his career, with the top-seeded 18-year-old defeating Adrien Puget of France, the No. 3 seed,  6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in Sunrise. Paul trailed 4-2 in the opening set, but won the final four games. In the second set, the 24-year-old Puget, a former UCLA Bruin, got the only break and made it hold up.  In the third set, Paul led 3-1 and 4-2, but had to survive a seven-deuce game in his attempt to serve it out, finally converting on his fifth match point.

Johnson, left, and Viviani (photo via Twitter)
At the Copa Barranquilla in Colombia, 15-year-old Taylor Johnson claimed her first Grade 1 title, beating qualifier Maria Viviani of Italy 6-1 6-3 in tonight's final.  Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina, the No. 11 seed, won the boys title, beating No. 16 seed Juan Martin Jalif, also of Argentina, 6-3, 6-3 in the final.  Jalif had defeated No. 14 seed Alexandre Rotsaert 6-3, 6-1 in the semifinals.

The girls doubles championship went to No. 4 seeds Mirjam Bjorklund of Sweden and Maria Jose Portillo Ramirez of Mexico, who beat No. 6 seeds Morgan Coppoc and Victoria Emma 6-0, 6-4, in the final.  No. 5 seeds Andres Andrade of Ecuador and Duarte Vale of Portugal won the boys doubles title, beating unseeded Filip Malbasic of Sweden and Sangeet Sridhar 7-6(4), 0-6, 10-5.

The completion of the first round of the Australian Open junior championships saw No. 8 seed Ulises Blanch advance, beating Kacper Zuk of Poland 7-6(6), 6-4.  He spoke to Stuart Fraser, writing for the ITF junior website, about his excellent start to 2016.  Fraser also has comments from Ludmilla Samsonova of Italy, who pulled off the upset of the tournament so far, beating No. 3 seed Charlotte Robillard-Millette of Canada 6-7(1), 6-1, 6-4.  Maria Mateas lost to Australian wild card Petra Hule 6-1, 6-4.  Liam Caruana plays his second round match later tonight. Blanch, Mateas, Caruana and Zeke Clark will all play their first round double matches overnight.

Complete draws are here.

Les Petits As begins Monday in Tarbes France with the draws now available. Faris Khan, Zane Khan, Nicholas Garcia and Stefan Leustian are the US boys in the draw, with Leustian seeded eighth and Faris Khan 15th. Dalibor Zvrcina of the Czech Republic is the top boys seed.

The US girls competing are Alexa Noel, Vanessa Ong, Victoria Hu and Gabriela Price.  Noel, the Teen Tennis champion, is the No. 4 seed and Ong is No. 12.  Daria Snigur of Ukraine is the No. 1 seed in the girls draw, and will play Eddie Herr 12s champion and Junior Orange Bowl finalist Noa Krznaric of Croatia, a wild card, in the first round.  Eddie Herr and Junior Orange Bowl champion Marta Kostyuk, also of Ukraine, is the No. 3 seed.  Junior Orange Bowl 12s champion Daria Lopatetskaya, also from Ukraine, qualified for the main draw.

Draws can be found at the tournament website, which also has live scoring.