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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Three Australians Reach Semifinals in AO Junior Championships; Leustian, Ong Advance to Les Petits As Quarterfinals; Kingsley, Tiafoe Reach Quarterfinals in Maui $50Ks

The semifinals are set for the Australian Open Junior Championships, with three from the host country still in contention for the singles titles.

Qualifier Sara Tomic was the first to advance, avoiding the rain delay that kept the other three first-on quarterfinals from finishing. Tomic defeated Australian qualifier Baijing Lin of Australia 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 and will play No. 5 seed Vera Lapko of Belarus in Friday's semifinals. Lapko, who also reached the semifinals at Wimbledon last year, took out No. 4 seed Anna Kalinskaya of Russia 7-5, 5-7, 6-2.

Defending champion Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia extending her winning streak in Melbourne to ten matches, beating No. 8 seed Anastasia Potapova of Russia 6-1, 6-3.  She will play No. 9 seed Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland, who advanced over No. 16 seed Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine by a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 score.

The last of the top four boys seeds was eliminated on Thursday, when No. 6 seed Alex De Minaur of Australia took out No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-0. De Minaur will play 2015 semifinalist Djurabeck Karimov of Uzbekistan, the No. 7 seed.

An all-Australian boys final is possible, with wild card Oliver Anderson still alive in the top half. Anderson defeated wild card Max Purcell 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 and will play No. 5 seed Yunseong Chung of Korea for a spot in the final.

The doubles finals are being played Friday (later tonight in the United States) with two of the singles semifinalists going for titles.

De Minaur and Blake Ellis, also of Australia, who are unseeded, face No. 8 seeds Lukas Klein of Slovakia and Patrik Rikl of the Czech Republic.

In the girls doubles final, No. 6 seeds Yastremska and Anastasia Zarytska, also of Ukraine, will play No. 2 seeds Kalinskaya and Mihalikova, who won the Grade 1 title together in College Park Maryland last summer. Kalinskaya and Mihalikova have yet to lose a set this week.

Draws are available at the Australian Open website.  For more on the quarterfinals, see this article from the AO website, and this one from the ITF website.

At Les Petits As, Vanessa Ong and Stefan Leustian advanced to the quarterfinals, with Leustian also reaching the semifinals in doubles.

Leustian, the No. 8 seed, defeated unseeded Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune of Denmark 6-3, 6-3 and will play No. 13 seed Mortiz Stoeger of Germany in Thursday's quarterfinals, most of which will be streamed at on the tournament's YouTube channel.

Ong, the No. 12 seed, had a much tougher time getting by No. 8 seed Qinwen Zheng of China, needing over three hours and six match points to complete her comeback and post a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory.  Ong, who did not play the Eddie Herr and Junior Orange Bowl, will face No. 3 seed Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine, who won both those titles, in the quarterfinals.

Ong and Alexa Noel lost in the quarterfinals of doubles, as did Nicholas Garcia and Zane Khan, but Faris Khan and Leustian have reached the doubles semifinals, which are scheduled for later on Friday.

Rain washed out play again today in Florida, at the men's $10,000 Futures in Weston and the women's $25,000 tournament in Sunrise.

The quarterfinals are set at both the $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournaments in Maui however, with Frances Tiafoe, Ernesto Escobedo and Noah Rubin advancing in men's play, and Raveena Kingsley on the women's side.

Tiafoe defeated Dennis Novikov 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3 Wednesday and will play No. 3 seed James Duckworth of Australia in the quarterfinals. Duckworth beat Taylor Fritz 6-3, 7-6(5) on Wednesday.  Rubin got by Mitchell Krueger 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 and will play qualifier Escobedo, who beat Tennys Sandgren 6-2, 6-2 to continue his run.  Michael Mmoh, the second teen qualifier, lost to top seed Kyle Edmund of Great Britain 6-1, 6-0 today.

Kingsley, ranked 602, picked up her second straight WTA Top 200 win, beating No. 8 seed Miyu Kato of Japan 6-0, 6-2 to set up a quarterfinal against No. 2 seed Samantha Crawford.  Other Americans to advance to the quarterfinals include Maria Sanchez, Jessica Pegula(5), Jacqueline Cako and top seed Christina McHale.

At the Grade 1 in Ecuador, Taylor Johnson fell in the quarterfinals to No. 7 seed Tatiana Pieri of Italy 6-4, 7-6(3), but she will get another crack at her in the doubles final.  Johnson and Morgan Coppoc, the No. 8 seeds, will play No. 2 seeds Pieri and Federica Bilardi, also from Italy, in the championship match.