US Teens Impress on Pro Circuit; Caruana Only American Junior Left in Australia; Johnson Negotiates Tough Turnaround in Ecuador Grade 1
There are four Pro Circuit events this week in the United States, with two in Florida and two on the island of Maui in Hawaii.
The men's Futures this week is a $10,000 tournament in Weston, where, because of rain late last week, qualifying just finished today. Americans qualifying are Hunter Callahan(Ohio State), Nick Chappell(TCU) and Junior Ore(Texas A&M). Denis Shapovalov, the 16-year-old Canadian also qualified and will face Ore in the first round. Shapovalov has qualified for the last five Futures he's played, but the main draw wins he needs to improve his ATP ranking enough to bypass qualifying are proving harder to come by. Sixteen-year-olds Vasil Kirkov and Sam Riffice both received wild cards into the main draw. Riffice plays qualifier Jaume Pla Malfeito of Spain Wednesday, while Kirkov picked up his first ATP point, beating 26-year-old Thales Turini of Brazil 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(2) after Turini served for the match at 6-5 in the third.
The women's Florida tournament is in Sunrise and offers $25,000 in prize money. Caroline Dolehide, Nicole Frenkel and Chiara Scholl are the American qualifiers. Jamie Loeb, Ellie Halbauer, Sofia Sewing and Anna Tatishvili received wild cards, with Tatishvili, the No. 1 seed, drawn to face last week's champion Sonya Kenin. Halbauer won her first round match today; Katerina Stewart, the No. 2 seed, was beaten by Canadian teenager Francoise Abanda in first round play Tuesday.
Play is still going on Tuesday in Maui, where both men and women have $50,000 tournaments. Michael Mmoh and Ernesto Escobedo both qualified, putting the total of US teens in the main draw at seven. Francis Tiafoe and wild card Noah Rubin won their first round matches Monday. Taylor Fritz won his first round match today while Escobedo beat No. 7 seed Blaz Rola of Slovenia 7-5, 7-6(2). Wild card Stefan Kozlov lost to qualifier Nick Meister 6-3, 6-1. Defending champion Jared Donaldson, the No. 6 seed, is the seventh American teen competing in Maui.
Sixteen-year-old Ashley Kratzer was the only American to qualify for the women's main draw, but is hardly the only junior participating, with Claire Liu, wild card Michaela Gordon and Raveena Kingsley also in the field. Liu and Gordon lost their opening round matches, but Kingsley picked up an excellent win, beating Julia Boserup, WTA 198, 6-2, 6-0.
The Australian Open Junior Championships have gone mostly to form this week, with seven of the top eight boys seeds and six of the top eight girls seeds (including No. 9 seed in this number due to No. 7 withdrawing) through to the third round. Ulises Blanch, the No. 8 seed, was beaten by Australian wild card Max Purcell, who served 13 aces and no double faults en route to his 7-5, 7-6(6) victory. With the second round losses in doubles of Blanch(with Moroni of Italy), Zeke Clark(with Sumizawa of Japan) and Maria Mateas(with Anastasia Potapova of Russia), Liam Caruana, who plays his third round singles match later this evening, is the last US player still in the hunt for a title.
At this week's Grade 1 in Ecuador, Taylor Johnson won her first round match, the day after she had taken the title late Sunday in the Grade 1 in Colombia. Because she was not seeded or drawn against a seed, Johnson did not get a bye, but she defeated Juliana Valero of Colombia 6-4, 6-2 Monday evening. Two other US girls won their opening matches: qualifier Jada Robinson and Amanda Meyer. Seeds Abigail Desiatnikov(8) and Morgan Coppoc(6) received first round byes.
In boys action, qualifier Gui Gomez is the only American still in singles. No. 14 seed Alexandre Rotsaert lost his first match (in the second round), with Sangeet Sridhar going out in the first round.