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Monday, March 21, 2016

A Dozen Americans Advance to Final Round of Qualifying at Miami Open; Wild Card Mmoh Faces Zverev in Main Draw; Gordon Top Seed in Newport Beach Grade 4

Qualifying began today for the Miami Open, with nine American men and three American women advancing to Tuesday's final round of qualifying.  The most impressive victory came early, with wild card Sachia Vickery defeating WTA No. 39 Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia 7-5, 6-2.  The 18-year-old Ostapenko, who won the Wimbledon girls title in 2014, was forced to qualify due to the entry cutoff coming prior to her run to the Doha final last month.

The men's top qualifying seed, Taylor Fritz, would also have been safely in the main draw had his Acapulco quarterfinal been taken into account, but he fared better than Ostapenko, beating Nicolas Kicker of Argentina 6-4, 6-3.  He will play Alex Kuznetsov for a place in the main draw. Kuznetsov defeated No. 15 seed Alejandro Falla of Colombia 6-3, 6-4.

Kuznetsov was one of seven unseeded American men to take out a seed today.  Alex Sarkissian defeated No. 21 seed Facundo Arguello of Argentina 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, Bjorn Fratangelo beat No. 18 seed Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, Dennis Novikov topped No. 19 seed Ruben Bemelmans 6-4, 6-4, Tommy Paul defeated No. 24 Carlos Berlocq of Argentina 6-4, 7-5, wild card Noah Rubin beat No. 17 seed Mirza Basic of Bosnia 6-2, 6-2, and in the last match tonight, Jared Donaldson downed No. 7 seed Malek Jaziri of Tunisia 6-2, 6-7(1), 7-6(1).  The other American man to advance was No. 11 seed Tim Smyczek, who beat Christian Harrison 6-4, 6-2 in the only all-American first round contest.

Only two other women joined Vickery in the final round of qualifying. Samantha Crawford defeated No. 4 seed Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia 0-6, 6-4, 6-4 and Anna Tatishvili beat No. 8 seed Laura Siegemund of Germany 7-5, 6-2.

The teen wild cards did well, with two of the three advancing. Katie Swan of Great Britain surprised No. 16 seed Lauren Davis 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 and Fanny Stollar of Hungary moved on when No. 9 seed Polona Hercog of Slovenia retired trailing 6-3, 3-0. Claire Liu got off to a good start against Donna Vekic of Croatia, but ended up fading in her 5-7, 6-1, 6-0 loss.

Main draw play begins on Tuesday with women's first round action. Nine US men and 12 US women receiving direct entry, including Bakersfield Futures champion Michael Mmoh, who received a late wild card when Kyle Edmund moved into the main draw.  Mmoh will play another 18-year-old, Alexander Zverev of Germany, who held a match point on Rafael Nadal last week in the round of 16 of the BNP Paribas Open and is currently ranked 52.  Mmoh and Zverev have not played in ITF juniors since 2011, when Mmoh, 13, and Zverev, 14, met in the first round of a Grade 5 in the Bahamas. Zverev, who went on to reach the final, won 6-2, 6-3.

In addition to Mmoh, the only men's wild card from the US, the American men competing are: Steve Johnson(31), Rajeev Ram, Brian Baker(using a protected ranking), Jack Sock(22), Denis Kudla, John Isner(13), Sam Querrey(29) and Donald Young.

The US women competing are: Serena Williams(1), Christina McHale, Irina Falconi, Vania King, Madison Brengle, Sloane Stephens(20), CoCo Vandeweghe, Venus Williams, wild card CiCi Bellis, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, wild card Nicole Gibbs and Madison Keys(22).  Gibbs, another late wild card, will play Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan, and as I tweeted last night, that matchup brings back memories of their quarterfinal match at the US Open junior championships back in 2011, which was an eventful one.

The women's draw is here.  The men's draw is here.

Qualifying is complete at this week's $25,000 Futures in Calabasas California, with Alexios Halebian and Tyler Hochwalt the only two Americans to earn a place in the main draw.  Henri Lakksonen of Switzerland and Matthew Barton of Australia are the top two seeds.

In other action in California, on the ITF junior level, the Grade 4 that had always been held in Claremont is now in Newport Beach. As I mentioned on twitter this morning, it's rare for a Top 50 player to compete at this level, but Michaela Gordon, no doubt needing matches prior to Carson and the Easter Bowl, is the top seed.  Hanna Chang is the No. 2 seed.  The top seed in the boys draw is Luke Hammond of Great Britain.  The draws are here.


Tennis ain't fair fo sho said...

And the same corruption continues in the pros - do you think it is random that these 18 year olds get in main draw of an ATP event (whether earned or by WC) then end up playing each other when huge points and dollars are on the line? There are 60+ other top 100 guys in the tournament and they just happen to hit the other 18 year old in the draw? It guarantees they won't have to grind through the Futures and Challenger circuit any longer. These staged draws are free passes to the ATP level. Do they think people don't see this happening? Yes, you better be in the club, as a junior but moreso as a pro.

tchermosa said...

How in the hell does Mmoh, ranked 370, get WC into main draw ?? Fritz is around 80, recent success, and in qualies. Help me here ??

Colette Lewis said...

Mmoh is an IMG client. IMG owns the tournament.

Mmoh vs Zverev said...

Taylor vs Tiafoe at Indian Wells seems to have been managed by the USTA. Not the first time this seems to have been done. Regarding the Miami open, this is open tournament where USTA doesn't seem to have much influence. As Collete mentioned above, IMG rules here and promotes it's own talent here. Not sure if Zverev is IMG too, then it could be pulling the same trick as the USTA. Though on paper, Zverev seems much stronger than Mmoh at this point of time, so not sure if this was intentional, then it doesn't help Mmoh.

BTW, not many people speak of Mmoh, good for him, he is playing under the radar while attention has been on Taylor and Tiafoe lately and before that on Kozlov and Donaldson. Having watched all these upcoming juniors, to me it appears that Mmoh has the most upside. He has the best technique and variety among all of them. On top of that, he has easy power and athletism like Tiafoe. Not sure about the mental part though, which Taylor is the best in. If he can take care of that area, then he seems to have the biggest upside in the long run. Obviously, another reason why he is not being hyped (good for him), is that he is not USTA PD.

Brent said...

What are you people talking about? Do you understand that we have a number of young Americans in these draws - more than we have in the past - and at some point, they are going to end up playing each other? You have no data to suggest that they are drawing each other more frequently than a normal distribution would suggest. You are just guessing based on anecdotes because they validate your already pre-established position that they have received favorable treatment in some cases, so they must be receiving it here. Do you understand what you are actually suggesting? Stop throwing completely baseless accusations out there.

American Tennis Back on Top said...

Brent you are wasting your time with these people. We can go through the results that all of these young kids will have and they will still come up with all of this conspiracy theory crap. All of these players have earned their way with each and every one of them having Top 100 wins in their careers. WC only get you so far. To get points in these big events you have to win a match. If you are given a WC and don't win your first round match you don't get any points. The idiots that lost on these blogs don't know what they don't know. They play bad games of telephone with each other passing along bad information. They complain when American tennis is in the toilet. Then they complain when the US HAS the best young crop of players since the group that came up in the 80s and now their is a consipracy theory that these kids are getting special treatment. Do these low life's know that at the BNP event they have a live draw ceremony where players draw names out of a bucket in front of a live crowd. Collette your site is becoming a laughing stock as this has become a site of complainers and a forum for tennis haters. If you look at your comments they are only of people attacking American tennis and not doing anything to help move the dial forward. I know you only get traffic if you post these controversial comments but most of your readership has no basis for 99% of the junk they write. They are straight up lies and mistruths. Hopefully you can make some changes.

Pick of the week said...

At some point they will end up playing each other, but at every big tournament week after week? Yes we know what we are suggesting. The same thing that happens at the Futures in Boca when two chosen 14 or 15 year olds "randomly" get each other in first round of main draw (after getting WC). Promotion of one of them. If you follow each and every event, the pattern is clear. Draws are not always random. It is naive to think they are.