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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Italian Open Grade A Acceptances Feature 16 American Juniors; Quarterfinals Set for USTA Pro Circuit Events

The acceptances for next month's ITF Grade A tournament in Italy were released today, with six US boys and ten US girls receiving entry into the main draw.

The boys in the main draw are Ulises Blanch, John McNally, JJ Wolf, Nathan Ponwith, Sam Riffice and Vasil Kirkov.

The girls in the main draw are Amanda Anisimova, Kayla Day, Maria Mateas, Michaela Gordon, Morgan Coppoc, Caty McNally, Taylor Johnson, Kylie McKenzie, Ellie Douglas and Natasha Subhash.

Americans in qualifying are Brandon Holt, Oliver Crawford, Gianni Ross, Alexandre Rotsaert, Trent Bryde, Alafia Ayeni, Claire Liu, Abigail Desiatnikov, Hurricane Tyra Black, Hanna Chang and Victoria Emma.

The boys ranking cutoff was 53, the girls 63, with seven of the top 10 ITF boys and four of the top 10 girls in the field. Boys No. 1 Mate Valkusz of Hungary and No. 2 Yosuke Watanuki of Japan are both entered, although a lot can change before the tournament, which begins in Milan on May 16th.

The highest ranked girl entered is No. 4 Bianca Andreescu of Canada, who has not played since the Australian Open junior championships, where she withdrew mid-tournament with several injuries. Another Canadian, Charlotte Robillard-Millette, will be a top seed; she was a finalist last year.  Easter Bowl champion Alexandra Sanford is not entered; William Blumberg is not in the field, nor is Canada's Felix Auger Aliassime.

The quarterfinals are (almost) all set for the three USTA Pro Circuit events in the US this week.  At the $50,000 Savannah Challenger, five Americans are into Friday's quarterfinals, with Frances Tiafoe facing Bjorn Fratangelo in the all-American match.  No. 6 seed Fratangelo, the current leader in the USTA's French Open Wild Card Challenge after his semifinal showing last week in Sarasota, defeated Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland 7-6(2), 7-5, while Tiafoe, who had beaten No. 3 seed Tim Smyczek in the first round, beat qualifier Tomas Lipovsek Puches of Argentina 6-4, 6-4.  In the other quarterfinals, Jared Donaldson(8) will play No. 4 seed Gerald Melzer of Austria, top seed Denis Kudla faces qualifier Nicolas Jarry of Chile, and No. 2 seed Donald Young meets Nicolas Kicker of Argentina.

At the $50,000 women's tournament in Dothan, six Americans will reach the quarterfinals, including the winner of the CiCi Bellis - Anna Tatishvili(1) match, which, due to rain, is still unfinished as of 8:30 tonight. The winner of that match will play Russia's Alla Kudryavtseva, and in the other match with just one American, No. 2 seed Rebecca Peterson of Sweden will play Maria Sanchez.  Jennifer Brady will face qualifier Taylor Townsend and Jessica Pegula(4) takes on Katerina Stewart(8) in the other two quarterfinals. This is the first of the three women's events that will decide the USTA's French Open wild card.


In the $10,000 Orange Park, Florida Futures, two juniors, both of whom are entered in the Milan Grade A, have reached the quarterfinals.  Orange Bowl champion Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia reached his third career Futures quarterfinal with a 6-3, 6-0 win over No. 8 seed Dennis Nevolo. The 16-year-old, who trains at the IMG Academy, used his ITF junior exemption for entry, available to those who finish in the year-end Top 10. Kecmanovic will play top seed Evan King Friday.

Denis Shapovalov of Canada has already won two Futures titles this year, with his ATP ranking up to 450. Seeded No. 5 this week, the 17-year-old will play unseeded Mauricio Echazu of Peru in the quarterfinals.

Wild card Patrick Daciek, qualifier Junior Ore and Alexios Halebian are the other Americans, aside from King, in the draw, with Ore and Halebian facing off Friday for a place in the semifinals.

Next week's Futures is in Vero Beach, also a $10,000 event, and they have announced the main draw wild cards, with Gianni Ross and Sam Riffice getting two of them.  Two other juniors, Adam Ambrozy and Pietro Rimondini, won wild card tournaments to earn their spots in the main draw.

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