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Saturday, May 7, 2016

2016 USTA Girls National Summer Team Set; Townsend Wins French Open Wild Card Challenge; Volynets, Mejia Win Delray Beach Grade 4 Titles

Last month the USTA boys 2016 Summer Team competition was held in Boca Raton, with eight boys playing their way onto the team. This week the girls team was decided, although there were only five spots available since three girls--Caty McNally, Amanda Anisimova and Claire Liu--had already been named to the team based on previously announced criteria.

photo courtesy USTA

The four players who won their groups were Elysia Bolton, Carson Branstine, Natasha Subhash and Abigail Desiatnikov (pictured above, left to right).  The playoff for the fifth spot was between the four second place finishers: Taylor Johnson, Ellie Douglas, Nicole Mossmer and Ann Li, with Douglas coming through that playoff.  Those results:

Taylor Johnson def Ann Li 
3-6, 7-5, 7-5
Ellie Douglas def Nicole Mossmer
5-7, 6-4, 6-3

Ellie Douglas def Taylor Johnson
6-2, 6-4

The other participants in the competition were: Jessica Anzo, Anna Brylin, Sara Choy, Emma Descoste, Alyvia Jones, Lea Ma, Anika Yarlagadda and Hannah Zhao.

The team, coached by Jamea Jackson and Erik Kortland, will start with trips to the French Open (for those who are eligible) and the Sumter, SC $25,000 tournament in June.

Taylor Townsend defeated Asia Muhammad 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinals of the $75,000 Indian Harbour Beach USTA Pro Circuit event, and with that result, Townsend clinched the USTA's French Open wild card.  With the title last week in the Charlottesville $50,000 tournament, Townsend earned 80 points and the 70 she receives as a finalist put her at 150 points. Jennifer Brady, who Townsend will play in the final Sunday, has a maximum point total of 130, even with the 115 points that go to the champion.  Townsend reached the third round of the French Open in 2014, after winning the wild card challenge that year as well.

The 20-year-old Townsend, who has now reached the final of three straight USTA Pro Circuit events, dropped the first set in her wins this week over Francoise Abanda of Canada in the second round, Alexandra Panova of Russia in the quarterfinals, and again today against Muhammad.  Brady, 21, had a much less taxing semifinal, beating No. 3 seed Anna Tatishvili 6-2, 6-2 to reach her first final above the $50,000 level.   Brady and Townsend have played twice, with Townsend winning both times in three sets, including two weeks ago in the quarterfinals at Dothan.

At the ITF Grade 4 in Delray Beach, 14-year-old qualifier Katie Volynets, won the title, beating No. 3 seed Jimena Rodriguez-Benito 6-3, 6-0.  Volynets, playing in just her third ITF event, all since March, won nine matches in eight days, dropping only one set in the process of claiming her first title.

The boys title went to 16-year-old Nicolas Mejia of Colombia, who claimed his first ITF title with a 6-2, 6-2 win over wild card Brian Berdusco.  Mejia didn't lose a set in his six victories.

At the ITF Grade 2 in Italy, Chiara Lommer lost in the semifinals of singles, but took the doubles title with Lucrezia Stefanini of Italy. Lommer, the Easter Bowl doubles champion, and Stefanini, the No. 3 seeds, didn't drop a set in taking the title.