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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Brady, Ahn Advance in French Open Qualifying; Top Seed Watanuki Ousted by Qualifier at Milan Grade A; ITA Announces Streaming Partner; Division II Team Championships Begin Wednesday in Denver

Jennifer Brady in today's win over Aleksandra Krunic
photo courtesy Stephanie Myles, @OpenCourt
Jennifer Brady and Kristie Ahn were among the five US women who advanced to the second round of qualifying at the French Open, with the five others on Tuesday's schedule suffering defeats.

Brady, who won the last tournament she played, the $75,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida, beat No. 14 seed Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia 6-2, 6-4 to continue her run. Moving from Florida's Har-Tru to the Roland Garros terre battue proved no problem for the 21-year-old, who last year at this time was in Waco playing in the NCAA Team tournament for UCLA.  Brady, who is competing in her first slam outside of the US, next plays 19-year-old Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil.

Kristie Ahn started slowly against Luksika Kumkhum of Thailand but came back to post a 1-6, 7-6(3), 6-2 victory, her first slam qualifying win since way back in 2009, when she won a round at the US Open qualifying as a 17-year-old. (Ahn, at 16, had qualified the previous year at the US Open, losing to Dinara Safina in the main draw). The former Stanford star will face No. 6 seed Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic next.

Also advancing to Thursday's second round of women's qualifying were Vania King, who beat No. 4 seed Patricia Tig of Romania 6-2, 2-6, 7-5, Sachia Vickery, who outlasted No. 15 seed Rebecca Peterson of Sweden 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, and Melania Oudin who beat Misa Higuchi of Japan 6-2, 6-1.

Robin Anderson, Brady's teammate last year at UCLA, lost to Miyu Kato of Japan 3-6, 6-3, 8-6. Jessica Pegula, No. 7 seed Anna Tatishvili, Katerina Stewart and Julia Boserup were also eliminated.

Top seed Louisa Chirico and Grace Min are the two US women who did not play their first round matches today; they are on Wednesday's schedule, as are the five US men who won Monday, all of whom will be playing their second round qualifying matches. They are Tommy Paul, who celebrated his 19th birthday today, Frances Tiafoe, Dennis Novikov, Jared Donaldson and Ryan Harrison.

Lauren Davis was the first alternate into the main draw, and she got in earlier today, when Switzerland's Belinda Bencic withdrew with a back injury.  Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark withdrew after qualifying play had begun, however, so that spot will go to a lucky loser.  Who will take Davis's place in the women's qualifying draw has not yet been announced.

A big upset occurred today at the ITF Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan, with top seed and No. 2-ranked Yosuke Watanuki of Japan falling to qualifier Blake Ellis of Australia 6-3, 6-2.  Watanuki won the Grade A in Porto Alegre Brazil back in March and two Futures right after that, so to see his 16-match winning streak end in the first round, to a qualifier, by that score, is a shock.

It was another good day for US boys who qualified, with four of the five advancing to the second round with wins today. Trent Bryde, Alexandre Rotsaert, and Alafia Ayeni picked up their first wins at the Grade A level today, while it's the second win at that level for Patrick Kypson. Ayeni's win was over No. 11 seed Jay Clarke of Great Britain, 7-6(3), 7-5. Of the US boys qualifiers, only Oliver Crawford suffered a loss.

No. 5 seed Ulises Blanch was down a set and break in his first round match with French qualifier Matteo Martineau, but fought back to post a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 win.

Three US boys played their second round matches today, with Sam Riffice and No. 12 seed John McNally advancing to the round of 16, while Nathan Ponwith lost.  Riffice defeated No. 16 seed Kenneth Raisma of Estonia 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3) and McNally downed Bojan Jankulovski of Macedonia 6-4, 6-4.  Brandon Holt will play his second round match on Wednesday, as will all four remaining qualifiers.

Top seed Amanda Anisimova was the only US girl to post a win today, defeating Varvara Gracheva of Russia 6-2, 6-0.  Morgan Coppoc and qualifier Chiara Lommer lost first round matches in three sets, while Maria Mateas was beaten in the second round.  Caty McNally, Claire Liu and Natasha Subhash will join Anisimova in second round action on Wednesday.

Live scoring is available at Tennis Ticker.

The ITA announced today it would be partnering with FloSports to provide live streaming of all its events, which will be available via a paid subscription. For more on the five-year deal, see today's release.

The NCAA Division II championships begin Wednesday in Denver, with 16 men's and 16 women's teams playing for the national team titles.  A preview of this year's field can be found at ncaa.com.

The NAIA's championships have begun in Mobile, Alabama. Defending champion Georgia Gwinnett is the top seed in the men's draw (tournament site is here), and the women's team, although not defending champion, is also the top seed in the women's draw (tournament site is here).


College Fan said...

A little disappointing that a major network like ESPN or Tennis Channel did not pick up the NCAAs and that it's a separate pay service unlike almost every other college sport which is now on a network.
Hopefully, it is a high quality production. Most large venues provide free streaming. I thought Baylor did a great job last year with it's "free" YouTube channels.