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Thursday, June 30, 2016

All Seven US Juniors Competing in Wimbledon Junior Qualifying Reach Final Round; Kirkov, Blanch Reach Doubles Finals at Roehampton; Cohen Chosen as Head Coach for Oklahoma Women; Matt Hill Named Arizona State's Men's Coach

Thursday was an exceptionally successful day at Wimbledon for Americans, with US men and women going 10-4 in the main draw. Wins by qualifier Julia Boserup, No. 27 seed CoCo Vandeweghe, No. 18 seed Sloane Stephens, Donald Young, No. 8 seed Venus Williams, No. 28 seed Sam Querrey, No. 9 seed Madison Keys, No. 18 seed John Isner, No. 27 seed Jack Sock and Steve Johnson winning either first or second round matches.   As positive as those numbers are, the US juniors in Wimbledon qualifying did even better, going a perfect 7-0 in the first round of junior qualifying.

Oliver Crawford(12), Gianni Ross(3), Alafia Ayeni, Nathan Ponwith(10), William Blumberg and Trent Bryde(9) all advanced to Friday's final round of qualifying in Roehampton, as did Chiara Lommer, the only US girl in Wimbledon junior qualifying. Ayeni defeated No. 4 seed Duart Vale of Portugal 7-6(8), 7-5 and Blumberg, a quarterfinalist last year at the Wimbledon Junior Championships, downed No. 14 seed Seppe Cuypers of Belgium 6-4, 6-4. All seven US juniors are just one win away from advancing to the main draw, and a chance to play at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, which only Ponwith and Blumberg have done previously.

The finals are set at the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton, with a Russian girls champion guaranteed. Top seed Oleysa Pervushina will play her doubles partner, No. 4 seed Anastasia Potapova,  after Pervushina defeated Jodie Burrage of Great Britain 7-6(4), 6-4 and Potapova advanced over No. 9 seed Olga Danilovic of Serbia 6-3, 7-6(5).

The boys final is between No. 5 seed Yosuke Watanuki of Japan and No. 4 seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada.  Watanuki advanced to the championship match with a win over No. 6 seed Alex De Minaur of Australia 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(0) while Shapovalov earned his place in the final with a 7-6(5), 6-4 win over No. 2 seed Ulises Blanch.

Blanch did get a win today over Shapovalov however, partnering Vasil Kirkov to a 7-6(4), 2-6, 10-1 victory over top seeds Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime in the boys doubles semifinals.  Blanch and Kirkov will play the unseeded Jurabeck Karimov and Khumoyun Sultonov in the final after the Uzbekistan team defeated Naoki Tajima and Yunosuke Tanaka of Japan 6-2, 6-2.

Pervushina and Potapova, the top seeds in the girls doubles, will play Burrage and Panna Udvardy of Hungary, the No. 7 seeds, in the final. Burrage and Udvardy defeated unseeded Michaela Gordon and Claire Liu 3-6, 6-2, 12-10 in the semifinals.

In college tennis news, 2007 NCAA singles champion Audra Cohen has been named as the new head coach for the University of Oklahoma women's program.  Cohen, who has spent the past five years at the University of North Florida, replaces Dave Mullins, who resigned to return to Ireland.  Just five days after Adam Steinberg decided not to follow through with an initial agreement to become Arizona State's men's tennis coach, the Sun Devils named University of South Florida's Matt Hill to take on the job with the revived program.  South Florida's announcement of Hill's new position is here.