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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Anisimova Reaches French Open Girls Final Against Masarova; Auger-Aliassime and Blancaneaux Play for Boys Championship; Dolehide, Herring Advance to Buffalo $10K Final; Qualifying Underway for $25K Charlottesville Futures

Amanda Anisimova became the first American girl to reach the French Open girls singles final since Ashley Harkleroad in 2002 today when she mounted a notable comeback to defeat No. 4 seed Anastasia Potapova of Russia 7-6(6), 6-2 in the semifinals.  Anisimova, seeded second, was down 6-1 in the first set tiebreaker before claiming the next seven points to take the set. Down 2-0 in the second set, Anisimova won the last six games to reach her third Grade A final in just six tournaments at that level.

The 14-year-old from Aventura Florida had lost to Potapova in the first round of the Orange Bowl in December after winning a grueling first set tiebreaker, so she certainly was aware she had to stay focused and ready for her opponent's comeback. Although Potapova is only six months older than Anisimova, they have already met four times, but never on a stage as big as Roland Garros. 

On Sunday, Anisimova will face No. 12 seed Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland, who took out top seed Olesya Pervushina of Russia 7-6(5), 6-2.  The 16-year-old from Basel, who reached the semifinals at the Australian Open junior championships this year, will also be playing in her first junior slam final.

The anticipated all-Canadian boys final will not be happening, but 15-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime will have a chance to become the first Canadian boy to win the French Open when he takes on unseeded Geoffrey Blancaneaux of France.  Auger-Aliassime had little difficulty beating Nicola Kuhn of Spain in today's semifinal, posting a 6-4, 6-2 win to avenge his defeat to Kuhn last October in the Junior Davis Cup final. Blancaneaux outlasted No. 5 seed Denis Shapovalov 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-3, coming back from 4-2 down in the second set and break in the third set, winning the final four games of the match.  Prior to this week, Blancaneaux had failed to win a match at the junior slam level, going 0-4, but he now can claim a winning record with his five victories this week, the past two over Canadians. For more on the Canadians, see Stephanie Myles article at Yahoo.com.

Potapova and Pervushina may have lost in singles today, but they will play for a junior slam title in the doubles. The top seeds beat unseeded Lucrezia Stefanini and Tatiana Pieri of Italy 6-3, 6-1, their fourth consecutive straight-set win, and will face unseeded Paula Arias Manjon of Spain and Olga Danilovic of Serbia in final.

Two unseeded teams will square off for the boys doubles title, with Yunseong Chung of Korea and Orlando Luz of Brazil taking on Yshai Oliel of Israel and Patrik Rikl of the Czech Republic. Chung and Luz beat the only seeded team in the semifinals, No. 3 seeds Miomir Kecmanovic and Casper Ruud, 6-4, 6-7(5), 11-9. Oliel and Rikl also won a match tiebreaker to advance, beating Alex De Minaur and Blake Ellis of Australia 4-6, 6-4, 10-4.

For more on the French Open juniors, see the ITF junior website.

Seventeen-year-old Caroline Dolehide has advanced to her first singles final at the Pro Circuit level, defeating former Michigan player Amy Zhu 6-3, 6-1 at the $10,000 tournament in Buffalo, New York. Dolehide, a qualifier, will play former Georgia All-American Lauren Herring, the No. 5 seed, in the final Sunday. Herring defeated No. 6 seed Angelina Zhuravleva of Russia 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 to reach her fifth final at the $10,000 level.

Dolehide picked up her first title at the Pro Circuit level today in doubles, partnering Ingrid Neel, who now has five.  Dolehide and Neel, the No. 3 seeds, beat top seeds Sophie Chang and Alexandra Mueller 5-7, 6-3, 10-6.

Qualifying is underway for next week's $25,000 Futures in Charlottesville, Virginia, with former Tennessee All-American Rhyne Williams returning to the court after a year out of competition due to injuries.

In other news of interest in Charlottesville, Virginia has signed Carl Soderlund of Sweden to an National Letter of Intent for this coming fall. Soderlund, who trains at the Good to Great Academy in Sweden, has won two Futures titles and is currently 620 in the ATP rankings.