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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Masarova Defeats Anisimova for French Open Girls Title; Blancaneaux Saves Three Match Points to Claim Boys Championship; Dolehide Wins Buffalo $10K; Escobedo Qualifies for First ATP Tournament

Sixteen-year-old Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland defeated 14-year-old Amanda Anisimova 7-5, 7-5 Sunday in the French Open girls championship match to become the second Swiss girls champion in the past four years, while denying the US its first girls champion since Jennifer Capriati in 1989.

No. 2 seed Anisimova, playing in her second junior slam and first final, was up a break twice in the first set, but couldn't consolidate either break despite having three game points serving at 4-3.  No. 12 seed Masarova, a semifinalist this year at the Australian Open junior championships, broke Anisimova to claim the first set.  Anisimova started the second set with a break of serve, but again couldn't consolidate was lost her next service game to go down 4-1, and then 5-2.  With Masarova serving for the match at 5-3, Anisimova broke and held, but Masarova was able to regroup, holding serve and breaking for the win.

The boys final between unseeded Geoffrey Blancaneaux of France and No. 11 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada began as a rout, and finished as something altogether more dramatic, with Blancaneaux saving three match points in his 1-6, 6-3, 8-6 victory.

The 15-year-old Auger-Aliassime lost only two points on serve in the 22-minute first set, but Blancaneaux, who had already survived a trio of three-setters, including in his win over No. 5 seed Denis Shapovalov in Saturday's semifinals, immediately changed the tenor of the match with a break in the second game of the second set.  The 17-year-old, who had not won a junior slam match in four tries prior to this week, went 3 for 3 on break points in the set and held at 5-3 to force a third set.

In the third set, Blancaneaux went up a break at 3-2, but Auger-Aliassime broke right back and both players held serves without incident until Blancaneaux served at 5-6. Down 15-40, and after saving those two match points then losing the next to give Auger-Aliassime a third, Blancaneaux saved that and went on the win the five-deuce game, sending the boys final into extra games for the first time since Bjorn Fratangelo beat Dominic Thiem in 2011.

Auger-Aliassime dropped serve to give Blancaneaux a 7-6 lead, and the drama was over, with Blancaneaux holding at love for the title, the first for a French boy since Gael Monfils in 2004.   It was a tough loss for Auger-Aliassime, who was the favorite coming into the final, but he certainly understands the achievement of Blancaneaux, as Auger-Aliassime saved three match points in his win over Alex De Minaur of Australia to claim the Eddie Herr title back in December.

For more on the finals, see the ITF junior website article. The French Open website also has an article on the junior finals, written by former Cal standout Bojana Bobusic.  And Stephanie Myles, who covers Canadian tennis at Yahoo.com, has more on the boys final, including how those three match points went down.

There was another upset in the girls doubles final, with top seeds Olesya Pervushina and Anastasia Potapova of Russia falling to unseeded Paula Arias Manjon of Spain and Olga Danilovic of Serbia 3-6, 6-3, 10-8. The boys doubles title went to Yshai Oliel of Israel and Patrik Rikl of the Czech Republic with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Yunseong Chung of Korea and Orlando Luz of Brazil.

Caroline Dolehide followed her first Pro Circuit title in doubles yesterday with her first Pro Circuit singles title today, defeating former Georgia star Lauren Herring, the fifth seed, 6-1, 7-5 in the final of the $10,000 tournament in Buffalo New York.  Dolehide, 17, won a total of seven matches over the last seven days, including two in qualifying, losing just one set in that run.

The next women's Pro Circuit event is a $10,00 tournament in Bethany Beach, Delaware, where qualifying began today.

Two US men won Futures titles this week, with Mitchell Krueger taking the $25,000 event in China and Adam El Mihdawy winning the $10,000 event in Mexico.

Nineteen-year-old Ernesto Escobedo qualified for his first ATP level tournament in S' Hertogenbosch today, beating No. 3 seed Marco Chiudinelli of Switzerland 6-4, 7-5 as the grass season begins on the ATP tour.  Escobedo had beaten Ryan Harrison 7-6(6), 7-6(4) in the first round of qualifying on Saturday.  He will play Aljaz Bedene of Great Britain in the first round.  Dennis Novikov also qualified, beating Austin Krajicek 7-6(4), 7-6(5), and Stefan Kozlov received a wild card. Steve Johnson(4), Sam Querrey(5) and Rajeev Ram are the other US men in the draw.  In the other ATP grass event this week in Stuttgart, Taylor Fritz and Denis Kudla are in the draw, with Fritz facing a second round match with top seed Roger Federer if the teenager can get by a qualifier in his first round match.  Kudla plays Dusan Lajovic of Serbia in the first round.