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Friday, June 17, 2016

Thirteen-year-olds Square Off in ITF Grade 4 Grass Courts Final; Lahey into Semifinals at Berlin Grade 1; DiLorenzo, Bellis and Dolehide Reach Semis in Sumter; McEnroe Academy Tryouts Next Saturday

The finals are set for the ITF Grade 4 International Grass Courts in Philadelphia, with unseeded 13-year-olds Alexa Noel and Gabby Price vying for the girls singles title.  Price, a wild card who turned 13 last Saturday, which allowed her to play in her first ITF junior event this week, defeated No. 6 seed Safiya Carrington 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-3 to advance to the final.  Noel, who will turn 14 in September, defeated No. 3 seed Alana Smith 6-1, 6-3 to reach her first ITF junior singles final in her eighth ITF junior tournament played.

The boys singles final will feature No. 3 seed Fletcher Scott against unseeded Zummy Bauer. Scott eliminated qualifier Zane Khan 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, while Bauer downed the only non-US player in either draw, unseeded Lleyton Cronje of South Africa, 6-1, 6-0.

The doubles finals were played Friday, with top seeds Smith and Dalayna Hewitt defeating No. 2 seeds Taylor Bridges and Mimi Levine 6-2, 6-2 in the final.  The boys doubles title went to Richard Ciamarra and Maxwell Freeman, who beat Drew Baird and Sean Sculley  6-3, 6-3 in a championship match between unseeded teams.

At the Grade 1 in Berlin, Ashley Lahey has kept rolling.  The 16-year-old finalist at last week's Grade 1 in Offenbach reached the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-2 win over German wild card Anica Stabel.  Lahey, who received a special exemption into this week's draw based on her performance last week, has yet to drop a set.  She will play No. 2 seed Amina Anshba of Russia in the semifinals. French Open girls champion Rebeka Masarova, who won last week in Offenbach, will play No. 13 seed Wiktoria Kulik of Poland in the other girls semifinal.  Trent Bryde, the No. 7 seed, was beaten 6-2, 6-1 in today's quarterfinals by No. 2 seed Louis Wessels of Germany.

Three of the four semifinalists at the $25,000 Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Sumter South Carolina are teens, with two of them wild cards.  Eighteen-year-old Francesca Di Lorenzo, a wild card, will play 17-year-old CiCi Bellis, the No. 3 seed, in the top half semifinal.  Di Lorenzo defeated Jennifer Elie 6-3, 6-2, while Bellis beat Canadian Carol Zhao by the same score.  Bellis and Di Lorenzo met in the second round of the $25,000 Daytona Beach tournament back in January with Bellis winning 6-3, 6-0.  The other semifinal features wild card Caroline Dolehide against qualifier Valeria Solovyeva of Russia, after Dolehide beat Nicole Frenkel 7-6(4), 6-4 and Solovyeva defeated Renata Zarazua of Mexico 7-6(2), 6-2.  Solovyeva and Dolehide met last month in the semifinals of the Naples $25,000 tournament, with Solovyeva taking a 6-4, 6-4 decision.

The semifinals are set at the $25,000 Winston-Salem Futures, with top seed Sekou Bangoura facing No. 7 seed Alex Kuznetsov and No. 2 seed Darian King of Barbados meeting No. 6 seed Peter Polansky of Canada.
The doubles title in Winston-Salem went to Thai Kwiatkowski  and Jared Hiltzik, who beat Austin Smith and Dennis Uspensky 6-4, 6-2 in another final between unseeded teams. Kwiatkowski, a rising senior at Virginia, now has won back-to-back Futures doubles titles after winning last week with teammate Mac Styslinger. For Hiltzik, the recent Illinois graduate, it's his first professional title.

Three of the top four seeds advanced to the semifinals of the $10,000 Futures tournament in Buffalo New York, with NCAA finalist Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State the only unseeded player in the last four. Denmark's Torpegaard will play top seed Gavin Van Peperzeel of Australia and No. 4 seed Tigre Hank of Mexico will play No. 2 seed Evan King.

At the $10,000 women's Pro Circuit event in Vancouver, rising Michigan sophomore Kate Fahey has reached her first semifinal at that level, and will face former Pepperdine star Lorraine Guillermo for a place in the final.  Top seed Alexa Graham will play USC rising sophomore Jessica Failla, the No. 8 seed, in the other semifinal.  In the doubles final, Guillermo and Kristina Smith, the No. 3 seeds,  defeated the unseeded team of Fahey and Victoria Flores 5-7, 6-1, 13-11, saving a match point at 11-10 in the deciding tiebreaker.

One of my advertisers, John McEnroe Tennis Academy, will be holding a tryout at its Sportime Roosevelt Island location next Saturday, June 25th. Players ages 6-16 are invited to participate in evaluations that could lead to scholarships. There is also an athletic combine camp for those ages 5-10 without tennis experience.  For more details on the tryout and combine, see this press release.