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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Six US Girls Reach Abierto Juvenil Grade A Quarterfinals; Master'U Collegiate Team Announced; Kypson Beats Top Seed in Pensacola Futures; Mmoh Withdraws from Champaign

Between rain delays in Mexico City and my trip to the Champaign Challenger, it's been hard to keep track of what's been happening at the ITF Grade A Abierto Juvenil, but the girls quarterfinals are now set, with six Americans in the final eight, including defending champion Amanda Anisimova and Kayla Day.

The US had 26 of the 64 entrants in the girls singles, and all four Americans seeded to do so reached the quarterfinals.  No. 8 seed Taylor Johnson will play the only unseeded girl, Sofia Munera Sanchez of Columbia, while No. 4 seed Claire Liu faces No. 7 seed Emily Appleton of Great Britain.  The other two quarterfinals will be all-American affairs, with No. 3 seed Anisimova facing No. 9 seed Caty McNally, and No. 2 seed Kayla Day playing No. 11 seed Ellie Douglas in a rematch of last month's Pan American Closed final.

The only US boy to advance to the quarterfinals is unseeded Sebastian Korda, who will play No. 11 seed Zsombor Piros of Hungary.

The tournament website has updated draws and Friday's order of play, as well as current news articles, including one on Anisimova, who has lost only five games in her three victories. Links to live scoring and live streaming can also be found there.

On Tuesday, the USTA announced the US team for the Master'U BNP Paribas, an international collegiate competition held annually in France. This year the event is scheduled for December 1-4, and once again the US, which has won five consecutive titles and six of the last seven, is sending a strong team: Francesca Di Lorenzo of Ohio State, Hayley Carter of North Carolina, Ena Shibahara of UCLA, Tom Fawcett of Stanford, Strong Kirchheimer of Northwestern and Chris Eubanks of Georgia Tech.  The other seven teams in the competition this year are Belgium, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland and Russia.

At the $10,000 Futures in Pensacola Florida, 17-year-old wild card Patrick Kypson advanced to the quarterfinals with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 win over top seed Maxime Chazal of France.  Kypson's opponent Friday in his first Futures quarterfinal will be No. 5 seed Winston Lin, the former Columbia All-American. No. 4 seed Wil Spencer and No. 7 seed Alex Rybakov are the other two Americans in the quarterfinals.  US Open junior champion Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada, seeded No. 6, has also reached the quarterfinals.

News from the $50,000 ATP Champaign Challenger today was what I had feared it might be, with Michael Mmoh, who suffered a wrist injury in a fall late in his second round win over Stefan Kozlov yesterday, giving Chris Eubanks a walkover. I hope, after he clinched the Australian Open main draw wild card last night, Mmoh was just erring on the side of caution and he will be ready for his second straight slam appearance in Melbourne.

Top seed Jared Donaldson's quest to return to the top 100 continued, with the 20-year-old beating qualifier Bradley Klahn 6-4, 6-4 to end Klahn's impressive return after 21 months out with injury. Donaldson will play No. 6 seed Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium, who advanced to the semifinals when Brian Baker retired trailing 6-3, 1-0.

Eubanks's semifinal opponent will be defending champion and No. 2 seed Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland, who beat qualifier Marcos Giron 6-4, 6-2 in the night match.

I asked Eubanks yesterday if he was playing in next week's $75,000 Challenger in Columbus, and this is what he said:

"I've missed a lot of school and especially with Master'U coming up, I can't afford to. I would love to, I honestly would, and it would be a great opportunity, but I have some very nice professors and I don't want to take their generosity for granted. I figure I better get back in the classroom and at least make it look like I'm trying."