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Thursday, January 19, 2017

All-American Finals Set for Bolton; Two US Players Qualify for Australian Open Junior Championships; Brady Saves Five Match Points to Reach AO Third Round; Pro Circuit Update

The singles finals are set for the Nike Junior International Bolton Teen Tennis tournament and the winners are guaranteed to come from the United States.

Top seed Cori Gauff defeated Elvina Kalieva 6-4, 6-3 to advance to the final, where she'll meet unseeded Alexandra Yepifanova, who defeated No. 2 seed Kylie Bilchev of Great Britain 6-2, 7-6(7).  The 12-year-old Gauff already has claimed one title at the Grade 1 Tennis Europe 14-and-under event, teaming up with Charlotte Owensby to win the doubles title.  Gauff and Owensby, the top seeds, defeated No. 5 seeds Flavie Brugnone and Anaelle LeClercq of France 4-6, 6-2. 10-6.

All the boys semifinalists were from the US, with No. 7 seed Martin Damm defeating Alexander Bernard 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 and No. 4 seed Toby Kodat beating Aidan Mayo 6-3, 6-3.  No. 8 seeds Damm and Mayo fell in the boys doubles final, with No. 2 seeds Joel Pierleoni and Jack Pinnington Jones of Great Britain prevailing by a score of 6-3, 7-5.

Overnight in Traralgon, where qualifying for the Australian Open Junior Championships is held, two American juniors made it into the main draw, with play beginning in Melbourne Saturday (Friday night in the US).  Fifteen-year-old Tristan Boyer, the No. 15 seed, defeated Australian wild card Anthony Popyrin 6-2, 6-2 to earn a place in junior slam for the first time, and No. 10 seed Jimena Rodriguez-Benito, 16, will also be making her slam debut after outlasting No. 8 seed Ana Biskic of Croatia 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.

Complete draws can be found at the tournament site at Tennis Australia.

The champions at Grade 1 in Traralgon were determined Thursday, with No. 6 seed Corentin Moutet taking the boys title with a 7-5, 6-3 win over No. 16 seed Zsomber Piros of Hungary. It's Moutet's first Grade 1 title, but as I mentioned in my upcoming preview of the Australian Open Junior Championships for the Tennis Recruiting Network, the 17-year-old from France has established himself as the favorite for the title.

Fifteen-year-old Iga Swiatek of Poland, seeded fifth, swept both titles, taking out No. 10 seed Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine 6-3, 6-3 in the singles final and partnering Maja Chwalinska for the doubles title. No. 7 seeds Swiatek and Chwalinska, who is also from Poland, defeated the unseeded Australian team of  Gabriella Da Silva-Fick and Kaitlin Staines 3-6, 6-4, 10-7 in the final.

The boys doubles final, which featured two unseeded teams, went to the Italian team of Francesco Forti and Mattia Frinzi, who defeated Ryan Nijboer of the Netherlands and Ajeet Rai of New Zealand 7-6(6), 7-6(7).

In men's and women's action at the Australian Open, all three US men were defeated last night, while Serena Williams, Nicole Gibbs and qualifier Jennifer Brady picked up victories.  Brady's was by far the most dramatic, as the former UCLA star saved five match points in her win over Great Britain's Heather Watson.  This article from the Independent has the details, mostly from Watson's perspective, but it's clear that Brady served well, and she has 20 aces, third among women in the tournament, through two rounds.  Brady plays No. 14 seed Elena Vesnina of Russia next, while Gibbs faces Williams.

Thursday's second round results for US players:
Serena Williams[2] def. Lucia Safarova(CZE) 6-3, 6-4
Alexander Zverev[24](GER) def. Frances Tiafoe 6-2, 6-3, 6-4
Philipp Kohlschreiber[32](GER) def. Donald Young  7-5, 6-3, 6-0
David Ferrer[21](ESP) def. Ernesto Escobedo 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2
Jennifer Brady def. Heather Watson(GBR) 2-6, 7-6(3), 10-8
Nicole Gibbs def. Irina Falconi 6-4, 6-1

Friday's third round matches involving Americans:
Eugenie Bouchard(CAN) vs. CoCo Vandeweghe
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga[12](FRA) vs. Jack Sock[23]
Ying-Ying Duan)CHN) vs. Venus Williams[13]
Andy Murray[1](GBR) vs. Sam Querrey[31]
Sorana Cirstea(ROU) vs. Alison Riske

The quarterfinals are set at the two USTA Pro Circuit events this week in Florida, with qualifiers Patrick Kypson and Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia both advancing in the $15,000 Futures in Sunrise.  Kypson defeated fellow Kalamazoo 16s champion John McNally, a wild card, 6-0, 6-4 today, while Kecmanovic, the ITF No. 1 junior, squeezed past Jaume Pla Malfeito of Spain 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3. Kypson will next face last week's Futures champion Roberto Cid of the Dominican Republic. The recent South Florida star defeated top seed Emilio Gomez of Eucador 6-0, 6-4.  Kecmanovic will play 2012 ITF World Junior Champion Filip Peliwo of Canada, who beat qualifier Kevin King 6-1, 6-3.  Also in the quarterfinals are Canada's Brayden Schnur(North Carolina), Hungary's Peter Nagy(Texas A&M-Corpus Christi), Ecuador's Gonzalo Escobar(Texas Tech) and Sweden's Christian Lindell[5], the only seed.

At the $25,000 Women's tournament in Orlando, 18-year-old qualifier Katherine Sebov of Canada had a big win, taking out No. 5 seed Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia, the 2016 US Open girls finalist, 6-4, 6-3. Kristie Ahn[8], Sonya Kenin[3] and Ellie Halbauer are the US players who have advanced to the quarterfinals at the USTA's campus in Lake Nona.