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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Four Americans Reach Les Petits As Quarterfinals; Australian Open Junior Semis Set; Korda Advances to First Futures Quarterfinal

Four Americans won their third round matches today at Les Petits As, advancing to the quarterfinals of the prestigious 14-and-under tournament in Tarbes France.

Nike Junior International Teen Tennis champions Toby Kodat and Cori Gauff, both seeded No. 5 this week, continued their streaks with straight-sets wins today.  Kodat defeated No. 12 seed Carlos Alcaraz Garfia of Spain 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 for his eighth consecutive win and the first in which he's needed three sets. Kodat plays No. 4 seed Luca Nardi of Italy in Friday's quarterfinals. Gauff beat No. 9 seed Maria Bondarenko of Russia 6-4, 6-4; the 12-year-old has yet to drop a set in her eight wins in the past two weeks.  I watched most of Gauff's match this morning on the live stream, and it wasn't an easy victory for Gauff, as she was serving up 4-0 in the first set and was up 3-0 in the second set, with Bondarenko getting back on serve both times. Gauff served for the match at 5-3, was broken, then broke for the win.  She will play Noa Krznaric of Croatia, the No. 4 seed, next.

Alexander Bernard, the No. 8 seed, defeated No. 11 seed Konstantin Zhzhenov of Russia 6-0, 6-0 and will face No. 2 seed Elmer Moller of Denmark in the quarterfinals.  No. 6 seed Elina Kalieva defeated No. 10 seed Darja Vidmanova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-2 to earn a quarterfinal match with No. 2 seed Maria Timoveeva of Russia.

No. 3 seeds Martin Damm and Kodat have reached the doubles semifinals.

All Thursday's results can be found here.

The semifinals are set at the Australian Open Junior Championships, and all eight players are seeded.  Top seed Yibing Wu will play No. 4 seed Yshai Oliel of Israel and No. 5 seed Corentin Moutet of France faces No. 15 seed Zsombor Piros of Hungary.  Wu and Oliel have not met in ITF junior competition before, but Moutet and Piros were finalists last week at the Grade 1 in Traralgon, with Moutet winning 7-5, 6-3.  For more on Piros and his unusual hobby, see the ITF junior website.

The girls semifinals will feature top seed Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland against No. 7 seed Bianca Andreescu of Canada, who have not met before in ITF junior competition. Masarova is the reigning French Open girls champion, while Andreescu is making her second straight trip to a junior slam semifinal.  Fourteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine, the No. 11 seed, will face No. 16 seed Elena Rybakina of Russia.

The doubles finals are Friday (tonight in the US), with Carson Branstine and Andreescu, the No. 3 seeds, against Maja Chwalinska and Iga Swiatek of Poland, who are unseeded.  Andreescu and Branstine outlasted No. 5 seeds Caty McNally and Natasha Subhash 6-4, 4-6, 10-7 in the semifinals.  McNally and Subhash trailed 6-4, 4-1 but won the final five games of the second set to force the match tiebreaker.

The boys doubles final will also be unseeded against seeded.  Florida recruit Duarte Vale of Portugal and Finn Reynolds of New Zealand will face No. 4 seeds Yu Hsiou Hsu of Taiwan and Lingxi Zhao of China.

Congratulations to Serena and Venus Williams for advancing to the women's final with victories Thursday.  See the WTA website for more on that improbable championship match.  The Bryan brothers will also play for a title in Australia, their seventh, although with, not against, each other. The No. 3 seeds face former Baylor star John Peers of Australia and Henri Kontinen of Finland, who are seeded fourth. For more on the Bryans semifinal win, see this article from the Australian Open website.

At the ITF Grade 1 in Ecuador, two pairs of Americans met in the quarterfinals today.  Ann Li, the No. 7 seed, was playing Amanda Meyer in a rematch of the 2016 Girls 18s Clay Court final, which Li won 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. Meyer advanced to the quarterfinals by virtue of a 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 3 seed Shelly Krolitzky of Israel.   Brian Cernoch, the No. 9 seed, was taking on unseeded Timothy Sah in the boys quarterfinals.

At the USTA Pro Circuit $15,000 men's Futures in Weston Florida, 16-year-old Sebastian Korda reached his first quarterfinal, beating No. 4 seed Peter Torebko of Germany, ranked 409, 6-4, 6-4.  Torebko had beaten last week's Futures champion Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia in the opening round.  Korda will face No. 5 seed Christian Lindell of Sweden on Friday.  Sixteen-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada also has advanced to the quarterfinals, as has former Tulane star Dominik Koepfer of Germany.

The quarterfinals of the $25,000 Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Wesley Chapel Florida has an interesting quarterfinal coming on Friday, with former Florida teammates Brianna Morgan and Lauren Embree facing off.  Morgan, a qualifier, beat top seed Teliana Pereira of Brazil 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday and followed that with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over lucky loser Sophie Chang.  Embree, a wild card, defeated Mexico's Renata Zarazua 6-0, 6-2 in today's second round.  ITF World Junior No. 1 Anastasia Potapova of Russia won her opening round match yesterday, but fell 6-4, 6-3 to No. 8 seed Robin Anderson. Anderson will face No. 2 seed Sonya Kenin, who came through in three sets over South Africa's Chanel Simmonds today.

Michael Mmoh defeated No. 8 seed Vasek Pospisil of Canada in the first round of the $75,000 Maui Challenger, and took out Tommy Paul today 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 to advance to the quarterfinals.  He will play Hyeon Chung of Korea, the No. 2 seed, next.  TCU junior Cameron Norrie of Great Britain cruised past Austin Krajicek 6-1, 6-3 to set up a quarterfinal match with Alex Sarkissian, who had beaten top seed Jared Donaldson in the opening round.  Live streaming is available for this event at the ATP Challenger website.