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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Four US Juniors Advance at Australian Open; Draws out for Les Petits As; Kecmanovic Wins First Futures Title; Grishuk Claims ITF Grade 4 Championship

Two US boys and two US girls have advanced to the second round of the Australian Open Junior Championships, with Alexandre Rotsaert and Carson Branstine getting victories in Sunday's completion of the first round.  Rotsaert defeated Jack Molloy of Great Britain 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 to join qualifier Tristan Boyer in the second round, while No. 13 seed Carson Branstine defeated Patricia Apisah of Papua New Guinea 6-1, 6-3 to join No. 2 seed Taylor Johnson, who advanced on Saturday. Hurricane Tyra Black, No. 15 seed Natasha Subhash and Nicole Mossmer all lost in straight sets, while No. 10 seed Trent Bryde lost in three sets.

Although the top two seeds in both draws have survived their opening round matches, there were surprises.  No. 3 seed Marvin Moeller of Germany, who reached the semifinals at the just completed Grade 1 in Traralgon, lost to wild card Lucas Vuradin of Australia 6-3, 6-1. An even more unexpected result was the loss of Traralgon champion and No. 8 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland, who was beaten by Pei Hsuan Chen of Taiwan 2-6, 7-5, 6-1.  For more on Swiatek's loss, see the ITF Junior website.  Other seeds to lose Sunday were No. 13 Lingxi Zhao of China and No. 9 seed Toru Horie of Japan.

2008 US Open girls champion CoCo Vandeweghe advanced to the quarterfinals of the women's draw of the Australian Open, defeating defending champion and world No. 1 Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-2, 6-3.  It is Vandeweghe's second major quarterfinal, having made the final eight at Wimbledon in 2015.  Venus Williams advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 7-5 win over qualifier Mona Barthel of Germany.  Serena Williams and Jennifer Brady will attempt to join them in the quarterfinals when they play Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia, respectively.

The draws for Les Petits As have been posted, with Cori Gauff seeded No. 5, Elvina Kalieva No. 6 and Charlotte Owensby No. 7 in the girls draw.  The fourth US girl on the trip, Bolton finalist Alexandra Yepifanova, is not in the draw, so I'm assuming she is sick or injured. (Update: she was forced to qualify, but is in the draw now).  The top seed in the girls draw is Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia. Similar to the girls, the US boys are all seeded, with Toby Kodat No. 5, Martin Damm No. 6, Aidan Mayo No. 7 and Alexander Bernard No. 8. The top seed in the boys draw is Holger Rune of Denmark.

2016 ITF World Junior Champion Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia won his first Futures title today at the $15,000 tournament in Sunrise Florida. The 17-year-old qualifier defeated No. 5 seed Christian Lindell of Sweden 6-2, 6-2 in the final, his ninth victory in the past ten days.

At the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event for women, No. 3 seed Sonya Kenin fell to Katarzyna Piter of Poland 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4. Sophie Chang and Madeline Kobelt(Syracuse) won the doubles title, beating top seeds Piter and Paula Kania, also of Poland, 6-3, 3-6, 10-6 in the final.

While many Americans were competing in Grade 1 ITF tournaments this week, 14-year-old Skyler Grishuk was in New Zealand at a Grade 4. The No. 9 seed, who reached the final of two grade 5 tournaments in Canada last November, her first two ITF events, won her first ITF title with a 6-0, 6-4 victory in the final over unseeded Anastasia Beresov of Australia.  Grishuk, a 14s finalist at the Easter Bowl last year, also reached the doubles final.