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Monday, January 23, 2017

Johnson Reaches Third Round at Australian Open Junior Championships; Details on Italian Girl's Default; Sah and Mayo Win Doubles Title at Colombia Grade 1; Roddick Tapped for Hall of Fame

Taylor Johnson has struggled in her first two matches at the Australian Open Junior Championships, but she has managed to get through both to advance to the round of 16.  In her second round match on Monday, the No. 2 seed defeated Tatiana Pieri of Italy 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-4 to set up a match Wednesday with No. 16 seed Elena Rybakina of Russia. The only other US girl in the draw is No. 13 seed Carson Branstine, who plays Australian wild card Baijing Lin Tuesday. Branstine is moving to Montreal and will be playing under the Canadian flag soon.  After qualifier Tristan Boyer bowed out to No. 2 seed Yu Hsiou Hsu of Taiwan in the second round Monday, the only US boy remaining in singles is Alexandre Rotsaert, who plays No. 14 seed Dan Added of France in a second round match Tuesday.

Most of the news surrounding the juniors early in the tournament was focused on the default of Maria Vittoria Viviani of Italy, who struck a ball in anger that hit a ballrunner. Details and a partial video of the incident are included in this article.  The double standard referred to in the article undoubtedly exists, but I believe a strict interpretation of the rule can be defended for the juniors, who are still learning the boundaries of behavior in the game.

In the women's draw, former UCLA star Jennifer Brady fell to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia 6-4, 6-2, ending her streak of six matches won in Melbourne, including qualifying.  Serena Williams advanced to the quarterfinals, with Venus Williams and CoCo Vandeweghe in quarterfinal action Tuesday(tonight in the US).

To wrap up last week's Grade 1 results, No. 6 seed Alan Rubio Fierros of Mexico won the boys title at the Copa Barranquilla in Colombia, while the home country took the girls title, with No. 3 seed Maria Osorio Serrano, just 15, defeating No. 4 seed Shelly Krolitzky of Israel 6-0, 7-6(3).  Rubio defeated No. 14 seed Hugo Gaston of France 6-0, 3-6, 7-5.  American Brian Cernoch lost in the semifinals to Rubio, but the US did get a title with Keenan Mayo and Timothy Sah taking the doubles championship.  The unseeded Mayo and Sah beat Sergio Hernandez Ramirez and Alejandro Hoyos Franco of Colombia, also unseeded, 6-1, 3-6, 10-7  in the final.  The girls doubles title went to No. 8 seeds Ania Hertel of Poland and Draginja Vukovic of Serbia, who beat Fernanda Labrana of Chile and Nathalia Wolf Gasparin of Brazil 6-2, 6-2 in the final.

The week's stop on the South American tour, a Grade 1 in Ecuador, features a dozen Americans: Sah, Mayo[15], Cernoch[9], William Woodall, Axel Nefve, Marlee Zein[16], Amanda Meyer, Ann Li[7], Elli Mandlik[9], Chloe Hamlin, Katya Townsend and Lea Ma[13].

At Les Petits As, the first round began today and will be completed on Tuesday.  Three US girls, Cori Gauff[5], Elvina Kalieva[6] and Charlotte Owensby[7] won their opening round matches.  I need to correct my post from yesterday about Bolton finalist Alexandra Yepifanova possibly being hurt or ill and not in the draw.  She is in the draw, as a qualifier, and will play her first round match Tuesday.  Usually all four US players are given direct entry into the main draw at Les Petits As, but something has changed, because Owensby, Aidan Mayo and Martin Damm all received wild cards, and apparently there wasn't one available for Yepifanova.  Damm[6] was the only US boy to play today, with Toby Kodat[5], Mayo[7](Keenan's brother) and Alexander Bernard[8] on Tuesday's schedule.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame announced its 2017 inductees today. The players are Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters, the contributors are writer Steve Flink and the late coach Vic Braden, and the wheelchair tennis inductee is Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch. The induction will take place on July 22nd at the Hall of Fame, in Newport, Rhode Island.