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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Seven Americans Qualify for Australian Open; Sock Wins Second ATP Title; Black Ousts Top Seed Masarova in G1 Traralgon; Pro Circuit Update

Five US men and two US women advanced to the main draw of the Australian Open, which begins Monday (Sunday night in the US) in Melbourne.  Noah Rubin and Frances Tiafoe, who won the Kalamazoo 18s titles in 2014 and 2015, joined 2016 champion Michael Mmoh, a wild card, in the main draw.  2015 Wimbledon boys champion Reilly Opelka advanced, as did 20-year-old Ernesto Escobedo.  Bjorn Fratangelo, the 2011 French Open boys champion, is the veteran of the group, at age 23, and he will play Rubin in the first round. Jennifer Brady, who left UCLA after her sophomore season in 2015, will be make her main draw slam debut after her comeback win over Taylor Townsend.  Townsend had beaten Brady in the final round of qualifying at the US Open last August. Results of the US players' final round of qualifying are below.

Julia Boserup[6] def. Olivia Rogowska(AUS) 6-2, 6-1
Jennifer Brady[4] def. Taylor Townsend[14] 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
Reilly Opelka def. Casper Ruud(NOR) 7-6(2), 6-3
Lukas Lacko[10](SVK) def. Denis Kudla[18] 6-2, 6-2
Bjorn Fratangelo[6] def. Hiroki Moriya(JPN) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
Jurgen Melzer(AUT) def. Rajeev Ram[20] 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Frances Tiafoe[2] def. Tim Smyczek[25] 3-6, 6-0, 7-5
Ernesto Escobedo[21] def. Yuki Bhambri(IND) 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-4
Noah Rubin def. Evgeny Donskoy[11](RUS) 6-2, 6-4
Elizaveta Kulichkova[24](RUS) def. Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-2, 6-3

With the seven qualifiers, a total of 32 Americans, 18 women and 14 men, will compete in the main draw, the most of any country.  Twenty are on Monday's schedule, which features the top half of both singles draw. Monday matches featuring Americans:

Simona Halep[4](ROU) vs. Shelby Rogers
Kateryna Kozlova(UKR) vs. Venus Williams[13]
CoCo Vandeweghe vs. Roberta Vinci[15](ITA)
Louisa Chirico vs. Eugenie Bouchard(CAN)
Quentin Halys(FRA) vs. Sam Querrey[31]
Pierre-Hugues Herbert(FRA) vs. Jack Sock[23]
Samantha Crawford vs. Lauren Davis
Kristina Kucova(SVK) vs. Christina McHale
Bjorn Fratangelo vs. Noah Rubin
Alison Riske vs. Madison Brengle
Kiki Bertens[19](NED) vs. Varvara Lepchenko
Anna Tatishvili vs. Jaimee Fourlis(AUS)
Ryan Harrison vs. Nicolas Mahut(FRA)
John Isner[19] vs. Konstantin Kravchuk(RUS)
Francesca Schiavone(ITA) vs. Julia Boserup
Federico Delbonis(ARG) vs. Steve Johnson
Vania King vs. Natalia Vikhlyantseva(RUS)

Jack Sock has only one day of rest, Sunday, between his title Saturday in Auckland and his first round match in Melbourne.  Sock won his second ATP tour singles title, defeating Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in the final. Sock, the No. 4 seed, had lost his previous four finals after winning his first ATP title in Houston in 2015. With the title, the 24-year-old two-time Kalamazoo 18s champion moves into the ATP Top 20 for the first time. For more, see the ATP website.

At the ITF Grade 1 in Traralgon Australia, Hurricane Tyra Black earned the biggest win of her career, defeating top seed and 2016 French Open girls champion Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland 6-3, 6-3.  The 15-year-old from Florida joins Nicole Mossmer and Taylor Johnson in the second round.  The top seed in the boys draw, Yibing Wu of China, also lost. He was beaten 6-0, 6-2 in the second round by Mikhail Sokolovskiy of Russia.  Live scoring for the event can be found here.

The finals are set for the three USTA Pro Circuit events this week, but first congratulations are in order to former USC star Giuliana Olmos of Mexico, who swept both titles at the $15,000 ITF Women's Pro Circuit event in Martinique. The unseeded 23-year-old didn't drop a set in her five singles wins, defeating 17-year-old qualifier Monika Kilnarova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-1 in the final. Olmos teamed with former Arizona State standout Desirae Krawczyk for the doubles title, beating another unseeded pair, Sara Cakarevic and Emmanuelle Salas of France, 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

At the $25,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Daytona Beach, 19-yaer-old Ellie Halbauer will play in her second career final at the $25,000 level after recording a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(6) win over wild card Caroline Dolehide.  Her opponent will be qualifier Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine, who also came from behind, beating Sofya Zhuk of Russia 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3. Kalinina won the doubles title today, playing with former UCLA star Robin Anderson.  The unseeded pair, who didn't drop a set all week, beat top seeds Paula Kania and Katarzyna Piter of Poland 6-4, 6-1.

At the $15,000 Futures in Plantation, 16-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada has reached the final, beating No. 3 seed Peter Nagy of Hungary 4-6, 6-1, 6-0.  The unseeded Auger-Aliassime has had a busy couple of days, because he is in qualifying for next week's Futures in nearby Sunrise, and he has played a qualifying and a main draw match in each location the past two days, winning all four. He is scheduled to do that on Sunday too.  Auger-Aliassime will face unseeded Roberto Cid of the Dominican Republic, who beat Miguel Semmler of Spain 6-2, 6-1.

The $25,000 Long Beach Futures finals are set for Sunday, with Marcos Giron facing University of Virginia junior Colin Altamirano.  Giron defeated former Pepperdine star Sebastian Fanselow of Germany 6-7(1), 7-6(6), 6-2 in today's semifinal, while Altamirano avenged his quarterfinal loss to teammate Carl Soderlund of Sweden last week in the Los Angeles Futures, beating him 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 today.  It's the first Futures final for Altamirano, the 2013 Kalamazoo 18s champion.