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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

US Men Go 10-6 in Opening Round of Australian Open Qualifying; Eight US Women Begin Qualifying Tonight; Pro Circuit Update

Due to strong winds in my area, I was without power for four hours last night, so I was unable to watch any of the first round of the Australian Open men's qualifying. I used my cellphone to check live scores, but that is a poor substitute, especially when Tennis Channel is providing coverage, in addition to the streaming on the Australian Open website.

At any rate, American men went 10-6, with only one of the seven US seeds falling, No. 7 Stefan Kozlov. Mitchell Krueger and Alex Sarkissian defeated seeded players. Complete results are below, with US men in bold.

Radek Stepanek[1](CZE) def. Sekou Bangoura 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-4
Frances Tiafoe[2] def. Marco Cecchinato(ITA) 6-3, 5-7, 7-5
Tim Smyczek[25] def. Jordi Samper-Montana(ESP) 6-3, 6-3
Kimmer Coppejans(BEL) def. Tennys Sandgren 6-1, 7-6(5)
Bjorn Fratangelo[6] def. Grega Zemlja[SLO] 6-4, 7-6(3)
Yuki Bhambri[IND]def. Stefan Kozlov[7] 6-1, 6-4
Ernesto Escobedo[21] def. Maximilian Marterer(GER) 7-6(5), 7-5
Yuya Kibi(JPN) def. Brian Baker 6-3, 7-6(4)
Thomas Fabbiano[31](ITA) def. Bradley Klahn 6-4,6-7(3), 6-3
Denis Kudla[18] def. Luke Saville(AUS) 6-4, 7-5
Noah Rubin def. Cedrik-Marcel Stebe(GER) 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
Alexander Sarkissian def. Henri Laaksonen[23](SUI) 6-4, 6-1
Rajeev Ram[20] def. Ilya Ivashka(BLR) 6-4, 6-4
Tobias Kamke[14](GER) def. Dennis Novikov 7-6(5), 6-4
Mitchell Krueger def. Marco Chiudinelli[16](SUI) 1-6, 6-4, 6-3
Reilly Opelka def. Stefano Napolitano(ITA) 7-5, 6-3

In addition to the young Americans, other notable recent juniors to advance to the second round of qualifying are Andrey Rublev of Russia, Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan, Akira Santillan of Japan, Duckhee Lee of Korea, Stefano Tsitsipas of Greece and Casper Ruud of Norway.

The women's qualifying begins Thursday (tonight in the US), with eight US women, the same number as last year, looking to earn one of the 12 main draw berths.  Below are the first round matches for the American women, all of which will be played Thursday:

Lina Gjorcheska(MKD) v. Sachia Vickery[18]
Jennifer Brady[4] v. Victoria Kamenskaya(RUS)
Tereza Smitkova(CZE) v. Taylor Townsend[14]
Julia Boserup[6] v. Ayumi Morita(JPN)
Shuko Aoyama(JPN) v. Jamie Loeb
Silvia Soler-Espinosa[10](ESP) v. Bethanie Mattek-Sands
Barbora Krejcikova(CZE) v. Asia Muhammad
Jennifer Elie v. Catalina Pella(ARG)

Last year's Australian Open girls champion Vera Lapko of Belarus received a qualifying wild card.  Australian Oliver Anderson, the boys champion, would have received one had he not been charged with match fixing last week.  Other prominent recent juniors in the women's qualifying are Anna Kalinskaya and Anna Blinkova of Russia, Dalma Galfi of Hungary, and Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia. 

Americans in Thursday's 2nd round of men's qualifying:

Frances Tiafoe[2] v. Yannik Reuter(BEL)
Dennis Kudla[18] v. Darian King(BAR)
Bjorn Frantangelo[6] v. Stefanos Tsitsipas(GRE)
Tim Smyczek[25] v. Mohamed Safwat(EGY)
Ernesto Escobedo[21] v. Tatsuma Ito(JPN)

The other five American men will play their second round matches on Friday.
For complete draws and Thursday's schedule, see ausopen.com

The three USTA Pro Circuit events will complete their first rounds today, if the Long Beach $25,000 Futures can get a break from the rain that washed out play on Tuesday.  Tommy Paul and Roberto Quiroz of Ecuador are the top two seeds. Wild cards went to USC's Brandon Holt, Riley Smith and Logan Smith, along with Virginia's Colin Altamirano.  

At the $15,000 Futures in Plantation, wild card Boris Kozlov, the 16-year-old brother of Stefan, earned his first ATP point, beating 19-year-old Alejandro Tabilo of Chile (formerly Canada) 6-2, 6-4. Tabilo is ranked 606 after winning a Futures in Chile last month.  Other wild cards in Plantation went to Ty Trombetta and Hleb Maslau of Belarus. Peter Torebko of Germany is the top seed; No. 2 seed Tomaslav Brkic of Bosnia was beaten by former South Florida All-American Roberto Cid of the Dominican Republic 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 on Tuesday. Sixteen-year-old Nicolas Mejia of Colombia has won five matches now after qualifying and today defeating Trombetta 6-3, 6-4 to pick up his second ATP point.

At the $25,000 women's tournament in Daytona Beach, Sonya Kenin is the top seed, and she got by 2014 US Open girls champion Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-2.  2016 NCAA champion Danielle Collins defeated No. 2 seed An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3.  Wild cards were given to Jaeda Daniel, Caroline Dolehide, Chiara Scholl and Nicole Coopersmith.  Dolehide defeated No. 6 seed Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal 6-3, 6-3.  

In addition to Bouzkova and Kenin, two other US Open girls finalists are in the draw. 2014 finalist Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine, who is back after a long injury layoff, won three qualifying matches and in today's first round took out Ohio State sophomore Francesca Di Lorenzo 6-3, 6-0. 2016 finalist Victoria Kuzmova of Slovakia, the No. 3 seed, beat qualifier Caroline Werner of Germany 6-4, 6-1.