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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Day Advances to Midland $100K Quarterfinals; Osuigwe Reaches Paraguay Grade 1 Semifinals; Davis Cup Starts Friday


Seventeen-year-old Kayla Day was looking for matches as she started 2017, with her one-and-done at the Australian Open leaving her short on the match play she thrives on.  On Thursday she earned a third match at the $100,000 Dow Tennis Classic, beating Jacqueline Cako 7-5, 6-1 to advance to the quarterfinals, where she will face No. 5 seed Tatjana Maria of Germany, who won the Dow title in 2015.

Day is not the only teen to advance to the quarterfinals, with qualifier Katherine Sebov winning her fifth match in five days. The 18-year-old Canadian defeated 2015 Wimbledon girls champion Sofya Zhuk of Russia, who is 17, 6-1, 6-4.  Sebov's quarterfinal opponent on Friday is No. 2 seed Varvara Lepchenko, who last night saved four match points in a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 win over Mayo Hibi of Japan.  No. 4 seed Irina Falconi lost to Anna-Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia 6-3, 7-6(4), while No. 8 seed Julia Boserup beat Jesika Maleckova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-2.  Former USC star Danielle Lao will face defending champion Naomi Broady of Great Britain, the No. 3 seed, in the night match.

At the ITF Grade 1 Asuncion Bowl in Paraguay, three of the four Americans in the quarterfinals failed to advance, with 14-year-old Whitney Osuigwe the only one to reach Friday's semifinals.  Osuigwe defeated qualifier Giulia Morlet of France, who just turned 15, 2-6, 7-5, 7-5 and will play top seed Maria Lourdes Carle of Argentina in the semifinals.

No. 6 seed Danny Thomas lost to No. 4 seed Sebastian Baez of Argentina 7-6(3), 6-4.  Baez will play No. 5 seed Constantin Bittoun-Kouzmine of France, who beat top seed Yuta Shimizu of Japan 5-7, 7-5, 6-2.

Haley Baptiste lost to No. 6 seed Francesca Jones 7-5, 7-6(0) and qualifier Alexa Noel lost to Draginja Vukovic of Serbia 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.

At the $15,000 Futures in Palm Coast Florida, top seed Tommy Paul is the only American to advance to the quarterfinals.  Paul defeated qualifier Maciej Rajski of Poland 6-2, 2-6, 7-6(4), while Jared Hiltzik, wild cards Winston Lin and Vasil Kirkov and qualifier Mico Santiago lost. Santiago was beaten by US Open boys champion Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.

In Dallas, the $125,000 ATP Challenger will have three Americans in the semifinals, with top seed Ryan Harrison and No. 6 seed Denis Kudla joined by the winner of tonight's Taylor Fritz(2) - Rajeev Ram(7) match. Harrison beat Marco Trungelliti of Italy 6-4, 6-1 and Kudla took out fellow Junior Tennis Champions Center alum Frances Tiafoe, the No. 4 seed, 7-6(5), 7-6(1).  Harrison next plays the only international player remaining, unseeded Tatsuma Ito of Japan.

First round of the Davis Cup World Group begins tomorrow, with the United States hosting Switzerland in Birmingham Alabama.  The US team of Jack Sock, John Isner, Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey will face a Swiss team that does not have either Roger Federer or Stan Wawrinka.  The Bryan brothers announced their retirement from Davis Cup last month.  For more on the first two singles matches on Friday, see this usta.com article.

Another World Group tie features Great Britain against Canada in Ottawa, again without those two countries' top stars.  Dan Evans and Denis Shapovalov will play first, with Kyle Edmund and Vasek Pospisil in the second singles match.  The 17-year-old Shapovalov, who won the Wimbledon boys title last year, has recently parted ways with his long-time coach Adriano Fuorivia and is working with Martin Laurendeau, who is the Davis Cup captain. This article describes what has gone on with Shapovalov since his Wimbledon junior title, but hopefully that information is more accurate than his weight, which is definitely not 132 pounds.

Former Florida Gator Spencer Newman will be playing Davis Cup for the Bahamas against Venezuela this weekend in the Americas Group II. Due to security risks in Venezuela, the ITF moved the tie to Doral, outside of Miami.  How Newman came to play for the Bahamas is detailed here by the Miami Herald's Michelle Kaufman. Note that Newman was required to pay the USTA $27,000 for previous training expenses before he was released to compete for the Bahamas.

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