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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wimbledon Junior Acceptance List Features 19 Americans Plus Defending Champion Potapova; French Junior Championships Qualifying Begins Thursday; Bellis, Johnson Advance to Third Round at French Open

Wimbledon's outer courts
The acceptance list for Wimbledon Junior Championships was released today, and I'm happy to say I'll be in London to cover the tournament on site for the fourth consecutive year.

The girls acceptance list features the last three girls junior slam champions, with Wimbledon winner Anastasia Potapova of Russia returning to defend her title, while US Open champion Kayla Day, who lost to Potapova in the semifinals last year, and Australian Open champion Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine have also entered.

The US has four of the top eight girls in the current ITF junior rankings and all have entered, with Amanda Anisimova[4], Claire Liu[7] and Whitney Osuigwe[8] joining Day[3].

Taylor Johnson, ranked No. 11, has not entered, but the rest of the Americans in the top 50 are on the list: Sofia Sewing[19], Ellie Douglas[26], Elysia Bolton[37], Ann Li[38], Caty McNally[44] and Hailey Baptiste[45].

Baptiste was the last direct entry via the standard method. Maria Jose Portillo Ramirez of Mexico received entry as the top-ranked Central American player, and last year's finalist Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine, Katarina Zavatska of Ukraine, Katie Swan of Great Britain and Marta Paigina of Russia received entry because their WTA rankings are 400 or better.

Hurricane Tyra Black, Nicole Mossmer, Natasha Subhash and Amanda Meyer are the American girls accepted into qualifying.

The boys main draw cutoff is 49, with the two Canadian junior slam winners of 2016, Wimbledon champion Denis Shapovalov and US Open champion Felix Auger-Aliassime, not entered. ITF No. 1 Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia also is not entered, meaning the top 2 and three of the top 10 are skipping Wimbledon. The only junior slam winner entered is Australian Open champion Zsombor Piros of Hungary. Mohamed Ali Bellalouna of Tunisia received direct entry as Africa's top eligible player.

The Americans receiving main draw entry are: Trent Bryde[10], Oliver Crawford[12], Danny Thomas[27], Vasil Kirkov[30], Alafia Ayeni[33], Sebastian Korda[36], Patrick Kypson[39], Gianni Ross[43] and Alexandre Rotsaert[47].  US boys accepted into qualifying are Sam Riffice, Brian Cernoch, Lukas Greif, Andrew Fenty and Sangeet Sridhar.

The Wimbledon junior championships begin on Saturday July 8 and end on Sunday July 16.

In other junior slam news, the qualifying draws are up at the French Open Junior Championships, with the qualifying Thursday and Friday and the main draw beginning on Sunday.

There are four Americans in qualifying: Hurricane Tyra Black[7], Amanda Meyer[12], Lukas Greif[15] and Andrew Fenty[16].

Four US women and one US man advanced to the third round at the French Open today: qualifier Bethanie-Mattek Sands, Shelby Rogers, Venus Williams[10] and CiCi Bellis.  Bellis defeated No. 18 seed Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 6-3, 7-6(5), especially impressive in that Bertens made the French Open semifinals last year and beat Bellis 6-4, 6-0 two weeks ago in Rome. See the tournament website for more on Bellis' win.

Steve Johnson[25], whose much-admired father died less than three weeks ago, had another emotional win today, beating Borna Coric of Croatia 6-2, 7-6(8), 3-6, 7-6(6) to reach the third round of the French Open for the second time in his career. Johnson said physically he is fine, but emotionally he is a "mess," yet he is honoring his father by continuing to fight as Steve Sr. taught him to do.  For more on Johnson's match, see the tournament website.

Four other Americans are on Thursday's schedule: John Isner[21], Madison Keys[12], Varvara Lepchenko and Taylor Townsend.