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Monday, June 5, 2017

Anshba Ousts Australian Girls Champion Kostyuk at Roland Garros, Three US Juniors into Third Round; Grass Season Underway in Surbiton


No. 4 seed Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine came into the French Open Junior Championships as one of the favorites, despite being just 14 years old. Not only had she won the Australian Open in January, the first junior slam she had ever played, but last month she won her first ITF Pro Circuit tournament as an unseeded wild card, a $25,000 event on red clay in Hungary.

There's no question she had a tough draw, facing former ITF junior no. 6 and current European 18s champion Amina Anshba of Russia in the second round today, and the 17-year-old Anshba came away with the victory, beating Kostyuk 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-3.

Anshba was one of five girls who came from a set down to claim a place in the third round, with only two of the nine girls second round matches decided in straight sets.  Unseeded Hailey Baptiste beat Paula Arias Manjon of Spain 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-4, and No. 7 seed Whitney Osuigwe joined Baptiste in the third round with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 win over French wild card Giulia Morlet of France. Osuigwe had beaten Morlet in three tough sets earlier this year en route to her Grade 1 title in Paraguay.

The US juniors went 4-0 in first round matches, with No. 8 seed Trent Bryde beating French wild card Hugo Gaston 6-4, 7-6(12) and Alexandre Rotsaert downing Axel Geller of Argentina 6-4, 6-4 to give the US boys an 8-3 record in first round matches.  Elysia Bolton defeated Naho Sato of Japan 6-3, 6-4 for her first junior slam victory and Caty McNally got past Alina Charaeva of Russia 7-5, 6-3 to give the US girls a 6-3 record in the first round.

Four US boys played their second round matches today, with only No. 10 seed Oliver Crawford advancing. Crawford defeated qualifier Bertus Kruger of South Africa 7-6(3), 6-4, but wild card Brian Cernoch, Danny Thomas and Sam Riffice lost.  Riffice fell to No. 12 seed Jurij Rodionov of Austria, who has now beaten him three times in Grade A events on clay in the past 13 months.

On Tuesday's schedule are the remainder of the second round matches, with Bolton playing top seed Anastasia Potapova of Russia and McNally facing No. 16 seed Mai Hontama of Japan.  Potapova avenged her Orange Bowl finals loss to Kaja Juvan of Slovenia today with a 6-4, 6-4 decision.  No. 6 seed Claire Liu will play wild card Yasmine Mansouri of France in second round play Tuesday; No. 2 seed and 2016 finalist Amanda Anisimova takes on Anhzelika Isaeva of Russia.

Rotsaert plays unseeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain and Bryde takes on unseeded Chun Hsing Tseng of Taiwan.  Sebastian Korda and Gianni Ross, who played their first round matches Sunday, will play their second round matches Tuesday, with Korda taking on Uising Park of Korea and Ross No. 9 seed Yuta Shimizu of Japan. Top seed Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia had no difficulty with wild card Jaimee Floyd Angele of France, posting a 6-3, 6-1 victory in his first round match today.

Kemanovic and Korda, the No. 6 seeds, won their first round doubles match today, as did Riffice and Ross, No. 7 seeds Alafia Ayeni and Bryde, and Rotsaert, who is playing with Ryan Nijboer of the Netherlands.  Ayeni and Bryde will face Rotsaert and Nijboer in the second round Tuesday.

Taylor Johnson and Liu, the No. 3 seeds, advanced to the second round of girls doubles with a win today.

Although no American men or women remain in singles at Roland Garros, US players are still in the running for doubles titles.  Donald Young has reached the semifinals of men's doubles, with Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico. Ryan Harrison, who is playing with former LSU star Michael Venus of New Zealand, is in the quarterfinals, and Rajeev Ram, who is playing with Casey Dellacqua of Australia, is into the mixed doubles semifinals.  Bethanie Mattek-Sands, playing with Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic, is into the quarterfinals of women's doubles.  The top seeds this year, Mattek-Sands and Safarova won the French Open title in 2015.

While the clay season winds down in Paris, the grass season has already begun in England, with two $100,000 tournaments this week, for men and for women, in Surbiton.  Qualifying was completed today for the men, with Dennis Novikov beating another former UCLA Bruin, Mackenzie McDonald, 7-6(2), 6-4 in the final round of qualifying.  In a rematch of last year's Wimbledon boys final, champion Denis Shapovalov of Canada defeated Alex Di Minaur of Australia 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to qualify.  Former USC star Roberto Quiroz of Ecuador also qualified. American men in the draw in addition to Novikov are teens Stefan Kozlov, Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka.  Cameron Norrie, the TCU All-American who just turned pro, received a wild card into the main draw.

Six Americans are in the women's draw, with former USC star Danielle Lao qualifying.  Julie Boserup[4], Sachia Vickery and Caroline Dolehide will play their first round matches on Tuesday.  Kristie Ahn advanced to the second round by beating Paula Kania of Poland 6-4, 7-6(2) and Jamie Loeb got one of the best wins of her career, beating No. 2 seed Donna Vekic of Croatia 7-5, 6-7(6), 6-4. It's the third Top 100 WTA win for the 2015 NCAA singles champion.

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