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Saturday, June 3, 2017

French Open Junior Championships Begin Sunday with 20 Americans in Main Draw; Johns, Fresen Win ITF Grade 5 Tournaments

The French Open Junior Championships begin on Sunday, with 24 boys singles matches and 24 girls singles matches.  Nine US girls and 11 US boys are in the singles draws, with 16 of them on tomorrow's schedule.

The US girls in the draw are Elysia Bolton, Taylor Johnson, Ellie Douglas, Claire Liu, Whitney Osuigwe, Sofia Sewing, Caty McNally, Hailey Baptiste and Amanda Anisimova.

The girls seeds:
1. Anastasia Potapova(RUS)
2. Amanda Anisimova
3. Bianca Andreescu(CAN)
4. Marta Kostyuk (UKR)
5. Iga Swiatek(POL)
6. Claire Liu
7. Whitney Osuigwe
8. Carson Branstine(CAN)
9. Olga Danilovic(SRB)
10. Taylor Johnson
11. Elena Rybakina(RUS)
12. Olesya Pervushina(RUS)
13. Emily Appleton(GBR)
14. Katarine Zavatska(UKR)
15. Maria Osorio Serrano(COL)
16. Mai Hontama(JPN)

Andreescu, who has a WTA ranking of 196, and Zavatsaka, who has a WTA ranking of 288, were seeded based on those rankings rather than their ITF junior rankings.

The US boys in the draw are Alafia Ayeni, Patrick Kypson, Sam Riffice, Vasil Kirkov, Trent Bryde, Sebastian Korda, Gianni Ross, Brian Cernoch, Danny Thomas, Oliver Crawford and Alexandre Rotsaert.  Cernoch, the highest-ranked American in qualifying, received a main draw wild card, which if I recall, is due to a reciprocal arrangement between the French Tennis Federation and the USTA.

The boys seeds:
1. Miomir Kecmanovic(SRB)
2. Corentin Moutet(FRA)
3. Alexei Popyrin(AUS)
4. Zsombor Piros(HUN)
5. Yu Hsiou Hsu(TPE)
6. Marko Miladinovic(SRB)
7. Ysahi Oliel(ISR)
8. Trent Bryde
9. Yuta Shimizu(JPN)
10. Oliver Crawford
11. Nicole Kuhn(ESP)
12. Jurij Rodionov(AUT)
13. Sebastian Baez(ARG)
14. Rudolf Molleker(GER)
15. Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi(ARG)
16. Duarte Vale(POR)

Moutet and Kuhn were seeded based on their ATP rankings, with Moutet 348 and Kuhn 530.

Two players most definitely not on Sunday's schedule are Kecmanovic and Emiliana Arango of Colombia, who both are in the finals of ITF Pro Circuit tournaments in Turkey.  Arango, who is unseeded, will play No. 3 seed Vlada Ekshibarova of Israel in the $15,000 tournament's final. Kecmanovic, who won a Futures title last week in Turkey,  is the No. 7 seed, and will play unseeded Julian Cagnina of Belgium for another $15,000 Futures title.  I'm not sure about Arango's stamina in this situation, but I do know that Kecmanovic played four straight weeks last November and December in major ITF junior events, winning three of those, including the finale, the Orange Bowl.

The most intriguing first round match is undoubtedly top seed Potapova against Kaja Juvan of Slovenia, a rematch of the 2016 Orange Bowl final, which Juvan won.  Complete draws can be found at the tournament website.

Four players received special exemptions into the main draw based on their performances in this week's Grade 1 in Belgium: Naoki Tajima of Japan, Nikolay Vylegzhanin of Russia, Naho Sato of Japan, and Anhzelika Isaeva of Russia.  Isaeva won the Astrid Bowl title, with the No. 10 seed beating No. 11 seed Lulu Sun of Switzerland 6-4, 7-5 in today's final.  Shimizu, the No. 2 seed, won the boys title, beating No. 3 seed Zizou Bergs of Belgium 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

In third round play today, CiCi Bellis took No. 11 seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark to a third set, but fell 6-2, 2-6, 6-3, leaving Venus Williams as the only American woman still in singles.  John Isner dropped the first set to Karen Khachanov of Russia 7-6(1) before rain cancelled play for the day.

In ITF Junior Circuit action today, RJ Fresen won his first title in the first ITF tournament he entered, a Grade 5 in Canada.  The 16-year-old won three qualifying matches and then beat the No. 1 seed in the second round. He went on to claim the singles title with a 6-4, 6-1 win over unseeded Joshua Lapadat of Canada.  Fresen is the son of Kathleen Horvath, a former WTA Top 10 player who handed Martina Navratilova her only loss of 1983.  In something of a coincidence, the New York Times has a story today about Horvath's victory that day at the French Open and about her role as a tennis parent to Fresen, who is only beginning to play again after more than two years out with a back injury.

American boys swept the titles in Canada, with top seeds Stefan Leustian and Milledge Cossu taking the doubles championship with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over No. 2 seeds Toi Kobayashi of Japan and Theodore McDonald.

At the ITF Grade 5 in El Salvador, Garrett Johns denied top seed Trey Hilderbrand his second consecutive singles title, with the unseeded 16-year-old defeating Hilderbrand 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in the final.  It is Johns' second ITF singles title, both at Grade 5s.  Hilderbrand did take the doubles title, with Joshua Bode, as the top seeds beat No. 5 seeds Justin Boulais of Canada and Boruch Skierkier of Argentina 6-4, 7-5 in the final.  Top seed Rut Galindo of Guatemala won the girls title, beating No. 2 seed Jenna Dean 6-3, 6-4 in the final, but Dean did get a title, partnering with Galindo for the doubles championship. The No. 1 seeds beat No. 2 seeds Laurea Arce of Mexico and Charlotte Chavatipon of Guam 6-3, 6-0 in the final.