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Friday, June 9, 2017

Liu and Osuigwe Meet Saturday for French Open Girls Title, Kirkov and Thomas in Boys Doubles Final; Day Advances to Marseille $100K Semifinals; All-USA Semis in Bethany Beach $25K

For the first time since 1989, when 13-year-old Jennifer Capriati claimed it, there will be a US girl holding the winner's trophy at the French Open Junior Championships.  That certainty was established on Friday, when No. 6 seed Claire Liu and No. 7 seed Whitney Osuigwe recorded straight-set semifinal victories in Paris.

The 17-year-old Liu continued her domination of the field, beating unseeded Marta Paigina of Russia, who had ousted top seed Anastasia Potapova of Russia earlier, 6-2, 6-0 in 49 minutes.  Liu has lost only 20 games in her five victories this week and has not lost a match since early May, with two ITF Women's Circuit $25K titles since.

Osuigwe, 15, didn't face a break point in the first set against No. 11 seed Elena Rybakina of Russia, but she was broken early in the second set and fell behind 4-2 before reeling off the final four games of the match for a 6-4, 6-4 victory.

With two years separating them in age, Liu and Osuigwe have met only once, back in early April in the semifinals of the ITF Grade B1 Easter Bowl.  Liu, who had really found her form in the quarterfinals against Caty McNally, blew past Osuigwe 6-1, 6-1 and went on to take the title with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Ellie Douglas.

Two years ago, when Tommy Paul and Taylor Fritz met in the boys final at Roland Garros, Tennis Channel covered the match, airing it in its entirety on tape delay, if I recall correctly.  I haven't seen any indication that they will be doing that for this girls final, but we can hope.

For more on Liu and Osuigwe, see the ITF junior website.

The boys final will feature No. 11 seed Nicola Kuhn of Spain against No. 3 seed Alexei Popyrin of Australia.  Kuhn outlasted top seed Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia 7-6(5), 2-6, 7-6(4), and the competitiveness of that match surprised no one, with their previous two meetings, including Kecmanovic's win over Kuhn in last year's US Open quarterfinals, also going three sets.

Kuhn's opponent will be No. 3 seed Alexei Popyrin of Australia, who prevented an all-Spain final with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Kuhn will play for a second French Open junior title on Saturday in doubles after he and Zsombor Piros of Hungary, the top seeds, defeated unseeded Sam Riffice and Gianni Ross 6-4, 6-4 to prevent an all-US final.  Earlier, unseeded Vasil Kirkov and Danny Thomas had beaten their third seeded team in a row, taking out No. 4 seed Jurij Rodionov of Austria and Michael Vrbensky of the Czech Republic 6-3, 2-6, 10-8.

The girls doubles final will feature top seeds and Australian Open champions Bianca Andreescu and Carson Branstine of Canada against No. 2 seeds Olesya Pervushina and Potapova of Russia.

As with the girls singles, an American champion is guaranteed in men's doubles, after Ryan Harrison and New Zealand's Michael Venus(LSU) defeated No. 16 seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah(USC) of Colombia 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in today's semifinal.  Donald Young and Mexico's Santiago Gonzalez had reached the final with a win on Thursday.

Day in action at Dow Tennis Classic February 2017
Reigning US Open girls champion Kayla Day withdrew from the French Junior Championships to play in the $100,000 ITF Women's Circuit event in Marseille France this week and that's proven to be a good decision.  The 17-year-old defeated qualifier Priscilla Heise of France 6-4, 6-0 to move into Saturday's semifinal against top seed Tatjana Maria of Germany.  Maria beat Day 6-3, 6-1 earlier this year on indoor hard courts in the second round of the $100,000 Dow Tennis Classic in Midland, so Day knows what's she up against on Saturday.

At the USTA Women's Pro Circuit $25,000 tournament in Bethany Beach Delaware, four Americans have reached the semifinals, including Ashley Kratzer, who beat fellow 18-year-old Raveena Kingsley 6-2, 6-1 in today's quarterfinals.  The unseeded Kratzer will face former Florida star Lauren Embree, also unseeded, while top seed Danielle Collins(Florida/UVA) will take on unseeded Alexandra Mueller. Top seeds Mueller and Sophie Chang will play No. 4 seeds Sabrina Santamaria(USC) and Papua New Guinea's Abigail Tere-Apisah (Georgia State) in the doubles championship.


i am curious?? said...

If tennis channel wants to grow watchers why would they not show the girls French Junior Finals live ?? I must be asking for too much ??

Makes zero sense said...

Besides their families, who would want to watch that? Seriously. I can think of no bigger waste of resources with zero return. Frankly, I Would totally disrespect tennis channel if I knew they were spending dollars on that. Isn't there streaming if you want it live?