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Thursday, August 31, 2017

US Open Junior Qualifying Begins Friday with 14 Americans Competing; Brady, Keys, Rogers and Vandeweghe Through to Third Round; USTA Player Development Press Conference

Qualifying begins Friday at the US Open Junior Championships, with nine US girls and five US boys looking for the first of two wins that will propel them into the main draw.  As I mentioned when I posed the wild cards last week, changes were to be expected as players withdrew and with special exempts possible in Canada at this week's Grade 1.

The US girls in qualifying are: Gabby Price (WC), Nikki Redelijk(WC), Elizabeth Mandlik, Lea Ma, Elvina Kalieva(WC), Nicole Mossmer(5), Imani Graham, Alexandra Yepifanova(WC), Charlotte Owensby(WC). Yepifanova received the to-be-determined qualifying wild card, not Australia's Jaimee Fourlis, who was hoping to get one after not entering the junior tournament. Canada's Layne Sleeth, originally in qualifying, has advanced to the semifinals at the Grade 1, so she will get a special exemption into the main draw. Graham was way down the alternate list at the freeze date, so many of the Americans above her must not have shown up to sign in.  There is still one main draw wild card for girls yet to be announced.

The US boys in qualifying are all wild cards, Tyler Zink, Garrett Johns, Govind Nanda, Will Grant and Tristan Boyer.  Zink, Boyer and Johns are late wild card recipients, with Trey Hilderbrand and Brian Shi, who were on the original qualifying wild card list, not in the qualifying draw. I am speculating here, because I have no information, but it's possible that Andrew Fenty moved into the main draw (he was next out) freeing up that wild card as well as a TBD wild card.  Shi is still playing in Canada, losing in the quarterfinals tonight, but he was on the USO alternate list, not the qualifying list, at the freeze date, so I don't know that he is eligible for a special exemption.  No. 4 seed Sofia Sewing, who is already in the USO main draw, is the other American playing a quarterfinal match tonight in Canada.

All the American success today at the US Open was recorded by the women, with Jennifer Brady, Shelby Rogers, Madison Keys[15] and CoCo Vandeweghe[20] getting wins.  Brady cruised past No. 23 seed Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-1, while Rogers had exactly the opposite experience, needing a US Open women's match record 3 hours and 31 minutes to beat No. 25 seed Daria Gavrilova of Australia 7-6(6), 4-6, 7-6(5).  Qualifier Nicole Gibbs acquitted herself well in her Arthur Ashe match with World No. 1 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, but fell 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Taylor Fritz, Donald Young and Bjorn Fratangelo lost their second round matches today.

The National 18s doubles champions could not move on, with Vasil Kirkov and DJ Thomas falling to No. 9 seeds Oliver Marach of Austria and Mate Pavic of Croatia 6-4, 6-2 and Taylor Johnson and Claire Liu going out to Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia and Saisai Zheng of China 6-2, 6-2.

NCAA champion Francesca Di Lorenzo and her partner Allie Kiick came close, but were beaten by Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato of Japan 7-6(4), 7-6(5).  NCAA champion Spencer Papa and his partner Will Blumberg lost to top seeds Henri Kontinen of Finland and John Peers of Australia 6-3, 6-3.

Dolehide and Day reached the US Open girls doubles final last year
One young team did pick up an impressive victory with Kayla Day and Caroline Dolehide beating No. 10 seeds Abigail Spears and Slovenia's Katarine Srebotnik 6-3, 6-3.

Thursday’s 2nd round singles results involving Americans:

Karolina Pliskova(CZE)[1] def. NICOLE GIBBS 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
COCO VANDEWEGHE[20] def. Ons Jabeur(TUN) 7-6(6), 6-2
Dominic Thiem(AUT)[6] def. TAYLOR FRITZ 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5
MADISON KEYS[15] def. Tatjana Maria 6-3, 6-4
JENNIFER BRADY def. Barbora Strycova(CZE)[23] 6-1, 6-1
Gael Monfils(FRA)[18] def. DONALD YOUNG 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-4, 2-6, 7-5
Adrian Mannarino(FRA) def. BJORN FRATANGELO 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-2
SHELBY ROGERS def. Daria Gavilova(AUS)[25] 7-6(6), 4-6, 7-6(5)
Daria Kasatkina(RUS) def. CHRISTINA MCHALE 7-5, 6-3

Friday's 3rd round singles matches involving Americans:

Maria Sakkari(GRE) v VENUS WILLIAMS[9]
JOHN ISNER[10] v Mischa Zverev(GER)[23]
SONYA KENIN v Maria Sharapova(RUS)
SAM QUERREY[17] v Radu Albot(MDA)

The complete Thursday schedule, including junior qualifying matches, can be found here.

The USTA held a press conference today at the US Open featuring General Manager of Player Development Martin Blackman, Head of Women's Tennis Ola Malmqvist, Head of Men's Tennis Brian Boland and Fed Cup Captain Kathy Rinaldi.  The full transcript is available here. I don't get to New York until tomorrow, so I was unable to attend. Had I been there, I would have asked about the role college tennis will play in USTA Player Development, a question that I expected to be of interest given Boland's recent move from the University of Virginia to his current role.