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Monday, September 4, 2017

Misspelled Name Motivates New Yorker Bolton to Success at Home Junior Slam; Nakashima, Osuigwe Get First Wins as American Juniors go 13-6 on Day Two of US Open; Vandeweghe, Keys Reach Women's Quarterfinals

©Colette Lewis 2017--
Flushing Meadow NY--

Last year Elysia Bolton was an on-site alternate for the US Open Junior Championships, which are held on the very courts where she trains year-round.  Bolton did not get in to the singles or doubles draw, a disappointment the 17-year-old put to rest on Labor Day by beating Yuki Naito of Japan 7-6(4), 6-3 in the first round of the 2017 Junior Championships.

"Last year, I got a little badge because I signed in as an on-site alternate and they spelled my name wrong on it," Bolton said. "So I hung it in my bathroom, and said, 'I'm getting into the main draw next year, without a wild card, nothing, I'm getting in. So I was happy to get in and I was like OK, I have to do this now, I want to get this, because it's my home courts.  I looked at [the badge] every day, it's still in my bathroom."

Bolton got off to a slow start against Naito, but began finding her game in the latter half of the first set. She won a tight tiebreaker with a backhand winner to take the first set, and got the crucial game in the second set with Naito serving at 3-3.  Naito was up 40-0 in the  16-minute game, but ultimately could not convert on any of her eight game points, while Bolton finally closed out the game on her fourth break point.

"When I got my [break point] I would kind of overplay, so on the last one, I was like OK, I need to play my game and stay calm and pretend like I'm down an ad rather than up an ad," said Bolton, who held for 5-3 and broke again to claim the match.

Bolton received coaching from USTA National Coach Jay Devashetty and Mark Bey, who worked with her for many years in Chicago before she moved New York several years ago.

"I thought it was great," said UCLA recruit Bolton, whose supporters at the match included UCLA coaches Stella Sampras Webster and Rance Brown and by former Bruin star Jennifer Brady, who had lost her fourth round match on Arthur Ashe to WTA No. 1 Karolina Pliskova earlier in the day. "I got into a bit of a rut in the first set and my coach was able to talk me out of it. I trained a little bit working on the whole coaching on the side thing, so I thought that helped a lot and I like it a lot."

Next up for Bolton is Australian Open girls champion and  No. 2 seed Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine, who beat qualifier Sada Nahimana of Burundi 4-6, 6-0, 6-0.

Top seed Whitney Osuigwe had not had any success at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis the previous two times she had played there, in the qualifying tournament last month, and last year, as a wild card into the juniors.  Playing on the Grandstand, one of the three main show courts, the 15-year-old French girls champion was able to show a large crowd all the facets of her game in her 6-1, 6-4 win over qualifier Margaryta Bilokin of Ukraine.

"It was great," Osuigwe said when asked how she felt when she secured her first US Open win. "It's been a great summer for me, so I had some confidence coming in here. I didn't have that the previous two years, and obviously I'm more experienced with the junior slams this year."

Osuigwe said some of that self-assurance stems from the many ways she can win a point.

"I'm a pretty confident player, but I know that I have other things I can use," said Osuigwe, who, like Bilokin, trains at the IMG Academy. "Like I do have a pretty good defensive game, so if I need to change up and go to that, I know that I can. It's the confidence I have in the variety of my game."

Osuigwe's opponent Tuesday will be Anastasia Kharitonova of Russia.

Other Americans girls picking up their first slam and first US Open wins were wild cards Coco Gauff, Dalayna Hewitt and qualifier Nikki Redelijk. Caty McNally has won many junior slam matches, but collected her first at the US Open today, although she did have a win in women's qualifying last month. And 2017 San Diego finalist Kelly Chen, playing in her third US Open Junior Championship, earned her third win at the USTABJK National Tennis Center.  The only seeded girl to lose on Monday was No. 9 Sofia Sewing, who couldn't convert three match points in the second set and lost to Alina Charaeva of Russia 5-7, 7-6(3), 7-5.

Kalamazoo 16s champion Brandon Nakishima made his debut at the US Open a successful one, beating Repentigny Grade 1 finalist Matheus Puccinelli de Almeida of Brazil 6-1, 6-4.

"I had a really good start, I was making a lot of first serves and playing consistent," Nakashima said. "I was just trying to make him play a lot of balls, because he was missing some easy shots in the first set."

Although he said he didn't pay much attention to the serve clock, Nakashima did take advantage of the opportunity to receive coaching.

"I felt it helped me a lot," said Nakashima, who has Horacio Matta serving as his coach this week. "I was able to execute a lot of the stuff he told me during the changeovers. Nothing really too big. He just told me a couple of tendencies he saw the guy had, that he liked to hit a lot of flat serves down the T and wide."

Next for Nakashima is top seed and ITF No. 1 Axel Geller of Argentina.

"It feels good to get the first match out of the way," said Nakashima, who plays very few ITF events. "Now I think I play the one seed, so I should be able to play free there, nothing to lose. I just have to play my best. But this definitely gives me a lot of confidence."

While the 16s Kalamazoo champion was successful in his opening match, the 18s champion was not, with No. 12 seed Patrick Kypson falling to qualifier George Loffhagen of Great Britain 6-1, 6-3.  Kypson had beaten Loffhagen in three tough sets in the Wimbledon round of 16 this summer, but Loffhagen was the better player today.

Nakashima wasn't the only wild card to pick up a win today.  Trey Hilderbrand came back to eliminate Alexey Zakharov of Russia 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.  Other American boys advancing to Tuesday's second round are No. 7 seed Trent Bryde, No. 11 seed Oliver Crawford, No. 13 seed Sebastian Korda and unseeded Vasil Kirkov.

No. 14 seed Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil was the only seeded boy aside from Kypson to lose Monday, with qualifier Jakub Paul of Switerzland beating him 7-5, 3-6, 6-4.

The total number of wins for the 40 Americans in the first round was 20, with 10 boys and 10 girls through.  The weather forecast for Wednesday and Thursday currently calls for rain, so all second round matches will be played Tuesday, rather than split between Tuesday and Wednesday.

The first round of boys doubles is complete, but seven girls first round doubles matches will be played Tuesday, with all boys second round doubles matches also on the schedule for Tuesday.

Monday’s round 1 US Open junior results for Americans:

Whitney Osuigwe[1] def. Margaryta Bilokin(UKR) 6-1, 6-4
Vasil Kirkov def. Toru Horie(JPN) 3-6, 6-4, 6-1
Brandon Nakashima def. Matheus Pucinelli de Almedida(BRA) 6-1,  6-4
Sebastian Korda[13] def. Jack Draper(GBR) 6-2, 6-2
Paula Arias Manjon(ESP) def. Victoria Flores 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
Oliver Crawford[11] v Aidan McHugh(GBR) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
Elysia Bolton def. Yuki Naito(JPN) 7-6(4), 6-3
Kelly Chen def. Monica Cappelletti(ITA)6-2, 7-6(4)
Coco Gauff def. Draginja Vukovic(SRB) 6-2, 7-6(4)
Jesper De Jong(NED) def. Axel Nefve 1-6, 7-5, 6-0
Caty McNally def. Viktoriia Dema(UKR) 6-3, 6-1
Nikki Redelijk def. Mihika Yadav(IND) 6-4, 4-6, 6-1
George Loffhagen(GBR) def. Patrick Kypson[12] 6-1, 6-3
Alina Charaeva(RUS) def. Sofia Sewing[9] 5-7, 7-6(3), 7-5
Trey Hilderbrand def. Alexey Zakharov(RUS) 4-6, 6-4, 7-5
Trent Bryde[7] def. Nick Hardt(DOM) 6-3, 6-4
Emil Ruusuvuori(FIN) def. Govind Nanda 6-2, 6-3
Dalayna Hewitt def. Daria Frayman(RUS) 4-6, 6-1, 6-2
Axel Geller(ARG)[1] def. Andrew Fenty 6-3, 6-4

Tuesday's round 2 junior matches featuring Americans:

Kamilla Rakhimova(RUS) v Amanda Anisimova[4]
Alexandre Rotsaert v Duarte Vale(POR)[15]
Sebastian Korda[13] v Emil Ruusuvuori(FIN)
Xin Yu Wang(CHN)[6] v Kelly Chen
Coco Gauff v Carson Branstine(CAN)[5]
Elysia Bolton v Marta Kostyuk(UKR[2]
Jakub Paul(SUI) v Vasil Kirkov
Axel Geller(ARG)[1] v Brandon Nakashima
Whitney Osuigwe[1] v Anastasia Kharitonova(RUS)
Alan Rubio Fierros(MEX) v Oliver Crawford[11]
Alafia Ayeni v Sebastian Baez(ARG)[10]
Natasha Subhash v Katie Volynets
Maria Osorio Serrano(COL) v Dalayna Hewitt
Menelaos Efstathiou(CYP) v Trent Bryde[7]
Tomas Machac(CZE) v Sam Riffice
Simona Waltert(SUI) v Caty McNally
Marko Miladinovic(SRB) v Trey Hilderbrand
Nikki Redelijk v Elsabetta Cocciaretto(ITA)
DJ Thomas v Yu Hsiou Hsu(TPE)[8]

Coco Vandeweghe joined Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens in the quarterfinals, beating Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 7-6(2).

Monday’s 4th round results for American women:

Karolina Pliskova(CZE)[1] def. JENNIFER BRADY 6-1, 6-0
COCO VANDEWEGHE[20] def. Lucie Safarova(CZE) 6-4, 7-6(2)
MADISON KEYS[15] def. Elina Svitolina(UKR)[4] 7-6(2), 1-6, 6-4

Tuesday’s quarterfinal matches featuring Americans:

SLOANE STEPHENS v Anastasija Sevastova(LAT)[16]
VENUS WILLIAMS[9] v Petra Kvitova(CZE)[13]
SAM QUERREY[17] v Kevin Anderson(RSA)[28]