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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

USA Teams Post Wins Before Rain Cuts Short First Day of Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup; Four Pro Circuit Events in US This Week; Becker Retires, Returns to Baylor for Degree


Rain was a problem today in Budapest as the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup competitions began, but the United States' teams both managed to post two singles victories to secure their first wins in their round robin groups, with the girls defeating Belarus 2-0 and the boys beating Morocco 2-0.

US Open champion Amanda Anisimova and French Open champion Whitney Osuigwe picked up straight-sets wins, with Caty McNally, the third member of the team, not playing with doubles cancelled.  With two of this year's junior slam champions the United States is the top seed in the competition, with the other seed in their round robin group A No. 6 Italy.  Group B has No. 3 seed Russia and No. 8 seed Thailand, Group C contains No. 4 Ukraine and No. 7 Colombia and Group D's seeds are No. 2 Japan and No. 5 France.  Japan has posted a 2-0 win over Morocco, while France is tied at 1 singles match apiece with Argentina.  The ITF Junior website spoke with Osuigwe about her training with the US Fed Cup team in this article.

The US boys team of Will Grant, Govind Nanda and Tyler Zink is seeded No. 3 and is round robin group C with no. 8 seed Australia. Zink and Grant posted straight-sets wins for the US today. The top seeded boys team is the Czech Republic and they are in Group A with No. 7 Japan. In Group B are No. 4 Croatia and No. 6 Brazil. Group D's seeds are No. 2 Argentina and No. 5 Italy. Russia, the defending champions, are not seeded.

This year, teams are not required to win their round robin group to advance. The top two teams in each group then move to the quarterfinals, which did not exist prior to this year.

There is live streaming through the ITF Junior website, but I have not been able to find the live scoring that was promised. For teams and scores, see the tournament website.

Four USTA Pro Circuit events are underway in the US this week, with a $15,000 Futures tournament in Laguna Niguel California and a $75,000 Challenger in Columbus Ohio for the men, and an $80,000 event in Albuquerque New Mexico and a $25,000 event in Lubbock Texas for the women.  In addition, Canada is hosting a $25,000 Futures and Mexico has a $100,000 ITF Women's event, which also have attracted their share of Americans.

In Columbus, the first round will spread to its third day on Wednesday, in order to accommodate the three players who competed in the Davis Cup tie between Canada and India last week in Edmonton, which Canada won 3-2. Yuki Bhambri[3] and Ramkumar Ramanathan[2] of India and former North Carolina star Brayden Schnur of Canada will play the last three first round matches on Wednesday.  Cary champion Kevin King, who also played Sunday did not get a Wednesday start, and he won his 11th straight match, beating wild card John McNally, an Ohio State freshman, 4-6, 6-3 ,6-3. Wild card JJ Wolf, an Ohio State sophomore and Kalamazoo 18s finalist, earned his first ATP points today, beating qualifier Luke Bambridge 6-4, 6-2 and will play No. 4 seed Denis Kudla in the second round on Wednesday. Defending champion Mikael Torpegaard, an Ohio State senior, lost his first round match today to Canada's Filip Peliwo 7-6(2), 6-4.  Ohio State junior Martin Joyce, another wild card recipient, also advanced to the second round. Evan King, Dennis Novikov[7] and Austin Krajicek also earned first round victories.

In Laguna Niguel, only three first round singles matches were played today, with qualifier Trevor Johnson(TCU), Jenson Brooksby and Hunter Callahan posting wins.  The 16-year-old Brooksby, who reached the quarterfinals last week in Claremont, will move into the ATP rankings next Monday.  Qualifier Gianni Ross, wild card Jacob Bullard and Sam Riffice are juniors who will play their first round matches Wednesday. American Collegiate Invitational champion Tom Fawcett, who also received a wild card, plays No. 2 seed Benjamin Lock, the former Florida State star, Wednesday.

The first round is complete in Lubbock, with the top three seeds--Great Britain's Harriet Dart, India's Karman Thandi and Vicky Duval--all advancing.

In Albuquerque, only one singles first round match was played, with the final round of qualifying the other singles activity on Tuesday's schedule.  Advancing to the main draw were Amanda Rodgers, Megan McCray, Sabrina Santamaria and Slovakia's Zuzana Zlochova. McCray will face Wimbledon girls champion Claire Liu in the first round on Wednesday. Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland is the top seed, Sonya Kenin is the No. 2 seed and Kayla Day accepted a wild card and is the No. 3 seed. Free live streaming of the tournament is available at the USTA website.

On Saturday, the ATP posted a conversation with 2004 NCAA champion Benjamin Becker of Germany about his decision to retire after 12 years on the ATP Tour.  The former Baylor star, whose ATP ranking career high was 35, has returned to Waco to finish his degree and is serving as a volunteer assistant for the men's team.

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