Friday, October 20, 2017

Zhu, Wolf Reach Harlingen Futures Semis; Townsend and Collins Meet in Florence Semis; Three Americans in Las Vegas Semis; Acceptances for Mexico's Grade A

College sophomores Evan Zhu of UCLA and JJ Wolf of Ohio State have advanced to the semifinals of this week's $25,000 Futures in Harlingen Texas.  Zhu, a qualifier, beat top seed Nik Scholtz, the former Ole Miss star from South Africa, in Thursday's second round. Today the 19-year-old advanced to his second career Futures semifinal with a come-from-behind 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over French Open boys champion Alexei Popyrin of Australia.  Zhu, who is taking the fall off, but is expected to return to UCLA in the spring, will face No. 5 seed Luke Bambridge of Great Britain, who defeated No. 4 seed Ryan Shane 7-6(7), 7-5.

The 18-year-old Wolf, a wild card, earned his first Futures semifinal appearance with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 7 seed Ulises Blanch. The 2017 Kalamazoo finalist earned his first ATP points last month, at the Columbus Challenger, and had played very little at the Futures level until now.  Wolf will play qualifier Strong Kirchheimer, the 22-year-old Northwestern graduate, who outlasted 36-year-old Ryan Haviland(Stanford) 6-7(5), 7-6(2), 6-4 in a match that lasted four hours and 16 minutes. Wolf's match today took an hour and eight minutes to complete.

An American finalist is also assured in the $25,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Florence South Carolina, with top seed Taylor Townsend meeting No. 3 seed Danielle Collins.  Townsend defeated No. 6 seed Victoria Rodriguez of Mexico 7-6(3), 7-5 for her eighth straight win,
while Collins beat No. 7 seed Amra Sadikovic of Switzerland 6-4, 6-3. Townsend won their previous Pro Circuit meeting last year in Scottsdale 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

The other semifinal will feature No. 4 seed Rebecca Peterson of Sweden against No. 8 seed Ysaline Bonaventure of Belgium.

Three Americans are through to the semifinals at the $50,000 Las Vegas Challenger, again guaranteeing an American in the final, with No. 1 seed Tennys Sandgren facing No. 4 seed Stefan Kozlov Saturday.  Sandgren defeated qualifier Jan Choinski of Germany 6-1, 6-0 and Kozlov beat Kevin King 6-2, 6-3.  In the bottom half, Evan King defeated Bradley Klahn 7-6(7), 7-6(6) to reach his first Challenger level semifinal; the 25-year-old Michigan graduate had been 0-6 in Challenger quarterfinals until today's win.  King will play Great Britain's Liam Broady, who beat No. 8 seed Reilly Opelka 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 6-4.

Rain has delayed the singles quarterfinals of the ITF Grade A Osaka Mayor's Cup in Japan, with top seed Whitney Osuigwe and Tristan Boyer the Americans still alive in singles. The schedule has two rounds of play indoors on Saturday, with no-ad scoring and a match tiebreaker as the format. 

Acceptances for the ITF Grade A in Mexico City November 13-19 came out earlier this month, with 13 US boys and 15 US girls on the initial acceptance list.  There are no boys in the ITF Top 25, with Sebastian Korda the highest ranking player on the list at No. 26.  Other US boys in the main draw are: Sangeet Sridhar, Brian Shi, Axel Nefve, Tomas Kopczynski, Boris Kozlov, Nathan Han, Keenan Mayo, Drew Baird, Ronan Jachuck, William Woodall, Tyler Zink and Sumit Sakar.  The boys main draw cutoff was Sakar, at 256.

The girls field is stronger, with the cutoff 196, and the top five girls in the acceptances are all from the US: defending champion Taylor Johnson, Sofia Sewing, 2016 finalist Ellie Douglas, Natasha Subhash and Hurricane Tyra Black.  Other US girls in the main draw are: Nicole Mossmer, Dalayna Hewitt, Lea Ma, Elli Mandlik, Sabina Dadaciu, Vanessa Ong, Alexa Noel, Kianah Motosono, Katya Townsend and Peyton Stearns.

The acceptances for the Grade 1 Yucatan Cup and the Grade A Orange Bowl should be out next week.