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Friday, January 12, 2018

My Feature on Florida's Kessler and Zein: 14 Americans Begin Play at Grade 1 Traralgon; Rain Disrupts Australian Open Qualifying; De Minaur Reaches ATP Sydney Final

My article this week for the Tennis Recruiting Network is the result of a conversation I had with doubles partners and Florida recruits Marlee Zein and McCartney Kessler at the Orange Bowl. Kessler, who verbally committed to Florida more than two years ago, and Zein, who signed her NLI in November after visiting this fall, won't be teammates until this fall, when Zein joins the team, but they are already anticipating an opportunity to play doubles together again.  Kessler started at Florida this week.

The draws are out for the Australian Open Junior warmup tournament, the Grade 1 in Traralgon, that gets underway Saturday (tonight in the United States).  Russia's Timofey Skatov and Taiwan's En Shuo Liang are the top seeds. The six US boys in the draw are Drew Baird, Sangeet Sridhar, Andrew Fenty[13], Tristan Boyer, Sebastian Korda[7] and qualifier Brian Shi.  The eight US girls in the draw are Peyton Stearns, Alexa Noel[6], Nicole Mossmer, Coco Gauff, Elysia Bolton[12], Hurricane Tyra Black, Dalayna Hewitt and qualifier Niluka Madurawe. 

Rain delayed many of the men's and women's second round qualifying matches on Friday at the Australian Open, but Bjorn Fratangelo was able to get his match in and he advanced to the final round along with the four other US men who won on Wednesday: Mackenzie McDonald, Kevin King, Denis Kudla and Stefan Kozlov.  No US women managed to advance to the final round, with the only American to finish a match in the women's second round was Julia Boserup, who lost to Anna Kalinskaya of Russia 6-1, 6-4. 

The US men who did not finish their second round matches--Taylor Fritz, Tommy Paul, Ernesto Escobedo--will take the court Saturday (tonight in the US), but should they win, their final round matches would be Sunday.  Below is the current situation for American men and women:

Men's second round:

Taylor Fritz[1] v Mathias Bourgue(FRA)

Bjorn Fratangelo[4] def. Zsombor Piros[WC](HUN) 6-3, 6-4

Ernesto Escobedo[11] v Alessandro Giannessi(ITA)

Tommy Paul v Bernard Tomic[29](AUS)

Peter Polansky[26](CAN) def. Christian Harrison 6-2, 7-5

Men's third round:

Kevin King v John-Patrick Smith(AUS)

Mackenzie McDonald v Stephane Robert(FRA)

Bjorn Fratangelo[4] v Quentin Halys[22](FRA)

Women's second round:

Anna Kalinskaya(RUS) def. Julia Boserup[24] 6-1, 6-4

Bernarda Pera[14] v Irina Bara(ROU)

Irina Falconi v Polina Monova(RUS)

Danielle Collins v Danka Kovinic[6](MNE)

Caroline Dolehide v Viktoria Kuzmova[16](SVK)

Kayla Day v Xinyun Han[21](CHN)

Eighteen-year-old Alex De Minaur of Australia has continued his impressive run in his home country, advancing to the final of the ATP event in Sydney with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 win over Benoit Paire of France in the semifinals.  De Minaur will face 21-year-old qualifier Daniil Medvedev of Russia in the final.  De Minaur is the youngest ATP finalist since Taylor Fritz made the Memphis final in 2016.  For more on De Minaur's run, see the ATP website.