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Monday, January 22, 2018

Sandgren, Keys Reach Australian Open Quarterfinals; Noel and Baird into AO Junior Third Round; Oracle Newport Beach Events Underway

Professional tennis journalists and commentators have been searching for a more unlikely slam quarterfinalist than Tennys Sandgren, but they are having a tough time coming up with nominees.  The 26-year-old Sandgren, who had won only two ATP level matches in his career and won his first slam match last week in Melbourne, defeated No. 5 seed Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-7(7), 6-3 at the Australian Open Tuesday, his second Top 10 win of the tournament.  Sandgren, who played at the University of Tennessee from 2009-2011, has equaled the performance of current Tennessee head coach Chris Woodruff, who was the Tennessee assistant when Sandgren was a Volunteer.  Woodruff reached the Australian Open quarterfinals back in 2000.  Sandgren will face 21-year-old Hyeon Chung, who pulled off a surprise of his own, beating six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic 7-6(4), 7-5, 7-6(3).

For more on Sandgren's win, see this article from the Australian Open website.

Madison Keys is a much more likely quarterfinalist, with the 2017 US Open finalist setting up a meeting with Angelique Kerber of Germany with a 6-3, 6-2 win over France's Caroline Garcia.  For more on Keys' overpowering performance Monday, see this article from the WTA website.

Madison Keys[17] def. Caroline Garcia[8](FRA) 6-3, 6-2
Tennys Sandgren def. Dominic Thiem[5](AUT) 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-7(7), 6-3

Two of the four American juniors in action on Monday advanced to the third round, with No. 7 seed Alexa Noel at the top of her game in a 6-2, 6-0 win over Mariam Dalakishvili of Georgia.  Drew Baird had a much tougher battle with qualifier Jesper De Jong of the Netherlands, but he pulled out a tense 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(6) victory.

Five Americans are in action Tuesday, with the most intriguing match that between Eddie Herr champion Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria and No. 7 seed Sebastian Korda.

All junior matches can be streamed via WatchESPN.

American juniors in action Monday (Sunday night in US)
Alexa Noel[7] def. Mariam Dalakishvili(GEO) 6-2, 6-0
Lulu Sun[10](SUI) def. Nicole Mossmer 6-2, 6-2
Drew Baird def. Jesper De Jong(NED) 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(6)
Marko Miladinovic[2](SRB) def. Tristan Boyer 2-6, 6-1, 6-4

American juniors in second round action Tuesday(Monday night in US):

Jaycer Lyeons v Hugo Gaston[5](FRA)
Sebastian Korda[7] v Adrian Andreev(BUL)
Dalayna Hewitt v Moyuka Uchijima(JPN)
Peyton Stearns v Xinyu Wang[1](CHN)
Elysia Bolton[12] v Himari Sato(JPN)

There are again two USTA Pro Circuit events in Florida, a women's $25,000 tournament in Wesley Chapel, and a men's $15,000 Futures in Weston, but the big event in the US this week takes place in Newport Beach California, a part of the new Oracle Challenge Series*.  Qualifying for the $150,000 men's Challenger was completed today, with Stanford senior Tom Fawcett, a wild card, advancing to the main draw, along with Dennis Novikov(UCLA).  2016 ITF World Junior Champion Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia beat No. 2 seed Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in today's first round.  Noah Rubin and Stefan Kozlov have advanced to the second round. Kei Nishikori, who is coming back from injury, is the top seed and plays Novikov in the first round.

At the women's WTA 125 event,  qualifying finished on Sunday, with reigning US Open girls champion Amanda Anisimova reaching the main draw and then advancing to the second round with a 6-1, 3-0 ret. win over Irina Falconi today. Anisimova had not played since the WTA 125 event in Hawaii last November.  Kayla Day and wild card Claire Liu picked up wins over WTA veterans Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia and Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland respectively, with wild card Vicky Duval also advancing to the second round.

*About the Oracle Challenger Series – The Oracle Challenger Series was created to offer American tennis players more opportunities and builds on Oracle’s commitment to help support U.S. tennis for men and women at both the collegiate and professional level. The Series will feature equal prize money in a groundbreaking tournament format that combines the ATP Challenger Tour and WTA 125K Series.

Beyond expanding the number of chances to compete, the Series offers an unmatched potential prize of wild cards for top American finishers into the main draw of the BNP Paribas Open, which is widely considered the top combined ATP World Tour and WTA professional tennis tournament in the world.