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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Seven Americans in Thursday's Roland Garros Junior Qualifying; Nakashima, Noel and Navarro Reach Belgium Grade 1 Quarterfinals; Li, Baptiste Advance to Naples $25K Quarterfinals; Roland Garros Update

photo credit Aaina Sharma, unsplash
Qualifying begins Thursday for the Junior Championships at Roland Garros, with five US boys and two US girls aiming for the two wins that will put them in the main draw.

Tyler Zink, who is the subject of today's Tennis Recruiting Network feature on his commitment to Georgia, is the top seed in the boys qualifying draw, with Emilio Nava[4] and Govind Nanda[10] also seeded. Keenan Mayo and William Woodall were on the the alternate list for qualifying, but they both got in, with Woodall, the ninth alternate, the last player to move into the qualifying. Unfortunately Cannon Kingsley, who won the Grade 1 a couple of weeks ago in Italy, did not get into qualifying, but with his current ranking of 32, he will get into the main draw at Wimbledon, with the cutoff next Monday's ranking.

The American girls in the French junior qualifying draw are Chloe Beck[14] and Peyton Stearns[5].  Emma Navarro, who has reached the quarterfinals of the ITF Grade 1 in Belgium did not get into qualifying, although alternates as low as 28 on the list did move into qualifying.

Kacie Harvey, who was on the qualifying list, is still in doubles in Belgium, but with two other players who are ranked above her also still alive in Belgium, she may not receive one of the two special exemptions in the Roland Garros juniors main draw.

Brandon Nakashima was No. 2 in qualifying, and should be receiving a special exemption, although the top three boys in the qualifying are all still playing in Belgium. With only two spots for special exemptions, one may not get to play in Paris, although I guess a wild card would be a remote possibility.

Nakashima, the No. 9 seed, defeated No. 8 seed Rinky Hijikata of Australia 6-3, 6-1 and will face unseeded Anton Matusevich of Great Britain in the quarterfinals.  Top seed Alexa Noel defeated No. 16 seed Daria Frayman of Russia 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 and the unseeded Navarro took out No. 12 seed Daria Snigur of Ukraine 6-2, 7-5. 

Nakashima and Trey Hilderbrand have advanced to the doubles semifinals, as have Noel (with Naho Sato of Japan) and Harvey (with Lenka Stara of Slovakia).

Live scoring is available at Tennis Ticker.

At the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Naples Florida, the quarterfinals are set, a day earlier than usual. With the rain making a mess of the previous week's tournament in Osprey, I'm sure organizers wanted to avoid another week like that, so all first round matches were played Tuesday and all second round matches today. Sixteen-year-old Hailey Baptiste, who received a special exemption into the main draw this week, advanced to the quarterfinals with a nearly three-hour 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over qualifier Ksenia Laskutova of Russia, a recent Tulsa graduate. Ann Li, who beat No. 4 seed Katerina Stewart in the first round, defeated recent Florida graduate Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-3.  Top seed Nicole Gibbs, No. 3 seed Ashley Kratzer, No. 7 seed Robin Anderson and No. 4 seed Allie Kiick  are the other American quarterfinalist.  Osprey champion Deniz Khazaniuk of Israel, the No. 2 seed, and qualifier Paula Goncalves of Brazil are the only international player in the quarterfinals.

In Day Four action at Roland Garros, Alison Riske fell in a first round match to top seed Simona Halep 2-6, 6-1, 6-1. Jared Donaldson went toe to toe with No. 4 seed Grigor Dimitrov for more than four hours, but ended up on the wrong side of the 6-7(2), 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 10-8 score.  Sam Querrey[12] lost to Gilles Simon 1-6, 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-1, leaving John Isner[9] and Steve Johnson as the only American men left in the draw. Isner and Johnson play their second round matches on Thursday.

Madison Keys[13] defeated qualifier Caroline Dolehide 6-4, 6-1 and Sloane Stephens[10] beat qualifier Magdalena Frech of Poland 6-2, 6-2 for the two second round victories for American women today.  Jennifer Brady lost to Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-3, leaving a total of seven US women still in the draw.  The five taking the court Thursday for second round matches are Serena Williams, Taylor Townsend, CoCo Vandeweghe[15], Bernarda Pera and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Cameron Norrie, the recent TCU star, did not finish his second round match with No. 15 seed Lucas Pouille of France, with Norrie taking the third set when the match was called for darkness. Pouille won the first and second sets.