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Saturday, June 2, 2018

Noel Wins ITF Grade 1 Title in Belgium, Seventeen Americans in Roland Garros Junior Championships, Fourteen Play Sunday; Gibbs Claims $25K Title in Naples

Alexa Noel, who won the doubles title yesterday at the ITF Grade 1 in Belgium, added the singles title today. The 15-year-old top seed defeated No. 6 seed Viktoriia Dema of Ukraine 6-1, 6-4 to earn her second Grade 1 singles title in five finals appearances.  No. 12 seed Damien Wenger of Switzerland won the boys title, beating unseeded Anton Matusevich of Great Britain 6-2, 6-4.  Wenger wasn't able to play qualifying at the French Open Juniors because he was still in the Belgian tournament and because two players with higher rankings (Brandon Nakashima and Brazil's Joao Lucas Reis Da Silva) also were still in the Belgian tournament, they received the two special exemptions. So, he misses his chance to play in Paris, but with the win, he will easily qualify for the main draw at Wimbledon. Kacie Harvey was also a victim of this scenario, with the special exemptions going to girls still in Belgium who had higher ITF rankings than she did.

Seventeen Americans are in the main draw this year at the French Open Junior Championships, with 14 of them on Sunday's schedule:

Natasha Subhash vs Gergana Topalova (BUL)

Caty McNally vs Francesca Curmi (MLT)[Q]

Peyton Stearns[Q] vs Kamilla Rakhimova (RUS)

Gabriella Price vs Joanna Garland (TPE)

Lea Ma vs Ana Makatsaria (GEO)

Katie Volynets vs Yasmine Mansouri (FRA)[WC]

Coco Gauff[16] vs Stefania Rogozinska Dzik (POL)[SE]

Sebastian Korda[2] vs Valentin Royer (FRA)[WC]

Cannon Kingsley[WC] vs Jonas Forejtek (CZE)

Drew Baird[16] vs Kyrian Jacquet (FRA)[Q]

Trey Hilderbrand vs Jaimee Floyd Angele (FRA)[WC]

Tristan Boyer (USA)[11] vs Luka Pavlovic (FRA)[Q]

Andrew Fenty vs Admir Kalender (CRO)[Q]

Brandon Nakashima [SE] vs Rudolf Molleker (GER) [3]

I had forgotten that last year the USTA gave a main draw US Open junior wild card to a French player, Jaime Floyd Angele, Hilderbrand's opponent in this tournament, so the USTA received one this year for Roland Garros, with Cannon Kingsley the recipient. I'm not sure how he was selected, but there's no argument that he had the best results in the events leading up to the French, winning the Grade 1 title in Santa Croce last month.

Nakashima probably got the worst draw of the Americans in action Sunday, with Molleker, seeded based on his ATP ranking of 301, having won a Challenger title last month. Korda will be playing his first junior tournament since winning the Australian Open. He went 3-3 in Futures play in Europe the past three weeks. 

The three US juniors not on the schedule Sunday are Noel, Dalayna Hewitt and qualifier Tyler Zink. Noel, the No. 4 seed drew Iga Swiatek of Poland, who had such a great run this spring on the USTA Pro Circuit, but whose WTA ranking of 344 isn't yet high enough to earn her a seed. Hewitt has drawn top seed and Australian Open girls champion En Shuo Liang of Taiwan. Hewitt, who turned pro earlier this year, has not played a junior event since reaching the quarterfinals in Australia. Zink's opponent is unseeded Gilbert Soares Klier Junior of Brazil. Sebastian Baez of Argentina is the top seed in the boys draw.

Live scoring should be available at the Roland Garros website.

In the men's and women's singles, Sloane Stephens[10], John Isner[9] and Serena Williams joined Madison Keys[13] in the fourth round with wins today.  Stephens broke back twice with Camila Giorgi serving for the match in the third set and went on to claim a 4-6, 6-1, 8-6 victory. Isner defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France 7-6(1), 6-4, 7-6(4) and Williams beat No. 11 seed Julia Goerges of Germany 6-3, 6-4. Keys will face No. 31 seed Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania on Sunday for a place in the quarterfinals.

The $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Naples Florida finished today, with top seed Nicole Gibbs taking the title with a 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 3 seed Ashley Kratzer, the reigning USTA 18s champion. Gibbs had to return this morning to complete her semifinal win over No. 5 seed Allie Kiick 6-1, 4-6, 6-3. The doubles title went recent Florida graduate Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan and Genevieve Lorbergs of Australia. The unseeded pair defeated No. 4 seed Rasheeda McAdoo(Georgia Tech) and Katerina Stewart 6-3, 1-6, 11-9.