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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Americans Kicking Off US Hard Court Season in Tournaments Throughout North America

The US hard court season never really begins or ends, but with these next six weeks leading up to the US Open, the emphasis on its results naturally take on more significance.

Rain has plagued the start of the $75,000 ATP Binghamton New York Challenger, with only one match complete after two days. Marcos Giron defeated fellow former UCLA Bruin Martin Redlicki, a wild card, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 Monday while the rest of the first round matches have been postponed due to rain.  Australian Jordan Thompson is the top seed, with additional wild cards going to Alex Rybakov(TCU), Alafia Ayeni(Cornell) and Will Blumberg(UNC).

At the $25,000 Futures in Champaign, six of the eight top seeds advanced to the second round, with only No. 5 seed Harrison Adams(Texas A&M) and No. 7 seed Finn Bass of Great Britain going out. Qualifier Alec Adamson(UC Davis) beat Adams 6-1, 6-3 and, on his home courts, Illinois rising junior Zeke Clark beat Bass 7-6(6), 6-3.  Seventeen-year-old wild card Tristan Boyer picked up his first ATP point with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Mousheg Hovhannisyan(Pepperdine) and No. 8 seed Sebastian Korda, back in action after his first round loss at the Wimbledon Junior Championships, defeated qualifier Matic Spec(Minnesota) of Slovenia 6-3, 6-3.

Qualifying is complete at the $60,000 Ashland Kentucky USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament, with all four qualifiers, from the United States: Anastasia Nefedova, Maegan Manasse(Cal), Catherine Harrison(UCLA) and Gail Brodsky.  First round action saw Whitney Osuigwe defeat Emina Bektas(Michigan) 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(3), with Jamie Loeb[6](UNC), Grace Min[7] and Sanaz Marand(UNC) also advancing to the second round. Top seed Caroline Dolehide dropped the opening set of her first round match with Vicky Duval but recovered for a 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory.

The fourth USTA Pro Circuit event this week is a $15,000 Women's tournament in Evansville Indiana, with qualifying completed today. Meghan Kelley(Virginia), Bianca Moldovan(NC State), Kelley Anderson(Arizona St) and 15-year-old Savannah Broadus are the American qualifiers. Former Georgia Bulldog Ayaka Okuno of Japan is the top seed, with wild cards going to Priyanka Shah(Cornell) and juniors Kylie Collins, Kolie Allen and Emma Jackson.

In Granby, Canada, there is a $60,000 ITF Women's Pro Circuit event and a $100,000 ATP Challenger event. The men's Granby tournament, like Ashland and Binghamton, counts toward the USTA's US Open Wild Card race, but the women's event in Granby does not.  Only two US men still remain in the Granby draw however, with none getting through qualifying and only Alex Sarkissian and JC Aragone posting first round wins.

At the women's tournament, Usue Arconada, Francesca Di Lorenzo[4] (who will next play each other), Maria Sanchez[7] and Robin Anderson have advanced to the second round with wins today.  Australian Astra Sharma, who won the $25,000 tournament last week in Canada, also advanced to the second round with a victory this evening.

The ATP 250 BB&T Atlanta Open is also part of the USTA's US Open Wild Card Challenge this week and Noah Rubin is collecting points there, having qualified and won his first round match today. Rubin defeated fellow qualifier Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia 6-3, 6-4 today and will play No. 2 seed and former champion Nick Kyrgios of Australia next.  No. 5 seed Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz, wild card Donald Young and Ryan Harrison are the other Americans who won first round matches today. University of Georgia rising senior Emil Reinberg, who received a main draw wild card, lost to Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 6-2, 6-0 tonight. Defending champion John Isner is the top seed and received a first round bye.  Great Britain's Cameron Norrie(TCU) has also advanced to the second round.

Below are the current standing of the USTA's US Open Wild Card Challenge.