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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

McNally, Nakashima Among Seven Americans Advancing to Thursday's Round of 16 at US Open Junior Championships

©Colette Lewis 2018--
Flushing Meadows, NY--

The heat continued Wednesday for the completion of the second round of the US Open Junior Championships, but mercifully stayed below the threshold for suspension of play as had been the case on Tuesday.

Three of seven Americans who were in action today won their matches, with two of them, No. 5 seed Caty McNally and No. 14 seed Brandon Nakashima, getting the star treatment on Court 17, with live streaming, Hawkeye, postmatch interviews and sending autographed balls into the stands.

McNally, who has played on many big courts in her illustrious junior career, definitely had the edge in experience when facing qualifier Emma Jackson, with McNally raising her game at the critical junctures of each set to post a 6-3, 6-4 victory.

"Honestly I think she played really well," McNally said of the 15-year-old from Illinois, who received a wild card into the qualifying and was making her junior slam debut. "She just went for pretty much everything, which I think was smart on her side. I was down 3-1 in the first set, but then I just went straight to work and I was able to continue to play my game and that's just a big advantage, I think."

McNally got the only break of the second set at 4-all, with Jackson unable to convert either of her game points, while McNally hit a forehand winner on her second break point, then served out the match to love.

"In the second set, at 4-all, I just started to make her move, and I started to get more errors off of that," McNally said.

McNally, a 16-year-old from Cincinnati, struggled with illness in her first round match in Monday's heat, but thought conditions were less oppressive today.

"I actually thought it was fine today," McNally said. "I was sweating a decent amount, but I didn't think it was that bad today."

McNally will face No. 9 seed Naho Sato of Japan Thursday after Sato came back to defeat Georgia Drummy of Ireland 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. Sato defeated McNally in the first round of the Grade 1 in College Park last year.

Elli Mandlik joins McNally, top seed Coco Gauff and No. 16 seed Lea Ma in third round, beating Diane Parry of France, one of the rare junior girls with a one-handed backhand, 6-3, 7-6(1).

No. 2 seed Alexa Noel, who had a three-hour, three-set win on Monday, was beaten 6-0, 6-1 by Emma Raducanu of Great Britain, and qualifier Hurricane Tyra Black fell just short in the 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 loss to No. 14 seed Qinwen Zheng of China.

With wild card Keenan Mayo losing to No. 4 seed Nicolas Mejia of Colombia 6-3, 6-3, there are now just three American boys remaining in the draw, with Nakashima joining wild card Jenson Brooksby and Cannon Kingsley, who won their second round matches on Tuesday.

The 17-year-old Nakashima, who reached the quarterfinals of the French Open and the second round at Wimbledon in his first appearance at both tournaments, had played at the US Open last year as the Kalamazoo 16s champion, winning his opening match, but he wasn't on a show court.

"It was pretty cool," Nakashima said of posting a 6-3, 6-4 win over Otto Virtanen of Finland on Court 17. "I actually saw a couple of pro matches on that court last week, so I kind of knew the stadium a little bit. But playing on it is a lot different, and I just had to get used to it in the first couple of games, but after that, I felt more comfortable."

Nakashima said he had never played the hard-hitting Virtanen before, but was aware that he had beaten Sebastian Korda in the first round of Wimbledon this year.

"I saw him play a couple of times at Wimbledon and a little bit of his first round here," said the 17-year-old from San Diego, who made only 10 unforced errors in the match, in contrast to the 30 Virtanen made. "But I knew he likes to take big cuts at the ball and there weren't going to be too many rallies at the baseline, so I just had to stay consistent and play my game, hold my serve comfortably and get a few opportunities on his serve."

Nakashima suffered his only service break of the match at 4-1 in the second set, but had no trouble holding on to the second break, and served out the match with an ace that Virtanen challenged, but was shown by Hawkeye to hit both lines on the T.

Nakashima, who received a US Open men's qualifying wild card as the Kalamazoo 18s finalist, has been in New York since then, but he kept busy after losing his second round qualifying match.

"Usually I would hit with Christian [Groh] early in the morning, because the courts were pretty crowded during the daytime," Nakashima said of his coach. "In the afternoon, I would hit with pro players or something, if they needed it. I hit with [Alexander] Zverev three days in a row, Taylor Fritz one day, and [Kei] Nishikori a couple of days ago, so it was cool."

Nakashima faces No. 3 seed Hugo Gaston of France, who needed only 49 minutes to beat Juan Cerundolo of Argentina 6-2, 6-1.

"He's a solid lefty player," Nakashima said of the 2017 Orange Bowl champion. "Really crafty, likes to use the angles pretty well. I know it will be a completely different match from today, a lot more rallies. I just have to keep playing my game, serving well, to give it my best shot."

The second round of doubles were completed Wednesday, with the quarterfinals scheduled for Thursday. The US girls remaining in the draw are:

Coco Gauff and Caty McNally[1], Gabby Price (with Maria Osorio Serrano COL), Emma Navarro and Chloe Beck, Alex Noel (with Naho Sato JPN), and Hailey Baptiste and Dalayna Hewitt.

The US boys remaining in the draw: Andrew Fenty and Cannon Kingsley, Drew Baird and Trey Hilderbrand and Axel Nefve and Emilio Nava.

Wednesday's US Open singles results for Americans:

Girls second round:
Caty McNally[5] def. Emma Jackson[Q] 6-3, 6-4
Elli Mandlik def. Diane Parry(FRA) 6-3, 7-6(1)
Emma Raducanu(GBR) def. Alexa Noel[2] 6-0, 6-1
Qinwen Zheng[14](CHN) def. Hurricane Tyra Black[Q] 6-4, 3-6, 7-5

Boys second round:
Brandon Nakashima[14] def. Otto Virtanen(FIN) 6-3, 6-4
Nicolas Mejia[4](COL) def. Keenan Mayo[WC] 6-3, 6-3

Women (quarterfinal):
Madison Keys[14] def. Carla Suarez Navarro[30](ESP) 6-4, 6-3

Thursday's US Open singles matches featuring Americans:

Girls third round:
Elli Mandlik vs Dasha Lopatetskaya[Q](UKR)
Caty McNally[5] vs Naho Sato[9](JPN)
Lea Ma[16] vs Xiyu Wang[3]CHN
Coco Gauff[1] vs Oksana Selekhmeteva(RUS)

Boys third round:
Cannon Kingsley vs Lorenzo Musetti(ITA)
Jenson Brooksby[WC] vs Henry Von Der Schulenburg[Q](SUI)
Brandon Nakashima[14] vs Hugo Gaston[3](FRA)

Women semifinals:
Madison Keys[14] vs Naomi Osaka[20](JPN)
Serena Williams[17] vs Anastasija Sevastova[19](LAT)