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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

US Girls Breeze in Junior Fed Cup, but Boys Fall in Junior Davis Cup on Opening Day; Young Wild Cards Earn First Pro Wins at Hilton Head $15K; Kenin Reaches Third Round in Wuhan

The first day of round robin action at the Junior Fed Cup in Budapest Hungary went as expected for the US, but it was another story for the US boys in Junior Davis Cup.

Coco Gauff and Alexa Noel picked up straight set wins in singles and Gauff and Connie Ma won the doubles match against Brazil to give the top seeds a 3-0 win.  But the third-seeded US boys fell to unseeded Great Britain 2-1, with Toby Kodat retiring from the No. 1 singles match with an injury, and Martin Damm and Alex Lee falling in the deciding doubles. The round robin helps the US however, and now with two teams from each group qualifying, they still have an opportunity to advance to the quarterfinals, but Kodat's injury is obviously a concern. The boys will face No. 7 seed Brazil Wednesday, with the girls taking on unseeded Japan.

Italy, the top seed in the boys draw, won its first round match, but No. 2 seed France was taken out by Denmark, which hadn't played in the Junior Davis Cup finals in over two decades. For more on the first day upsets, see this article from the ITF Junior Circuit website.

Live scoring is available here; complete results from all matches are at the ITF tournament software page.

There are four USTA Pro Circuit events on the calendar this week, two big and two small.  At the biggest, the $100,000 ATP Challenger in Tiburon California, wild card Brandon Holt earned his first win in Challenger competition, beating qualifier Steven Diez of Canada 6-3, 7-6(4). The 20-year-old USC junior won his first Futures title two weeks ago in Claremont. Other Americans advancing to the second round are Tommy Paul, Christopher Eubanks, wild card JC Aragone, Bjorn Fratangelo[8], Noah Rubin, Ernesto Escobedo, and last week's Columbus Challenger champion Michael Mmoh[5].

The women are also in California, with their tournament in Templeton a $60,000 event. Qualifying, which advances only four players to the main draw, ended today, with Robin Anderson(UCLA) and Maegan Manasse(Cal) earning spots in the main draw. Anderson, who reached the final on Saturday in Lubbock, had to travel to California and play the next day in her first round qualifying. Today Anderson trailed 5-3 in the final set, but won the final four games to beat Kai-Chen Chang of Taiwan 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. Giuliana Olmos of Mexico(USC) and Switzerland's Amra Sadikovic are the other two qualifiers.  Americans Madison Brengle[2], Jessica Pegula[4], Lauren Davis and wild card Ann Li were among Tuesday's first round winners.


The $15,000 tournaments are coasts apart, with the men's Futures in Fountain Valley California and the women's event in Hilton Head South Carolina. 

The qualifying, four rounds of it, ended yesterday for the men, with several Southern Californians juniors making it to the main draw: Stefan Dostanic, Siem Woldeab, Govind Nanda and Jacob Bullard. Emilio Nava, a fifth SoCal junior, avoided qualifying by reaching the quarterfinals at last week's event in Laguna Niguel to earn a special exemption, and he won his first match today, beating lucky loser George Goldhoff(Texas) 6-3, 6-1. Wild card Ronnie Schneider(UNC) is the top seed, with Strong Kirchheimer(Northwestern) seeded No. 2.

In Hilton Head, wild cards Katrina Scott, 14, and Allura Zamarripa, 16, made successful Pro Circuit debuts, picking up the impressive victories in their first opportunities. Scott defeated the Dominican Republic's Kelly Williford (Virginia Tech) 6-2, 6-2, while Zamarripa took out No. 8 seed Salome Devidze of Georgia, who is exactly twice her age, 6-3, 6-1. Several juniors qualified today, including Ava Hrastar, Ruth Marsh, Vicky Hu and Allie Gretkowski. University of Texas junior Bianca Turati of Italy is the top seed, with former University of Georgia star Nadja Gilchrist seeded No. 2.

Sonya Kenin has continued to impress this fall, reaching the third round of the WTA Premier 5 event in Wuhan China. The 19-year-old Floridian, who qualified into the main draw, defeated No. 11 seed Julia Goerges of Germany 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 Tuesday, and will face 20-year-old Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus next. Kenin is earning new career ranking highs with each win, and is close to cracking the Top 50.

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