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Monday, October 1, 2018

Nakashima Lone American Competing in ITF Junior Masters; Dale, Fuller Win ITF Grade 5 Titles in Puerto Rico; Qualifying Underway at Men's ITA All-American Championships

The ITF announced the fields today for the ITF Junior Masters, scheduled to be held October 22-28 in Chengdu China, with only one American, 17-year-old Brandon Nakashima in the elite eight-player draws.

With the preponderance of American girls in the ITF Junior Top 20, the fact that none are in the Masters field doesn't make much sense, but Coco Gauff, Whitney Osuigwe, Caty McNally and Alexa Noel, all in the Top 10, have declined their opportunity to participate.  Noel is playing the Youth Olympic Games in Rio later this month (along with another American girl, Lea Ma); the rest are more focused on their WTA rankings this fall. Australian Open champion Sebastian Korda, No. 3 in the rankings, is not going to Chengdu, with Jack Draper of Great Britain the only other boy in the Top 10 not participating.

The girls field:
Xiyu Wang, China
Xinyu Wang, China
En Shuo Liang, Taiwan
Maria Osoria Serrano, Colombia
Clara Burel, France
Clara Tauson, Denmark
Eleonara Molinaro, Luxembourg
Leylah Fernandez, Canada

The boys field:
Chun Hsin Tseng, Taiwan
Sebastian Baez, Argentina
Hugo Gaston, France
Lorenzo Musetti, Italy
Nicolas Mejia, Colombia
Adrian Andreev, Bulgaria
Brandon Nakashima, USA
Tao Mu, China (wild card)

For more on the tournament, now in its fourth year, see this article from the ITF Junior Circuit website.

In addition to sweeping the ITF Grade 5 in Austin Texas, which I covered on Saturday, Americans also claimed both singles titles at the Grade 5 in Puerto Rico last week.

Top seed Andrew Dale defeated unseeded James Tracy 6-3, 6-4 to take the boys title, the 16-year-old Dale's fifth singles title on the ITF Junior Circuit. Tracy gave Dale his best match of the tournament, winning seven games, while Dale's previous four opponents totalled only six games. Dale and Quinn McLeod also won the doubles title, with the top seeds winning another all-USA final 6-1, 6-2 over Arun Guruswamy and Zachary Smith.

Sixteen-year-old qualifier Amber Fuller won the girls title in her first ITF Junior Circuit tournament of the year. She defeated fellow American qualifier Ava Krug (Dick Vitale's granddaughter) 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-4 in the final for her first title.  Krug, who turned 13 in June, was playing in just her second ITF Junior Circuit event.

The girls doubles title went to Tara Chilton and Germany's Cora Barberr, with the No. 2 seeds beating unseeded Zoe Hammond and Kelsey Mize 6-1, 6-4 in the final.

The other American title in ITF Junior Circuit competition over last week came at the Grade 5 in Montenegro, with 15-year-old Michelle Tikhonko winning the doubles title with Kristina Volgapkina of Russia. The No. 2 seeds defeated No. 4 seeds Olga Mochanova of Ukraine and Yvonna Zuffova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-1 in the final.

The pre-qualifying is complete at the ITA All-American championships, with the men in Tulsa and the women in Pacific Palisades, with today was the first day of qualifying for men, which have a 128-player qualifying draw.

Top seed in the men's qualifying, Matteo De Vincentis of Auburn, lost to North Carolina freshman Brian Cernoch 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, but No. 2 seed in qualifying, Christian Sigsgaard of Texas did advance to the second round. Oracle Masters champion Laurens Verboven of USC lost in his first round qualifying match to Bojan Jankulovski of Miami 6-4, 6-2. Complete results from today's first round can be found here.

The  first round of women's qualifying begins on Tuesday, with Anna Turati of Texas and Vanessa Wong of Washington the top two seeds. The qualifying draw, which is 64 for the women, is available at the ITA tournament page.