Sponsored by IMG Academy

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Anisimova, Tiafoe and Fritz Advance to Australian Open Third Round; Damm Ousts No. 2 Seed in Costa Rica; Three Americans Advance in AO Junior Qualifying; Hui, Kang Reach Bolton Semifinals

Wednesday was a big day for young Americans at the Australian Open, with Amanda Anisimova, Frances Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz all advancing to the third round with wins over seeds.  Ranking the wins is tough, but the 20-year-old Tiafoe probably had the best one, overcoming two-time grand slam finalist and No. 5 seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa  4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.

Tiafoe has made the third round of a slam before, at last year's Wimbledon but it is the first time there for Fritz, 21, and Anisimova, 17. Fritz played brilliantly in his 6-3, 6-7(8), 7-6(6), 7-6(5) win over No. 30 seed Gael Monfils of France, as did Anisimova in her 54-minute shellacking of No. 24 seed Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine.

For more on Tiafoe's win as a part of an American men's tennis resurgence, see this article from the Australian Open website, where he mentions the 12s Junior Orange Bowl. This article from the AO website reports on the match.

Highlights of Anisimova's win over Tsurenko can be viewed here.

Two-time NCAA champion Danielle Collins, who had gone 0-5 in slam first round matches before this tournament, advanced to the third round with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Sachia Vickery.

Wednesday’s round 2 featuring Americans:

Women: 3-1
Sloane Stephens[5] d. Timea Babos[HUN] 6-3, 6-1
Amanda Anisimova  d. Lesia Tsurenko[24](UKR) 6-0, 6-2
Danielle Collins d. Sachia Vickery 6-3, 7-5

Men: 2-3
Marin Cilic[6](CRO) d. Mackenzie McDonald 7-5, 6-7(9), 6-4, 6-4
Taylor Fritz d. Gael Monfils[30(FRA) 6-3, 6-7(8), 7-6(6), 7-6(5)
Frances Tiafoe d. Kevin Anderson[5](RSA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5
Thomas Fabbiano(ITA) d. Reilly Opelka 6-7(15), 6-2, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(10-5)
Diego Schwartzman[18](ARG) d. Denis Kudla 6-4, 7-5, 3-6, 6-7(6), 6-4

Thursday’s round 2 featuring Americans:

Sonya Kenin v Simona Halep[1](ROU)
Eugenie Bouchard(CAN) v Serena Williams[16]
Alize Cornet(FRA) v Venus Williams
Madison Brengle v Karolina Pliskova[7](CZE)
Anastasia Potapova(RUS) v Madison Keys[17]
Ryan Harrison v Daniil Medvedev[15](RUS)

The second round is complete at the Grade 1 Coffee Bowl in Costa Rica, with reigning Kalamazoo 16s champion Martin Damm ending Tuesday's long day with a 6-2, 7-5 win over No. 2 seed Pierre Malan of South Africa. With the bottom quarter now all Americans--Spencer Brachman, Alex Lee, Alex Bernard and Damm--an American boys semifinalist is assured.

The same is true of the girls draw, with the third quarter all Americans: Abigail Forbes, Hina Inoue, Jenna DeFalco and Charlotte Chavatipon. Chavatipon advanced to the round of 16 with a 6-4, 6-2 win over No. 3 seed Anna Geller of Argentina. 

The first Grade 1 of the year has concluded in Traralgon Australia, with No. 11 seed Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic defeating unseeded Zane Khan 6-3, 6-2 in the boys final.  Top seed Clara Tauson of Denmark won the girls title, beating No. 4 seed Leylah Fernandez of Canada 6-2, 6-3. Unseeded Olivia Gadeck and Megan Smith of Australia won the girls doubles, beating No. 3 seeds Natsumi Kawaguchi of Japan and Adrienn Nagy of Hungary 7-5, 3-6, 10-6 in the final. The boys doubles champions are top seeds Rinky Hijikata of Australian and Otto Virtanen of Finland, who beat the unseeded team of Lehecka and Wojciech Marek of Poland 6-0, 6-3 in the final.

The first round of Australian Open Junior qualifying, also held in Traralgon, is complete, with Americans Skyler Grishuk, Sasha Wood and Blaise Bicknell advancing to Thursday's final round. Live scoring is available via Tennis Ticker.

At the Tennis Europe Category 1 in Bolton England, unseeded Kyle Kang and Katherine Hui have advanced to the semifinals with wins today.  Kang defeated No. 3 seed Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez of Mexico 7-5, 6-1 and will play top seed Alexander Blockx of Belgium in the semifinals. Hui defeated No. 7 seed Stella Remander of Finland 6-1, 7-6 and will face No. 5 seed Cadence Brace of Canada, who beat top seed Victoria Jimenex Kasintseva of Andorra 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.  No. 8 seed Clervie Ngounoue lost in the third round Tuesday. Live scoring is available via Tennis Ticker.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Khan Reaches Grade 1 Final in Tralragon; Five US Players in AO Junior Qualifying; Top Seed Noel Out in Costa Rica Grade 1 First Round; Americans Close Out Australian Open Round 1 Tuesday with Six Wins

Orange Bowl finalist Zane Khan has advanced to the final of the ITF Grade 1 in Traralgon Australia, beating No. 15 seed Liam Draxl of Canada 7-6(1), 6-7(6), 6-2 in Tuesday's semifinals.  After nearly three hours of play Draxl earned the split and at that time play was suspended, no doubt to conform to the ITF's heat rule. Cannon Kingsley, the No. 9 seed, had already dropped his semifinal to No. 11 seed Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 when play was suspended.

The girls semifinals were also finished before the heat rule took effect, with top seed Clara Tauson of Denmark defeating No. 9 seed Emma Raducanu of Great Britain 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 and No. 4 seed Leylah Fernandez of Canada beating unseeded Yasmine Mansouri of France 6-3, 6-1.

In order to avoid the heat, and also with the Australian Open Junior Championships qualifying beginning Wednesday, the finals of the Grade 1 are scheduled for late afternoon in Traralgon. Live scoring is available here.

For some reason, the qualifying draws for the Australian Open Junior Championships have not been posted on the ITF Junior site, but the pairings are showing on the Tennis Ticker live scoring and PDFs of the draws can be found here: boys, girls. Five Americans are in the qualifying: Adam Neff, Blaise Bicknell[12], Dakota Fordham, Sasha Wood[13] and Skyler Grishuk. Grishuk, who won a Grade 3 in Japan last week, is the top seed in qualifying.

Alexa Noel elected not to go to Australia this year (she went last year), opting instead for the Grade 1 in Costa Rica, but she lost in the first round yesterday, to 15-year-old Melodie Collard of Canada, 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-2. For more on this and other upsets in the girls draw Monday, see this article from the tournament website. There are seven US vs US second round girls matches today, with the most interesting that of friends and training partners Madison Sieg and Elaine Chervinsky, who meet again for the third time in two months. Chervinsky won the 16s Eddie Herr final and the following week Sieg beat Chervinsky in the 16s Orange Bowl quarterfinals.

Top seed Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan (the 2017 Junior Orange Bowl champion) and No. 2 seed Pierre Malan of South Africa advanced in the boys draw with straight-sets wins.

The second round of the Australian Open begins Wednesday with American men going 6-10 and American women going 9-6 in the first round.

Nine Americans are in action in Wednesday's second round, including the all-US women's match between Danielle Collins and Sachia Vickery.

Tuesday’s round 1 matches featuring Americans:

Men: 1-5
Ryan Harrison d. Jiri Vesely(CZE) 6-0, 7-5, 6-3
Alex Bolt[WC](AUS) d. Jack Sock[WC] 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
Hyeon Chung[24](KOR) d. Bradley Klahn 6-7(5), 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
Pierre-Hugues Herbert(FRA) d. Sam Querrey 5-7, 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-1
Novak Djokovic[1](SRB) d. Mitchell Krueger[Q] 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
Gilles Simon[29](FRA) d. Bjorn Fratangelo[Q] 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-2

Women: 5-2
Sonya Kenin d. Veronika Kudermetova[Q](RUS) 6-3, 3-6, 7-5
Venus Williams d. Mihaela Buzarnescu[25](ROU) 6-7(3), 7-6(3), 6-2
Serena Williams[16] d. Tatjana Maria(GER) 6-0, 6-2
Natalia Vikhlyantseva[Q](RUS) d. Varvara Lepchenko[Q] 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-4
Madison Brengle d. Misaki Doi[Q](JPN) 6-4, 6-0
Bianca Andreescu[Q](CAN) d. Whitney Osuigwe[WC] 7-6(1), 6-7(0), 6-3
Madison Keys[17] d. Destanee Aiava[WC](AUS) 6-2, 6-2

Wednesday's second round matches featuring Americans:

Sloane Stephens[5] v Timea Babos[HUN]
Lesia Tsurenko[24](UKR) v Amanda Anisimova
Danielle Collins v Sachia Vickery

Marin Cilic[6](CRO) v Mackenzie McDonald
Gael Monfils[30(FRA) v Taylor Fritz
Kevin Anderson[5](RSA) v Frances Tiafoe
Thomas Fabbiano(ITA) v Reilly Opelka
Denis Kudla v Diego Schwartzman[18](ARG)

Monday, January 14, 2019

Nanda Wins M25 in Tucson; Baird to UCLA; Australian Open First Round Concludes with 13 Americans in Action; Khan, Kingsley Reach Grade 1 Traralgon Semis; 55 Americans in Costa Rica Grade 1 Draws

Seventeen-year-old Govind Nanda won his first ITF men's event Sunday evening, beating No. 3 seed Martin Redlicki 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-0 at the M25 in Tucson Arizona. Nanda was trailing 6-4, 4-4 when the match was interrupted briefly by rain. The UCLA freshman won the subsequent tiebreaker on a roll and kept it going, needing only 23 minutes to blank  former UCLA Bruin Redlicki in the third set. Surprisingly, Nanda, who is 5'9", out-aced the 6'5" Redlicki 9 to 4.  Nanda, a wild card, had reached the quarterfinals of the M25 in Los Angeles in the first week of the season. My article for Tennis Recruiting back in September on Nanda's decision to join UCLA this month is available here.

In other Bruin blue chip news, Drew Baird has signed with UCLA for the 2019 season.  Baird, one of the last unsigned top seniors, was also seriously considering Texas A&M. See the UCLA website for coach Billy Martin's comments.

The first day of the Australian Open saw Americans go 9-9. Reilly Opelka took down the highest seed, No. 9 John Isner, while Danielle Collins posted an impressive win over No. 14 seed Julia Goerges of Germany.  Below are the American results from Monday and the Tuesday matches that will complete the first round. I'm particularly interested in the match between two teenagers who had outstanding junior careers: 18-year-old Bianca Andreescu and 16-year-old Whitney Osuigwe. For more on Osuigwe's climb into the WTA Top 200, see this article from the WTA website.

Monday’s round 1 results for Americans:

Men: 5-5
Mackenzie McDonald d. Andrey Rublev(RUS) 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
Radu Albot(MDA) d. Michael Mmoh 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
Yoshihito Nishioka(JPN) d. Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4
Nikoloz Basilashvili[19](GEO) d. Chris Eubanks[Q] 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3
Taylor Fritz d. Cameron Norrie[GBR] 6-3, 7-6(6), 6-2
Frances Tiafoe d. Prajnesh Gunneswaran[Q](IND) 7-6(7), 6-3, 6-3
Andreas Seppi(ITA) d. Steve Johnson[31] 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
Reilly Opelka d. John Isner[9] 7-6(4), 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 7-6(5)
Denis Kudla d. Marc Polmans[WC](AUS) 5-7, 1-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2

Women: 4-4
Amanda Anisimova d. Monica Niculescu(ROU) 7-6(3), 6-4
Sloane Stephens[5]
d. Taylor Townsend 6-4, 6-2
Kiki Bertens[9](NED) d. Alison Riske 6-3, 6-3
Danielle Collins d. Julia Goerges[14](GER) 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4
Sachia Vickery d. Ysaline Bonaventure[Q](BEL) 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
Zoe Hives[WC](AUS) d. Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-1, 6-2
Beatriz Haddad Maia[Q](BRA) d. Bernarda Pera 6-3, 5-7, 6-4

Tuesday’s round 1:
Jiri Vesely(CZE) v Ryan Harrison
Alex Bolt[WC](AUS) v Jack Sock[WC]
Hyeon Chung[24](KOR) v Bradley Klahn
Sam Querrey v Pierre-Hugues Herbert(FRA)
Novak Djokovic[1](SRB) v Mitchell Krueger[Q]
Bjorn Fratangelo[Q] v Gilles Simon[29](FRA)

Sonya Kenin v Veronika Kudermetova[Q](RUS)
Venus Williams v Mihaela Buzarnescu[25](ROU)
Tatjana Maria(GER) v Serena Williams[16]
Natalia Vikhlyantseva[Q](RUS) v Varvara Lepchenko[Q]
Madison Brengle v Misaki Doi[Q](JPN)
Bianca Andreescu[Q](CAN) v Whitney Osuigwe[WC]
Destanee Aiava[WC](AUS) v Madison Keys[17]

Unseeded Zane Khan and No. 9 seed Cannon Kingsley have advanced to the semifinals of the ITF Grade 1 in Traralgon, the warm-up tournament to the Australian Open Junior Championships. Khan defeated No. 16 seed Eliot Spizzirri 7-6(2), 6-4 in Monday's all-US quarterfinal, while Kingsley beat No. 14 seed Harold Mayot of France 5-7, 6-1, 6-1. Khan will face doubles partner Liam Draxl of Canada, the No. 15 seed, in the semifinals, with Kingsley taking on No. 11 seed Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic.  Khan and Draxl have advanced to the doubles semifinals, as has Toby Kodat and his partner Gustaf Strom of Sweden.  Live scoring can be found at Tennis Ticker.

As is always the case, the Costa Rica Grade 1 is saturated with Americans, with 24 US boys and 31 US girls in the 64-player draws.  That means only one girls first round match will not feature an American, with the ITF's policy of separating players from the same country in the first round.

The US girls who are seeded: Alexa Noel[1], Gabby Price[2], Savannah Broadus[4], Hina Inoue[12], Kailey Evans[13], Charlotte Owensby[14] and Nikki Redelijk[16].

The US boys who are seeded: Ronan Jachuck[5], Will Grant[7], Andres Martin[9], Alex Lee[10], Andrew Dale[14] and Dali Blanch[15]. 

The tournament website is posting results to the draws throughout the day.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Wolf Claims Columbus Challenger Title; 18 Americans Kick Off Australian Open Monday; Grishuk Wins Grade 3 in Japan; Four US Boys Reach Traralgon Grade 1 Quarterfinals; Ngounoue Only US Seed at Bolton U14 Event

JJ Wolf, photo courtesy Scott Gerber, OhioTennisZone.com
JJ Wolf got the better of former Ohio State teammate Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark Sunday afternoon, with the Buckeye junior coming back for a 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3 victory in the final of the ATP 80 Challenger in Columbus.

Wolf, who like Torpegaard received a wild card into the main draw, didn't serve well in the opening set, a contrast from his previous matches, where that had been a strength. Torpegaard, who graduated last year, served for the first set at 5-3, but wasn't able to close it out until the tiebreaker.

Wolf got the only two breaks in the last two sets, going up 3-1 in the second and never facing a break point after that. His serving did improve--he had 2 aces and 4 double faults at one stage, before ending with 7 and 5--but it was his forehand that was the difference today. Even when well behind the baseline, or on the run, Wolf was able to hit clean winners from that side and he never hesitated to go for it, no matter what the game score was.

In the third set, Wolf got his break to go up 4-2. He had to save a break point at 4-3, and wasn't able to convert the three match points he held when Torpegaard served at 3-5, but he closed out his first Challenger title on his fourth match point, winning the final four points of the game.

The 20-year-old from Ohio will now move into the ATP Top 300 for the first time, while Torpegaard will also move into the Top 300 with his appearance in the final.

The main draw of the Australian Open starts tonight in the US (Monday in Melbourne) with 18 Americans on the schedule. Unlike the qualifying draws, which were quite favorable to Americans and featured no first rounds that were US vs US, that's not the case in the main draw. Reilly Opelka and John Isner will meet in the men's first round, as will Sloane Stephens and Taylor Townsend.

Monday's first round matches featuring Americans:
Andrey Rublev(RUS) v Mackenzie McDonald
Michael Mmoh v Radu Albot(MDA)
Yoshihito Nishioka(JPN) v Tennys Sandgren
Cameron Norrie(GBR) v Taylor Fritz
Frances Tiafoe v Prajnesh Gunneswaran[Q](IND)
Andreas Seppi(ITA) v Steve Johnson[31]
Reilly Opelka v John Isner[9]
Marc Polmans[WC](AUS) v Denis Kudla
Chris Eubanks[Q] v Nikoloz Basilashvili[19](GEO)

Monica Niculescu(ROU) v Amanda Anisimova
Sloane Stephens[5] v Taylor Townsend
Alison Riske v Kiki Bertens[9](NED)
Julia Goerges[14](GER) v Danielle Collins
Ysaline Bonaventure[Q](BEL) v Sachia Vickery
Bethanie Mattek-Sands v Zoe Hives[WC](AUS)
Beatriz Haddad Maia[Q](BRA) v Bernarda Pera

In ITF Junior Circuit play, Skyler Grishuk won the Grade 3 tournament this week in Japan, which I was surprised to learn, was outdoors. The 16-year-old Grishuk, the No. 1 seed, defeated No. 2 seed Remika Ohashi of Japan 6-3, 6-2 in the final, after beating unseeded Rebecca Lynn 6-3, 7-5 in the semifinals. Grishuk, who is entered in qualifying at the Australian Open Junior Championships, has now won four ITF Junior titles, a Grade 4, two Grade 3s and a Grade 2. Lynn is listed as the 30th alternate for the Australian Open Junior qualifying.

At the Grade 1 in Traralgon, two surprises in the boys draw.  Liam Draxl of Canada, who has signed with Kentucky for this fall, beat top seed and US Open finalist Lorenzo Musetti of Italy 6-3, 6-0 in the third round, and No. 16 seed Eliot Spizzirri took out No. 3 seed and Orange Bowl champion Otto Virtanen of Finland 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. Spizzirri will face unseeded Zane Khan next, while No. 9 seed Cannon Kingsley has also reached the quarterfinals.

The first round of the Tennis Europe Category 1 event in Bolton is complete, with six Americans making the trip to England for the tournament. Only one of them is seeded, Junior Orange Bowl 12s champion and Eddie Herr 14s finalist Clervie Ngounoue, who is No. 8, and, like all seeds in the 64-player draw, received a bye.  The only other US girl in the field is Katherine Hui, who won her first round match today.  The four US boys who qualified for Les Petits As in the tournament's US event last October all are in Bolton, with Joseph Phillips, Kyle Kang and Learner Tien posting wins today. Cooper Williams lost his first round match.  The USTA did not send coaches to Europe for these two events this year.

The top boys seeds are Alexander Blockx of Belgium and Luca Pow of Great Britain.  The top girls seeds are Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra and Junior Orange Bowl 14s finalist Victoria Mboko of Canada.

Live scoring is available at Tennis Ticker.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Sandgren and Kenin Win First Titles; All-Ohio State Final at Columbus Challenger; All-UCLA Final at Tucson M25; Qualifying Underway at ITF Grade 1 in Costa Rica

It's exceptionally rare for Americans to win ATP and WTA titles on the same day, and particularly when it's the first titles for both.  Shortly after Tennys Sandgren defeated Cameron Norrie for his first title at the ATP 250 title in Auckland, Sonya Kenin defeated Anna Karolina Schmiedlova for her first title at the WTA International in Hobart.

The 27-year-old Sandgren, who spent two years at Tennessee and reached the NCAA singles semifinals in 2011, beat the 23-year-old former TCU star 6-4, 6-2, his fifth consecutive straight-sets victory. Sandgren didn't expect his first title to come quite as decisively, as he told the ATP in this article on the Auckland final.

"That’s weird. Tennis doesn’t normally work that way. Normally you have to come back from the brink of defeat to win a title," Sandgren said of not dropping a set. "To feel that I played well from start to finish is definitely strange. But I feel like I’ve been serving good and I’ve been moving well all week and it seems like all the risks that I’ve been taking on the court as far as when to be aggressive, when to pull back, it’s all worked out for me."

Sandgren will move up to a career-high of 41 in the ATP rankings Monday, but he does have quarterfinalist points to defend at the Australian Open.

Kenin, who turned 20 in November, equalled Sandgren's impressive run. After winning the last point from the 24-year-old from Slovakia in the 6-3, 6-0 blowout, the 2015 USTA Girls 18s champion didn't indulge in any celebration, but just fist-pumped and smiled as she approached the net for the handshake. Kenin did not lose a set all week, and is now up to a career-high of 37 in the WTA rankings. Kenin now heads to the Australian Open, where she lost in the first round last year, full of confidence.

"I feel in great form and I’m really proud of myself," Kenin told the WTA. "I’m so happy with my start and will try to keep the momentum going."

After the all-collegiate tennis final in Auckland, there will be two more in the United States on Sunday, and they both will feature players from the same Division I lineage. At the ATP 80 Challenger in Columbus Ohio, wild cards JJ Wolf and former teammate Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark will face off in the final after both claimed straight-sets victories today.

Torpegaard, who graduated last year, defeated No. 12 seed Bernabe Zapata Miralles of Spain 6-3, 7-5 to reach his second Challenger final, with the first one resulting in a title back in 2016, also in Columbus. Torpegaard defeated Sandgren in the semifinals that week.

Wolf, a junior at Ohio State, has been on fire all week on his home courts. The 20-year-old from Ohio, a finalist in the 18s Nationals at Kalamazoo in 2017, defeated unseeded Scott Griekspoor of the Netherlands 6-1, 6-3, hitting 14 aces in the process. Wolf has lost seven games in his last three matches.

In the doubles final played today, UCLA senior Maxime Cressy, who recently began playing under the United States flag (his mother is American, father is French) won his first Challenger title. Cressy and Bernardo Saraiva(San Francisco) of Portugal, who were unseeded, defeated No. 2 seeds Nathaniel Lammons(SMU) and Robert Galloway(Wofford) 7-5, 7-6(3) in the final. Cressy, who has already won 10 doubles titles on the ITF World Tennis Tour, picks up his first on the Challenger level; Saraiva, who has 13 ITF WTT doubles titles, also earned his first at the Challenger level.

Seventeen-year-old Govind Nanda aims for his first ITF World Tennis Tour title tomorrow, with the UCLA freshman taking on former Bruin Martin Redlicki in the Tucson M25 final. Nanda, a wild card, defeated unseeded Michail Pervolarakis(Portland) of Greece 6-3, 7-5 in today's semifinals, coming from 4-1 down in the second set to claim his third consecutive straight-sets victory this week. No. 3 seed Redlicki, the two-time NCAA doubles champion, defeated No. 2 seed Lloyd Glasspool(Texas) of Great Britain 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-2 to reach his third WTT final, but the first at the $25,000 level.

In the Tucson doubles final, Florida State senior Aziz Dougaz of Tunisia won his tenth ITF doubles title, paired with Manuel Guinard of France. The unseeded team beat Glasspool and his partner Evan Hoyt of Great Britain, who were also unseeded, 6-4, 5-7, 10-3 in the final.

Qualifying for the ITF Grade 1 in Costa Rica began today, with 11 Americans through to Sunday's final round. See the tournament website for Sunday's order of play.

Five American boys have advanced to the third round of the Grade 1 in Traralgon Australia: Eliot Spizzirri[16], Zane Khan, Cannon Kingsley[9], Toby Kodat and Emilio Nava[13]. Kodat, who turns 16 Sunday, defeated No. 5 seed Nicolas Alvarez Varona of Spain 6-0, 6-2 in the second round. All four US girls in the main draw have been eliminated.

Live scoring can be found at Tennis Ticker.

Friday, January 11, 2019

ITF World Tennis Tour Bypasses College; Eubanks Among Four Americans Qualifying for Australian Open; USTA CEO Smith to Retire; Nanda, Wolf Advance to Tucson, Columbus Semis; All-Collegiate Final in ATP Auckland; Kenin Reaches First WTA Final

When I was in Florida for the big junior events, I had many conversations about the ITF's new World Tennis Tour, which was on everyone's mind as 2019 approached. I spoke with college coaches about the impact it could have on their recruits and players and what some of the consequences may be for the sport at the Division I level in this article for the Tennis Recruiting Network.

Qualifying is now complete for the Australian Open, with four Americans gaining entry with a third win on Friday in Melbourne. Former Georgia Tech star Chris Eubanks will make his slam debut outside the United States against No. 19 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia. Mitchell Krueger has drawn top seed Novak Djokovic and Bjorn Fratangelo will play No. 29 seed Gilles Simon of France. The only US women to advance to the main draw is Varvara Lepchenko, who will play fellow qualifier Natalia Vikhlyantseva of Russia.  American results from the final round of qualifying are below.

Christopher Eubanks d. Pedro Martinez(ESP) 6-3, 6-3
Iga Swiatek(POL) d. Danielle Lao 6-1, 6-3
Beatriz Haddad Maia(BRA) d. Jennifer Brady[16] 6-3, 6-4
Bjorn Fratangelo[24] d, Ze Zhang(CHN) 6-7(4), 7-6(1), 6-1
Varvara Lepchenko[23] d. Christina McHale 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (10-1)
Karolina Muchova[28](CZE) d. Jamie Loeb 6-4, 6-1
Viktorija Golubic[3](SUI) d. Nicole Gibbs[18] 6-3, 7-6(3)
Gleb Sakharov(FRA) d. Tim Smyczek 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Mitchell Krueger d. Marco Trungelliti[13](ARG) 6-3, 5-7, 6-4

Australian Astra Sharma, who graduated from Vanderbilt last year, qualified for the main draw, saving three match points in her 5-7, 7-6(7), 7-6(12-10) win over Irina Khromacheva of Russia. The 22-year-old will face Australian wild card Priscilla Hon in the opening round of her first appearance in a slam.

The USTA announced today that Gordon Smith, the Chief Executive Officer of the organization, will be retiring at the end of this year. Smith, who has led the USTA since November of 2007, played at the University of Georgia before pursuing a law career.  For more on Smith's tenure and the timetable for selecting his successor, see the USTA's release.

Seventeen-year-old Govind Nanda, who is beginning his collegiate career at UCLA this month, reached his first ITF World Tennis Tour semifinal today at the M25 in Tucson Arizona. Nanda, a wild card, defeated Felix Corwin(Minnesota) 6-3, 7-6(4) in Friday's quarterfinals. He will play unseeded Mikhail Pervolarakis(Portland) of Greece in Saturday's semifinal. Pervolarakis came from 5-2 down in the third set to beat top seed Emilio Gomez(USC) of Ecuador 2-6, 6-4, 7-5. No. 3 seed Martin Redlicki(UCLA) will face No. 2 seed Lloyd Glasspool(Texas) of Great Britain in the other semifinal.

Ohio State junior JJ Wolf has advanced to the semifinals of a Challenger for the first time, reaching the final four on his home courts in Columbus at the ATP 80 there. Wolf, who just turned 20 last month, hit 10 aces in a 6-2, 6-1 dismantling of Jan Choinski of Great Britain (formerly Germany). Wolf had beaten No. 2 seed Filip Peliwo of Canada 6-0, 6-0 in the third round Thursday. Wolf, a wild card, will play the winner of the match between No. 4 seed Uladzimir Ignatik of Belarus and unseeded Scott Griekspoor of the Netherlands. In the top half, recent Ohio State graduate Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark, also a wild card, has advanced to the semifinals and will play No. 12 seed Bernabe Zapata Miralles of Spain, who ended Marcos Giron's Challenger winning streak at 8 with a win over the Orlando champion in Thursday's third round.

Two former collegians, TCU's Cameron Norrie and Tennessee's Tennys Sandgren, face off Saturday in the final of the ATP 250 tournament in Auckland. Norrie, who grew up in New Zealand, but now represents Great Britain, will be playing in his first ATP final after beating Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.  Sandgren, who reached his only other ATP final at the US Clay Courts in Houston last spring, cruised past Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-4, 6-2. This ATP article notes that Norrie has won their past three meetings, all in 2017, all in Challengers.

Sonya Kenin has advanced to her first WTA final, beating No. 6 seed Alize Cornet of France 6-2, 6-4 at the WTA International in Hobart. The 20-year-old from Florida has defeated three seeds this week, including top seed Caroline Garcia in the first round. She will face unseeded Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia in the final.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Ten Americans Advance to Australian Open's Final Round of Qualifying; ITF Grade 1 Traralgon Begins; Stanford Women, Wake Forest Men Top 2019 D-I Team Rankings; Pitt Cuts Women's Tennis

Friday's final round of qualifying at the Australian Open will feature six US women and four US men after the second round was completed Thursday, with Americans going 10-6. Only one American was seeded to get through qualifying, Jennifer Brady, so to have this many in the final round is a good showing. American results from Thursday's second round are below:

Christopher Eubanks d. Felix Auger-Aliassime[2](CAN) 7-6(4), 6-3
Christina McHale d. Sofya Zhuk[12](RUS) 6-3, 6-3
Danielle Lao d. Caroline Dolehide[19] 6-1, 2-6, 6-1
Varvara Lepchenko[23] d. Tereza Mrdeza(CRO) 6-1, 6-3
Jennifer Brady[16] d. Conny Perrin(SUI) 6-1, 6-1
Victorija Golubic[3](SUI) d. Kristie Ahn 6-4, 6-4
Nicole Gibbs[18] d. Paula Ormaechea(ARG) 7-5, 6-2
Paolo Lorenzi[4](ITA) d. Tommy Paul 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3
Jamie Loeb def. Anhelinka Kalinina[5](UKR) 6-3, 6-4
Kamil Majchrzak(POL) d. Noah Rubin[28] 7-5, 6-1
Tim Smyczek d. Pedja Krstin(SRB) 6-3, 6-2
Ivana Jorovic[10] d. Asia Muhammad 6-3, 4-6, 6-4
Bjorn Fratangelo[24] d. Stefan Napolitano(ITA) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (10-4)
Lin Zhu[11](CHN) d. Allie Kiick 6-1, 7-5
Mitchell Krueger d. Adrian Menendez Maceiras[20](ESP) 3-6, 6-3, 7-5

The singles main draws were revealed Thursday, with 13 US men and 14 US women receiving direct entry.  Jack Sock and Whitney Osuigwe earned the USTA's reciprocal wild cards in last fall's Wild Card Challenge.

Ryan Harrison
Jack Sock[WC]
Bradley Klahn
Sam Querrey
Mackenzie McDonald
Michael Mmoh
Tennys Sandgren
Taylor Fritz
Frances Tiafoe
Steve Johnson[31]
Reilly Opelka
John Isner[9]
Denis Kudla

Sonya Kenin
Venus Williams
Serena Williams[16]
Madison Brengle
Whitney Osuigwe[WC]
Madison Keys[17]
Amanda Anisimova
Sloane Stephens[5]
Taylor Townsend
Alison Riske
Danielle Collins
Sachia Vickery
Bethanie Mattek-Sands
Bernarda Pera

The Traralgon ITF Grade 1 warm-up tournament to the Australian Open Junior Championships begins Friday, with eight US boys and four US girls in the main draw.  Tyler Zink and Blaise Bicknell advanced through qualifying, with the other six US boys Tristan Boyer[12], Eliot Spizzirri[16], Zane Khan, Toby Kodat, Emilio Nava[13] and Cannon Kingsley[9]. The US girls in the draw are Chloe Beck, Kacie Harvey, Emma Navarro and Kylie Collins. 

The first ITA Division I Team rankings of the spring season was released yesterday with both 2018 NCAA champions, the Stanford women and the Wake Forest men, No. 1.  The first rankings are done via poll, with the computer taking over after the Team Indoor championships. The ITA release is here.

1. Stanford [12] (first place votes received)
2. Vanderbilt
3. North Carolina
4. Duke
5. Georgia
6. Texas
7. Pepperdine
9. Oklahoma State
10. Michigan

1. Wake Forest [11]
2. Ohio State [1]
3. Mississippi State
4. Florida
5. USC
6. North Carolina
8. Texas
9. Texas A&M
10. Stanford

Bad news in college tennis today, with Pitt announcing it is cutting its women's tennis team. The ACC school, which has not had a men's team since the 1990s, is adding women's lacrosse in 2021-22, which probably keeps the school in compliance with Title IX.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Sixteen Americans Reach Second Round of Australian Open Qualifying; Fritz Beats Isner in Auckland; Mardy Fish Named Davis Cup Captain; Qualifying Underway at ITF Grade 1 in Traralgon

The first round of qualifying at the Australian Open has concluded with two more US women and four more US men advancing to Thursday's second round in Melbourne. US women went 10-2 in the first round, with US men going 6-5. American results from Wednesday are below.

Jamie Loeb d. Abbie Myers[WC](AUS) 6-2, 6-4

Allie Kiick d. Giulia Gatto-Monticone(ITA) 6-2, 6-2

Tommy Paul d. Roberto Cid(DOM) 6-4, 6-3

Bjorn Fratangelo[24] d. Tallon Griekspoor(NED) 6-4, 7-5

Enrique Lopez Perez(ESP) d. Donald Young 5-7, 6-1, 6-2

Go Soeda(JPN) d. Sebastian Korda[WC] 6-1, 6-2

Mitchell Krueger d. Federico Gaio(ITA) 7-6(2), 4-6, 7-5

Adrian Menendez Maceiras[20](ESP) d. Christian Harrison 6-4, 2-6, 6-4

Noah Rubin[28] d. Akira Santillan[WC](AUS) 6-4, 6-3

Thursday's second round features only one match between Americans, with Caroline Dolehide[19] facing Danielle Lao.  Matches are being streamed from all courts on the AO website.

Taylor Fritz (photo courtesy Chengdu Open)
A day after Sonya Kenin took out top seed Caroline Garcia at the WTA tournament in Hobart(Kenin advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-6(6), 6-3 win over Ons Jabeur of Tunisia Wednesday), Taylor Fritz took out top seed John Isner at the ATP tournament in Auckland, 7-6(3), 7-6(5). It's the second ATP Top 10 win for the 21-year-old Fritz. For more on the match, see the ATP website.

The USTA announced today that Mardy Fish has been named Davis Cup Captain, succeeding Jim Courier.  The conference call included General Manager of Player Development Martin Blackman, and I had heard Fish might assume additional duties, but from what was said, those appear to be related to more travel to pro events, although a role as Net Generation ambassador was mentioned at the end. Although Sport Illustrated's Jon Wertheim is framing Fish as having a Kathy Rinaldi-like role at the USTA, I don't think that's accurate. Rinaldi is the head of women's tennis for the USTA as well as Fed Cup captain. Kent Kinnear was recently named head of men's tennis for the USTA, so Fish will obviously not be filling that role. The complete transcript of today's conference call is here.

Qualifying began Wednesday at the ITF Grade 1 in Traralgon Australia, with a surprise entrant from the United States, Tyler Zink. Zink, who was in the main draw initially there but has been listed as withdrawn, received a wild card into qualifying and, as the No. 1 seed, won his first round match.  The other US players who made the trip to Australia are Adam Neff, who lost his first round qualifying match, Blaise Bicknell[10], who won his first round qualifying match. Sasha Wood[10] is the only US girl in qualifying in Traralgon; she won her first round match.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Ten Americans Advance in Australian Open Qualifying; Winter Nationals Recaps; Jenkins Takes USTA Coaching Job; Kenin Beats Top Seed in Hobart

Day Two of qualifying for the 2019 Australian Open is Wednesday (tonight in the United States), with nine Americans in first round action after the US players went 10-4 in Tuesday's matches.  JC Aragone(Virginia), who was not originally in the qualifying draw, received entry as an alternate, putting the total of Americans in qualifying this week at 23.  Tuesday's results:

Jennifer Brady[16] d. Karman Thandi(IND) 6-0, 7-5

Beatriz Haddad Maia(BRA) d. Lauren Davis 6-3, 6-3

Varvara Lepchenko[23] d. Viktoriya Tomova(BUL) 4-6 ,6-2, 7-6 (10-6)

Christina McHale d. Jaimee Fourlis(AUS) 6-4 6-2

Kristie Ahn d. Gabriella Taylor(GBR) 6-1, 6-1

Nicole Gibbs[18] d. Elistsa Kostova 6-4, 6-2

Danielle Lao d. Jia-Jing Lu(CHN) 6-2, 6-2

Caroline Dolehide[19] d. Rebecca Marino(CAN) 6-2, 6-2

Xiyu Wang(CHN) d. Claire Liu[27] 6-3, 6-2

Asia Muhammad d. Sesil Karatantcheva(BUL) 3-6, 6-1, 6-4

Christopher Eubanks d. Corentin Moutet(FRA) 2-6, 6-1, 6-4

Tim Smyczek d. Lukas Lacko(SVK) 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (11-9)

Peter Polansky[10](CAN) d. Ernesto Escobedo 6-4, 3-6, 6-4

Maxime Janvier(FRA) d. JC Aragone[ALT] 5-7, 6-0, 6-4

Jamie Loeb and Allie Kiick are the two US women playing first round matches Wednesday. Bjorn Fratangelo[24], Tommy Paul, Donald Young, Sebastian Korda[WC], Mitchell Krueger, Christian Harrison and Noah Rubin[28] are the US men playing first round matches Wednesday

The Tennis Recruiting Network is featuring recaps of the finals of the USTA Winter Nationals last week throughout this week. Yesterday, the 12s titles by Mason Nguyen and Amber Yin were reviewed and today the focus was on the 14s titles by Sebastian Gorzny and Ria Bhakta. Look for the 16s and 18s recaps on Wednesday and Thursday.

The USTA announced yesterday that former Clemson star Jermaine Jenkins has been added to Player Development's national coaching staff. Release is below:

Jermaine Jenkins Hired as USTA National Coach for Women's Tennis

ORLANDO, Fla., January 7, 2019 -- The USTA today announced that Jermaine Jenkins, former collegiate All-American and recent hitting coach for Venus Williams, has been hired by USTA Player Development as a National Coach for Women's Tennis. He begins today and will be coaching out of the USTA National Campus in Orlando, reporting to Head of Women's Tennis Kathy Rinaldi.

Jenkins, 34, has served as Venus Williams' hitting coach since July 2015, a timeframe in which she reached the Australian Open and Wimbledon singles finals and ranked as high as No. 5 in the world. He has also spent time coaching Americans Gonzales Austin and Jarmere Jenkins, his younger brother who currently serves as a hitting partner for Serena Williams. 

Jermaine starred at Clemson from 2003-07, where he was a team MVP and captain and earned doubles All-America honors in 2004.

Sonya Kenin had the misfortune of drawing the top seed at the WTA International tournament in Hobart, but, as she had done last week in Auckland, she handled first round the seed she drew with no problem, beating Caroline Garcia of France 6-3, 6-2. Kenin, who turned 20 in November of last year, had beaten Garcia previously at the WTA tournament in Mallorca last summer.  For more on her win, see this article from the WTA website.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Eddie Herr 12s and 14s Videos; 22 Americans Entered in Australian Open Qualifying

The remaining Eddie Herr videos, those of the 12s and 14s finalists, have now been processed, and the videos of the champions are embedded below. For the videos of the finalists, click on their names below, which will take you to the tenniskalamazoo YouTube channel. The videos and links for the 16s and 18s are here.

Clervie Ngounoue
Fnu Nidunjianzan
Sasha Situe
Quang Duong

For more from the 2018 Eddie Herr, see this recap from Dave Kozlowski on Tennis with the Koz.

The qualifying draws for the 2019 Australian Open were released overnight, with 12 American women and 10 American men scheduled to compete for places in the main draw.  Not all play Tuesday (tonight in the US), but 10 of the women and three of the men are on the schedule.

Due to fortunate draws, none of the Americans play one another in the first round. An asterisk denotes a Tuesday first round match.

US Women:
Kristie Ahn*
Nicole Gibbs[18]*
Jamie Loeb
Danielle Lao*
Caroline Dolehide[19]*
Claire Liu[27]*
Asia Muhammad*
Allie Kiick
Christina McHale*
Varvara Lepchenko[23]*
Jennifer Brady[16]*
Lauren Davis*

For the first time at the Australian Open, the women's qualifying will have the same draw size as the men: 128.

US Men:
Christopher Eubanks*
Bjorn Fratangelo[24]
Tommy Paul
Donald Young
Tim Smyczek*
Sebastian Korda[WC}
Ernesto Escobedo*
Mitchell Krueger
Christian Harrison
Noah Rubin[28]*

*Tuesday first round match

2018 Australian Open junior champions En-Shou Liang of Taiwan and Sebastian Korda were both given wild cards into qualifying.

With Liang's wild card, three of the four 2018 girls slam champions are in the qualifying draw, with 14-year-old French champion Coco Gauff  the only one missing. Wimbledon champion Iga Swiatek of Poland plays junior rival Olga Danilovic[6] of Serbia and US Open champion Xiyu Wang of China plays Liu, the 2017 Wimbledon girls champion. Wang and Liu met in the final of the 2016 ITF Grade 1 in College Park Maryland, with Liu winning 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Giron Wins First ATP Challenger Title in Orlando; Holt Claims Second ITF Pro Singles Title in Los Angeles

It was a good day for Southern Californian men today, with former UCLA Bruin Marcos Giron and current USC Trojan Brandon Holt claiming titles in the two pro events being held this week in the United States.

Giron, whose last title came more than a year and a half ago at a China Futures, won his first ATP Challenger today with a 6-4, 6-4 win over top seed Darian King of Barbados at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona Florida.  The 25-year-old from Thousand Oaks California led throughout the final, although he did need both his breaks of serve in the first set after failing to serve out the set at 5-2.  He broke in the first game of the second set and made that break stand up throughout, facing just one break point in that set in the second game. The level from both players was high throughout most of the match, but it was Giron who looked more confident on the key points. After five wins prior to the final this week, all but the first coming in straight sets, Giron didn't seemed fazed by the opportunity to claim his first Challenger title. The last game was particularly impressive, with a love hold courtesy of several clean winners putting an exclamation point on a great week.

The 2014 NCAA singles champion now moves into the ATP Top 250, close to his career high of 238, and is in the draw (unseeded again) at the ATP 80 Columbus Challenger this coming week.

Holt, a wild card, won the ITF's WTT M25 in Los Angeles, beating former USC star Emilio Gomez of Ecuador, the No. 2 seed, 6-3, 6-3 on the USC courts. The 20-year-old son of Tracy Austin and Scott Holt won his first Futures title at the $15,000 tournament in Claremont last September. The USC junior from Rolling Hills Estates California came from a set down in both his second round win over Luis Patino of Mexico and in yesterday's semifinal win over Kalamazoo champion Jenson Brooksby.

At the ATP 90 Challenger in Noumea, defending champion Noah Rubin[3] lost in the final to Sweden's Mikael Ymer 6-3, 6-3. Donald Young, who made the semifinals before falling to Rubin, won the doubles title with Germany's Dustin Brown. Brown and Young, the No. 3 seeds, defeated Sem Verbeek(Pacific) of the Netherlands and Andre Goransson(Cal) of Sweden 6-4, 7-5 in the final.

Two US women picked up WTA doubles titles this weekend Down Under, with Sonya Kenin getting her first with Genie Bouchard of Canada.  Kenin and Bouchard defeated Paige Hourigan(Georgia Tech) of New Zealand and Taylor Townsend 1-6, 6-1, 10-7 in the Auckland final.  In the Brisbane final, No. 3 seeds Nicole Melichar and her partner Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic defeated No. 4 seeds Latisha Chan and Hao-Ching Chan of Taiwan 6-1, 6-1 for the title.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Eddie Herr 16s and 18s Videos; Giron Reaches Orlando Challenger Final; Holt Advances to ITF M25 Championship Match; Anderson Wins Sixth ATP Title

I've started to work through all the videos I took of the finals of the three junior events in Florida last month, and below you can find videos of the champions of the 16s and ITF events at the Eddie Herr.  The videos of the finalists can be found by clicking on their names to go to the tenniskalamazoo YouTube Channel.

Madison Sieg
Jacobi Bain
Elli Mandlik
Emilio Nava

Marcos Giron had a difficult year in 2018, going 13-18 in matches in Futures, Challenger and ATP main draws, with the highlight his only ATP Tour win to date in Acapulco this summer. The 2014 NCAA singles champion is getting off to a great start in 2019, however, reaching his first ATP Challenger final at the ATP 80 event in Orlando Florida this week. The unseeded 25-year-old former UCLA Bruin defeated his fourth seed today, with all four wins in straight sets, beating No. 12 seed Gastao Elias of Portugal 6-3, 7-5. Giron will face top seed Darian King of Barbados in Sunday morning's final, after King defeated wild card Michael Redlicki 6-4, 6-2. Free live streaming is available, with Ken Thomas doing commentary, at the ATP Challenger page.

At the ITF M25 in Los Angeles, wild card Brandon Holt has reached the final, beating Jenson Brooksby 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-4. The USC junior, who won his first Pro event in singles last fall at a $15K in Claremont, will face former USC star Emilio Gomez of Ecuador in the final. Gomez, the No. 2 seed, advanced when No. 5 seed Patrick Kypson retired trailing 4-5 in the first set.

UCLA senior Maxime Cressy of France, who won eight Futures doubles titles last year, picked up where he left off, winning the Los Angeles doubles title, with Alexander Cozbinov(UNLV) of Moldova. Cressy and Cozbinov, the No. 3 seeds, beat No. 2 seeds Gomez and Luis Patino of Mexico 6-4, 6-2 in the final for their second title as partners. They did not drop a set all week.

Former University of Illinois star Kevin Anderson won his sixth ATP title today, beating Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 7-6(4), 6-7(2), 7-6(5) in the final of the ATP 250 in India. Down 5-2 in the final tiebreaker, the 32-year-old South African won the last five points of the match for the title. For more on the championship match, see this article from the ATP website.

Alison Riske reached the final of the WTA International in Shenzhen China, falling to top seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-3. Riske, unseeded, will return to the WTA Top 50 with her run to the final. For more on the final, see this article from the WTA website.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Ma, Ravichander Take 18s Winter Nationals Titles, Maslova, Casper Earn 16s Championships; Brooksby, Kypson, Holt Reach M25 Semis; Giron and Redlicki Advance at Orlando Challenger

The USTA Winter Nationals concluded today in Lake Nona Florida with 15-year-old Connie Ma and 16-year-old Ishaan Ravichander taking the 18s titles on the hard courts of the USTA's National Campus.  Ma, seeded No. 4, defeated No. 3 seed and Orlando-area resident Alana Wolfberg 6-4, 6-0, while Ravichander, seeded 17, outlasted No. 9 seed Zachery Lim 7-6(2), 6-3.

Ma started slowly against Wolfberg, falling behind 3-0 to start, with Wolfberg having to do very little to win points other than wait for an unforced error from Ma. But Ma rebounded to win the next three games, eliminating the errors and perhaps adjusting to the breezy conditions that had both players frequently catching their service tosses. Wolfberg saved a break point to hold serve in the next game to take a 4-3 lead, but that was the last game she would win; with Ma now dialed in on her ground strokes, she took the final nine games of the match to earn the gold ball.
The first set of the boys final between Ravichander and Lim took nearly as long as the 1 hour and 24 minute girls final, with Lim missing two chances to take the set with Ravichander serving at 4-5 in the first set. Lim made unforced errors at both 15-40 and 30-40 in that game, with Ravichander taking four straight points to make it 5-5 and after two holds, both in deuce games, the set went to a tiebreaker. Ravichander went up early in the tiebreaker, with Lim making the key errors while Ravichander remained steady.

In the second set, Ravichander's consistency advantage continued and he took a 5-1 lead.  He was unable to close out the title on his first attempt however, netting a forehand with the advantage in a two-deuce game, and Lim held for 5-3, to force Ravichander to serve out the match. He got a second match point at 40-30 and he converted it, with Lim netting a forehand to give Ravichander the gold ball.

In the 16s, which were played on the National Campus's Har-Tru courts, No. 5 seed Luke Casper defeated No. 13 seed Quinn Snyder 7-6(5), 6-4 for the boys singles gold ball, while No. 8 seed Nadejda Maslova defeated top seed Leyden Games 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to take the girls title.

Ma was the only player to also claim a doubles title this week. Ma and Anna Campana, seeded No. 15, defeated No. 4 seeds Allie Gretkowski and Anna Ross 6-4, 6-2 in the 18s girls final.

No. 10 seeds Jeremie Casabon and Henry Ruger defeated unseeded Hunter Heck and JJ Tracy 6-4, 6-1 for the boys 18s doubles title.

No. 14 seeds Samir Banerjee and Louis Cloud[14] beat No. 12 seeds Jacob Bickersteth and Billy Suarez 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 for the boys 16s doubles title.

Top seeds Ava Catanzarite and Avery Durham won the girls 16s doubles gold ball, beating No. 4 seeds Carrie Beckman and Emma Charney 6-4, 6-3.

For complete results, see the TennisLink site.

At the ITF M25 in Los Angles, Kalamazoo 18s champion Jenson Brooksby continued his impressive run, beating top seed Dmitry Popko of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-0 in just 68 minutes. Brooksby, who had needed nearly three hours to beat Brandon Nakashima on Thursday, saving two match points, will face wild card Brandon Holt in the semifinals.  Holt defeated Daniel Nguyen 6-4, 6-2. Another Kalamazoo champion, 2017 18s winner Patrick Kypson, reached the semifinals, with the No. 4 seed beating No. 5 seed Martin Redlicki 7-6(2), 6-4. Kypson faces No. 2 seed Emilio Gomez of Ecuador, who defeated Govind Nanda 6-4, 7-6(6).

While the Winter Nationals were wrapping up today at the National Campus, the ATP 80 Orlando Challenger was continuing on the facility's college courts.  Two former American collegians have advanced to the semifinals, with unseeded Marcos Giron, the 2014 NCAA singles champion, defeating No. 14 seed Mathias Bourgue of France 6-2, 6-2 and unseeded Michael Redlicki, who played at Duke and then Arkansas, beating Ulises Blanch 7-6(3), 4-6, 7-6(3).  Redlicki will face top seed Darian King of Barbados in the semifinals, while Giron takes on No. 12 seed Gastao Elias of Portugal.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Finals Set at USTA 16s and 18s Winter Nationals; Brooksby Downs Nakashima Again in Los Angeles M25; Three Americans Reach Orlando Challenger Quarterfinals

Gold balls will be distributed Friday at the USTA 16s and 18s Winter Nationals, when the singles championships are decided at the USTA's National Campus in Lake Nona Florida.

The boys 18s final will feature No. 9 seed Zachery Lim and Ishaan Ravichander after Lim defeated No. 14 seed Daniel Milavsky 7-6(4), 6-2 and Ravichander won the day's toughest contest, beating No. 4 seed Logan Zapp 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

The girls 18s title will be decided by No. 4 seed Connie Ma and No. 3 seed Alana Wolfberg.  The 15-year-old Ma defeated No. 8 seed Carly Briggs 6-2, 6-1 and Wolfberg, an Oklahoma State recruit, got by India Houghton 7-6(4), 6-4.

In the 16s, No. 1 seed Leyden Games and No. 8 seed Nadejda Maslova will vie for the girls title, after Games defeated No. 7 seed Bridget Stammel 6-3, 6-1 and Maslova beat unseeded DJ Bennett 6-4, 6-1. 

No. 5 seed Luke Casper and No. 13 Quinn Snyder will meet for the boys 16s title after Casper beat No. 11 seed Samir Banerjee 6-1, 7-5 and Snyder defeated No. 17 seed John Kim 6-3, 6-0.

I had difficulty accessing the Playsight live feeds again today, but the 18s finals are scheduled to be broadcast on YouTube beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday.

Last year Jenson Brooksby and Brandon Nakashima met three times in junior tournaments, including the best-of-five Kalamazoo 18s final, with Brooksby winning all three in straight sets. Today they met for the first time on the Pro Circuit, at the M25 in Los Angeles, and the match was much closer, but again it was Brooksby getting the win, saving two match points in second set tiebreaker and coming from a break down in the third set to post a 2-6, 7-6(10), 7-5 second round win in just under three hours.

Neither player faced a break point in the second set, and Nakashima didn't face one until 2-3 in the third, but once he finally broke Brooksby to go up 4-3, Nakashima was unable to consolidate it. He went down 0-40, won the next four points, but lost the next three to put it back on serve.  In the final game, Nakashima went down 15-40, got it back to deuce, earned a game point, but didn't convert it, and after saving a third match point, he lost the next two to give Brooksby his fourth consecutive win in the rivalry that began only last March. Brooksby will play top seed Dmitry Popko of Kazakhstan in Friday's quarterfinals.

Five other Americans have advanced to the quarterfinals in Los Angeles: wild card Brandon Holt, who will face Daniel Nguyen in a battle of current and former USC Trojans; Patrick Kypson[5](Texas A&M), who plays No. 4 seed Martin Redlicki(UCLA) and UCLA freshman Govind Nanda, a wild card. Nanda, who has reached the quarterfinals of a Futures only once previously, will play former USC star Emilio Gomez of Ecuador, the No. 2 seed, next.

At the ATP 80 Challenger in Orlando, three unseeded Americans have advanced to Friday's quarterfinals: Marcos Giron, Ulises Blanch and Michael Redlicki(Arkansas), with Blanch and Redlicki playing each other for a place in the semifinals. Giron defeated No. 9 seed and former UCLA teammate Dennis Novikov 6-1, 6-2, while Blanch came back to beat lucky loser Brouwer of the Netherlands 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. Redlicki also came from a set down, defeating No. 11 seed Kevin King(Georgia Tech) 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Gorzny, Bhakta Claim 14s Titles at USTA Winter Nationals, Yin and Nguyen Win 12s Championships; Semifinals Set at 16s and 18s Winter Nationals in Florida

A USTA Winter Nationals that lived up to its name concluded today in Tucson, with temperatures remaining in the 40s for the finals of the 12s and 14s singles championships

In the girls 12s final, top seed Amber Yin defeated No. 7 seed Kinley Van Pelt 6-1, 6-1, and in the boys 12s, No. 9 seed Mason Nguyen defeated No. 4 seed Maxwell Exsted 6-4, 7-5 in championship match.

Although both Yin and Nguyen played the Junior Orange Bowl last month in Florida, neither went deep in those draws, so perhaps the cooler weather was more to their liking. Nguyen, a Californian, was probably significantly more comfortable on the hard courts than on the green clay he was playing on in Florida.

The two 14s champions--Ria Bhakta and Sebastian Gorzny--did have successful runs at the Junior Orange Bowl.  No. 2 seed Gorzny, who defeated No. 17 seed Brayden Michna 2-6, 6-1, 6-0 in today's final, reached the quarterfinals at the Junior Orange Bowl, where he held a match point against eventual champion Coleman Wong of Hong Kong.
No. 9 seed Bhakta, who shut out No. 5 seed Kinaa Graham in today's final, lost to No. 2 seed Eleana Yu in the Junior Orange Bowl's third round, then won three more consolation matches.  Below are the results from the singles and doubles finals.

G12s Finals:
Amber Yin[1] d. Kinley Van Pelt[7] 6-1, 6-1
Amber Yin and Annika Renganathan[1] d. Bianca Molnar and Aspen Schuman[9] 6-4, 6-4.

B12s Finals:
Mason Nguyen[9] d. Maxwell Exsted[4] 6-4, 7-5
Abhinav Chunduru and Parthinav Chunduru[4] d. Maxwell Exsted and Santiago Muhala[1] 6-1, 7-6(6)

B14s Finals:
Sebastian Gorzny[2] d. Brayden Michna[17] 2-6, 6-1, 6-0
Lucas Brown and Aidan Kim[1] d. Noah Hernandez and Marko Mesarovic[9] 6-2, 2-6, 6-1

G14s Finals:
Singles: Ria Bhakta[9] d. Kinaa Graham[5] 6-0, 6-0
Tsehay Driscoll and Emma Roeck[3] d. Alice Otis and Piper Charney[9] 7-6(3), 6-1

At the USTA's National Campus in Lake Nona, the quarterfinals produced some notable results in the 16s and 18s divisions at the Winter Nationals, with the top seed in both the girls 18s and boys 16s falling today. No. 5 seed Luke Casper beat No. 1 seed Jack Anthrop 6-3, 6-4 in boys 16s, and unseeded India Houghton avenged her Easter Bowl final loss to girls 18s top seed Anessa Lee 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-2.  I tried to stream via the Watch feature here, but I couldn't get any of the streams to work for more than a minute or two.  There is live scoring available now via Tennis Ticker, which is very reliable. Results from today's quarterfinals are below:

Boys 16s quarterfinals:
Luke Casper[5] d. Jack Anthrop[1] 6-3, 6-4
Samir Banerjee[11] d. Zachery Foster[17] 6-4, 6-2
John Kim[17] d. Carter Morgan 6-2, 6-4
Quinn Snyder[13] d. Dominik Jakovljevic[17] 7-5, 6-2

Boys 18 quarterfinals:
Zachery Lim[9] d. Joshua Raab[17] 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 6-2
Daniel Milavsky[14] d. Aryan Chaudhary[10] 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-3
Logan Zapp[4] d. Karl Lee 6-4, 6-3
Ishaan Ravichander[17]d. Hunter Heck[17] 6-1, 6-2

Girls 16s quarterfinals:
Leyden Games[1] d. Angel You 7-6(4), 6-3
Bridget Stammel[7] d. Lan Mi[13] 1-6, 6-1, 6-2
DJ Bennett d. Gabriella Smith[14] 6-1, 7-5
Nadejda Maslova[8] d. Emma Charney 6-1, 6-0

Girls 18s quarterfinals:
India Houghton d. Anessa Lee[1] 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-2
Alana Wolfberg[3] d. Casie Wooten 6-3, 6-1
Connie Ma[4] d. Gianna Pielet[12] 6-1, 6-4
Carly Briggs[8] d. Zoe Howard[2] 6-4, 6-2

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

December Aces; Finals Set at USTA Winter Nationals 12s and 14s in Tucson; Quarterfinals Wednesday at 16s and 18s in Lake Nona

My monthly Aces column for the Tennis Recruiting Network is up today and if you didn't have an opportunity to follow my daily coverage from the Eddie Herr, Orange Bowl and Junior Orange Bowl during the always busy month of December, this is a good opportunity to catch up on the the 16 champions who were crowned in the 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s divisions to close out 2018.

The USTA Winter Nationals start in one year and end in the next, with the quarterfinals set for the 16s and 18s at the USTA's National Campus in Lake Nona Florida and the finals now set for the 12s and 14s in Tucson Arizona.

The top four seeds remain in the girls 18s, the other three divisions in Lake Nona haven't gone as expected, although the top seeds in the 16s, Jack Anthrop and Leyden Games, are still alive.  Orange Bowl 16s finalist India Houghton, who was unseeded in the Winter Nats 18s division despite a UTR that was among the highest in the field, has advanced to a quarterfinal meeting with top seed Anessa Lee. The two met in the Easter Bowl final back in March, with Lee winning 6-2, 6-3.

The quarterfinal matchups for Wednesday are below. Live streaming is available here, with court assignments available here under My Start Order.

Girls 16s quarterfinals:
Leyden Games[1] v Angel You
Lan Mi[13] v Bridget Stammel[7]
Gabriella Smith[14] v DJ Bennett
Nadejda Maslova[8] v Emma Charney

Girls 18s quarterfinals:
Anessa Lee[1] v India Houghton
Alana Wolfberg[3] v Casie Wooten
Gianna Pielet[12] v Connie Ma[4]
Carly Briggs[8] v Zoe Howard[2]

Boys 16s quarterfinals:
Jack Anthrop[1] v Luke Casper[5]
Samir Banerjee[11] v Zachery Foster[17]
Carter Morgan v John Kim[17]
Dominik Jakovljevic[17] v Quinn Snyder[13]

Boys 18 quarterfinals:
Zachery Lim[9] v Joshual Raab[17]
Daniel Milavsky[14] v Aryan Chaudhary[10]
Karl Lee v Logan Zapp[4]
Hunter Heck[17] v Ishaan Ravichander[17]

The weather in Tucson has been downright cold, with the highs in the 40s and unfortunately the forecast is no better for finals day on Wednesday. 

The results of today's semifinals are below. The doubles finals were played today, but I'll post those results on Wednesday so that singles and doubles will be in the same place.

Boys 12s:
Max Exsted[4] d. Nikita Filin[10] 3-6, 7-5, 6-2
Mason Nguyen[9] d. Sebastian Muhala[3] 6-3, 7-6(5)

Boys 14s:
Brayden Michna[17] def. Evan Wen[1] 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(4)
Sebastian Gorzny[2] d. Rudy Quan[17] 6-1, 6-0

Ria Bhakta[9] def. Karsyn Evans[13] 6-4, 6-0
Kinaa Graham[5] d. Tsehay Driscoll[3] 7-5, 6-3

Amber Yin[1] d. Bianca Molnar[10] 6-1, 6-1
Kinley VanPelt[7] d. Natasha Rajaram[9] 7-6(6), 6-7(10), 6-2