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Friday, January 25, 2019

Nava Reaches Australian Open Boys Final; All-US Girls Semifinals at Colombia ITF Grade 1; Williams and Kang in Les Petits As Doubles Final; ITA Division I Kickoff Weekend Underway

For the second year in a row, a US boy has advanced to the Australian Open boys title, with Emilio Nava saving a match point in the semifinals Friday to follow 2018 champion Sebastian Korda into the championship match.

No. 13 seed Nava lost the first set to No. 4 seed Filip Jianu of Romania 6-3, but broke early in the second set and cruised by a 6-2 score. The third set was nearly as long as the first two, with Nava double faulting for the second time in the 4-5 game at 30-all, to set up a match point for Jianu. Nava saved it (he describes the match point here in the ITF junior website's account) then hit another winner, forced an error for 5-5, held and broke for the victory. 

Nava, who has signed with IMG and will not be attending college, faces top seed Lorenzo Musetti of the Italy in the final, Saturday (Friday night in the US) on Rod Laver Arena.  Musetti, who defeated unseeded Giulio Zeppieri of Italy 6-2, 6-4, will be playing in his second consecutive junior slam final, having lost to Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil in three sets at the US Open. Nava, playing in just his third junior slam, has never been past the third round in a Grade A prior to this week.

Nava and partner Cannon Kingsley fell in the boys doubles final, with No. 3 seeds Jonas Forejtek and Dalibor Svrcina of the Czech Republic beating the No. 4 seeds 7-6(5), 6-4.  Emma Navarro and Chloe Beck were also unable to win their last doubles match, with the No. 8 seeds losing to No. 3 seeds Natsumi Kawaguchi of Japan and Adrienn Nagy of Hungary 6-4, 6-4 in the girls doubles final. 

There will be an American girl as the champion at the ITF Grade 1 in Colombia, but which of the four remaining will earn it has yet to be decided.  Top seed Alexa Noel will face No. 12 seed Kailey Evans in the top half of Friday afternoon's semifinals, while No. 4 seed Savannah Broadus will take on unseeded Katrina Scott in the bottom half.  Unseeded Emma Jackson and Sasha Yepifanova are in the girls doubles final, where they'll face unseeded Anfisa Danilchenko of Russia and Bo Young Jeong of Korea.

The opportunity for an all-US boys final is still there, with Jacob Bullard and Martin Damm into the semifinals.  The unseeded Bullard will play top seed Matheus Pucinelli de Almeida of Brazil, while the unseeded Damm, who was a finalist last week in Costa Rica, meets No. 15 seed Kevin Chahoud of Sweden.

The Fruhvirtovas won the Eddie Herr 12s doubles title when Linda was 12 and Brenda was 10
Katherine Hui's exit today in the quarterfinals at Les Petits As leaves no more Americans in singles, although Cooper Williams and Kyle Kang have advanced to the boys doubles finals.

Hui, seeded No. 12, lost to top seed Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic 6-0, 6-2, a typical scoreline in Fruhvirtova's matches this week. Linda and her 11-year-old sister Brenda won the doubles title, beating Hui and Kayla Cross of Canada 6-4, 6-2. Neither team was seeded. 

Kang and Williams, also unseeded, will face No. 2 seeds Gilles Bailly and Alexander Blockx of Belgium.  Kang and Williams beat unseeded Antoine Ghibaudo and Clement Kubiak of France 6-3, 6-4 in today's semifinals.

In the girls singles semifinals Saturday, Fruhvirtova takes on No. 4 seed Anastasiia Gureva of Russia and No. 2 seed Sofia Costoulas of Belgium plays No. 8 seed Kristyna Tomajkova of the Czech Republic.

One of the boys semifinals is sure to draw local supporters, with wild card Antoine Ghibaudo, the Bolton finalist, taking on No. 11 seed Rashed Nawaf of Qatar. In the bottom half, No. 13 seed Petr Vojtech of the Czech Republic play No. 14 seed Bailly. 

Live scoring is available at Tennis Ticker. Live streaming is at the tournament website.

The ITA Kickoff Weekend is underway, with berths in next month's National Team Indoor Championships on the line for 15 teams (The Washington women and Illinois men, who are hosting the Indoor Championships, are automatically entered). The top-ranked Stanford women are participating this year, which is rare, as they usually skip the Indoor Team event.  North Carolina is the defending women's champion, with Wake Forest the defending men's champion.

Tennis Recruiting's SLAM Tennis is partnering with the ITA this year with updated results from the matches available at their website.

Bobby Knight has added live scoring and video links for the matches at College Tennis Today.

The ITA's preview is here.