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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Unseeded Damm, Forbes Reach ITF G1 Finals in Costa Rica; Three US Boys Advance at Australian Open Junior Championships; College Dual Matches in Australia; US World Tennis Tour Update

Unseeded Americans Martin Damm and Abigail Forbes have advanced to their first ITF Grade 1 finals with victories Friday at the Coffee Bowl in Costa Rica.  The 15-year-old Damm, who has yet to drop a set this week, defeated unseeded Alex Martinez of Spain 6-4, 6-4 last night. The reigning Kalamazoo 16s champion will face top seed Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan, also 15, in tonight's final.

The 17-year-old Forbes, who has signed with UCLA for this fall, defeated No. 2 seed Gabby Price 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in yesterday's semifinals and will play unseeded 15-year-old Melodie Collard of Canada for the title. Collard derailed an all-US final by defeating No. 14 seed Charlotte Owensby 6-1, 6-7(0), 7-5.

Before the final, Damm will compete for the boys doubles title, with Will Grant. The No. 6 seeds will face No. 8 seeds Mochizuki and Spencer Whitaker later today.  Unseeded Jenna DeFalco and Hibbah Shaikh defeated top seeds Price and Argentina's Anna Geller in the semifinals and will play No. 5 seeds Michaela Kadleckova of Slovakia and Shavit Kimchi of Israel for the girls doubles title.

In the past there has been live streaming on the tournament website, but I haven't seen any this year.

The first day of the Australian Open Junior Championships resulted in three wins for the seven Americans in action.  No. 9 seed Cannon Kingsley, No. 16 seed Eliot Spizzirri and Toby Kodat advanced to the the second round, while Tyler Zink, Kacie Harvey, Chloe Beck and Kylie Collins lost their matches. Americans in first round action Sunday are Lea Ma[6], Emma Navarro, Sasha Wood, Tristan Boyer[12], Emilio Nava[13] and Zane Khan.

Doubles will begin today, with half the draw scheduled, including the team of Collins and Harvey and No. 7 seeds Boyer and Zink.  Kodat is playing with Gustaf Strom of Sweden and they are also on Sunday's schedule.  Rinky Hijikata of Australia and Otto Virtanen of Finland are the top boys seeds, with Sohyun Park of Korea and Hong Yi Cody Wong of Hong Kong the No. 1 seeds in the girls draw. Beck and Navarro are the No. 8 seeds and Kingsley and Nava are the No. 4 seeds.

Two US women advanced to the fourth round with wins Saturday:

Serena Williams[16] d. Dayana Yastremska(UKR) 6-2, 6-1
Madison Keys[17] d. Elise Mertens[12](BEL) 6-3, 6-2
Simona Halep[1](ROU) d. Venus Williams 6-2, 6-3

Sunday's fourth round matches featuring Americans:

Petra Kvitova[8(CZE)] v Amanda Anisimova
Sloane Stephens[5] v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova(RUS)
Danielle Collins v Angelique Kerber[2](GER)
Frances Tiafoe v Grigor Dimitrov[20(BUL)

Division I college tennis dual match season is in full swing now, but not all of them are taking place on college campuses in the United States. Four teams are playing Monday at the Australia Open in a new initiative for college tennis. The University of Southern California's men's and women's teams and the University of South Carolina's men's and women's teams are in Melbourne for matches that will be broadcast on ESPN 3.  For more on this, see this release from the ITA.

There are two ITF World Tennis Tour events in Florida this week, with just one American in Sunday's finals.  At the W25 in Daytona Beach, No. 2 seed Grace Min lost 6-1, 6-1 today to No. 6 seed Anna Bondar of Hungary. Top seed Francois Abanda will play Bondar for the title.  Hailey Baptiste and Emina Bektas(Michigan) reached the doubles final, but lost today to No. 4 seeds Bondar and Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway 6-3, 5-7, 11-9.

At the M15 in Naples, Sekou Bangoura(Florida), the No. 4 seed, will face No. 3 seed Pedro Sakamoto of Brazil in the final. Bangoura defeated No. 7 seed Pietro Rondoni of Italy 7-6(2), 6-1 and Sakamota took out 18-year-old Nicolas Mejia of Colombia 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Strong Kirchheimer(Northwestern) and Julian Bradley(North Florida) of Ireland won the doubles title, beating Gonzalo Lama and Alejandro Tabilo of Chile 6-4, 6-2 in the final between two unseeded teams.



Francis Tiafoe moves into the Quarters of the Aussie Open with a 5,6,-6,5 victory over 20th seed Grigor Dimitrov.
Danielle Collins, University of Virginia, upsets # 2 seed Angelique Kerber 0,2 and moves into the Quarters Down Under.
#5 seed Sloane Stephens falls to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova -6,3,3