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Monday, June 17, 2019

Americans Claim Six ITF Junior Circuit Titles; Olson Among Florida Bobby Curtis Closed Champions; New WTA International Tournament Set for Week Before US Open

Although none of the ten Americans playing at the ITF Grade 1 in Offenbach Germany last week advanced past the third round, the United States captured 3 1/2 titles at the Grade 4 in Guatemala, and doubles titles at a Grade 3 in Switzerland and a Grade 5 in Ecuador.

Unseeded 14-year-old Qavia Lopez won her first ITF Junior Circuit title in Guatemala, beating No. 3 seed Nikita Vishwase of India 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the final. Lopez, whose previous best showing at an ITF junior event was the quarterfinals, saw her ranking jump from outside the Top 1000 to 555 with the title. Seventeen-year-old Jeffrey Fradkin, also unseeded, won the boys title, beating No. 3 seed Max McKennon 7-5, 6-3 in the final to claim his second ITF Junior Circuit title without the loss of a set.

McKennon and Spencer Brachman, the top seeds, won the boys doubles title, beating No. 2 seeds Mateo Gomez of Colombia and Carlos Solares Midence of Bolivia 3-6, 6-3, 10-6 in the final. No. 3 seeds Camila Soares of Peru and Sofia Rojas won the girls doubles title, defeating No. 2 seeds Daianne Hayashida of Peru and Isabel Oliveira of Brazil 7-6(3), 4-6, 10-6 in the final.

At the Grade 3 in Switzerland, Katja Wiersholm and Rosie Garcia Gross won the girls doubles title. The unseeded pair defeated No. 4 seed Guillermina Grant of Uruguay and Gabriela Macias of Colombia 2-6, 7-5, 10-7 in the final. Garcia Gross, a blue chip recent graduate, has signed with Georgia Tech.

In Ecuador, No. 6 seeds Fiorella Bolona Medina and Jennifer Riester defeated No. 2 seeds Erika Cheng of Brazil and Petra Miszczak of Canada 4-6, 6-4, 10-5 to take the girls Grade 5 doubles title.

This week's Grade 1 is on clay, in Berlin, with the ITF junior circuit grass season beginning next week at a new Grade 1 tournament in Nottingham. Eight Americans are playing this week: Blaise Bicknell(12), Dali Blanch(4), Andrew Dale(7), Alexander Kiefer, Hina Inoue, Alexandra Yepifanova(12), Tara Malik and Madison Sieg.

In my review of the results on the pro tours yesterday, I neglected to mention another American title on the ITF World Tennis Tour, with 23-year-old Allie Kiick winning at the $60,000 tournament in Spain. The top seed, Kiick defeated unseeded Cagla Buyukakcay of Turkey 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-1 in the final, and is now at a career-high WTA ranking of 126.

The big USTA sectional tournaments are this month, and Florida always does an excellent job of covering their event, the Bobby Curtis Florida State Closed. Randy Wilson and Sophia Fornaris won the 18s titles in Lake Nona, and 2018 Junior Orange Bowl girls 12s finalist Brooklyn Olson claimed the 16s title. Final results, plus photos and videos, are available at the USTA Florida website.

With the WTA tournament in New Haven folding after last year, the lack of playing opportunities in the United States the week prior to the US Open was a concern, but that void has now been filled, with a new WTA International event at the Cary Leeds Tennis Center in the Bronx. The tournament, scheduled for August 16-24, will be called the NYJTL Bronx Open. The Cary Leeds facility is where the US Open Junior Championships' qualifying was held last year for the first time. See this article from the WTA website for details.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Riffice Earns First Title in Wichita; Baptiste Wins Sumter $25K; Carle Claims Wesley Chapel Title; Riske, Olmos, Krawczyk Capture WTA Championships

Sam Riffice, a rising sophomore at the University of Florida, had lost in his first three ITF World Tennis Tour finals, but today he ended that losing streak, beating USC rising senior Brandon Holt 6-1, 6-4 in the final of the $25,000 tournament in Wichita Kansas. The No. 4 seed, Riffice was impressive all week, never losing more than four games in a set while beating the No. 5, No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in his last three victories.

Holt did earn a winner's trophy in Wichita however, taking the doubles title with Alexander Cozbinov(UNLV) of Moldova. The No. 3 seeds defeated unseeded Jacob Dunbar(Richmond) and Great Britain's David Fox(Denver) 7-6(5), 6-3 in last night's final. It's Holt's fifth doubles pro circuit doubles title and Cozbinov's fourth, but their first as a team.

Hailey Baptiste won her second ITF World Tennis Tour title today at the $25,000 tournament in Sumter South Carolina, beating No. 8 seed Vicky Duval 6-2, 7-5. The second-seeded Baptiste, who turns 18 in November, won her first $25,000 title in Plantation Florida back in January and is now 14-2 this year on the World Tennis Tour.

Qualifier Maria Lourdes Carle of Argentina won the title at the $15,000 WTT event in Wesley Chapel Florida, with the 19-year-old beating qualifier Victoria Emma, a rising junior at Florida, 6-3, 6-1 in the final. Carle, who may not return for her sophomore year at the University of Georgia, now has three titles at the ITF WTT $15K level, one in each of the past three years.

No. 3 seeds Allura and Maribella Zamarripa won the doubles title in Wesley Chapel, with the 16-year-old twins beating top seeds Sofia Sewing and Kylie Collins 3-6, 6-4, 13-11. It's the second WTT title, both coming on clay, for the Californians.

No. 8 seed and hometown favorite Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark won the ATP Challenger 80 in Columbus Ohio, beating unseeded Ji Sung Nam of Korea 6-1, 7-5 in today's final. The former Ohio State star now has won two Challenger titles in his career, and both have come in Columbus.

Top seeds Roberto Maytin(Baylor) of Venezuela and Jackson Withrow(Texas A&M) won the Columbus doubles title, beating unseeded Hans Hach Verdugo(Abliene Christian) of Mexico and Donald Young 6-7(4), 7-6(2) 10-5 in the final.

Alison Riske won her second WTA title today in 's-Hertogenbosch, saving five match points in a 0-6, 7-6(3), 7-5 win over top seed Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands. Riske, who had lost the last six times she made a WTA final since winning her first title back in 2014, should return to the Top 50 now. For more on Riske's championship week, see this WTA article.

Dom Inglot(Virginia) and Austin Krajicek(Texas A&M) won the men's doubles title at the ATP event in 's-Hertogenbosch yesterday, and the collegiate success continued today on the WTA side in Nottingham, with Mexico's Giuliana Olmos(USC) and Desirae Krawczyk(Arizona State) claiming the women's doubles title. The unseeded pair didn't drop a set all week, defeating the unseeded Australian team of Ellen Perez(Georgia) and Arina Rodionova 7-6(5), 7-5 in the final. It's the second WTA doubles title for Krawczyk, 25, and the first for the 26-year-old Olmos. According to Jonathan Kelley, Olmos made history today as the first woman from Mexico to win a WTA title.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Baptiste, Duval Reach Sumter $25K Final; Holt vs Riffice for Wichita $25K Title; Qualifiers Emma and Carle Meet in Wesley Chapel $15K Final

Seventeen-year-old Hailey Baptiste will play for her second $25,000 title of the year tomorrow in Sumter SC, with the No. 2 seed facing Vicky Duval, a former WTA Top 100 pro who has not won a title since 2013. Baptiste defeated University of Virginia rising freshman Natasha Subhash 6-3, 6-1 to make her second career final, after winning the first in Plantation in January. The 23-year-old Duval, who has been out for long stretches due to illness and injury since reaching her career-high ranking of 87 back in 2014, is competing in her first tournament since last October. For the second straight day, the No. 8 seed came from a set down to advance, beating wild card Kate Fahey(Michigan) 0-6, 6-2, 6-3 in today's semifinal.

The doubles title in Sumter went to No. 4 seeds Brynn Boren(USC) and Caitlin Whoriskey(Tennessee), who defeated No. 2 seeds Vladica Babic(Oklahoma State) of Montenegro and Hayley Carter(North Carolina) 6-4, 6-4 in the final. Whoriskey now has 16 ITF Pro Circuit titles; Boren has five.

Two current collegians will meet for the title at the $25,000 men's event in Wichita Kansas, with USC rising senior Brandon Holt, the No. 3 seed, taking on No. 4 seed Sam Riffice, a rising sophomore at Florida. Holt defeated No. 7 seed Evan Zhu(UCLA) 7-6(4), 6-3 today, while Riffice took out No. 2 seed Alexander Ritschard(Virginia) 6-2, 6-1. Holt will be looking for his third World Tennis Tour singles title, having claimed a $15K last fall and a $25K in January. Riffice is looking for his first title in his fourth appearance in a WTT final, the most recent at the $25K in Tulsa last summer.

At the $15,000 women's WTT tournament in Wesley Chapel Florida, 19-year-old qualifiers Maria Lourdes Carle of Argentina and Victoria Emma will meet for the title Sunday. Carle, who played at the University of Georgia in the just-completed season, defeated No. 4 seed Allura Zamarripa 7-5, 6-4 to advance against Emma. Emma, a rising junior at the University of Florida, had won only one main draw match on the Pro Circuit prior to this week, but she picked up her fourth this week in a 6-1, 6-7(6), 7-6(7) win over Lauren Proctor(Winthrop) today. Carle and Emma met twice in ITF Junior Circuit play back in 2016, with Carle winning both Grade 1 round of 16 matches in three sets.

At the ATP Columbus Challenger 80, former Ohio State All-American Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark, the No. 8 seed, defeated No. 12 seed Thai Kwiatkowski(Virginia) 6-4, 7-6(5) to reach the final, where he'll take on unseeded Ji Sung Nam of Korea. Nam advanced to the championship match when No. 6 seed Dudi Sela of Israel retired trailing 6-3, 5-3.

In WTA results today, Jennifer Brady's WTA Nottingham semifinal match with top seed Caroline Garcia of France was interrupted by rain several times, with the completion pushed to Sunday with Garcia leading 4-6, 6-3, 4-3.

And at the WTA tournament in 's-Hertogenbosch, Alison Riske reached the final with a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5) win over Veronika Kudermetova of Russia. Riske, who won last week's $100,000 ITF World Tennis Tour event in Surbiton, will face top seed Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands for the title.

On the ATP tour, two former NCAA doubles champions teamed up for the first time and won a title, with Austin Krajicek(Texas A&M) and Dom Inglot(Virginia) claiming the doubles championship in 's-Hertogenbosch. Krajicek, who won the NCAA title in 2011 with Jeff Dadamo, and Inglot, who won the 2009 NCAA title with Michael Shabaz, defeated Marcus Daniell of New Zealand and Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands 6-4, 4-6, 10-4  in the final. It's the 12th career ATP title for Inglot and the second for Krajicek. For more on their run to the title, see this article from the ATP website.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Brady Advances to Semis at WTA Nottingham; Kwiatkowski into Columbus Challenger Semifinals; Two Qualifiers Make Final Four at Wesley Chapel $15K; All-US Semis in Wichita and Sumter; Lilley Named Head Coach at Auburn

Former UCLA star Jennifer Brady has advanced to the semifinals of the WTA International tournament in Nottingham, beating No. 4 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece 7-5, 6-3 in today's quarterfinals. The unseeded Brady, 24, had beaten No. 7 seed Shuai Zhang of China in the opening round. This is the second WTA semifinal for Brady, who advanced that far previously at the Hong Kong International back in the fall of 2017.  Currently at No. 80 in the WTA rankings, Brady is approaching her career high of 60 with her performance this week. She plays top seed Caroline Garcia of France next.

At the ATP Challenger 80 in Columbus, No. 12 seed Thai Kwiatkowski has advanced to the semifinals, after beating No. 3 seed Emilio Gomez(USC) of Ecuador 2-6, 6-0, 6-3 today. The University of Virginia's 2017 NCAA singles champion will meet 2016 NCAA singles finalist Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark, the No. 8 seed, who beat No. 2 seed Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan 6-3, 6-3 today. The former Ohio State star has had his best Challenger results in the Buckeye state, with his only title coming in Columbus back in 2016 and two finals this year in Columbus and Cleveland.  The other semifinal will feature unseeded Ji Sung Nam of Korea against No. 6 seed Dudi Sela of Israel.

Two qualifiers have advanced to the semifinals of the $15,000 ITF World Tennis Tour event in Wesley Chapel Florida, with Georgia rising sophomore Maria Lourdes Carle of Argentina beating top seed Tori Kinard 6-3, 1-6, 6-0 and Florida rising junior Victoria Emma beating fellow qualifier Megan McCray(Oklahoma State) 7-5, 6-3.  Carle will play No. 4 seed Allura Zamarripa, while Emma takes on recent Winthrop graduate Lauren Proctor.

Top seed Usue Arconada, who won the $25,000 event last week in Bethany Beach saw her winning streak snapped by Vicky Duval, coming back from an eight-month layoff this week in Sumter South Carolina. Duval, the No. 8 seed, beat Arconada 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 in just under three hours. I also discovered today that Duval is the new volunteer assistant for the University of Florida women, and longtime associate head coach Dave Balogh is no longer on the staff.

Duval's opponent in Saturday's semifinal is wild card Kate Fahey(Michigan), who defeated No. 5 seed Sophie Chang 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Two 17-year-olds from the Washington DC area will meet in the other semifinal, with No. 2 seed Hailey Baptiste facing Natasha Subhash. Virginia rising freshman Subhash advanced when No. 6 seed Dea Herdzelas of Bosnia retired trailing 6-4, 1-0. Baptiste needed exactly three hours to get past Marcela Zacarias of Mexico 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(5). Baptiste defeated Subhash in the quarterfinals of the Grade 1 ITF junior tournament in Carson last year.

The semifinals are not yet set at the men's $25,000 WTT tournament in Wichita, with the quarterfinal between Sumit Sarkar(Rice) and No. 2 seed Alexander Ritschard(Virginia) yet to start this evening, but the top half semifinal will feature No. 3 seed Brandon Holt(USC) and No. 7 seed Evan Zhu(UCLA). Holt defeated Oliver Crawford(Florida) 6-4, 6-4 and Zhu took out unseeded Jacob Dunbar(Richmond) 6-3, 7-6(3). No. 4 seed Sam Riffice(Florida) will face the winner of tonight's quarterfinal, with Riffice beating No. 5 seed Jordi Arconada 6-3, 6-3 today.

Auburn has filled its women's head coaching position, with Kansas assistant Caroline Lilley named to the post today. Lilley, who played at Kentucky and Georgia Tech, was an assistant at Gonzaga before coaching at Kansas for the past four years. Lilley replaces Lauren Spencer, who resigned last month after eight seasons.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Subhash Reaches Quarterfinals at Sumter $25K; Top Seed Redlicki Ousted in Wichita $25K; USTA National Campus Will Search for New Director of Tennis; Blue Chip McKennon Chooses Arizona State

University of Virginia rising freshman Natasha Subhash lost in the second round of this spring's Easter Bowl ITF and Carson Grade 1, and her junior ranking, once as high as 26 and consistently in the Top 50 last year, dropped outside the Top 100. But the 17-year-old from Virginia found her form in the past two months on the Pro Circuit, where she won her first ITF World Tennis Tour event at the $15,000 tournament in Williamsburg Virginia last month, and reached the final of the $25,000 tournament in Bethany Beach last week. Subhash is continuing to post impressive results this week at the $25,000 tournament in Sumter South Carolina. Today she had to play both her first and second round matches and she won both, beating No. 4 seed Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia, the 2015 Australian Open girls champion, 6-3, 6-2 and then posting a 6-2, 7-6(5) win over Gergana Topalova of Bulgaria. Subhash will face No. 6 seed Dea Herdzelas of Bosnia in Friday's quarterfinals.

Top seed Usue Arconada, who beat Subhash in the Bethany Beach final Sunday, advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 win over qualifier Petia Arshinkova of Bulgaria and will play No. 8 seed Vicky Duval, who dropped only two games to qualifier Carson Branstine of Canada in her second round win. Duval is playing her first tournament since last October due to injury. Wild card Kate Fahey, the recent Michigan graduate, will play No. 5 seed Sophie Chang in another all-US quarterfinal. Seventeen-year-old Hailey Baptiste, the No. 2 seed, defeated Hayley Carter, North Carolina's 2016 NCAA singles finalist, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. She will play unseeded Marcela Zacarias of Mexico, who beat No. 7 seed Katie Volynets 6-3, 6-1.

At the $25,000 men's Pro Circuit event in Wichita, Jacob Dunbar(Richmond) surprised top seed Martin Redlicki(UCLA) 6-4, 7-6(4) in today's second round action. Dunbar will play the winner of tonight's match between Michigan rising sophomore Andrew Fenty and No. 7 seed Evan Zhu(UCLA).

An American is already guaranteed to be the Wichita champion, with the last of the international players in the draw eliminated today.  No. 3 seed Brandon Holt(USC) will face No. 6 seed Oliver Crawford(Florida) in a current collegian battle, while Texas A&M graduate and No. 5 seed Jordi Arconada will play Florida rising sophomore Sam Riffice, the No. 4 seed. Rice rising junior Sumit Sarkar defeated No. 8 seed Mark Whitehouse of Great Britain 7-6(6), 2-6, 6-2 to advance to a quarterfinal meeting with No. 2 seed Alexander Ritschard(Virginia).

The USTA announced today that Kathy Woods will be stepping down from her position as Director of Tennis at the USTA's National Campus in Lake Nona at the end of the year. The press release says a national search for her replacement will begin in the next several weeks.

Max McKennon, a blue chip in the 2020 recruiting class, announced last month that he had committed to Arizona State. In 2017, the Arizona State men's program was reinstated after an eight-year absence, and they have made the NCAA tournament both years, winning their first NCAA tournament match since 2004 this year. McKennon explains why he decided on the Sun Devils over the highly ranked Pac-12 and Big 12 schools that recruited him in this Tennis Recruiting Network article.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Seeds Falter at Columbus Challenger; Dartmouth's Drake Named Men's Head Coach at Yale; ITA Summer Circuit Begins Next Weekend, Registration Still Open

The ATP Columbus Challenger 80 lost its top seed today in the second round, when Michael Mmoh retired trailing Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia 6-2, 1-2. Mmoh, playing in just his third event since January after being out with an injury, has yet to post a win since returning, losing in the first round of French qualifying and in the second round last week at the Little Rock Challenger.

No. 2 seed Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan came close to joining Mmoh on the sidelines, but he managed to defeat Evan Song 6-7(7), 7-6(4), 6-4 in three hours and 48 minutes.

Ohio State Buckeyes JJ Wolf, seeded No. 14, and wild card John McNally lost today, with Wolf going out to Ji Sum Nam of Korea 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and McNally, who had picked up a first round win yesterday, falling to No. 11 seed Duckhee Lee of Korea 6-3, 7-5. Former Ohio State star Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark, seeded No. 8, did move into Thursday's third round, beating Raymond Sarmiento(USC) 6-4, 7-5.

Qualifier Dennis Novikov defeated No. 4 seed Donald Young 7-6(6), 6-2 in a battle between former Kalamazoo 18s champions. Novikov trailed 5-0 in the first set before roaring back for the win.

The only other American to advance to the third round today was No. 9 seed Tim Smyczek, who beat 2017 Australian Open boys champion Zsombor Piros of Hungary 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.  Two former University of Virginia stars from the US won their second round matches yesterday, with 2017 NCAA champion Thai Kwiatkowski, the No. 12 seed, beating Daniel Nguyen(USC) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 and Collin Altamirano, the No. 15 seed beating Ohio State wild card James Trotter of Japan 6-3, 6-1.  Kwiatkowski will take on 2018 US Open boys champion Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil, while Altamirano's third round opponent is No. 3 seed Emilio Gomez(USC) of Ecuador.

Both of the men's Power Five conference head coaching positions have been filled, with NCAA champions Texas elevating Bruce Berque to head coach and Robbie Weiss named to lead the program at Clemson. There are still three women's vacancies at Power Five schools, with Maryland, Penn State and Auburn yet to name new head coaches. [Correction: Utah's women's coaching position is also still unfilled.]

While not Power Five, interest is always high in the Ivy League positions, and today Yale named its replacement for Alex Dorato, who had announced his retirement prior to the start of the 2018-19 season. Chris Drake, who has been head coach at Dartmouth for the past nine seasons, will take over for Dorato, who was head coach at Yale for 26 years.

And speaking of Yale, Oracle recently announced that its Challenger Series will be coming to the New Haven campus during the second week of the US Open, with tournaments for both men and women. Last year, Chicago was the site of that event, but the proximity to New York, plus the loss of the WTA event there, makes New Haven an intriguing alternative.

The ITA Summer Circuit begins next weekend at 11 campus venues across the country and extends five more weeks before culminating in the National Summer Championships August 9-13 at TCU. Registration is now open for all six weeks, with juniors and collegiate players accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. These events, which will be seeded using UTR, are a great way to get matches during the summer months and a few are even offering prize money.

The complete list of sites and more information on fees is here.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

US Junior Team for Next Week's Inaugural Hutchins Trophy Named; Qualifying Complete at Three US Pro Circuit Events; NCAA Champion Jubb Comes Back for First Challenger Win

Back in April, the Lawn Tennis Association announced a new 18-and-under boys team competition between Great Britain and the United States that will be held June 21st and 22nd at the ATP 500 Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen's Club. Honoring former British Davis Cup Captain Paul Hutchins, who died earlier this year, the Hutchins Trophy is expected to be similar to the Maureen Connolly Challenge Trophy, which has, for many years, provided top US junior girls with an opportunity to play on grass against their British counterparts in preparation for the Roehampton and Wimbledon junior tournaments the next two weeks.

The US boys team consists of four players: Martin Damm, 15; Toby Kodat, 16; Zane Khan, 17 and Eliot Spizzirri, 17. USTA National Coaches Sylvain Guichard and Jay Devashetty are accompanying the four boys.

The British team has not yet been announced, but their top-ranked ITF juniors are: Anton Matusevich[44], Jack Draper[46], Harry Wendelken[61] and Blu Baker[80].

Qualifying is now complete at the three ITF World Tennis Tour events this week in the United States. The women have a $15,000 tournament in Wesley Chapel Florida and a $25,000 tournament in Sumter South Carolina. The men are in Wichita Kansas for a $25,000 tournament. There is also a ATP Challenger in Columbus this week, which I'll cover on Wednesday.

At the tournament in Saddlebrook, 17-year-old Ava Hrastar was the only US junior to qualify, with the other Americans Victoria Emma(Florida), Alana Smith(North Carolina State), Megan McCray(Oklahoma State), Andie Daniell(Alabama) and Adesuwa Osabuohien. Tori Kinard is the top seed, with Ohio State recruit Layne Sleeth of Canada the No. 2 seed. Wild cards were given to Maribella Zamarripa, Anna Rogers(NC State), Steffi Carruthers of Samoa and 14-year-old Eleana Yu.

In South Carolina, the American qualifiers are: Jada Robinson, McCartney Kessler(Florida), Kenya Jones(Georgia Tech), Brynn Boren(USC) and Connie Ma. Wild cards were given to Kate Fahey(Michigan), Alexa Graham(North Carolina), Ellie Douglas(TCU) and University of Tennessee recruit Carly Briggs. Last week's champion Usue Arconada is the top seed, with Hailey Baptiste the No. 2 seed. Seventeen-year-olds Baptiste and Katie Volynets, seeded No. 7, are back on the tour after a six-week break. Vicky Duval, seeded No. 8, played her first match since last October due to injury, beating Graham 6-2, 6-2.

In Wichita, six American men qualified, including two juniors: 16-year-old Zachary Svajda and Texas A&M recruit Pierce Rollins. The other US qualifiers are Emmett Ward, Brandon Lam(Indiana), Zeke Clark(Illinois) and Nathan Ponwith(Arizona State). Ponwith, who won last week's $15K in Champaign Sunday, had to play his first qualifying match the next day in Wichita and has now played nine straight days, not counting the pre-qualifying matches he played prior to Champaign. 

Wild cards went to Texas recruit Siem Woldeab, Andrew Fenty(Michigan), Stefan Latinovic(Wichita State) and Alexander Lebedev(Notre Dame). Martin Redlicki(UCLA) is the No. 1 seed, Alexander Ritschard(Virginia) is seeded second.

At the ATP Challenger 125 in Nottingham, University of South Carolina's NCAA champion Paul Jubb earned his first victory at that level, beating Jurgen Zopp of Estonia 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-4.  The first round matches were played indoors due to rain. The victories for the 19-year-old Jubb and his fellow wild card Jack Draper, last year's Wimbledon boys finalist, are recounted in this LTA article.  Speculation about his chances of getting a Wimbledon main draw wild card are just that, but wins in Challengers over the next several weeks will certainly bolster his case.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Musetti New ITF Junior No. 1; Kodat, Navarro and Damm Surge in Rankings; Ten Americans Compete in This Week's Grade 1 in Germany; Ma Signs with Georgia

When Chun-Hsin Tseng of Taiwan chose not to defend his French Open boys title, it was likely that a new ITF Junior No. 1 would emerge the following week. Even though top seed Lorenzo Musetti of Italy lost in the third round last week at Roland Garros, the Australian Open boys champion is now at the top, with French Open boys champion Holger Rune of Denmark No. 2 and Tseng now No. 3. Musetti may not stay No. 1 for long however, as he is not defending a Grade 1 title in Germany next week and is not entered in the Wimbledon Junior Championships. Tseng, the defending boys champion at Wimbledon, is not defending that title either, with his focus now on the ITF World Tennis Tour.

Roland Garros was a great boost for the top US boys born in 2003, with Martin Damm's semifinal showing moving him up five spots to No. 6, and Toby Kodat's appearance in the final taking his ranking up 24 spots to No. 9. With Brandon Nakashima at No. 7 and Emilio Nava at No. 10, the United States now has four boys in the Top 10. The US has a total of 16 boys in the ITF Top 100.

Australian Open champion Clara Tauson of Denmark, who withdrew from the French Open at the last minute, remains No. 1 in the ITF girls rankings, and with no points to defend in until late July, she is likely to stay there, especially with Roland Garros champion Leylah Fernandez of Canada, now up to No. 3, not playing Wimbledon. Tauson, who is entered at Wimbledon, leads No. 2 Clara Burel of France by just 200 points, but Burel has been out injured and is not expected to compete on the Junior Circuit when she returns.

Emma Navarro jumped from 16 to 4 with her singles final and doubles championship in Paris, and she is entered at Wimbledon. 2018 French Open champion Coco Gauff is the only other American girl in the Top 10, at No. 7.  She, along with the other top US 18-and-under players Caty McNally and Whitney Osuigwe (and of course Amanda Anisimova), are not playing Wimbledon Juniors.  Fifteen US girls are in the ITF Junior Top 100 as of today.

This week's Grade 1 on clay in Germany has not drawn a strong field, with many players taking a week off after a long lead-up to the French Open and preparing to turn their attention to grass, which now has a season of three weeks with the introduction of a Grade 1 in Nottingham in two weeks. Neither of the No. 16 seeds in the tournament is in the ITF Top 100, and Harold Mayot of France, the boys top seed, has the best ranking in the field, at 34.

Two US boys and eight US girls begin first round play Tuesday in Offenbach: Dali Blanch[7], Blaise Bicknell[14], Hina Inoue[15], Alyssa Richter[Q], Lara Schneider, Alexandra Yepifanova[9], Madison Sieg, Tara Malik[16], Emma Jackson[8] and Katherine Teng.

The University of Georgia today announced the signing of Lea Ma, a blue chip who is ranked No. 3 in Tennis Recruiting Network's class of 2019.  Ma, who has been ranked as high as 19 in the ITF junior rankings and is currently at 28, will join the Bulldogs this fall. Ma defeated ITF No. 1 Clara Tauson last year at Wimbledon; I spoke with Ma about that win at the time.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Top Seed Arconada Wins Bethany Beach $25K; Qualifier Ponwith Claims Champaign $15K; Hanzlik Sweeps ITF Grade 5 Titles in Canada

Usue Arconada earned her first singles title since 2015 today at the $25,000 ITF World Tennis Tour tournament in Bethany Beach Delaware, beating wild card Natasha Subhash 6-1, 6-1 in the final. Arconada, 20, has won three doubles titles this year on the Pro Circuit, including at this tournament, but a singles title had eluded her. She has reached three quarterfinals, a semifinal and two finals this year, and has an 18-8 record, so she hasn't been slumping by any means, but I'm sure holding the winner's trophy again after so many years was gratifying. Arconada, the top seed, did not lose a set all week. It was another great week for University of Virginia rising freshman Subhash, who won the Williamsburg $15K last month and extended her pro winning streak to nine before losing today.

Arizona State rising senior Nathan Ponwith won his first Pro Circuit singles title today at the $15,000 tournament in Champaign Illinois. Because he hadn't entered the tournament, the 21-year-old played a pre-qualifying event just to get a wild card into qualifying, winning three matches right before the qualifying began. As it turned out, he did not need the wild card he won, gaining entrance as an on-site alternate, but the former ITF Top 20 junior went on to win both his qualifying matches, then five more main draw matches. Today he defeated No. 6 seed and former Northwestern star Strong Kirchheimer 7-6(2), 6-4 in the final.

The doubles title in Champaign went to unseeded Alex Blumenberg of Brazil and Mark Whitehouse of Great Britain, who defeated No. 2 seeds Diego Hidalgo of Ecuador and Ricardo Rodriguez of Venezuela 3-6, 6-4, 10-6 in the final.

Two former collegians met in the final of the men's $15,000 WTT tournament in Cancun, with former TCU star Jerry Lopez of Mexico, seeded No. 2,  defeating unseeded Connor Farren(USC) 6-1, 6-1 in the final. It is the 24-year-old Lopez's second Pro Circuit singles title.  In the women's $15,000 tournament in Cancun, recent Vanderbilt graduate Fernanda Contreras, who was raised in Texas but plays for Mexico now, made the final. She lost to former WTA Top 100 player Patricia Tig of Romania 6-0, 6-0 in the singles final, but picked up the doubles title with Baylor rising senior Jessica Hinojosa of Mexico. The unseeded pair defeated Baylor's Mel Krywoj of Argentina and Texas's Fernanda Labrana of Chile, also unseeded, 2-6, 6-4, 10-7.

No. 3 seed Alison Riske defended her title at the $100,000 ITF WTT tournament in Surbiton England, beating No. 5 seed Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-2 in the final. That gave the US a sweep of the titles, with Jennifer Brady and Caroline Dolehide winning the doubles title two days ago. Jonathan Kelley pointed out on Twitter that all five ITF Women's $100,000 singles titles this year have been by Americans: Caty McNally(Midland), Taylor Townsend(Charleston), Lauren Davis(Bonita Springs), Bernarda Pera(Tnrava) and now Riske.

No. 8 seed Dudi Sela of Israel won the ATP 90 Challenger in Little Rock, taking the title when No. 12 seed Duckhee Lee of Korea retired trailing 6-1, 4-3. The unseeded team of Matias Descotte of Argentina and Orlando Luz of Brazil won the doubles title, beating unseeded Treat Huey(Virginia) of the Philippines and Max Schnur(Columbia) 7-6, 1-6, 12-10. Huey and Schnur are both returning to competitive tennis this spring after year-long breaks due to injury.

Although most of the attention on juniors was at the French Open, there were other smaller ITF tournaments being played, and Cash Hanzlik swept the titles at the ITF Grade 5 in British Columbia this weekend. Hanzlik, 17, earned his first two titles on the ITF Junior Circuit, starting with the doubles championship, partnering with Dominik Jakovljevic. The top seeds defeated No. 2 seeds Nedim Suko and Canada's Luka Vukovic 6-4, 6-3 in the final.

As the No. 2 seed in singles, Hanzlik didn't drop a set, again beating Vukovic, the top seed, in a final. Hanzlik won it 6-3, 6-2.

At the ITF Grade 4 in El Salvador, No. 5 seeds Jameson Corsillo and Jake Krug won their second straight doubles title, beating No. 2 seeds Mateo Gomez of Colombia and Carolos Solares Midence of Bolivia 6-0, 7-6(5) in the final. Ava Krug, seeded No. 7, reached the girls singles final, falling to No. 6 seed Julia Garcia of Mexico 6-2, 6-3.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Holger Rune, Leylah Fernandez Claim French Open Singles Titles; Beck and Navarro Win Girls Doubles; All-US Finals in Champaign $15K, Bethany Beach $25K

Holger Rune of Denmark and Leylah Fernandez of Canada won French Open junior singles titles today, beating American opponents Toby Kodat and Emma Navarro. Navarro finished the day as a junior slam champion however, partnering with Chloe Beck to win the girls doubles title Saturday afternoon.

Tennis Channel had advertised coverage of the girls and boys singles finals, but when the men's semifinal resumed, early in the second set of the girls final, they switched to that, and as I don't have access to Tennis Channel Plus with my service provider, I missed the second half of the girls final and all the boys final.

Finalist Emma Navarro and Champion Leylah Fernandez, courtesy photo
In what I saw of the girls final, Navarro, the eighth seed, played well, but was at a disadvantage when Fernandez chose to drop shot, which was often. Fernandez, who reached the Australian Open girls final in January, led throughout the first set, breaking for the second time in the sixth games for a 4-2 lead. Fernandez showed signs of nerves trying to close out the set serving at 5-3, double faulting twice early in the game. But she found her forehand in the nick of time, saving three break points in that game and closing out the set. Fernandez broke Navarro to start the second set, and despite giving the break right back in the next game, she rolled through the remainder of the match, earning a 6-3, 6-2 victory.

The top-seeded Fernandez, who turns 17 in September, is the first Canadian, boy or girl, to win a Roland Garros singles title. She will not be playing Wimbledon Juniors, although she said she may play the US Open Juniors before concentrating exclusively on her pro career.

No. 7 seed Rune appeared to be on his way to a routine victory over the unseeded Kodat, serving for the match at 6-3, 5-4, 40-15. But Kodat saved both those match points, won the game, only to be broken again to give Rune a chance to serve for the match again. He only won one point in that game however, and Kodat took the tiebreaker 7-5, winning the final four points to take the set.

It was an ideal time for Rune to get a break, and the weather cooperated, with a rain delay giving him time to regroup. He came out strong to open the third set, and although three games went to deuce, Rune won them all for a 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-0 victory over fellow 16-year-old.

Rune is the second player from Denmark to win the Roland Garros boys title, with Kurt Nielsen's title way back in 1948 the only other one.

Fernandez and Rune's thoughts about their wins today can be found in this article from the Roland Garros website.
Champions Chloe Beck and Emma Navarro (photo courtesy Michael Beck)
After her singles loss, Navarro still had doubles to play, with the completion of the semifinal, interrupted Friday night, first on the agenda. Navarro and Chloe Beck were leading No. 7 seeds Adrienn Nagy of Hungary and Sohyun Park of Korea 6-3, 1-0, when play resumed, but they dropped the second set 6-3, sending the match to a tiebreaker. Although they did not face a match point themselves, Beck and Navarro had a match point on every other point from 9-8 on, but seven times Nagy and Park saved them, until finally Beck and Navarro converted on the eighth, for a 6-3, 3-6, 17-15 win and a place in the final.

After all that drama, Navarro and Beck had to be relaxed to start the final, and they rolled over No. 4 seeds Alina Charaeva and Anastasia Tikhonova of Russia 6-1, 6-2 for the title. Navarro and Beck had reached the US Open Junior semifinals last year and the Australian Open finals this year, so they are not surprise winners, in spite of not being seeded. Navarro and Beck are the second all-US team to win a girls doubles title at Roland Garros, with Beth Herr and Janet Lagasse's title back in 1982 the only previous one.

The boys doubles title was won by No. 5 seeds Matheus Pucinelli de Almeida of Brazil and Thiago Tirante of Argentina, who beat unseeded Flavio Cobolli of Italy and Dominic Stricker of Switzerland 7-6(3), 6-4 in the final.

The men's doubles title went to an unlikely pair, with former Auburn star Andreas Mies and partner Kevin Krawietz beating Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin of France 6-2, 7-6(3). The unseeded Germans were playing a Challenger as recently as last month, but they are now grand slam champions, the first German pair to win the men's doubles title in Paris. For more, see this article at the Roland Garros website.

Although all five American men remaining at the ATP Challenger in Little Rock exited today, the other two Pro Circuit events will feature all-American finals on Sunday.

Top seed Usue Arconada and wild card Natasha Subhash will meet for the championship at the $25,000 women's event in Bethany Beach Delaware. Subhash, the 17-year-old rising freshman at the University of Virgina, needed over three hours to get past unseeded Tess Sugnaux of Switzerland 7-5, 5-7, 6-3, while Arconada defeated No. 7 seed Dea Herdzelas of Bosnia 6-2, 7-6(3). Arconada and Subhash played once on the ITF Junior Circuit, with Arconada winning their semifinal match at the 2016 Grade A in Brazil 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

Arconada and Hayley Carter won the doubles title today, their first as a team, with the top seeds beating No. 3 seeds Herdzelas and Slovakia's Tereza Mihalikova 6-4, 6-4 in the final.

At the $15,000 Men's event in Champaign, No. 5 seed Strong Kirchheimer(Northwestern) will play current Arizona State rising senior Nathan Ponwith, a qualifier, for the title. No. 6 seed Kirchheimer defeated former Florida Gator Diego Hidalgo of Ecuador, the No. 5 seed, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3. Ponwith beat unseeded Sumit Sarkar, a rising junior at Rice, 6-3, 6-4 in the other semifinal.

At the $100,000 ITF World Tennis Tour women's event on the grass in Surbiton England, 17-year-old Caty McNally advanced to the semifinals, beating top seed and WTA 54 Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium 7-6(5), 6-2. McNally, who has six Top 100 wins this year, fell in the semifinals to No. 3 seed Alison Riske 6-0, 6-4.

Unseeded Jennifer Brady(UCLA) and Caroline Dolehide won the doubles title in Surbiton, beating Great Britain's Heather Watson and Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer, also unseeded, 6-3, 6-4. The Americans didn't drop a set all week.

Friday, June 7, 2019

May Aces; Navarro, Kodat Reach French Open Junior Singles Finals; Subhash, Arconada Advance to Bethany Beach $25K Semis; Weiss Named Clemson Men's Head Coach

The May edition of my Tennis Recruiting Network monthly column highlighting the top junior and collegiate performances is up today, looking back at the NCAA Division I and Division III individual champions as well as a dozen others who posted outstanding results.

For the first time since 1989, an American boy and an American girl have reached the French Open final in the same year, with unseeded Toby Kodat and No. 8 seed Emma Navarro advancing to Saturday's championship matches.

The 16-year-old Kodat, who is playing his first French Open, defeated IMG training partner Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan 6-3, 6-4, for his fifth consecutive straight-sets win this week. No. 7 seed Holger Rune of Denmark prevented an all-USA boys final by defeating No. 10 seed Martin Damm 6-4, 6-2 in the other semifinal. The 16-year-old Rune also has not dropped a set in his French Open debut. Rune and Kodat have split two Grade 1 matches this year, both on clay, with Kodat winning in three sets back in February in Brazil and Rune winning April's meeting in France in straight sets.

The 18-year-old Duke recruit had lost, badly, her previous two meetings with No. 5 seed Qinwen Zheng of China at last year's Eddie Herr and Orange Bowl and it didn't look like Navarro was going to be able to break that pattern when she quickly dropped the first set 6-2. But she rebounded in the second set, winning it 6-1, and was a bit tougher on the key points in the tight third set to take it 6-4.  At 4-all, Navarro converted her third break point to give herself the opportunity to serve for the match at 5-4. She had to save a break point in that game, at 30-40, but won the final three points of the match for the victory.

Navarro will play top seed Leylah Fernandez of Canada, who beat No. 3 seed Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals. The 16-year-old Fernandez, who reached the Australian Open girls final in January and won the Grade 1 warmup in Belgium last week, has been dominating her opponents all week, with her 7-5, 6-3 first round win over Maria Tkacheva of Russia the closest match she has had all week.

Navarro and Fernandez, who have not played before, are both featured in the ITF Junior Circuit website article about today's matches.

After winning her singles semifinal, Navarro was facing two doubles matches, and she and Chloe Beck got through one and a half. The unseeded pair beat Taisya Pachkaleva and Zheng 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals, and led No. 7 seeds Adrienn Nagy of Hungary and Sohyun Park of Korea 6-3, 1-0 when play was called for the day. The winner of that match will play No. 4 seeds Alina Charaeva and Anastasia Tikhonova in the final.

Damm and Kodat lost their quarterfinal match in doubles, as did Hurricane Tyra Black and Lea Ma[5] and Zane Khan, playing with China's Bu Yunchaokete.

Tennis Channel will provide coverage of the girls and boys finals beginning at 5 a.m. Eastern time Saturday, with the girls on first, followed by the boys, with the conclusion of the girls doubles semifinal to follow that.

Amanda Anisimova made a valiant comeback from 5-0 down in the first set in her women's French Open semifinal with No. 8 seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia, and had a 7-6(4), 3-0 lead in the match, but Barty came back to win the next two sets 6-3, 6-3 to put an end to the run of the 17-year-old. Barty will play unseeded Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, who came from 5-3 down in both sets to beat No. 26 seed Johanna Konta of Great Britain 7-5, 7-6(2). For more on Anisimova's match with Barty, see this article from the WTA website.

While the quarterfinals are still going on at the $15,000 ITF World Tennis Tour men's event in Champaign and the third round at the rain-drenched ATP 90 Challenger in Little Rock, the semifinals are set at the women's $25,000 tournament in Bethany Beach Delaware.

Seventeen-year-old wild card Natasha Subhash, one of the May aces for her first title last month at the Williiamsburg $15K, is through to the semifinals. The University of Virginia rising freshman, who beat No. 8 seed Sanaz Marand(UNC) yesterday, advanced to the semifinals when No. 4 seed Belinda Woolcock(Florida) retired trailing 6-0, 3-1. Subhash will play unseeded Tess Sugnaux of Switzerland for a spot in the final. Top seed Usue Arconada advanced to the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over No. 6 seed Sophie Chang and will play No. 7 seed Dea Herdzelas of Bosnia in the semifinals.

Clemson announced that Robbie Weiss has been hired to lead the men's tennis program, replacing John Boetsch, whose contract was not renewed after three seasons. Weiss has a wealth of coaching experience; most recently he was men's assistant at Alabama.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Anisimova Beats Halep to Reach French Open Semifinals; Navarro, Damm and Kodat Win Twice to Advance to French Junior Championships Semis; ITA Men's Team Indoor Kick-off Weekend Draft Complete

Amanda Anisimova has been considered a rising star in the WTA for quite some time, but her profile was raised to new heights today in the women's French Open quarterfinals. The 17-year-old from Florida defeated No. 3 seed and defending champion Simon Halep of Romania 6-2, 6-4 to become the youngest American woman to reach a slam semifinal since Venus Williams at the 1997 US Open.  Anisimova, playing in just her second women's draw in Paris (she was a finalist at the 2016 junior championships there), has not dropped a set in her five wins this week. On Friday, she will face No. 8 seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia, who beat No. 14 seed Madison Keys 6-3, 7-5 in the other quarterfinal played today. For more on Anisimova's win today, see this article from the WTA website.

The French Open Junior Championships got back on schedule, at least in singles, today, with three Americans winning two matches to reach the semifinals.

No. 8 seed Emma Navarro kept hope alive for a third straight American girls champion in Paris, beating No. 9 seed Kamilla Bartone of Latvia 6-4, 6-4 in the third round and unseeded Daria Snigur of Ukraine 6-7(6) 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals. Snigur had beaten Navarro in the third round of the Australian Open back in January, although Navarro had won their previous meeting on clay. Navarro's semifinal opponent is No. 5 seed Qinwen Zheng of China, who has beaten Navarro in their only two meetings, both on clay, in the first round at last year's Eddie Herr and in the semifinals the following week at the Orange Bowl.  The other girls semifinal features top seed Leylah Fernandez of Canada, who lost only two games in her two wins today, against No. 3 seed Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia. They have split two previous meetings, with Osorio Serrano winning their quarterfinal match last year at the US Open Junior Championships and Fernandez winning their 2018 French Open Junior third round match.

The boys semifinalists were all born in 2003, with the youngest 15-year-old Martin Damm, who won his two matches in straight sets today. In the third round, the tenth-seeded Damm avenged his two Grade A losses on clay to No. 5 seed Thiago Tirante of Argentina, taking that match 7-6(3), 6-1. In the quarterfinals, Damm defeated unseeded qualifier Peter Makk of Hungary 6-1, 6-4. Makk had upset top seed Lorenzo Musetti of Italy 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-5 in the third round.

Damm will play No. 7 seed Holger Rune of Denmark, 16, who advanced to the semifinals when No. 15 seed Filip Jianu of Romania retired trailing 6-0, 4-1. Jianu had beaten No. 3 seed Brandon Nakashima 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4 in the third round. Damm beat Rune 6-3, 6-4 in the third round of the Grade A in Brazil this winter.

The boys semifinal in the bottom half is between two unseeded 16-year-olds: Toby Kodat and Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan. Kodat advanced to the quarterfinals when No. 4 seed Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria retired trailing 7-6(5), 5-3. Kodat, who has not lost a set in his four wins this week, beat unseeded Taha Baadi of Canada 7-6(3), 6-2 to move into the semifinals. Mochizuki beat unseeded Flavio Cobolli of Italy 6-1, 6-2 in the quarterfinals to advance to a first meeting with Kodat. Cobolli had upset No. 2 seed Jonas Forejtek of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-2 in the third round.

Kodat, Damm and Mochizuki all train at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.

With two singles matches on Thursday's schedule, only one round of doubles could be played, so those draws are still behind, with two matches scheduled for Friday.

Kodat and Damm advanced to the quarterfinals, with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Matteo Arnaldi and Francesco Passaro of Italy. Zane Khan and his partner Bu Yunchaokete of China reached the doubles quarterfinals Tuesday.  The other Americans in the boys doubles draw--Cannon Kingsley and Emilio Nava, Dali Blanch and Will Grant--lost their second round matches today.

Unseeded Navarro and Chloe Beck reached the girls doubles quarterfinals, beating No. 8 seeds Melodie Collard and Fernandez 6-0, 7-6(8). No. 5 seeds Hurricane Tyra Black and Lea Ma reached the quarterfinals back on Tuesday. Savannah Broadus and Abigail Forbes lost their second round doubles match today.

A Roland Garros photo gallery, including Navarro, Damm, Nakashima and Kodat, is available at the ITF Junior Circuit website. The ITF Junior website article on today's matches features comments from Kodat about his play. There is an error in it, giving Damm the credit for a win over Musetti rather than Makk.

Although the weather forecast isn't great for Friday, the schedule has all three Americans opening play at 5 a.m. Eastern time. Anisimova is scheduled to play then as well.

The Men's ITA Team Indoor Kick-off Weekend draft was held today, with a surprising number of teams passing on the opportunity to participate. Although the first 12 teams eligible (ranked 16-27) selected from the 15 sites hosting regionals in January of 2020, No. 28 Alabama passed, and then 12 other teams ranked 29-71 elected not to participate.

The first regional to fill up was No. 9 Mississippi State, with Oklahoma[17], South Carolina[19] and Georgia[21] making for an exceptionally competitive regional. No. 13 Tennessee also filled up quickly, with No. 16 Columbia, No. 22 Oklahoma State and No. 24 Arizona State making the trip to Knoxville. No. 1 Texas's regional was surprisingly popular, but No. 6 Baylor and No. 7 North Carolina couldn't attract any teams in the Top 60 to their sites.

For the entire list of who is going where, with draft order, see the Slam Tennis site. The women's draft from Wednesday can be found here.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

17 Americans Accepted into Wimbledon Junior Championships; Rain Disrupts French Open; D-I Women's ITA Kickoff Draft Complete; NCAA Champions Claim Top Spots in D-III Final Rankings

With rain in Paris pushing the singles round of 16 matches at the French Open junior championships into Thursday, it's the perfect opportunity to look at the next junior slam.

The acceptances for The Junior Championships, which is the official name of the Wimbledon 18 and under event, are out, with the tournament scheduled to run from July 6-14th.  Nine US boys and eight US girls were accepted into the main draw, and has been the case with junior slams this year, the ranking cutoff for the boys draw is much tougher than the girls.

The American boys in the main draw are: Brandon Nakashima, Emilio Nava, Martin Damm, Zane Khan, Eliot Spizzirri, Cannon Kingsley, Toby Kodat, Tyler Zink and Govind Nanda. As was the case at the French Open, Nanda received main draw entry based on his ATP ranking, which is currently 601.  Youcef Rihane of Algeria, ranked 56, got in because he was the top-ranked player from Africa. Otherwise, the cutoff for entry for boys was 48, which is comparable to this year's French Open boys cutoff, which was 49 initially.

Dali Blanch and Will Grant are the two US boys currently in qualifying.

The American girls in the main draw are: Hurricane Tyra Black, Alexa Noel, Emma Navarro, Elli Mandlik, Lea Ma, Savannah Broadus, Abigail Forbes and Robin Montgomery. There were no girls receiving special entries, with the ranking cutoff for the girls 60.

Chloe Beck, Charlotte Chavatipon and Charlotte Owensby received entry into qualifying, with Katrina Scott and Emma Jackson the next two into qualifying.

Notably missing from the entries is Lorenzo Musetti of Italy, who won the boys Australian Open and, as the top seed, has reached the round of 16 this week at the French Open. It would be a shame if he were going for the junior grand slam not to play at Wimbledon, but I suppose if he does win four more matches in Paris, a wild card is not out of the question.  Eight of the ITF Top 10 boys are entered, with defending champion Chun-Hsin Tseng of Taiwan and Musetti the exceptions.

Canadian Leylah Fernandez of Canada, the top seed in the Roland Garros girls draw this week, will not be playing Wimbledon, with only four of the current ITF girls Top 10 entered. No. 1 Clara Tauson of Denmark is in the field, with Diane Parry[8] of France, Maria Osorio Serrano[9] of Colombia and Qinwen Zheng[10] of China the other three.

All four American juniors still in the singles draws at Roland Garros had their matches disrupted Wednesday, with Emma Navarro the only one with a clear advantage when play was washed out for the day. The eighth-seeded Navarro leads No. 9 seed Kamilla Bartone of Latvia 6-3, 3-2, while Toby Kodat, Martin Damm and Brandon Nakashima are all on serve late in the first set of their third round matches.  With the forecast for Friday not good, the quarterfinals matches in singles are also on the Thursday schedule.

Neither of the two women's quarterfinals on today's schedule started, so Madison Keys and Amanda Anisimova will take the court at 6 a.m. Eastern Thursday for their matches.

The Division I women's Kickoff Weekend draft was held today to fill the regional spots for the 2020 ITA Team Indoor championships. As is usually the case, there isn't much demand to travel to the top-ranked teams, and this year, the best ranking electing to go to a top four host is No. 36 Washington State, which will be going to No. 1 Stanford. No. 13 Kansas's host site was the first to fill up, with No. 18 Cal, No. 21 Virginia and No. 22 Tennessee opting for Lawrence this January. Illinois is hosting the Team Indoor next year and received an automatic bye into the final 16.  See the SLAM Tennis site for the complete draws and the draft order.  The men's Kickoff Weekend draft is Thursday.

The final ITA Division III rankings have been released, and unlike the Division I rankings, all the NCAA champions finished ranked No. 1-- singles, doubles, and team. Click on the headers to go to the full list of rankings. For a photo gallery of all the NCAA D-III singles quarterfinalists, go to the Tennis Recruiting Network.

Women’s Division III Top 10 Team, June 4 2019:
(Previous rankings in parentheses)
1. Wesleyan (4)
2. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (2)
3. Emory (1)
4. Middlebury (3)
5. Pomona-Pitzer (5)
6. Amherst (6)
7. Carnegie Mellon (11)
8. Chicago (12)
9. MIT (19)
10. Brandeis (8)

Women’s Division III Top 10 singles, June 4, 2019
1. Ysabel Gonzalez-Rico, Emory
2. Catherine Allen, CMS
3. Lauren O’Malley, John Carroll
4. Danna Taylor, Carnegie Mellon
5. Victoria Yu, Wesleyan
6. Heather Boehm, Middlebury
7. Venia Yeung, Wesleyan
8. Jacqueline Bukzin, Amherst
9. Caroline Casper, Pomona-Pitzer
10. Leah Bush, Williams

Women’s Division III Top 5 doubles, June 4, 2019
1. Caroline Cox and Catherine Allen, CMS
2. Nicole Tan and Sarah Bahsoun, CMS
3. Heather Boehm and Annmartin Skelly, Middlebury
4. Ysabel Gonzalez-Rico and Defne Olcay, Emory
5. Victoria Yu and Kristina Yu, Wesleyan

Men’s Division III Top 10 Team, June 4 2019:
(Previous rankings in parentheses)
1. Emory (3)
2. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (1)
3. Middlebury (6)
4. Chicago (2)
5. Amherst (4)
6. Wesleyan (5)
7. Bowdoin (8)
8. Brandeis (10)
9. Washington-St. Louis (7)
10. Williams

Men’s Division III Top 10 singles, June 4, 2019
1. Jonathan Jemison, Emory
2. Leo Vithoontien, Carleton
3. Grant Urken, Bowdoin
4. Nikolai Parodi, CMS
5. Jack Katzman, CMS
6. Ethan Hillis, Washington-St. Louis
7. Lubomir Cuba, Middlebury
8. Sean Wei, Amherst
9. Boris Sorkin, Tufts
10. Varun Shanker, Cal Tech

Men’s Division III Top 5 doubles, June 4, 2019
1. Yangeng Jiang and Grant Urken, Bowdoin
2. Noah Lilienthal and Adrian Roji, Wesleyan
3. Ninan Kumar and Erik Kerrigan, Chicago
4. Julian Gordy and Nikolai Parodi, CMS
5. Jordan Pitts and Wilson Lambeth, Trinity(Texas)

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Damm Reaches French Open Junior Championships Third Round, Parry, Noel, Black Ousted; USTA Pro Circuit Resumes with Three Tournaments This Week

Martin Damm at Grade A in Milan, photo courtesy Richard van Loon
Fifteen-year-old Martin Damm was the sole American singles winner today at the French Open, with the No. 10 seed claiming a 6-3, 6-2 win over Alibek Kachmazov of Russia, who had reached the final at the Grade 1 in Belgium last weekend. Damm was the only American boy in action Tuesday, and the two US girls playing their second round matches both lost. No. 4 seed and Milan Grade A champion Alexa Noel was beaten by Ane Mintegi Del Olmo of Spain 6-4, 6-1 and No. 6 seed Hurricane Tyra Black was eliminated by Taisya Pachkaleva of Russia 6-2, 6-3.  That leaves three American boys in the round of 16, Damm, Toby Kodat and Brandon Nakashima, and just one US girl, Emma Navarro.

Another of the pre-tournament favorites was upset today, with No. 2 seed Diane Parry of France losing to Annerly Poulos of Australia 6-3, 6-4. Parry had received a wild card into the women's main draw and won her first round match, and also won two rounds in the women's doubles tournament.  Top seed Leylah Fernandez of Canada defeated Marta Custic of Spain 6-0, 6-3 to advance to Wednesday's third round.

The only seeded boy to lose today was No. 8 seed Bu Yunchaokete of China, who lost to Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan 6-2, 6-1 in a meeting of former Junior Orange Bowl 14s champions. Yunchaokete won that title in 2016, Shintaro in 2017.

Damm will face No. 5 seed Thiago Tirante of Argentina in the third round Wednesday, with Tirante holding a 2-0 edge in their head-to-head encounters. Tirante defeated Damm in two Grade As this year, in the final of the February tournament in Porto Alegre Brazil and the semifinals of the Milan tournament two weeks ago, both times in three sets.

Kodat plays No. 4 seed Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria for the first time Wednesday and No. 3 seed Nakashima will play No. 15 seed Filip Jianu of Romania in their first meeting.

Navarro's opponent in Wednesday's third round is No. 9 seed Kamilla Bartone of Latvia. The two met in the second round of the Orange Bowl last December, with Navarro coming from a set down to win.

All four singles matches involving US players are first on Wednesday, 5 a.m. Eastern time in the United States. For more on Damm's match, see this article from the ITF Junior Circuit website.

The first round of doubles was completed Tuesday, as well as four matches in the second round.

Navarro and Chloe Beck beat French wild cards Elsa Jacquemot and Manon Leonard 6-2, 7-5 in the first round, while Black and Lea Ma, the No. 5 seeds, reached the quarterfinals with a 7-6(8), 6-2 second round win over Antonia Samudio of Colombia and Carlota Martinez Cirez of Spain. Charlotte Owensby and Charlotte Chavatipon lost their first round match to Sada Nahimana of Burundi and Hong Yi Cody Wong of Hong Kong 6-1, 3-6, 15-13.

Savannah Broadus and Abigail Forbes will play their second round match on Wednesday.

In boys doubles, Kodat and Damm beat No. 7 seeds Govind Nanda and Canadian Liam Draxl 6-4, 1-6, 10-8 in the first round. No. 2 seeds Emilio Nava and Cannon Kingsley won their first round match 6-3, 6-3 over French wild cards Martin Breysach and Timo Legout. Will Grant, playing with Mateus Alves of Brazil, advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Jonas Forejtek and Dalibor Svrcina of the Czech Republic.

No. 4 seeds Zane Khan and Yunchaokete reached the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 2-6, 10-7 win over Mochizuki and Holger Rune of Denmark, but Eliot Spizzirri and Tyler Zink fell in the second round to Arthur Cazaux and Harold Mayot of France 6-4, 6-7(4), 12-10 after having a match point at 10-9 in the deciding tiebreaker.  Dali Blanch, playing with Christian Lerby of the Netherlands, plays his second round doubles match Wednesday.

2018 Roland Garros women's finalist Sloane Stephens lost to Johanna Konta of Great Britain in today's quarterfinals, with the No. 7 seed failing to mount a challenge in Konta's 6-1, 6-4 win. Madison Keys[14] and Amanda Anisimova both play their quarterfinal matches against Ashleigh Barty[8] and Simona Halep[3] respectively at 8 a.m. Eastern time Wednesday.

After a three-week hiatus for the men and a two-week break for the women, USTA Pro Circuit tournaments have returned this week with an ATP 90 Challenger in Little Rock, a $25,000 women's tournament in Bethany Beach Delaware and a $15,000 men's tournament in Champaign Illinois. 

In Little Rock, Michael Mmoh is the top seed, with wild cards given to Jason Kros(Virginia Tech), Oliver Crawford(Florida), Tim Smyczek, Alek Kovacevic(Illinois) and Brandon Holt(USC). Crawford and Smyczek won their first round matches. It's good to see former USC star Raymond Sarmiento back on the tour after a long layoff. Sarmiento reached the final of the Men's Open at Ojai back in April, and using a protected ATP ranking (he was 287 in 2017) he entered this week's event and has earned two wins, including today's 7-6(5), 6-3 decision over recent UCLA graduate Maxime Cressy, the No. 17 seed. Live streaming is available at the ATP Challenger website, with Mike Cation providing commentary.

Qualifying was completed today at the women's event in Delaware with Jada Robinson, Peyton Stearns, Tori Kinard and Connie Ma the Americans advancing to the main draw.  The top seed in the tournament is Usue Arconada and second seed is Duke rising sophomore Maria Mateas, with wild cards given to Alexa Graham(North Carolina), Natasha Subhash, Andie Daniell(Alabama) and Jessica Livianu(St. John's). Virginia rising freshman Subhash won her first round match today against USC rising freshman Carson Branstine 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-3, while Graham and Livianu lost their first round matches. Daniell opens play on Wednesday.

The qualifying for the Champaign tournament ended today, with Nathan Ponwith(Arizona State), Alex Kobelt(Ohio State), Gui Gomes(Illinois) and Lucas Horve(Illinois) the Americans reaching the main draw.  The top seed is former Stanford star Tom Fawcette, with Illinois rising sophomore Keenan Mayo the No. 2 seed. Three of the wild cards went to Illinois players: Vuk Budic, Zeke Clark and Siphosothando Montsi. The fourth was given to 15-year-old Alex Bernard.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Anisimova Reaches Women's Quarterfinals at French Open; Kodat, Nakashima and Navarro Through to FO Juniors Third Round; South Carolina's Recruiting Class No. 1 in TRN's New Rankings

Seventeen-year-old Amanda Anisimova advanced to the quarterfinals of the women's French Open today, beating qualifier and former collegian Aliona Bolsova of Spain 6-3, 6-0.  Anisimova is the first player, man or woman, born in the 2000s to reach a slam quarterfinal, and her run at this tournament will assure her of a new career-high in the WTA rankings. She is currently 35 in the live rankings. Her next opponent will be her toughest yet however--No. 3 seed and defending champion Simona Halep of Romania. Halep made short work of another former junior slam champion, reigning Wimbledon girls champion Iga Swiatek of Poland, who lost to Halep 6-1, 6-0 in 45 minutes today.

Anisimova is one of three American women in the quarterfinals, with No. 7 Sloane Stephens earning her spot yesterday, and No. 14 seed Madison Keys beating Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-4 today. Keys will play No. 8 seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia, who defeated Sonya Kenin 6-3, 3-6, 6-0. Stephens is the only one of the three in action on Tuesday, when she takes on No. 26 seed Johanna Konta of Great Britain, who beat her last month in the second round in Rome.

Three Americans advanced to the round of 16 at the French Open Junior Championships today, while three other won their first round matches.

No. 4 seed Alexa Noel got past last week's Belgium Grade 1 finalist Carole Monnet of France 7-5, 6-4 to reach the second round, and No. 6 seed Hurricane Tyra Black fought off two match points in her 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-0 win over wild card Alice Tubello of France. Robin Montgomery fell to No. 9 seed Kamilla Bartone of Latvia 6-7(7) 6-4, 6-4 and qualifier Chloe Beck was beaten by Loudmilla Bencheikh of France 6-4, 6-4.

The explanation for Noel's semifinal walkover in her match with Elli Mandlik in the ITF WTT $15K in Italy last month is revealed in this ITF Junior Circuit website article about today's matches.

In boys first round matches, No. 10 seed Martin Damm earned his first junior slam victory, beating Dane Sweeny of Australia 7-5, 7-6(1).  Zane Khan lost to Juan Bautista Torres of Argentina 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-4 and Govind Nanda was beaten by Harold Mayot of France 6-3, 6-3.

In girls second round matches, No. 8 seed Emma Navarro picked up another win, beating French wild card Aubane Droguet 6-1, 6-3. Qualifier Charlotte Chavatipon fell in the second round to Elsa Jacquemot of France 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-3.

In boys second round matches, unseeded Toby Kodat advanced, beating wild card Kyran Jacquet of France 6-2 6-4.  No. 3 seed Brandon Nakashima defeated Eric Vonshelboim of Ukraine 6-1, 6-4 to join Kodat in the third round.  No. 6 seed Emilio Nava lost to Keisuke Saitoh of Japan 6-1, 6-4 and qualifier Dali Blanch was beaten 6-3, 6-3 by No. 4 seed Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria, who is Kodat's next opponent.

In addition to Nava, two other boys seeds were eliminated Monday, with No. 9 seed Otto Virtanen of Finland losing in the first round and No. 12 seed Giulio Zeppieri of Italy retiring due to cramping the second round with a 4-2 third set lead over Canadian Taha Baadi.

The only girls seed to lose today was Helene Pellicano of Malta, who lost to Daria Snigur of Ukraine 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the second round. Top seed Leylah Fernandez of Canada won her first round match 7-5 6-3 over Maria Tkacheva of Russia.

Tuesday's schedule features the second round matches for Damm, Black and Noel, as well as the other 14 second round singles matches and 16 second round doubles matches.

In today's first round doubles action, top boys seeds Musetti and Zeppieri of Italy withdrew, presumably due to Zeppieri's cramping earlier in the day. Eliot Spizzirri and Tyler Zink reached the second round, as did Blanch, playing with Christian Lerby of the Netherlands and Khan, playing with Bu Yunchaokete of China.

In girls first round doubles, No. 5 seeds Lea Ma and Black opened with a win, but No. 3 seeds Elli Mandlik and Noel were beaten by Qinwen Zheng of China and her partner Taisya Pachkaleva of Russia 6-4, 6-3. Savannah Broadus and Abigail Forbes also advanced to the second round.

The Tennis Recruiting Network revealed its spring recruiting class rankings for Division I women's programs today, with South Carolina at the top of the list.  There wasn't much consensus among the voters (I'm one of them) about who should be No. 1, but the Gamecocks received 8 of the 15 first place votes, enough to put them at the top. After South Carolina comes UCLA, Princeton, Texas Tech, Yale and Florida State, all of whom earned first place votes.  The complete list is available here.  The men's Division I class rankings were announced last week, with Texas at the top.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Six American Juniors Advance to Second Round at French Open; Krug, Jakovljevic Win ITF Grade 5 Titles; Arconada Wins Another Cancun $15K

Six of the 14 American juniors in action today at the start of the French Open advanced to the second round, with two qualifiers picking up their first junior slam wins in the process.

Seventeen-year-old qualifier Charlotte Chavatipon defeated No. 12 seed Sada Nahimana of Burundi 6-3, 6-0, a particularly impressive win given that Nahimana had reached the final of the Grade A in Milan two weeks ago. Sixteen-year-old qualifier Dali Blanch also had a routine win, if a player's first slam victory can ever be called that, beating Gustaf Strom of Sweden 6-0, 6-1.

Toby Kodat eliminated No. 13 seed Carlos Alcaraz Garfia of Spain, a 16-year-old who has had success on the pro circuit and has an ATP ranking of 502. Kodat, also 16, beat Alcaraz 6-4, 6-4 in their first meeting today.

Brandon Nakashima, the No. 3 seed, defeated Kevin Chahoud of Sweden 6-1, 6-2 in his first junior match of the year after a semester at the University of Virginia. No. 6 seed Emilio Nava also sailed through his first round match, beating Youcef Rihane of Algeria 6-2, 6-3.

Cannon Kinglsey lost to No. 5 seed Thiago Tirante of Argentina 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2. Tirante is featured in the ITF Junior Circuit website's article on today's matches, as is Will Grant, who lost his first round match to French wild card Nicolas Tepmahc 6-2, 6-1.

Eliot Spizzirri lost a tough encounter with No. 2 seed Jonas Forejtek of the Czech Republic 7-6(5), 7-6(6) and Tyler Zink fell to Flavio Cobolli of Italy 7-6(6), 6-2.

No. 8 seed Emma Navarro advanced with a 6-3, 6-4 decision over Adrienn Nagy of Hungary, but No. 14 seed Elli Mandlik, who won a $15K tournament in Italy a couple of weeks ago, lost to Romana Cisovska of Slovakia 6-2, 6-3. Lea Ma retired trailing No. 16 seed Helene Pellicano of Malta 6-3, 3-1; Savannah Broadus lost to No. 15 seed Sohyun Park of Korea 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 and Abigail Forbes was beaten by No. 7 seed Natsumi Kawaguchi of Japan 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.

Only seven seeds lost in today's first round, all seeded in double digits, with No. 11 seed Liam Draxl of Canada the highest one. Top boys seed Lorenzo Musetti of Italy defeated French wild card Timo Legout 7-5, 6-0 in his return to junior competition for the first time since winning the Australian Open in January. Girls No. 2 seed Diane Parry of France defeated Daria Frayman of Russia 6-2, 6-2.  Top seed Leylah Fernandez of Canada is on Monday's schedule.

Monday will feature the remaining 16 first round matches and 16 second round matches.

Americans playing their first matches are Martin Damm[10], Zane Khan, Govind Nanda, Hurricane Tyra Black[6], Alexa Noel[4], Chloe Beck[Q] and Robin Montgomery.  All six of the Americans who won today will play their second round matches Monday.

The doubles first round begins on Monday, with Kawaguchi and Parry the top girls seeds. Kawaguchi has won all the Grade A doubles titles so far this year, although she has not played with Parry in those three previous championship runs.  Mandlik and Noel are the No. 3 seeds, with Black and Ma seeded No. 5.  The top seeds in the boys draw are frequent partners Musetti and Giulio Zeppieri of Italy. Kingsley and Nava are the No. 2 seeds, with Nanda seeded No. 7 with Draxl and Khan seeded No. 4 with Bu Yunchaokete of China.

No. 7 seed Sloane Stephens advanced to the women's quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-3 win over No. 19 seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain, the 2016 French Open champion.  Sonya Kenin, Madison Keys[14] and Amanda Anisimova will play their fourth round matches on Monday.

Sixteen-year-old Jake Krug swept the titles this week at the ITF Grade 5 tournament in El Salvador, his first two titles on the Junior Circuit. Seeded No. 5, the grandson of Dick Vitale won his last three matches in three sets, taking the championship match over No. 6 seed William Ribero Duarte of Colombia 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3. Krug and Jameson Corsillo won the doubles title, with the top seeds beating No. 2 seeds Ribero Duarte and Nicolas Cortes Campos of Colombia 7-6(5), 7-5 in the final. Krug's younger sister Ava fell just short of the girls singles title, falling in the final to Julia Garcia of Mexico.

At the Grade 5 in Calgary Canada, 16-year-old Dominik Jakovljevic won his first ITF Junior Circuit title in an all-US final. No. 5 seed Jakovljevic defeated No. 4 seed Alexander Petrov 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 in the championship match.

And at this week's ITF World Tennis Tour $15,000 event in Cancun, former Texas A&M star Jordi Arconada won his second such title in the past two months. The No. 4 seed, the 22-year-old Arconada beat No. 2 seed Alejandro Gomez(Kentucky) of Colombia 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals and unseeded Brandon Walkin of Australia 7-5, 6-4 in the final.  Walkin and Australian partner Matthew Romios, the No. 4 seeds, beat No. 3 seeds Alexios Halebian and Paul Oosterbaan 6-2, 2-6, 10-8 to claim the doubles title.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

21 Americans Begin Quest for French Open Junior Title; Kenin Tops Williams, Anisimova and Keys Move into Round of 16 at Roland Garros

The French Open Junior Championships begin Sunday in Paris, with a total of 21 Americans--11 boys and 10 girls--looking for their first slam title. Fourteen of the 21 will play their first singles match tomorrow.

The US boys in the draw include three seeds: No. 3 Brandon Nakashima, who is playing in his first junior tournament of the year after spending the spring semester competing at the University of Virginia; No. 6 seed Emilio Nava, who reached the final of the Australian Open back in January, and No. 10 seed Martin Damm.  The rest of the US boys in the draw are Will Grant[Q], Cannon Kingsley, Zane Khan, Toby Kodat, Dali Blanch[Q], Govind Nanda, Tyler Zink and Eliot Spizzirri.

Four US girls are seeded: No. 4 Alexa Noel, the Milan Grade A champion; No. 6 seed Hurricane Tyra Black, No. 8 seed Emma Navarro and No. 14 seed Elli Mandlik. The six other US girls in the draw are Savannah Broadus, Charlotte Chavatipon[Q], Abigail Forbes, Chloe Beck[Q], Robin Montgomery and Lea Ma.

The top seed in the boys draw is Australian Open champion Lorenzo Musetti of Italy, currently No. 2 in the ITF World junior rankings. Milan champion Jonas Forejtek of the Czech Republic is the No. 2 seed, with Spizzirri his opponent in the first round tomorrow.

Leylah Fernandez of Canada is the top seed in the girls draw. Unlike several of the US girls, Fernandez did play a warmup event prior to the French Open, winning the ITF Grade 1 in Belgium today with a 6-2, 6-1 decision over No. 8 seed Carole Monnet of France. Australian Open girls champion Clara Tauson of Denmark, No. 1 in the ITF World Junior rankings was entered, but withdrew late. France's Diane Parry, who is still in the women's doubles draw after a second round win today with partner Fiona Ferro, is the No. 2 seed.

The US girls have won the past two titles, with five of the six finalists in the past three years. Whitney Osuigwe defeated Claire Liu in 2017 and Coco Gauff defeated Caty McNally last year.  Back in 2016, Amanda Anisimova, then 14, reached the final, falling to Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland. Three years later Anisimova is through to the fourth round of the women's draw after defeating Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania 7-6(6), 6-4 today. It's the second straight slam round of 16 for the 17-year-old from Florida. Anisimova will face former Oklahoma State/Florida Atlantic standout Aliona Bolsova of Spain, a qualifier, for a place in the quarterfinals.

Anisimova is one of three unseeded teenagers to reach the round of 16. Eighteen-year-old Iga Swiatek of Poland, last year's Wimbledon girls champion, advanced with a 0-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Monica Puig of Puerto Rico. Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, who turns 20 later this month, reached the fourth round with a win over No. 28 seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain Friday.

No. 14 seed Madison Keys defeated qualifier Anna Blinkova of Russia 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-4 today to face, not top seed Naomi Osaka of Japan, but Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, who upset Osaka 6-4, 6-2.
That was big news, but perhaps even bigger was Sonya Kenin's 6-2, 7-5 win over Serena Williams, the No. 10 seed. The 20-year-old from Florida, who got a walkover from No. 22 seed Bianca Andreescu of Canada in the second round, was not intimidated by the Williams aura and with two previous WTA Top 10 wins already to her credit, she had enough experience to cope with the tense atmosphere.  For more on Kenin's win, see this article from Steve Tignor at tennis.com. Kenin will play No. 8 seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia on Monday.

The fourth American woman in the round of 16, No. 7 seed Sloane Stephens, will play No. 19 seed and former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza of Spain on Sunday.

To wrap up the Grade 1 in Belgium, I mentioned Fernandez winning that title, her first Grade 1, with the boys singles title going to unseeded Leandro Riedi of Switzerland. He defeated unseeded Alibek Kachmazov of Russia 6-4, 1-6, 6-0 in the final. [correction:] Although Kachmazov is competing in Paris, Riedi was not high enough in the rankings to earn entry into the French Junior Championship qualifying.