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.