Friday, July 26, 2019

Gauff Gets Into WTA Citi Open Qualifying, McNally and Baptiste Receive Main Draw Wild Cards; Recaps of USTA Clay Courts 18s Titles for Price and Allen; Subhash Advances in Evansville $25K; USTA Boys 18s National Team Championships Starts Saturday

The suspense regarding Coco Gauff's next competition post-Wimbledon came to an end this afternoon, when it was announced that she had moved into qualifying at Washington DC's Citi Open, and would be playing Saturday. The 15-year-old, whose Wimbledon run to the fourth round captivated even non-sports fans, will face former Cal star Maegan Manasse, who lost her quarterfinal match today in Ashland Kentucky to former Georgia star Ellen Perez of Australia 6-2, 6-3. Gauff is the top seed in qualifying, with her post-Wimbledon ranking of 143. She had to get into qualifying based on the pre-Wimbledon ranking, which was 313.

Gauff, who had to go through qualifying because she has already used her three WTA wild cards, is actually not the youngest player in qualifying draw, with 14-year-old local standout Robin Montgomery receiving a wild card. Montgomery, who trains at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park Maryland, will face Destinee Aiava of Australia. North Carolina rising sophomore Cameron Morra, an NCAA singles semifinalist this year, also received a qualifying wild card and will play 18-year-old Varvara Gracheva of Russia.

The three main draw wild cards all went to Americans: Allie Kiick, Caty McNally and Hailey Baptiste. Baptiste, a 17-year-old from Washington DC, will be making her WTA debut against the No. 2 seed, Madison Keys. McNally faces Lin Zhu of China, with Kiick playing Monica Puig of Puerto Rico. Sloane Stephens in the No. 1 seed.

Although she is also from the Washington DC area and would be a candidate for a qualifying wild card, Natasha Subhash will instead be playing in the semifinals of the $25,000 tournament in Evansville Indiana Saturday. Subhash, who is unseeded, defeated qualifier Fernanda Contreras(Vanderbilt) of Mexico 6-4, 6-3 to set up a meeting with top seed Deniz Khazaniuk of Israel. Grace Min, the No. 6 seed, will play No. 5 seed Haruna Arakawa of Japan, who beat Elli Mandlik 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.

No. 5 seed Robin Anderson is through to the semifinals at the $60,000 tournament in Ashland Kentucky. The former UCLA star will play No. 8 seed Zoe Hives of Australia on Saturday. Even if she loses tomorrow, the 26-year-old from New Jersey will be at a new career high in the rankings, at around 162.

The last of the Kalamazoo participants is out of the $25,000 men's event in Champaign-Urbana, with No. 7 seed Cannon Kingsley(Ohio State) losing today to Illinois rising senior Aleks Kovacevic 6-4, 6-4. Wild card Kovacevic will face No. 3 seed Jenson Brooksby in one semifinal, with the top half semifinal featuring No. 1 seed Liam Broady of Great Britain against No. 4 seed Oliver Crawford, a rising junior at Florida.

Mitchell Krueger has advanced to the semifinals of the ATP 80 Challenger in Binghamton, with the No. 7 seed beating No. 4 seed Dudi Sela of Israel 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-4. He will face No. 11 seed Yuichi Sugita of Japan on Saturday.

The Tennis Recruiting Network wraps up its coverage of the USTA Clay Courts Championships, with articles on Gabby Price's win in Charleston and Leighton Allen's title in Delray Beach. Rhiannon Potkey notes in the article on Price that the 16-year-old had signed a professional contract earlier this year. Joey Dillon spoke with Leighton Allen about his exciting 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-6(2) win over Logan Zapp, with Allen expressing his surprise on winning his first Level 1 title on clay.

The USTA Boys 18s National Team Championships begin tomorrow in Chattanooga Tennessee, a new venue for the competition, which for many years was held in Champaign-Urbana. I can't remember the Intermountain section ever being a No. 1 seed before, but they are this week, although the No. 2 seed, Southern, looks every bit as strong to me. The draw is here, and the team rosters are here.