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Saturday, August 31, 2019

Six Americans Qualify for US Open Junior Championships; Navarro Top Seed in Girls Draw; Ahn Moves On to Second Week in Women's Singles; Riedi and Jacquemot Win Repentigny Grade 1 Titles

©Colette Lewis 2019--
Flushing Meadows NY--

Three US boys and three US girls qualified for the US Open Junior Championships today at the Cary Leeds Tennis Center in the Bronx, joining 31 other Americans in the main draw, with play beginning Sunday at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Elvina Kalieva defeated Kailey Evans, also of the US, 6-2, 7-5; Skyler Grishuk will make her main draw junior slam debut after a 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 win over Martyna Kubka of Poland and Alexandra Yepifanova advanced with a 1-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Jiangxue Han of China.

The US boys advancing are Blaise Bicknell, who beat Blu Baker of Great Britain 6-4, 7-5; wild card Cash Hanzlik, who defeated Roman Burruchago of Argentina 6-2, 6-1 and Kalamazoo 16s finalist Aidan Mayo, who came back to beat Stefan Storch of Australia 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-3.

Emma Navarro is the top seed in the US Open girls draw, with Diane Parry of France No. 2 and Alexa Noel No. 3.  Hurricane Tyra Black[8] and Abigail Forbes[13] are the other seeded American girls.

Seeded US boys are No. 3 Martin Damm, No. 6 Toby Kodat and No. 10 Brandon Nakashima.

The USTA National 18s champions have both decided to play the juniors after losing in the first round of the main draw in singles. Katie Volynets, who did not need a wild card because she got in via her WTA ranking, and Zachary Svajda, who is using the junior wild card that goes to the National 18s winner.

Emilio Nava, who did not enter but was given a wild card, was the source of a problem with the initial draw, which had him facing top seed Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan, the Wimbledon boys champion. As the No. 9 ranked player in the ITF junior rankings, Nava would be seeded in any possible scenario, so the boys draw will probably have to be revised.


I didn't go to junior qualifying today, opting instead to watch some of the juniors and former collegians at the USTA BJKNTC. I didn't get there in time to see much of the second round doubles match between Kalamazoo 18s champions Toby Kodat and Martin Damm and French Open champions Andreas Mies and Kevin Krawietz of Germany, but I did manage to attend their press conference after their 6-2, 7-5 loss.

Damm was candid about the difference between the wild card team of Mitchell Krueger and Tim Smyczek they faced in the first round, and the German team.

"I think the first round showed that we could hang with these guys," Damm said. "Obviously they are not doubles guys, they're singles guys, but still they're better than us. So beating them gave us a lot of confidence. We knew these guys won French Open, and they are an actual doubles team. We had our chances early on; we were up 1-0 two break points, had some break points to break back, but we let the first set slip away. Second set, same thing. We had a break point to go up 5-3, but they played a good point. At 5-all, I guess the nerves got to us."

Damm said the speed of the game at this level was something they had to get accustomed to in a hurry.

"First of all, there are way better players here," Damm said, in contrasting the experience in New York to that of Kalamazoo. "It's all a lot faster. The problem solving is also a lot faster, and one thing was getting used to it. They serve better, they know what they're doing in those tight situations. So I guess getting used to that, adapting to that was the hardest part."

Damm, 15, and Kodat, 16, are the youngest team to win a men's doubles match at the US Open according to the USTA.

Coco Gauff's run at the US Open came to an end tonight against top seed and defending champion Naomi Osaka of Japan, 6-3, 6-0, but the feel-good stories for American women continued nonetheless, with qualifier Taylor Townsend and wild card Kristie Ahn advancing to the round of 16 with straight-sets wins today.  Townsend defeated unseeded Sorana Cirstea of Romania 7-5, 6-2, backing up her second round win over Simona Halep by continuing her commitment to serve and volley tennis.  She will play No. 15 seed Bianca Andreescu of Canada Monday.
The 27-year-old Ahn, who had not won a main draw match at a slam prior to this week, beat former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia 6-3, 7-5 and will play Belgian Elise Mertens, the No. 25 seed, on Labor Day. Ben Rothenberg spoke to Stanford graduate Ahn and her parents about their differences of opinion regarding the significance of her excelling at tennis in this article for the New York Times.

While there are four US women still alive in singles, American men are done after today's third round. John Isner and Tennys Sandgren both lost today.

Saturday’s third round singles matches featuring Americans:

Naomi Osaka[1](JPN) d. Coco Gauff[WC] 6-3, 6-0
Taylor Townsend[Q] d Sorana Cirstea(ROU) 7-5, 6-2
Kristie Ahn[WC] d Jelena Ostapenko(LAT) 6-3, 7-5

Marin Cilic[22](CRO) d. John Isner[14] 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-4
Diego Schwartzman[20](ARG) d. Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 6-1, 6-3

Sunday’s third round women's singles matches featuring Americans:
Serena Williams[8] v. Petra Martic[22](CRO)
Madison Keys[10] v Elina Svitolina[5](UKR)

Sunday's first round girls singles matches featuring Americans:
Emma Navarro[1] v Hong Yi Cody Wong(HKG)
Gabriella Price[WC] v Helene Pellicano(MLT)
Allura Zamarripa[WC] v Antonia Samudio(COL)
India Houghton[WC] v Qinwen Zheng[5](CHN)
Natasha Subhash[WC] v Jessica Bouzas Maneiro(ESP)
Chloe Beck v Melodie Collard(CAN)
Katie Volynets v Carole Monnet(FRA)(removed from initial oop)
Katrina Scott[WC] v Alina Charaeva[10](RUS)
Alexa Noel[3] v Darja Semenistaja(LAT)

Sunday's first round boys singles matches featuring Americans:

Tyler Zink v Harold Mayot[7](FRA)
Alexander Bernard[WC] v Arthur Cazaux(FRA)
Dali Blanch[WC] v Arthur Fery(GBR)
Martin Damm[3] v Stijn Pel(NED)
Cannon Kingsley v Wojciech Marek(POL)
Ronald Hohmann[WC] v Jiri Lechecka[15](CZE)
Eliot Spizzirri v Matteo Arnaldi(ITA)
Ronan Jachuck[WC] v Thiago Tirante[5](ARG)

The ITF Grade 1 in Canada concluded today, with No. 13 seed Leandro Riedi of Switzerland defeating No. 4 seed Valentin Royer of France 6-0, 3-6, 6-4 for the boys title and No. 7 seed Elsa Jacquemot of France defeating Carole Monnet, also of France, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 to take the girls title.

Top seeds Gauthier Onclin of Belgium and Valentin Royer of France defeated No. 5 seeds  Leandro Riedi and Dominic Stricker of Switzerland and 6-4, 2-6, 10-6 for the boys doubles title, while
No. 8 seeds Aubane Droguet and Selena Janicijevic of France beat No. 4 seeds Zhuoxuan Bai of China and Jacquemot 6-2, 6-0 to earn the girls doubles championship.

Friday, August 30, 2019

August Aces; Twelve US Juniors Reach Final Round of US Open Qualifying; Gauff and McNally Advance in Women's Doubles; France Puts Three in Repentigny's Grade 1 Finals

My monthly column highlighting the top performances of this month is up today at the Tennis Recruiting Network, highlighting the achievements of juniors and former college players in professional and international junior events. There were so many with titles this month that I had to limit the level of the Pro Circuit titles I featured to that at $25,000 and above.

The first day of US Open Junior qualifying is complete at the Cary Leeds Tennis Center in the Bronx, with a dozen Americans reaching Saturday's final round.

The US girls winning matches today: Elvina Kalieva, Kailey Evans[13], Skyler Grishuk[3], Emma Jackson[11], Alexandra Yepifanova[9], Hibah Shaikh, Kylie Collins[14] and Qavia Lopez[WC].  Kalieva and Evans face off on Saturday, so at least one more American will reach the main draw from that match.

The US boys advancing are Aidan Mayo[WC], Cash Hanzlik[WC], Victor Lilov[WC] and Blaise Bicknell.  In the marquee match of the day, top qualifying seed Karlis Ozolins of Latvia again got the better of Micah Braswell, with the ITF Grade 1 College Park champion beating College Park finalist Braswell 7-5, 6-3.


At the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, wild cards Coco Gauff and Caty McNally won their first round women's doubles match, beating Julia Goerges of Germany and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 7-6(6), 6-2. Gauff and McNally were one of the August Aces for their title early this month at the WTA tournament in Washington DC. As the 2018 US Open girls champions, Gauff and McNally have now won six straight doubles matches at the USTA BJKNTC. Whitney Osuigwe, who has several major junior titles with McNally as her partner(and two Wimbledon girls doubles finals), is partnering with Taylor Townsend, and they beat the Canadian team of Bianca Andreescu and Sharon Fichman 6-2, 6-3. Danielle Collins and former Georgia star Ellen Perez of Australia took out No. 6 seeds Samantha Stosur of Australia and Shuai Zhang of China 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.

NCAA champions Keegan Smith and Maxime Cressy of UCLA lost to Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina and Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Friday’s third round singles matches featuring Americans:
Serena Williams[8] d. Karolina Muchova(CZE) 6-3, 6-2
Madison Keys[10] d. Sofia Kenin[20] 6-3, 7-5
Novak Djokovic[1](SRB) d. Denis Kudla 6-3, 6-4, 6-2

Saturday's third round singles matches featuring Americans:
Coco Gauff[WC] v Naomi Osaka[1](JPN)
Taylor Townsend[Q] v Sorana Cirstea(ROU)
Kristie Ahn[WC] v Jelena Ostapenko(LAT)

John Isner[14] v Marin Cilic[22](CRO)
Tennys Sandgren v Diego Schwartzman[20](ARG)

The finals are set at the ITF Grade 1 in Repentigny Canada, with the girls final an all-France affair.  Carole Monnet defeated unseeded Jada Bui of Canada 6-3, 6-1 and will face No. 7 seed  Elsa Jacquemot, who beat No. 6 seed Sohyun Park of Korea 6-4, 6-2.  France also has one of the boys finalists, in No. 4 seed Valentin Royer, who defeated Francesco Maestrelli of Italy 6-0, 6-2. Maestrelli's place in the US Open Junior qualifying was taken by alternate James Story of Great Britain. Royer will face No. 13 seed Leandro Riedi of Switzerland, who beat No. 10 seed Tristan Schoolkate of Australia 6-4, 6-3.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Twenty-six American Juniors Begin US Open Qualifying Friday; Gauff Wins Again, Damm and Kodat Get Doubles Victory at US Open

Qualifying for the US Open Junior Championships begin Friday at the Cary Leeds Tennis Center in the Bronx. Seventeen US girls and nine US boys hope to win to matches there in the next two days to reach the main draw at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

The draw gods were not kind to last Saturday's ITF Grade 1 boys finalists, with College Park champion Karlis Ozolins of Latvia and runnerup Micah Braswell playing each other in the first round of qualifying. Ozolins is the top seed, while Braswell was given a wild card. The other American boys in the qualifying draw are Aidan Mayo[WC], Mark Mandlik, Cash Hanzlik[WC], Andrew Dale, Victor Lilov[WC], Bruno Kuzuhara[WC], Andres Martin and Blaise Bicknell.

With more than half the girls field from the US, one match is between two Americans: wild card Karina Miller and No. 3 seed Skyler Grishuk. The other US girls in qualifying are Jenna Defalco, Kimmi Hance[WC], Kailey Evans[13], Valencia Xu[WC], Gianna Pielet, Emma Jackson[11], Madison Sieg, Alexandra Yepifanova[9], Hibah Shaikh, Tara Malik[16], Tsehay Driscoll[WC], Kylie Collins[14], Charlotte Owensby[8] and Qavia Lopez[WC].

Plenty of excitement was generated Thursday at the US Open, with matches postponed from Wednesday cramming the schedule. Qualifier Taylor Townsend earned her first Top 10 win, saving a match point in her 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) win over No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion Simona Halep late this afternoon on Ashe.

Then came 15-year-old Coco Gauff, who fought past qualifier Timea Babos of Hungary on Armstrong 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. Just two years ago, Gauff was making her junior slam debut at the US Open; now she is the youngest woman to make the third round in New York since Anna Kournikova in 1996. She will play defending champion and No. 1 seed Naomi Osaka of Japan Saturday.

Wild card Kristie Ahn and Sofia Kenin also picked up wins today, as did John Isner, Denis Kudla and Tennys Sandgren.

Kalamazoo 18s doubles champions Martin Damm and Toby Kodat are into the second round after defeating fellow wild cards Tim Smyczek and Mitchell Krueger 7-6(6), 7-5 tonight. They will play No. 12 seeds and French Open champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies of Germany in the second round.

San Diego champions Abigail Forbes and Alexa Noel lost to Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland and Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain 7-6(3), 6-2 tonight.

NCAA champions Maxime Cressy and Keegan Smith of UCLA are first up on Friday on Court 5.

Thursday's second round singles matches featuring Americans:

Taylor Townsend[Q] d. Simona Halep[4](ROU) 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4)
Caroline Wozniacki[19](DEN) d. Danielle Collins 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Coco Gauff[WC] d. Timea Babos[Q](HUN) 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
Jelena Ostapenko(LAT) d. Alison Riske 6-4, 6-3
Sofia Kenin[20] d. Laura Siegemund(GER) 7-6(4), 6-0
Julia Goerges[26](GER) d. Francesca Di Lorenzo[WC] 7-5, 6-0
Kristie Ahn[WC] d. Anna Kalinskaya[Q](RUS) 6-2, 6-3

Alexander Zverev[6](GER) d. Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
John Isner[14] d. Jan-Lennard Struff(GER) 6-4, 7-6(4), 7-6(5)
Nikoloz Basilashvili[17](GEO) d. Jenson Brooksby[Q] 3-6, 7-6(3), 7-5, 6-2
Tennys Sandgren d. Vasek Pospisil(CAN) 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4
Denis Kudla d. Dusan Lajovic[27](SRB) 7-5, 7-5, 0-6, 6-3

Friday’s third round singles matches featuring Americans:
Serena Williams[8] v Karolina Muchova(CZE)
Sofia Kenin[20] v Madison Keys[10]
Denis Kudla v Novak Djokovic[1](SRB)

At the ITF Grade 1 in Canada, the last American still alive, No. 8 seed Eiliot Spizzirri, lost in the quarterfinals to No. 13 seed Leandro Riedi of Switzerland 5-7, 6-1, 6-1. Riedi will face No. 10 seed Tristan Schoolkate of Australia. In the other boys semifinal, No. 4 seed Valentin Royer of France will play unseeded Francesco Maestrelli of Italy. Maestrelli is also in the draw in the US Open qualifying, so it remains to be seen which match he will play. I would have thought he would be eligible for a special exemption into the US Open, but apparently not. Perhaps he hadn't moved into qualifying as of the freeze date, I'm not sure, but it seems odd that he would have signed in for qualifying while still in the tournament in Canada.

The girls semifinals have Jada Bui of Canada playing Carole Monnet of France, and No. 6 seed Sohyun Park of Korea facing No. 11 seed Elsa Jacquemot of France.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

My College Park ITF Recap; Rain in New York Washes Out Majority of US Open Matches; Arseneault Beats Top Seed in Canada Grade 1; ITA Adopts Playsight's Playfair System

Latvia was the story of last week's ITF Grade 1 in College Park, with unseeded Karlis Ozolins winning the boys singles title and No. 2 seed Kamilla Bartone claiming the girls singles and doubles titles. My recap of the week is available today at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

With rain starting this morning in New York and continuing off and on during the day, the only matches completed Wednesday at the US Open were those played under the roofs of Ashe and Armstrong. That means a busy schedule for Thursday, with postponed matches added to those second round matches previously scheduled for Thursday, as well as the start of doubles. Both USTA National 18s doubles champions are scheduled to play on Thursday.

With not as much tennis to watch, I had more time to read articles, and I found this New York Times article on Kalamazoo champion Zachary Svajda. I heard today that Svajda has been offered a wild card into next week's Oracle Challenger in New Haven, so he may accept that rather than play in the US Open Junior Championships, which the article presumes.  And this article on Kristie Ahn from usopen.org contains some candid comments from the former Stanford star about the burden that early success can sometimes produce.

Wednesday's second round singles matches featuring Americans:

Serena Williams[8] d. Caty McNally[WC] 5-7, 6-3, 6-1
Eline Svitolina[5](UKR) d. Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4
Madison Keys[10] d. Lin Zhu(CHN) 6-4, 6-1
Ashleigh Barty[2](AUS) d. Lauren Davis 6-2, 7-6(2)
Sonya Kenin[20] v Laura Siegemund(GER)(postponed)

Kei Nishikori[7](JPN) d. Bradley Klahn 6-2 4-6 6-3 7-5
Denis Kudla v Dusan Lajovic[27](SRB)(postponed)
Dominik Koepfer[Q](GER) d. Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(2)
Jenson Brooksby[Q] v Nikoloz Basilashvili[17](GEO)(postponed)

Thursday's second round matches featuring Americans:

Taylor Townsend[Q] v Simona Halep[4](ROU)
Danielle Collins v Caroline Wozniacki[19](DEN)
Coco Gauff[WC] v Timea Babos[Q](HUN)
Alison Riske v Jelena Ostepenko(LAT)
Sonya Kenin[20] v Laura Siegemund(GER)
Francesca Di Lorenzo[WC] v Julia Goerges[26](GER)
Kristie Ahn[WC] v Anna Kalinskaya[Q](RUS)

Frances Tiafoe v Alexander Zverev[6](GER)
John Isner[14] v Jan-Lennard Struff(GER)
Jenson Brooksby[Q] v Nikoloz Basilashvili[17](GEO)
Tennys Sandgren v Vasek Pospisil(CAN)
Denis Kudla v Dusan Lajovic[27](SRB)

The top two seeds in both the boys and girls draws at the ITF Grade 1 in Repentigny Canada are now out, with unseeded Ariana Arseneault of Canada defeating top seed Natsumi Kawaguchi of Japan 6-4, 7-6(8) in today's third round. Alex Bernard, who beat top seed Harold Mayot of France in the second round, lost to No. 13 seed Leandro Riedi of Switzerland today 7-5, 6-3. That leaves Eliot Spizzirri as the only American in the singles quarterfinals. The No. 8 seed defeated No. 11 seed Alejo Lingua Lavallen of Argentina 6-2, 6-3 and will play Riedi in the quarterfinals.

Playsight announced earlier this week that PlayFair, its video challenge system, has been officially adopted by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, after a three-year trial. Of course this is only available to those schools who have Playsight on their courts, so, while it is a good step in providing tools to eliminate cheating, it is a long way from being universally adopted. The press release announcing the ITA's approval is here.

The Louisville Courier-Journal has obtained documents regarding the recent firing of men's head coach Rex Ecarma, and Sports Illustrated summarizes the reasons for his departure in this article.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Gauff Comes Back to Win in US Open Debut; Ahn, Di Lorenzo Advance to Second Round; Bernard Beats Top Seed at Repentigny ITF Grade 1

Coco Gauff faced a different kind of challenge in her opening match of the US Open when compared to round 1 at Wimbledon. In London, the 15-year-old Floridian had qualified and faced five-time champion Venus Williams, 24 years her senior, in her first match. At the US Open, Gauff received a wild card into the main draw, and was drawn against 18-year-old Anastasia Potapova of Russia, who, like Gauff was a former ITF Junior World No. 1.

Gauff looked out of sync at the beginning, had 11 double faults, and let a 4-1 lead slip away in the third set, but she managed to come up big when mattered, breaking Potapova in the final game of the match. Next up for Gauff on Thursday is qualifier Timea Babos of Hungary, who advanced when No. 28 seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain retired after Babos won the first set 6-2.

USTA National 18s champion Katie Volynets kept No. 15 seed Bianca Andreescu out on the court for 90 minutes, but the 19-year-old Canadian, who had a pro-Canada crowd solidly behind her, claimed a 6-2, 6-4 victory. Volynets, 17, made Andreescu earn the win, although she does not yet have the arsenal that Andreescu displayed, especially when it comes to moving forward.

Former Ohio State star Francesca Di Lorenzo told me back in January, when she was just returning from plantar fasciitis, that she would like to finish the year in the WTA Top 130, and with her current ranking a career-high of 125, she is on her way to achieving that. Today she defeated WTA No. 51 Veronika Kudermetova of Russia 7-6(4), 6-2, winning the last six points of the first set tiebreaker, and has now reached the second round of the US Open for the second straight year. She plays No. 26 seed Julia Goerges of Germany Thursday.

Another former college star had a memorable evening in New York, with Stanford's Kristie Ahn eliminating 2004 US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 7-5, 6-2. It is Ahn's first slam victory in four attempts, with her first appearance way back in 2008, when she was a 16-year-old qualifier at the US Open. At the same tournament where I spoke to Di Lorenzo, the Dow Tennis Classic in Midland, I talked to Ahn about her new training scenario, her goals and why she's de-emphasized making the Top 100.

Tuesday's first round singles matches featuring Americans:

WOMEN: (6-5)
Anna Kalinskaya[Q](RUS) d. Sloane Stephens[11] 6-3, 6-4
Alison Riske d. Garbine Muguruza[24](ESP) 2-6, 6-1, 6-3
Simona Halep[4](ROU) d. Nicole Gibbs[LL] 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
Coco Gauff[WC] d. Anastasia Potapova(RUS) 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
Kristie Ahn[WC] d. Svetlana Kuznetsova(RUS) 7-5, 6-2
Alize Cornet(FRA) d. Jessica Pegula 6-2, 6-3
Taylor Townsend[Q] d. Kateryna Kozlova(UKR) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
Danielle Collins d. Polona Hercog(SLO) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4
Bianca Andreescu[15](CAN) d. Katie Volynets[WC] 6-2, 6-4
Yulia Putintseva(KAZ) d. Madison Brengle 6-3, 6-3
Francesca Di Lorenzo[WC] d. Veronika Kudermetova(RUS) 7-6(4), 6-2

MEN: (3-3)
John Isner[14] d. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez(ESP) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
Nick Kyrgios[28](AUS) d. Steve Johnson 6-3, 7-6(1), 6-4
Tennys Sandgren d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga(FRA) 1-6, 6-7(2), 6-4, 7-6(5), 7-5
Hyeon Chung[Q](KOR) d. Ernesto Escobedo[WC] 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2
Gilles Simon(FRA) d. Bjorn Fratangelo[WC] 5-7, 7-5, 7-5, 7-5
Frances Tiafoe d. Ivo Karlovic(CRO) 6-2, 6-3, 1-2 ret.

Wednesday's second round singles matches featuring Americans:

WOMEN:
Serena Williams[8] v Caty McNally[WC]
Venus Williams v Eline Svitolins[5](UKR)
Madison Keys[10] v Lin Zhu(CHN)
Lauren Davis v Ashleigh Barty[2](AUS)
Sonya Kenin[20] v Laura Siegemund(GER)

MEN:
Bradley Klahn v Kei Nishikori[7](JPN)
Denis Kudla v Dusan Lajovic[27](SRB)
Reilly Opelka v Dominik Koepfer[Q](GER)
Jenson Brooksby[Q] v Nikoloz Basilashvili[17](GEO)

Doubles play begins on Wednesday, with USTA National 18s girls champions Abigail Forbes and Alexa Noel on the schedule. They will play Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland and Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain on Court 12.  Kalamazoo 18s champions Martin Damm and Toby Kodat's opponents are fellow American wild cards Tim Smyczek and Mitchell Krueger, although they are not on Wednesday's schedule. NCAA champions Maxime Cressy and Keegan Smith from UCLA will play Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania and Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina in the first round, but they too are not yet scheduled.

The women's doubles draw is here, the men's doubles draw is here, and the mixed doubles draw is here.

The surprises have continued at the ITF Grade 1 in Repentigny Canada, with Kalamazoo 16s champion Alex Bernard taking out top seed Harold Mayot of France 7-6(5), 6-2. Mayot is No. 8 in the ITF World Junior rankings, while Bernard is 146. Late last night No. 2 seed Emilio Nava lost to wild card Joshua Lapadat of Canada 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Nava had not played since the end of June due to injury. Bernard and No. 8 seed Eliot Spizzirri are the only two Americans left in singles.

No. 5 seed Kamilla Bartone of Latvia, who won last week's Grade 1 in College Park, lost her second round match to wild card Marina Stakusic of Canada 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

Monday, August 26, 2019

McNally, Brooksby Earn First Slam Victories Monday at US Open; No. 2 Seed Black Suffers Second Round Loss at Repentigny ITF Grade 1

Seventeen-year-old Caty McNally and 18-year-old Jenson Brooksby won their first matches at the slam level today at the US Open, while Kalamazoo 18s champion Zachary Svajda lost a four-hour and 24-minute, five-set battle in his first match above the Futures level.

McNally, a wild card, beat Timea Bacsinzsky of Switzerland 6-4, 6-1, her second win over the former WTA Top 10 player this year, after also defeating her in the final round of qualifying at Indian Wells. McNally faces Serena Williams in Wednesday's second round.

Brooksby, who made his slam debut last year at the US Open with the wild card from winning the 2018 18s title in Kalamazoo, was able to build on that experience this year, beating Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 after winning three qualifying matches.  Berdych was obviously not at his best, but Brooksby looked comfortable and in control in the final two sets to earn the win. I remember discussions last year on whether a main draw wild card was appropriate for the Kalamazoo winner, suggesting that a qualifying wild card would be enough, but I think that ignores the very real possibility that Brooksby's opportunity to play in the main draw last year directly contributed to his victory today. Brooksby now has earned $100,000 for reaching the second round if he decides to turn pro, rather than beginning at Baylor in January, as he had previously planned. He said his results the rest of this week and in the fall will play a role in that decision. Next up for Brooksby is No. 17 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia.

This year's Kalamazoo champion Zachary Svajda was tantalizingly close to earning a victory in his match with lucky loser Paolo Lorenzi of Italy, leading two sets to one and up a break early in the fourth, but cramps, which surfaced late in the third, proved too much to overcome, and he lost 3-6, 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-2. Svajda was forced to play more aggressively, which showed off his point construction and his willingness to volley, and he also was able to hit ground strokes winners, but his serve was an obvious weakness. The physicality of the match also was a factor in the 37-year-old Italian's victory, but it's safe to say that Svajda made many new fans today in New York.

Results from Americans in action Monday:

Men (4-6):
Juan Ignacio Londero(ARG) d. Sam Querrey 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(3), 7-5
Paolo Lorenzi([LL](ITA) d. Zachary Svajda[WC] 3-6, 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-2
Yoshihito Nishioka(JPN) d. Marcos Giron[WC] 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
Cristian Garin[31](CHI) d. Chris Eubanks[WC] 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-3
Bradley Klahn d. Thiago Monteiro(BRA) 6-3, 6-2, 6-3
Pablo Cuevas(URU) d. Jack Sock[WC] 6-4, 7-5, 7-6(5)
Jenson Brooksby[Q] d. Tomas Berdych(CZE) 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
Reilly Opelka d. Fabio Fognini[11](ITA) 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3
Denis Kudla d. Janko Tipsarevic(SRB) 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5), 6-1
Feliciano Lopez(ESP) d. Taylor Fritz[26] 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4

Women (6-6):
Serena Williams[8] d. Maria Sharapova(RUS) 6-1, 6-1
Sonya Kenin[20] d. Coco Vandeweghe 7-6(4), 6-3
Venus Williams d. Saisai Zheng(CHN) 6-1, 6-0
Madison Keys[10] d. Misaki Doi(JPN) 7-5, 6-0
Caty McNally[WC] d. Timea Bacsinzsky(SUI) 6-4, 6-1
Mariam Bolkvadze[Q](GEO) d. Bernarda Pera 6-3, 5-7, 6-4
Shuai Peng[Q](CHN) d. Varvara Lepchenko[LL] 6-2, 7-6(5)
Qiang Wang[18](CHN) d. Caroline Dolehide[Q] 6-4, 6-4
Lauren Davis d. Johanna Larsson[Q] 7-5, 6-2
Aliaksandra Sasnovich(BLR) d. Jennifer Brady 6-1, 4-6, 6-0
Elina Svitolina[5](UKR) d. Whitney Osuigwe[WC] 6-1, 7-5

Tuesday's schedule features 11 US women, including wild cards Coco Gauff and Katie Volynets, and six US men.

Women:
Sloane Stephens[11] v Anna Kalinskaya[Q](RUS)
Alison Riske v Garbine Muguruza[24](ESP)
Nicole Gibbs[LL] v Simona Halep[4](ROU)
Coco Gauff[WC] v Anastasia Potapova(RUS)
Kristie Ahn[WC] v Svetlana Kuznetsova(RUS)
Jessica Pegula v Alize Cornet(FRA)
Taylor Townsend[Q] v Kateryna Kozlova(UKR)
Danielle Collins v Polona Hercog(SLO)
Katie Volynets[WC] v Bianca Andreescu[15](CAN)
Madison Brengle v Yulia Putintseva(KAZ)
Francesca Di Lorenzo[WC] v Veronika Kudermetova(RUS)

Men:
John Isner[14] v Guillermo Garcia-Lopez(ESP)
Steve Johnson v Nick Kyrgios[28](AUS)
Tennys Sandgren v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga(FRA)
Ernesto Escobedo[WC] v Hyeon Chung[Q](KOR)
Bjorn Fratangelo[WC] v Gilles Simon(FRA)
Frances Tiafoe v Ivo Karlovic(CRO)

Some of the seeds were in action today in the second round of the ITF Grade 1 in Repentigny Canada, and No. 2 seed Hurricane Tyra Black was eliminated, falling to Joanna Garland of Taiwan 6-1, 6-4. That was a tough draw for Black, with Garland a former ITF Top 20 junior. No. 4 seed  Mananchaya Sawangkaew of Thailand was also beaten in her first match of the tournament by Carole Monnet of France. Karlis Ozolins of Latvia, last week's boys champion at the Grade 1 in College Park, was beaten in the first round by Murphy Cassone of the United States 6-4, 6-0.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Svajda and Brooksby Among Twenty-two Americans in First Round Action Monday at US Open; Noah Rubin Featured on CBS Sunday Morning; Repentigny ITF Grade 1 Underway

The last two Kalamazoo 18s champions are on Monday's schedule as the US Open kicks off at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.

2018 champion Jenson Brooksby, 18, is the only American man to make it to the main draw through qualifying, and he will face Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. Below is the graphic provided by the USTA in their preview of Monday's matches for that contest, scheduled for an 11 am start on Court 13:



Sixteen-year-old Zachary Svajda, the 2019 Kalamazoo champion, is third on Court 13 against 37-year-old lucky loser Paolo Lorenzi of Italy. Svajda was initially scheduled to play No. 16 seed Kevin Anderson, but Anderson withdrew Saturday.

Some interesting facts from the USTA notes on Svajda:

The 21-year age gap is biggest at a Slam since Ken Rosewall, 44, beat Cary Stansbury, 20, in 1978 Aus. Open 1R.

Svajda is youngest US Open men’s singles player since Donald Young, 16, in 2005. If he beats Lorenzi, Svajda will be youngest to win a US Open men’s singles match since Michael Chang, 16, reached 1988 US Open 4R.
A list of Americans in action Monday is below. See usopen.org for the complete order of play for Monday.

Monday’s singles matches featuring Americans

Serena Williams[8] v Maria Sharapova(RUS)
Sonya Kenin[20] v Coco Vandeweghe
Venus Williams v Saisai Zheng(CHN)
Madison Keys[10] v Misaki Doi(JPN)
Caty McNally[WC] v Timea Bacsinzsky(SUI)
Bernarda Pera v Mariam Bolkvadze(GEO)
Varvara Lepchenko[LL] v Shuai Peng[Q](CHN)
Caroline Dolehide[Q] v Qiang Wang[18](CHN)
Lauren Davis v Johanna Larsson[Q]
Jennifer Brady v Aliaksandra Sasnovich(BLR)
Whitney Osuigwe[WC] v Elina Svitolina[5](UKR)

Sam Querrey v Juan Ignacio Londero(ARG)
Zachary Svajda[WC] v Paolo Lorenzi([LL](ITA)
Marcos Giron[WC] v Yoshihito Nishioka(JPN)
Chris Eubanks[WC] v Cristian Garin[31](CHI)
Bradley Klahn v Thiago Monteiro(BRA)
Jack Sock[WC] v Pablo Cuevas(URU)
Jenson Brooksby[Q] v Tomas Berdych(CZE)
Reilly Opelka v Fabio Fognini[11](ITA)
Denis Kudla v Janko Tipsarevic(SRB)
Taylor Fritz[26] v Feliciano Lopez(ESP)

2015 NCAA singles finalist Noah Rubin was featured today on CBS Sunday Morning, with Ted Koppel interviewing Rubin on the contrast in the life of a professional tennis player ranked in the 100-200 range versus those at the top of the game. Rubin's Behind the Racquet Instagram initiative is also mentioned in the segment, which can be viewed here.

The ITF Junior Circuit moves from College Park to Repentigny Canada for another Grade 1, with Harold Mayot of France and Emilio Nava of the US the top two boys seeds. Nava has not played since suffering an injury at the Grade 1 in Roehampton.  The top seeds in the girls draw are Natsumi Kawaguchi of Japan and Hurricane Tyra Black of the US. First round matches began today, with all seeds receiving byes into the second round.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Latvians Bartone and Ozolins Claim ITF Grade 1 Titles in College Park

©Colette Lewis 2019--
College Park, MD--

Latvia is not known as a tennis powerhouse, but 17-year-olds Kamilla Bartone and Karlis Ozolins put the country on top of the junior tennis world Saturday with roller coaster victories in the finals of the ITF Grade 1 Prince George's County International Hard Court Championships at the Junior Tennis Champions Center.

The unseeded Ozolins defeated Micah Braswell of the United States, also unseeded, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, while No. 2 seed Bartone overcame a second set collapse to beat No. 15 seed Mai Nirundorn of Thailand 6-2, 3-6, 6-0.

Ozolins admitted the nerves he felt in his first Grade 1 final made it difficult for him to focus, and he was unable to serve out the first set at 5-3. But Braswell, who was also competing in his first Grade 1 final and was not playing his best, dropped serve for the second time in the set to put Ozolins ahead.

Ozolins took a 3-1 lead in the second set, but again he was unable to hang on to it, with Braswell breaking right back, then breaking Ozolins at love to go up 5-4, and holding for the set.

Double faults were a significant liability for Ozolins, although he credited Braswell for some of the problems he was having with his serve.

"I feel like my serve could be better today, because I feel I was serving better throughout the whole week than today," the 6-foot-4 Ozolins said. "But still I feel at the very important moments I focused and made good serves. The double faults could be less, but a lot of times I was risking second serves, because he was returning pretty good, always deep, so I can't just put it in. I would be in trouble then."

In the third set, Ozolins again jumped out to a 3-1 lead, and this time he consolidated for 4-1, but the critical game of the set came with Ozolins serving at 4-2. Down 15-40, Ozolins saved those two break points and two others when Braswell had the advantage to take a 5-2 lead.

"That was a tough game and a really important hold for me," said Ozolins, who trains at the Alexander Waske Tennis-University in Germany. "Saved a couple of break points with some big serves, and I feel if I lose it, we would still be playing."
Although he too felt he had played better in the matches leading up to the final, Braswell regretted not taking advantage of his opportunities in the third set.

"I had some chances to keep it closer in the third set, which was disappointing that I didn't win those points," said Braswell, a 17-year-old from Florida. "He hit some big shots, some big serves. He just played a little bit bigger at bigger times today than I did I think."

That feast or famine style from Ozolins also took its toll on Braswell.

"His game style was throwing me off a little bit," Braswell said, agreeing that he couldn't find his rhythm as he had in earlier matches. "That's the kind of player I am, so that was tough for me."

Despite the disappointment of losing in the final, Braswell found the positives he'll take from the week.

"This is my best tournament so far, I think," said Braswell, who had played sparingly on the ITF Junior Circuit. "It gives me confidence to know that I can beat some top players in the world. Beating two seeds at a Grade 1 gives me confidence, and hopefully I can build off that."

Ozolins is heading to the Grade 1 in Canada and although he is currently a few places outside of qualifying at the US Open, hopes to compete in New York as well.

"This feels great," Ozolins said. "I can't really rest, because I will probably play in Canada tomorrow, but, no, it means a lot. I was preparing a lot for this trip here and it feels great."

In the girls final, Bartone was cruising along up 6-2, 3-0, with break points to take a 4-0 lead, when she had a mental lapse.

"In the second set, I already thought I won," said Bartone, who also trains in Germany. "I don't know what happened, but I relaxed in my mind. The girl was down, but when she saw that she could still compete with me, and win as well, she started to play better. And it was hard for me to concentrate and be consistent."

Nirundorn had come back from a set and a break down against No. 4 seed Abigail Forbes in the semifinals, winning ten games in a row at one stage, so when she gets rolling, she can hit plenty of winners.

"I was trying to stay inside the baseline," said the 17-year-old, who was born in the United States and lived here until moving to Thailand four years ago. "She was making a lot of errors and I was taking advantage. In the third set, I was attacking the ball, but she was defending really well and I wasn't able to hit the ball as much through the court."

Bartone also took advantage of one her favorite weapons, the drop shot.

"My coach saw some of her last matches and she said Mai is really good on the baseline, but running forward, she's not bad, but it's not her best," Bartone said.

"It's definitely tough," Nirundorn said. "Not a lot of girls play that many drop shots in the match."

After losing six straight games and the second set, Bartone took a bathroom break, which helped her regain her focus.

"I went to the bathroom, put my thoughts together," said Bartone. "I was mentally stronger, so my tennis becomes better."

Nirundorn continued to battle in the final set, but with Bartone's focus back and her unforced errors rare, she couldn't win any of the many close games and Bartone collected her second ITF Grade 1 singles title.


"It will be good for me for the next tournament," said Bartone, who is also headed to Canada. "And winning a G1, it's good for my career, I become stronger and I can play and I can compete at this level. It's a big step for me."

Bartone was not finished for the day, however, with the doubles final and a chance for revenge on the schedule shortly after her singles win. Playing with JTCC's Robin Montgomery, Bartone defeated the team that had denied her the Wimbledon girls title, Abigail Forbes and Savannah Broadus, 6-3, 7-5.

Bartone lost the Wimbledon doubles final playing with Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia, who did not enter College Park. Montgomery was also without a partner after a withdrawal, so she was happy to be asked by Bartone.

"We played against each other in France, and played against each other in doubles at Wimbledon," Montgomery said. "She asked me to play, surprisingly."

"I knew she was a good player, so why not ask?" said Bartone, who beat Montgomery in the third round in singles this week.

Bartone and Montgomery had not come close to losing a set all week, but they fell behind 4-0 in the second set against the Wimbledon champions.

"They were playing really well in the beginning," Montgomery said. "But I knew they weren't going to be able to do that every game in the second. I was definitely a little nervous, because we went down pretty quick, but at the same time, I was feeling confident that we would be fine."

"I knew they were a good team, but I had a good doubles partner, so I knew we had good chances to win," Bartone said. "She hits hard, she's lefty and has good serve," Bartone said of Montgomery. "She's like a wall at the net."

"She's crafty," Montgomery said of Bartone. "She hits those drop shots and drop volleys that people aren't expecting. It's a good combo, because I hit big and she can finish it with a drop volley."

Following up their success in College Park will have to wait, with Bartone partnering with Selekhmeteva at the US Open and Montgomery playing with Polina Kudermetova of Russia.
The boys doubles title went to No. 2 seeds Arthur Fery of Great Britain and Peter Makk of Hungary, who beat unseeded Benjamin Kittay and Cash Hanzlik of the United States 4-6, 6-3, 10-8.  Like the girls doubles champions, Fery and Makk were playing together for the first time.

"I played against him in April in a tournament in Morocco and I just asked him to play this week," said Fery, 17. "It's been a great week. We played quite well. We quickly got to know each other. Today wasn't our best match I think, but we managed to pull through."

Makk was impressed by the American team.

"They played unbelievable," said Makk, 17. "In the first set, they made zero mistakes and we didn't feel our returns as good as we did in the second set and the tiebreaker."

Fery and Makk led 5-3 in the tiebreaker and continued to hold the lead, with Fery's ace giving them three match points at 9-6. Hanzlik won both his serves, with Kittay finishing at the net to put the pressure on Makk, but he hit an excellent first serve that Kittay couldn't return to clinch the title.

"He serves bigger than me, so that helps," Fery said. "I've got the return, so we complement each other quite well."

For the complete draws, see the tournament website.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Unseeded Braswell and Ozolins Reach ITF College Park G1 Boys Final; Bartone and Nirundorn Vie for Girls Title Saturday; Brooksby, Dolehide and Townsend Qualify for US Open

©Colette Lewis 2019--
College Park, MD--


Rain disrupted semifinal action this morning in the ITF Grade 1 Prince George County's Championships, but the outstanding play by unseeded Karlis Ozolins of Latvia and Micah Braswell continued as matches moved indoors at the Junior Tennis Champions Center.

Braswell had a slight hiccup before reasserting himself in a dramatic 6-3, 0-6, 6-4 win over No. 12 seed Harry Wendelken of Great Britain, while Ozolins defeated No. 15 seed Ryuhei Azuma of Japan 7-6(6), 7-6(2).

Braswell had just won the first set by breaking Wendelken when what turned out to be an all-day rainstorm began. After an hour and 15-minute delay, the match resumed indoors, and Braswell couldn't get on track.

"I wasn't used to the conditions at all," said the 17-year-old from Florida. "I felt like I could not hit a forehand and in the first game of the third set, I wasn't feeling great. But I tried to get pumped up after I won a few points, and after I got pumped, he made a few more errors. I think he realized I wasn't going to go away in the match and I told myself I had to show him I was still going to fight in the match."

Braswell went up 3-0 in the third set, and when he broke Wendelken a second time to take a 5-1 lead, appeared to have the match under control. After coming back from 15-40, Braswell earned his first match point, but Wendelken came up with a volley winner. Wendelken again brought his best on match point No. 2, hitting a forehand winner and went on to claim the game.

"I didn't give him any errors, so I wasn't mad at myself for losing that game," Braswell said. "He went for it and hit some really good shots."

After Wendelken held for 5-3, Braswell had another chance to serve for the match, and a confident overhead at 30-all gave him his third match point, but a good return by Wendelken resulted in a netted forehand. Two forehand errors later, Wendelken was back on serve, an uncomfortable position for Braswell.

"I had a few bad errors," Braswell said of his performance that ninth game. "I was a little upset at myself, but luckily I was able to break him at 5-4, it got really tight."

The semifinals are the first matches with chair umpires at this tournament, who in ITF events, call all the lines.  The usual disagreements surfaced throughout the match, but with Wendelken serving at 4-5, the referee was called to court after a dispute about the score. The acoustics indoors contributed to the misunderstanding with Wendelken believing he had won the first point, but when the score was announced as 0-30, a conversation ensued between the chair, the referee and Wendelken. The 0-30 score stood, and while Braswell was still getting in position, Wendelken hit a quick underhand serve that caught Braswell unaware.

"I was not ready at all," Braswell said. "That was a bad call, a very bad call. I was walking up, not even looking at him, and I look up and see the ball bounce and I thought it was a joke. I was like, you're kidding. But there is nothing I could do about it, so I was trying to stay calm and I knew if I didn't pull that game out, it was going to be harder for me to win, so I just tried to play my best tennis in that last game."

Both players came up with some impressive tennis in the final few points of the match. Braswell earned his fourth match point, but Wendelken saved it with a backhand winner. After a Wendelken backhand went long, Braswell had his fifth match point, only to see Wendelken save it was a forehand winner. But a netted forehand gave Braswell his sixth match point, and it was his turn to hit a winner, with a forehand releasing the building tension.

"We had some good points," Braswell said. "I think we were both feeling pressure, kept getting in backhand rallies, not really going for it. He just made the error first a couple of times in that last game, and I was a little more solid, and I think that helped me."

Unlike Braswell, Ozolins had not secured the first set when the rain arrived, and he failed to convert several points with Azuma serving at 4-5 and 5-6. Up 6-3 in the first set tiebreaker, Ozolins lost all three of those set points as well, but he finally got the set when Azuma sent a forehand wide.

Ozolins got the first break of the match to go up 3-2 in the second set, but the 17-year-old gave it right back.

"I played good that game, and also had 30-0 on my serve in the next game, but I kind of lost a little bit of focus I guess," Ozolins said. "Then it was just holding serve. It was a tough match, he was a very good player and played big on big points, but I managed to play better in the tiebreaks and win."

Ozolins was happy to take his powerful serve and groundstrokes indoors, especially given his level of play this week.

"I always like indoors more than outdoors," Ozolins said. "But anyway, I feel like I'm playing very well this whole week and I'm getting more confidence with every match. My summer, on clay, was not so good; I didn't have any great tournaments or matches, but now back on hard court, I feel great."

Neither Braswell or Ozolins had ever gone past the third round of a Grade 1 before this week, so experience should not be a factor.

"I saw him a little bit yesterday," Ozolins said. "I feel like he's playing a bit like me--good serving, playing aggressive. It's going to be a good match, I feel."
The girls final will also feature a Latvian, but one with much more experience, with No. 2 seed Kamilla Bartone facing No. 15 seed Mai Nirundorn of Thailand.

Bartone led No. 3 seed Priska Nugroho of Indonesia 6-0, 1-0 when the rain began, and Nugroho, who had taken a medical timeout down 5-0, retired before the match resumed.

"We're teammates, we're both coming from ITF Development Team, so it was pretty tough mentally for us to play against each other because we're also really good friends," said the 17-year-old Bartone. "But I was really consistent and concentrated on the court, and I took advantage, but she was also having some problems with the back, so she couldn't continue to play."

Nirundorn defeated No. 4 seed Abigail Forbes 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, finding her rhythm after losing four of the first five games after play resumed indoors. Down 2-1 in the second set after double faulting three times to lose serve, Nirundorn broke back, winning the final five games of the set. Nirundorn ended up winning ten straight games before Forbes finally held for 5-1, then broke and held again before Nirundorn finally closed out the match on her second attempt.

"She started playing really well," said the 17-year-old, who was born in the United States and lived here until she was 13. "I had a little bit of a heart attack, but I'm happy I got to pull through the match."

Nirundorn knew that she had to play well to finish points.

"She was running everything down and getting everything really deep, so it was really tough for me to keep staying aggressive," Nirundorn said. "But I kept pushing myself to stay inside the baseline and run her. I just kept staying steady and kept trying to be aggressive, and I knew she would tire out if I moved her from side to side."

Nirundorn's two-handed forehand adds to the difficulty of anticipating her shots.

"Before I had a one-handed forehand, but with two I get more power," said Nirundorn, who will be playing in her first Grade 1 final on Saturday. "I switched when I was about 11."

Bartone, who won her only previous Grade 1 last November in Mexico, also on a hard court, said her mental game has been strong throughout the week.

"Two of my matches were against my ITF teammates from ITF team, and to play against Robin (Montgomery), my doubles partner, is also pretty tough," Bartone said. "I think my head is strong, and I'm pretty excited for the final."

Bartone will also be playing in Saturday's doubles final, against the team that beat her in the Wimbledon girls doubles final last month. Bartone and Montgomery, the No. 3 seeds, will face No. 2 seeds Savannah Broadus and Forbes, who beat Bartone and Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 at Wimbledon.  Bartone and Montgomery defeated unseeded Elaine Chervinsky and Madison Sieg 6-0, 6-4 and Broadus and Forbes defeated No. 4 seeds Zhuoxuan Bai of China and Liubov Kostenko of Ukraine 6-2, 6-2. Neither team has come close to losing a set this week.

The boys doubles final will feature unseeded Americans Cash Hanzlik and Benjamin Kittay against No. 2 seeds Peter Makk of Hungary and Arthur Fery of Great Britain. Hanzlik and Kittay defeated No. 8 seeds Wendelken and Oscar Weightman 7-5, 6-3; Makk and Fery downed No. 3 seeds Alejo Lingua Lavallen and Juan Torres of Argentina 6-3, 6-2.

Saturday's schedule and draws are available at the tournament website.

Qualifying is complete at the US Open, with three Americans reaching the main draw with wins today.  Taylor Townsend came back to beat Nina Stojanovic of Serbia 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-1; Caroline Dolehide, a wild card into qualifying, defeated Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany 6-4, 6-3 and 2018 Kalamazoo champion Jenson Brooksby, a wild card, defeated Pedro Martinez of Spain 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3. Brooksby will play Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in the first round. Townsend will play Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine and Dolehide faces No. 18 seed Wang Qiang of China.

Due to four withdrawals in the women's draw, those places will be taken by lucky losers, with Nicole Gibbs and Varvara Lepchenko getting two of those spots. Gibbs will play No. 4 seed Simona Halep and Lepchenko will play China's Peng Shuai, who beat Gibbs today in the final round of qualifying.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Unseeded Braswell Takes Out Top Seed at College Park ITF, Forbes Warms Up for US Open with Semifinals in Singles and Doubles; USTA National 18s Champions Get Tough Draws at US Open

©Colette Lewis 2019--
College Park, MD--

Micah Braswell has had an excellent summer of the ITF Junior Circuit, with a Grade 3 title and a Grade 3 final, but the 17-year-old from Florida reached a new level Thursday, defeating top seed Flavio Cobolli of Italy 0-6, 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the semifinals of the Prince George's County ITF Grade 1 Championships at the Junior Tennis Champions Center.

Braswell hadn't lost a set coming into today's quarterfinal, and he wasn't discouraged when he was blanked in today's first set.

"I feel like in the first set there were some close games, a lot of deuce games, but I just couldn't win the big points," said Braswell, who has verbally committed to Florida State for 2020. "In the second set, I got up 2-0 and I won some big points there in the beginning and then after that, I just started feeling more confident."

Braswell also took an early lead in the third set, but Cobolli rebounded for 3-all, and went up 30-0 in his service game.

"I was able to come back and win that game," said Braswell, who then held for a 5-3 lead. "I knew I had to hold serve if I was going to win. I went for a few more out wide serves, and I feel that worked a little better."

Cobolli held to make Braswell serve out the match, and some good serving gave the American a 40-0 lead, but Cobolli won the next two points to add some tension to the final game. Braswell got the backhand error from Cobolli to claim the match, as fatigue began to surface in the Italian's game down the stretch.

"I think he'd played some long matches, and that definitely helped me for sure," said Braswell, who credits Heath Turpin with helping him get in top physical shape. "I was trying to maybe keep the points a little longer sometimes."

Braswell, whose best showing at a Grade 1 prior to this week was the third round at this year's Easter Bowl ITF, ranks his win today as one of his two best, with a victory earlier this month over Toby Kodat in the back draw at Kalamazoo the other.

Although Braswell went three sets today, his opponent in the semifinal was on court even longer, with Great Britain's Harry Wendelken needing three hours to get past No. 16 seed Lorenzo Rottoli of Italy 6-1, 5-7, 6-4.  Wendelken, the No. 12 seed, trailed 4-1 in the final set before claiming the last five games.

Braswell isn't the only unseeded player in the semifinals, with Karlis Ozolins of Latvia also advancing to the final four. The big-serving Ozolins defeated unseeded Coleman Wong of Hong Kong 6-2, 6-3 and will play No. 15 seed Ryuhei Azuma of Japan. Azuma ended the winning streak of Kalamazoo 16s champion Alex Bernard at 10 matches with a 6-3, 6-3 win.
All four of the girls quarterfinals were decided in straight sets, with the 2, 3, and 4 seeds all advancing to the semifinals, along with No. 15 seed Mai Nirundorn of Thailand, who came through the quarter vacated by top seed Sada Nahimana when she was unable to arrive from Africa in time for her first round match. Nirundorn dropped her first set of the tournament to Gabby Price, but she has cruised through her last three matches, beating unseeded Madison Sieg today 6-0, 6-1.  Nirundorn will play No. 4 seed Abigail Forbes, who defeated No. 6 seed Adrienn Nagy of Hungary 6-2, 6-1.

Forbes reached the singles quarterfinals of the USTA National 18s Championships in San Diego two weeks ago, and won the doubles title, with Alexa Noel. That means Forbes and Noel will be playing in the main draw of the US Open next week with a wild card, so Forbes decided to keep this week's tournament on her schedule.

"I just wanted the best prep possible," said Forbes, who lives in North Carolina. "The matches here couldn't be beat; it was way better than being at home trying to find people to play matches against. Whenever I'm finished here, I'll head up north. She's from New Jersey, so we'll head up to her place, train with her coach, before we play."

Forbes, who won the Wimbledon girls doubles title with Savannah Broadus, her partner this week in College Park, said it's a challenge to keep her mind on this week's event, with the US Open looming.

"I'm so excited," said Forbes, who starts at UCLA next month. "I'm trying to contain my excitement, because I have matches to play here."

The bottom half semifinal will feature No. 2 seed Kamilla Bartone of Latvia against No. 3 seed Priska Nugroho of Indonesia. Bartone defeated Liubov Kostenko of Ukraine 7-5, 6-3 and Nugroho ended the run of JTCC favorite Ayana Akli 6-2, 6-3. Bartone won their previous meeting at this year's Australian Open Junior Championships 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. None of the others in the semifinals have played before on the ITF Junior Circuit.

As in the singles, the semifinals in the girls doubles will feature the No. 2, 3 and 4 seeds.  No. 3 seeds Bartone and Robin Montgomery will face the unseeded team of Sieg and Elaine Chervinsky, while No. 2 seeds Broadus and Forbes play No. 4 seeds Kostenko and Zhuoxuan Bai of China.

The unseeded American team of Cash Hanzlik and Benjamin Kittay will face No. 8 seeds Oscar Weightman and Wendelken in the top half of the boys doubles, with No. 2 seeds Arthur Fery of Great Britain and Peter Makk of Hungary taking on No. 3 seeds Alejo Lingua Lavallen and Juan Torres of Argentina.

For Friday's order of play and draws can be found at the tournament website.

The US Open singles draws were revealed today in New York, and the two National 18s champions will face seeded players in their first round matches next week.

Katie Volynets will play No. 15 seed Bianca Andreescu of Canada, which will be their second meeting of 2019. Andreescu defeated Volynets 6-2, 7-6(7) in the second round of the Oracle WTA 125 in January on her way to the title.

Zachary Svajda drew No. 16 seed Kevin Anderson, who has played only five tournaments this year due to injury, the last of which was Wimbledon. Anderson, the former Illinois star, made the US Open men's final in 2017.

The 15 US men in the draw are:
Sam Querrey
Denis Kudla
Zachary Svajda
Reilly Opelka
Taylor Fritz[26]
Marcos Giron[WC]
Jack Sock[WC]
Christopher Eubanks[WC]
Bradley Klahn
Bjorn Fratangelo[WC]
Steve Johnson
Frances Tiafoe
Tennys Sandgren
John Isner[14]
Ernesto Escobedo[WC]

After losses today in the second round of men's qualifying by Mitchell Krueger and Noah Rubin, Jenson Brooksby is the only other American with an opportunity to make the main draw; he plays his final round qualifying match against Pedro Martinez of Spain Friday.

The 20 US women in the draw are:

Coco Gauff[WC]
Jessica Pegula
Madison Brengle
Francesca Di Lorenzo[WC]
Danielle Collins
Katie Volynets[WC]
Sloane Stephens[11]
Kristie Ahn[WC]
Alison Riske
Whitney Osuigwe[WC]
Venus Williams
Sonya Kenin[20]
Coco Vandeweghe
Madison Keys[10]
Jennifer Brady
Bernarda Pera
Serena Williams[8]
Caty McNally[WC]
Lauren Davis

There are five US women into the final round of qualifying, with Nicole Gibbs[24], wild card Caroline Dolehide, Varvara Lepchenko[11] and Asia Muhammad advancing today. Taylor Townsend[13] won her second round qualifying match Wednesday. Gibbs moved on with a walkover from Robin Anderson, and Muhammad's opponent Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic retired after losing the first game of the match. Dolehide defeated Zoe Hives of Australia 6-1, 7-6(2) and Lepchenko beat Georgina Garcia Perez of Spain 6-4, 7-6(1).

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Akli Advances to Quarterfinals at College Park Grade 1 on Home Courts; Brooksby, Townsend Reach Final Round of Qualifying at US Open

©Colette Lewis 2019--
College Park, MD--


Ayana Akli is scheduled to move into the dorms at the nearby University of Maryland on Friday, but she could have another equally pressing engagement: playing in her first ITF Grade 1 semifinal.

Akli is just one win away from rescheduling her move, with the 18-year-old, who grew up at the Junior Tennis Champions Center, earning victories today in both singles and doubles.

Akli, whose father Oliver is a coach at the JTCC, has played the Prince George's County ITF five times, losing twice in qualifying and picking up her first main draw win last year before falling to eventual champion Katie Volynets. Today, she defeated No. 5 seed Savannah Broadus 6-3, 6-2 after beating No. 10 seed Annerly Poulos of Australia 6-4, 6-1 in the first round.

"I think my game has definitely improved, but not just my game, but the mental aspect of it," Akli said. "I'm just more calm, I'm not as nervous. I'm playing and having fun with it, trusting what my dad and what coaches Ali (Agnamba), Taka (Bertrand) and Megan (Moulton-Levy) have taught. I think I've been playing pretty much the same way for a while, but I think it's more of the confidence that's helped me."

Against Broadus, Akli was able to keep Broadus from dictating play.

"I think I was just making balls back, with heavy spin," said Akli. "I had her on the run the entire time. I don't think she was expecting me to get as many balls back as I did. I think was returning pretty well, that's what we've been working on. I missed a few, but I adjusted and did what I've been told."

Akli decided to sign with Maryland, who play their home indoor matches at the JTCC, last spring, primarily because they offered her the opportunity to pursue her interest in engineering while competing on the tennis team.

"I didn't really want to go that close, but they really were one of the only places that were Division I that would let me do the major I wanted to do, which is engineering," Akli said. "A lot of the Division I places, with engineering plus tennis, especially with the labs, it interferes with practice. But my coach Katie (Dougherty), she was excited for me to come and I just felt really welcome and that she was going to help me figure out our schedule and work with me, which I really appreciate."

Akli will face No. 3 seed Priska Nugroho of Indonesia, who saved two match points serving at 5-6 in the third set and went on to defeat qualifier Neha Velaga 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(5).

The other JTCC girl in the third round, No. 13 seed Robin Montgomery, lost to No. 2 seed Kamilla Bartone of Latvia 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. Bartone plays No. 9 seed Liubov Kostenko of Ukraine, who beat No. 7 seed Hong Yi Cody Wong of Hong Kong 7-5, 6-2.

No. 4 seed Abigail Forbes defeated No. 16 seed Ana Geller of Argentina 7-5, 6-1 and will face No. 6 seed Adrienn Nagy of Hungary, who beat unseeded Charlotte Chavatipon 6-1, 7-6(5).
Like Akli, the other unseeded girls quarterfinalist is also an American, with Madison Sieg defeating No. 11 seed Darja Semenistaja of Latvia 6-1, 6-2.

Although the heat wave moderated slightly today, temperatures still approached 90 degrees, which is just fine with Sieg.

"I actually like the humid conditions," said Sieg, who prefers that to the weather in San Diego, where she played in the Nationals two weeks ago. "In between, I was in Florida, so I got to practice in the humidity too. I think part of it is psychological, because some people don't like playing in the heat, they get tired. I have good stamina on the court and I just feel if the ball is a little heavier, it suits me better."

Sieg, the reigning 16s Orange Bowl champion, capitalized on an off-day from Semenistaja.

"It was breezy when I played, so I just tried to stay smart with my targets," said the 16-year-old, who had played her first two matches at the other site. "She made a lot of errors, so the big targets were part of that."

Sieg will face No. 15 seed Mai Nirundorn of Thailand, who beat unseeded Ruth Marsh 6-2, 6-0.

Just two American boys advanced to the quarterfinals: Kalamazoo 16s champion Alex Bernard and Micah Braswell, both unseeded.

Bernard defeated unseeded Cash Hanzlik 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 and will face No. 15 seed Ryuhei Azuma of Japan, who beat No. 2 seed Peter Makk 6-4, 6-2.  Braswell, who beat unseeded Murphy Cassone 6-4, 6-4 will play top seed Flavio Cobolli of Italy, who defeated unseeded Jackson Ross 6-4, 6-4.  The possibility of an all-Italy semifinal exists with No. 16 seed Lorenzo Rottoli also advancing in the top half. The 17-year-old Rottoli saved two set points in the tiebreaker to beat Kalamazoo 16s finalist Aidan Mayo 6-3, 7-6(6) and will face No. 12 seed Harry Wendelken of Great Britain. Wendelken beat unseeded Lorenzo Claverie of Venezuela 6-2, 1-6, 6-1.

Two other unseeded boys advanced to the quarterfinals and they will meet Thursday. Fifteen-year-old Coleman Wong of Hong Kong, the 2018 14s Junior Orange Bowl champion, defeated No. 8 seed Arthur Fery 6-2, 6-3 and Karlis Ozolins of Latvia beat unseeded Andrew Dale 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(3).  During the third-set tiebreaker, with Ozolins leading 4-2, there was a dispute on a serve call that escalated from the roving umpire to the tournament referee. Ozolins was awarded the point by the referee, which angered Dale to the point of several audible obscenities and had him saying at one point that he was done, while sitting down in his chair. After no code violation was assessed for his outburst(correction: a code violation was assessed, but it was his 1st, so under ITF rules it was a warning), the referee asked Dale if he was going to continue, and he did return to play, but Ozolins closed out the match without further incident.

The quarterfinals in doubles are also scheduled for Thursday.  Akli and her partner Elise Wagle, who beat the top seeds on Tuesday, defeated Kylie Collins and Charlotte Owensby 6-4, 6-0 and will play another unseeded US team, Sieg and Elaine Chervinsky. Wimbledon girls doubles champions Broadus and Forbes, seeded No. 2, also advanced.

Bruno Kuzuhara and Victor Lilov, who beat the top seeds Tuesday night indoors, advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Connor and Jake Krug. They will play unseeded Hanzlik and Benjamin Kittay Thursday. Braswell and Leighton Allen are the other Americans reaching the boys doubles quarterfinals.

Thursday's order of play and the complete draws can be found at the tournament website.

Day three of US Open qualifying featured only four Americans playing their second round matches, with 11 more scheduled for their second rounds on Thursday. Wild card Jenson Brooksby, the 2018 Kalamazoo 18s champion, defeated No. 27 seed and ATP 134 Yuichi Sugita of Japan 7-6(4), 7-6(3) to advance to the final round of qualifying. Brooksby will play Pedro Martinez of Spain on Friday for a place in the main draw after Martinez defeated No. 10 seed Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-4.
Taylor Townsend, the No. 13 seed, also advanced to the final round of qualifying, beating Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. Ann Li lost to Nina Stojanovic of Serbia 6-4, 7-6(5), who will play Townsend for a place in the main draw.

Although their are nine US women playing their second round matches tomorrow, only two play each other: former Pac-12 rivals Nicole Gibbs[24](Stanford) and Robin Anderson(UCLA).

Mitchell Krueger and Noah Rubin are the US men in action Thursday.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Heat, Rain Complicate Second Day of ITF Grade 1 College Park; Fifteen Americans Win in First Round Qualifying at US Open

©Colette Lewis 2019--
College Park, MD--

The heat continued Tuesday for the second round of singles and first round of doubles of the ITF Grade 1 in College Park Maryland, and several seeds wilted, with Nos. 3, 4 and 5 falling and top seed Flavio Cobolli of Italy barely surviving in a third set tiebreaker in the boys draw. Only two seeds exited today in the girls draw, with the six of the top 8 advancing to Wednesday's third round.

Kalamazoo 16s finalist Aidan Mayo came from behind for the second day in a row, defeating No. 3 seed Alejo Lingua Lavallen of Argentina 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, and at the Greenbelt site, Karlis Ozolins of Latvia beat No. 4 seed Hamad Medjedovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-4. No. 5 seed Kevin Chahoud of Sweden, who had saved match points in his first round win on Monday, lost a grueling two-and-a-half hour two-set match to Lorenzo Claverie of Venezuela 7-5, 6-4.

Cobolli, one of just six seeds remaining in the boys draw, defeated Oscar Weightman of Great Britain 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(6).  Weightman went up a break 4-3 in the third set, but Cobolli broke back immediately, and four more holds later, the match went to a tiebreaker. Cobolli, who looked to be suffering from a leg cramp late in the match, went up 5-2, but lost his next two serves, and then up 6-4 couldn't close it out, with Weightman playing some aggressive tennis to pull even at 6-all. Cobolli earned his third match point when Weightman missed an overhead long, and Cobolli converted it when Weightman's backhand went wide.

Cobolli will face unseeded Jackson Ross, who beat No. 14 seed Natan Rodrigues of Brazil 6-1, 6-4.

Andrew Dale also survived a tough three-setter in the heat of the day, beating No. 13 seed Arthur Pantino of the Philippines 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(5).


Murphy Cassone defeated No. 10 seed Roman Burruchaga of Argentina 6-3, 6-3 and the 17-year-old from Kansas said his handling of the heat was a key difference in the match.

"Overall I played smart and handled the heat well, which I don't think my opponent did," said Cassone, who at 321, is ranked more than 250 places below the Argentine. "He started to overheat at the end. He was bending over and gasping on changeovers."

Having never played Burruchaga before, Cassone figured out in the first few games that he needed to stay away from the forehand, which also helped in another way.

"His forehand was really good and clean so I just went high to the backhand, and he was wasn't good on that side. It's hard to hit that in the heat too; he struggled with that," Cassone said.

Cassone said he has always been confident he could play at this level, so he wasn't surprised by his best win on the ITF Junior Circuit.

"It's always been there, I've just caught a few unlucky breaks this year--I actually caught a lucky break today--but my game's been there, it's just been a couple of points here and there," said Cassone, citing his opponent's long match on Monday.

Cassone is now working with coach David Fox, and admits they are off to a auspicious start.

"It's actually our first tournament, so a pretty a high win, that's good," said Cassone, who plays unseeded Micah Braswell in the third round Wednesday.

The two girls seeds who lost were both from France: No. 12 seed Carole Monnet, who was beaten by Charlotte Chavatipon 6-2, 6-0, and No. 14 seed Aubane Droguet, who lost to qualifier Neha Velaga 6-4, 7-6(4).

Eleven of the 16 girls seeds have advanced to Wednesday's third round.

Doubles were in full swing Tuesday afternoon when a thunderstorm moved into the Washington DC area, and a dozen or so matches were decided on the JTCC's indoor courts.  Both top seeds lost, with girls No. 1 seeds Sada Nahimana of Burundi and Priska Nugroho of Indonesia going out to Ayana Akli and Elise Wagle 3-6, 6-1, 15-13 in a match completed outdoors before the rain arrived.  Boys No. 1 seeds Cobolli and Samuel Vincent Ruggeri of Italy lost to Bruno Kuzuhara and Victor Lilov 6-4, 6-3 indoors Tuesday evening.

Wednesday's order of play and complete draws can be found at the tournament website.

The second day of qualifying at the US Open saw the first round completed, with two more American men and nine more American women advancing to the second round.

Jenson Brooksby and Tommy Paul won on Monday and today Mitchell Krueger and Noah Rubin joined them in the second round.  Ann Li and Taylor Townsend were the US women who won on Monday. Today's winners were Christina McHale[4], Robin Anderson, Nicole Gibbs[24], Caroline Dolehide[WC], Sachia Vickery, Hailey Baptiste[WC], Varvara Lepchenko[11], Asia Muhammad and Katrina Scott[WC].

Quotes from teenagers Baptiste and Scott are available in this article from the US Open website.

All of the winners today get Wednesday off, with Brooksby, Paul, Li and Townsend the only Americans on the schedule.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Top Seed Nahimana Loses Race to College Park, Ngounoue Claims First ITF Victory; Svajda Signs with Topnotch; Disappointing First Day of US Open Qualifying for Americans

©Colette Lewis 2019--
College Park MD--

Sada Nahimana was racing against the clock Monday to get from Nairobi Kenya, where she played in a $15,000 ITF World Tennis Tour final, to College Park Maryland, where she was the No. 1 seed in the ITF Junior Circuit Grade 1 tournament. She made it to Europe yesterday, and arrived at Dulles Airport Monday afternoon, but she was unable to get to the Junior Tennis Champions Center by her not-before time of 5:30 p.m., which actually turned out to be 6:07, when an open court was available and her match was officially called. Nicole Hammond, her scheduled opponent, played lucky loser Violeta Martinez instead, and in a match that finished indoors due to fading light, Hammond earned a 6-3, 6-4 victory.

In addition to Nahimana's whereabouts, the talk of the tournament Monday centered around the heat, which fell just short of the heat index required to suspend play, but did see all but the first round of matches getting a 10-minute rest period between the second and third sets.

Nahimana was one of three girls seeds who did not reach Tuesday's second round, with No. 8 seed Zhuoxuan Bai of China falling to Rachel Gailis 7-5, 6-4 and No. 10 seed Annerly Poulos of Australia going out to local standout and University of Maryland rising freshman Ayana Akli 6-4, 6-1.

The ITF tries to avoid players from the same country playing in the first round, but it wasn't possible to do that for everyone this week, with more than half of the each of the draws made up of Americans. In one of those matches, Clervie Ngounoue defeated Charlotte Owensby 6-2, 6-2 to post the first ITF Junior Circuit win of her career. Ngounoue was not able to play ITF events until she turned 13 last month, and she spent the first full week of the month at the ITF World Junior Tennis team competition in the Czech Republic, helping the US team reach the final. But a big tournament, just 20 minutes from her home, was the ideal place to make her debut.

"I just wanted to play freely the whole time," said Ngounoue. "I didn't want to play tight. I asked myself why should I play tight? It's my first ITF, I have nothing to lose, so when I got to my match I tried to do everything I remembered from practice."

Ngounoue was pleased with her level of play throughout her match.

"I think I played well. I was focused the whole time," Ngounoue said. "I didn't think about anything else, just take one point at at a time, and whatever happens at the end, I didn't want to regret anything."

Participating in the ITF World Junior Cup, along with Qavia Lopez and Tsehay Driscoll, was an eye-opening experience for Ngounoue.

"Words can't explain the way I felt playing that tournament," Ngounoue said. "It was just an amazing experience, going out there playing for team USA--I love playing for team USA. I love going out and representing that. And I wanted to have fun with my teammates, cheer them on. I was very confident going into it, and I knew we could do it."

The boys draw lost three seeded players in Monday's first round action. Wild card Cash Hanzlik defeated No. 6 seed Juan Bautista Torres of Argentina 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 at the Greenbelt site, while Kalamazoo 16s champion Alex Bernard continued his run of impressive wins with a 6-4, 7-6(4) win over No. 9 seed Samuel Vncent Ruggeri of Italy.  In a rare all-US first round ITF battle, Stefan Leustian took out No. 11 seed Dali Blanch 2-6, 7-5, 6-1, with Blanch suffering from cramps at the end but hanging on to finish the match.

Qualifier Evan Wen had two match points serving at 6-5 in the second set of his match with No. 5 seed Kevin Chahoud of Sweden, but Chahoud came back for a 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-0 win.

Tuesday's schedule includes second round singles and first round doubles, with temperatures expected to be in the 90s again.

Topnotch Management announced today it has signed Kalamazoo champion Zachary Svajda. Svajda, who withdrew from the College Park tournament last night, will make his debut as a pro next week in the main draw of the US Open.  The announcement from Topnotch is available here.

The first day of US Open qualifying was not a success for most of the Americans in action, with only four of the 17 on Monday's schedule posting victories.

Wild card Jenson Brooksby defeated Kaichi Uchida of Japan 6-3, 6-2 and No. 10 seed Tommy Paul survived against former USC star Yannick Hanfmann of Germany 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) for the only two wins of the 11 US men in action Monday.

Ann Li and Taylor Townsend picked up the two wins for US women, with Li defeating No. 22 Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine 6-0, 6-3 and No. 13 seed Townsend beating Natalija Kostic of Serbia 6-3, 6-1.

Five US men and 14 US women have yet to play their first round qualifying matches, and all are on Tuesday's schedule. Draws can be found here.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Seventeen of 36 Americans on Monday's US Open Qualifying Schedule; Qualifying Complete at ITF Grade 1 in College Park; Keys Claims Cincinnati Title

Qualifying for the US Open begins Monday, which is a first for the tournament, which has been Tuesday-Friday in past years. This year's Monday-Friday schedule should make for shorter days, which had extended past 10 p.m. on occasion. A total of 36 Americans, 18 of them wild card recipients, will play for a US Open main draw berth, with 17 of them scheduled to play on Monday.

The 16 US men participating in qualifying:
Michael Mmoh*
Sebastian Korda[WC]*
JC Aragone[WC]*
Govind Nanda[WC]*
Mitchell Krueger
Stefan Kozlov[WC]
Thai Kwiatkowski*
Alex Rybakov[WC]*
Sam Riffice[WC]*
Tommy Paul[10]*
Jenson Brooksby[WC]*
Ryan Harrison*
Maxime Cressy[WC]*
JJ Wolf[WC]
Noah Rubin
Donald Young

*On Monday's schedule

The 20 US women participating in qualifying:
Emma Navarro[WC]*
Christina McHale[4]
Robin Anderson
Nicole Gibbs[24]
Danielle Lao
{Shelby Rogers[WC]
{Caroline Dolehide[WC]
Sachia Vickery
Bethanie Mattek-Sands[WC]
Vicky Duval[WC]
Reese Brantmeier[WC]*
Hailey Baptiste[WC]
Jamie Loeb[WC]
Varvara Lepchenko[11]
Allie Kiick*
Taylor Townsend[13]*
Ann Li*
Usue Arconada*
Asia Muhammad
Katrina Scott[WC]

*On Monday's schedule
{{ Play each other in first round

Emma Navarro, who received her wild card for reaching the final last week at the USTA National 18s Championships in San Diego, drew top seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan. Govind Nanda, who received his wild card for reaching the 18s final last week in Kalamazoo, drew ATP No. 163 Oscar Otte of Germany.

Qualifying concluded today at the ITF Grade 1 in College Park Maryland, and I'll be providing coverage of the tournament for the sixth straight year beginning at 9 a.m. Monday at the Junior Tennis Champions Center. The top girls seed is Sada Nahimana of Burundi, who lost in the final of a $15,000 ITF World Tennis Tour tournament in Kenya today, but is still in the draw as of this evening. Top seed in the boys draw is Flavio Cobolli of Italy, who is draw to play Kalamazoo 18s champion Zachary Svajda. I didn't ask Svajda specifically if he was going to play this tournament after he won Kalamazoo last week, but I was under the impression he was not planning to play again before the US Open. I'll know soon enough, with that match first on the JTCC's stadium court. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-90s tomorrow, so the implementation of the ITF's junior heat rule is a real possibility.

The boys qualifiers:
Bruno Krenn(USA)
Azuma Visaya(USA)
Ozan Colak(USA)
Braden Shick(USA)
Evan Wen(USA)
Michael Zheng(USA)
Tauheed Browning(USA)
Derek Raskopf(USA)

The girls qualifiers:
Nicole Hammond(USA)
Sydni Ratliff(USA)
Meera Jesudason(USA)
Ruth Marsh(USA)
Isabelle Kouzmanov(USA)
Taylor Cataldi(USA)
Neha Velaga(USA)
Muskan Mahajan(USA)

For Monday's order of play and the draws, see the tournament website.

Madison Keys won the biggest tournament of her career today at the WTA Premier event in Cincinnati. The 24-year-old defeated wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 7-5, 7-6(5) after trailing 5-3 in both sets in this afternoon's final, and will move back into the Top 10 on Monday. For more on the Cincinnati final, see this article from the WTA website.