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).


So Long, Baylor! said...

Jenson Brooksby wins today in the US Open Qualifier Final Round 6-3-6-7(4),6-3 to advance to the Main Draw.... In the Money!
Baylor Who??