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Sunday, January 5, 2020

Forty Americans Begin Year Aiming for Grade 1 Title in Costa Rica; WTA Season Begins

The first International Tennis Federation Grade 1 junior event begins Monday in Costa Rica, with 40 Americans--19 boys and 21 girls--in the main draw.

The girls qualifying did not have a full field, but only one American entered and she lost in the second and final round of qualifying. Four US boys did qualify: Quinn Snyder, Owen Megargee, Timothy Phung and Zachery Foster. JC Roddick received a wild card, as did Misha Berry in the girls draw.

The other 14 US boys in main draw are: Dali Blanch, the top seed; Benjamin Kittay, the No. 8 seed; Jack Anthrop, the No. 12 seed; Connor Krug; Max McKennon; Bruno Kuzuhara; Adit Sinha; Jake Krug; Sam Scherer; Billy Suarez; Alex Finkelstein; Jakub Ostajewski; Ekansh Kumar and Mekhi Gbedey.

The other 20 US girls in the main draw are Tara Malik, the No. 2 seed; Sofia Camila Rojas, the No. 8 seed; Dakota Fordham, the No. 10 seed, Rebecca Lynn, the No. 11 seed; Ava Krug, the No. 13 seed; Nevena Carton; Gabriella Soliman; Jaedan Brown, Calissa Dellabarca; Minorka Miranda; Alexia Harmon; Leah Kuruvilla; Alexis Blokhina; Maria Rizzolo; Mia Slama; Andrea Le; Caroline Wernli; Charlotte Cartledge; Sarah Hamner and Lara Smejkal.  Charlotte Owensby was entered and still on the acceptance list as of Saturday, but is not in the draw.

I am still having difficulty navigating the new ITF Junior website, but the Coffee Bowl, which is now in its 56th year and is, from what I've heard, one of the gems of the junior circuit, has its own website. Monday's order of play and draws, as well as a link to live streaming, can be found here.

The WTA season has begun, with two international events, in New Zealand and China, and a premier event, in Australia, getting underway today. Nineteen-year-old Ann Li qualified for the Auckland tournament, beating Usue Arconada in the final round of qualifying today. Coco Gauff, Amanda Anisimova and Cici Bellis are among the young Americans in the main draw. Former Georgia Tech star Paige Hourigan and current Cal freshman Valentina Ivanov, both from New Zealand, received main draw wild cards.

In Shenzhen China, two-time NCAA champion Nicole Gibbs qualified and drew the only other American in the field, Shelby Rogers. 2018 US Open girls champion Xiyu Wang of China received a wild card and won her opening match against veteran Sorana Cirstea of Romani1 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.

In Brisbane, former UCLA star Jennifer Brady was one of four players to advance to the main draw by winning three matches in qualifying. Sofia Kenin and Danielle Collins are among the five other Americans in the main draw.

At the ATP Cup, the United States team of Taylor Fritz, John Isner, Tommy Paul, Austin Krajicek and Rajeev Ram has lost to both Norway and Russia this weekend, leaving them 0-2 in round robin group play and unlikely to advance to the quarterfinals.