Monday, January 13, 2020

Twenty-Six Americans Set for Australian Open Qualifying; 22 US Juniors Entered in This Week's Grade 1 in Colombia

If the air quality index allows it, the qualifying for the Australian Open will begin shortly in Melbourne, with ten Americans on the opening day schedule. The horrific fires in Australia have intensifying over the past few weeks and the smoke they produce has caused dangerous conditions depending on which way the wind is blowing. If you are able to help, links to the Australian Red Cross site and to tennis-related fundraisers are available at the Australian Open website.

There are ten US men and 16 US women in qualifying, but two US men and one US woman are guaranteed to be eliminated in the first round. Thai Kwiatkowski(Virginia) and Chris Eubanks(Georgia Tech) will meet in the first round, as will Ernesto Escobedo and Mitchell Krueger. Cathy McNally, the No. 10 seed, and Asia Muhammad, who won the Auckland doubles title with Taylor Townsend last week, will face off in the first round.  None of those matches are Tuesday, with Denis Kudla[7], Donald Young and Maxime Cressy(UCLA) the American men scheduled for the first day. Other American men in qualifying are Noah Rubin, Bradley Klahn[22](Stanford) and JJ Wolf(Ohio State), who won the Noumea Challenger yesterday.

The seven women playing Tuesday are Ann Li[31], Shelby Rogers, Caroline Dolehide[30], Hailey Baptiste, Francesca Di Lorenzo[14](Ohio State), Nicole Gibbs[15](Stanford) and Whitney Osuigwe[26].  The others starting Wednesday are Sachia Vickery, Varvara Lepchenko, Irina Falconi(Georgia Tech), Allie Kiick[28], Robin Anderson(UCLA), Danielle Lao(USC) and Usue Arconada[22].

Australian Open qualifying matches will be available this year on ESPN+.

The ITF Junior Circuit moves to South America this week, with the Grade 1 in Barranquilla Colombia featuring 13 US boys and 9 US girls. Dali Blanch, who was the top seed in Costa Rica last week, losing in the quarterfinals, is scheduled to compete next week at the Grade 1 that begins late this week in Traralgon Australia, so he is not in this week's draw, but Stefan Leustian[5], who withdrew from Costa Rica, is playing. The other American boys in the draw are: Jack Anthrop[13], wild card Jared Phillips, Azuma Visaya, Jake Krug, Connor Krug, Max McKennon, Bruno Kuzuhara, Benjamin Kittay[9], wild card Alvaro Pedraza, Spencer Brachman, Gabrielius Guzauskas[Q], and Ryan Colby[Q]. The latter four lost their opening round matches today.  JC Roddick, who received a wild card last week in Costa Rica and advanced to the semifinals, losing to champion Natan Rodrigues of Brazil, is not in the draw. Rodrigues is the top seed this week in Barranquilla.

The only one of the three US girls who made the Costa Rica semifinals is playing this week: Nevena Carton. Lan Mi of China, who beat Carton in the semifinals and went on to win the title over Alexia Harmon, is not playing in this week event. Mi moved into the Top 100 this week with her title. The top girls seed in Colombia is Ana Geller of Argentina. In addition to Carton, the US girls playing this week are Jennifer Riester, Isabelle Kouzmanov[6], Dakota Fordham[15], Ava Krug, Hina Inoue[13], Sofia Camila Rojas[12], Rebecca Lynn[16] and Nicole Kiefer.

In other junior news from Australia, 2019 ITF World Junior champion Diane Parry of France has received a women's qualifying wild card, and 2019 AO boys champion Lorenzo Musetti of Italy was given a men's qualifying wild card.

Wimbledon boys champion Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan has withdrawn from both the Traralgon Grade 1 and the Australian Open Junior Championships. Harold Mayot of France, who has withdrawn from Traralgon, is the only player in the Australian Open boys acceptances ahead of Martin Damm, who is entered in both events.

Katrina Scott, who has not played since reaching the semifinals of the Malibu $25K in early November, has withdrawn from both junior events in Australia.