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Friday, August 14, 2020

Gauff, Brady, Rogers Advance to WTA Top Seed Open Semifinals; Defending Champion Andreescu Withdraws from US Open; Klahn, Kudla Lead Field at Lotto Elite Exhibition

Sixteen-year-old Coco Gauff advanced to her second career WTA semifinal tonight at the WTA International Top Seed Open in Lexington Kentucky, beating No. 8 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. Trailing 6-4, 4-2, Gauff began to figure out the variety in Jabeur's game, and by the third set, Gauff was fresher and more confident. It also helped that Jabeur's serve deserted her entirely; she made only 10 percent of her first serves in the final set, while Gauff's first serve percentage was 72 percent. Gauff will play fellow unseeded American Jennifer Brady, whose quick 6-1, 6-2 victory over Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic wasn't included in Tennis Channel's coverage after being relocated due to a rain delay. But by all accounts it was a dominant performance by the former UCLA star to put her in a fourth WTA semifinal. She has yet to advance to a WTA final, while Gauff will be looking for her second trip to a final. It will be their first meeting.

Shelby Rogers July 2020
photo ©Scott Gerber OhioTennisZone.com

Wild card Shelby Rogers, ranked 116, defeated top seed Serena Williams today 1-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) to advance to the other semifinal. After a lengthy rain delay before the match got underway, Rogers lost the opening set in 26 minutes, but she hung tough in the second and third sets to earn a victory over Williams in their first meeting, despite a first-serve percentage of just 45. Rogers, who will now move back into the WTA Top 100, faces unseeded Jil Teichmann of Switzerland in Saturday's first semifinal. Teichmann defeated Cici Bellis 6-2, 6-4 in the day's first quarterfinal. 

After I posted on Thursday the USTA announced that defending champion Bianca Andreescu of Canada had withdrawn from the US Open, which put Olga Govortosva of Belarus in the main draw. The 20-year-old Andreescu, who has had injury issues throughout the past five years,  has not played in 2020. The women's wild card situation does not change until Usue Arconada moves into the main draw; she is currently four spots out. Francesca Di Lorenzo, Ann Li and Caroline Dolehide have already gone from wild card recipients to entrants based on their own rankings.

The latest US Open women's entry list is here.

I stumbled across information about a money tournament this weekend in Pennsylvania, which will be serving as a tuneup for several American men playing in the US Open. The Lotto Elite Pro Tennis Challenge will feature eight Americans, including three who are in the main draw of the US Open: Bradley Klahn, Denis Kudla, and wild card Thai Kwiatkowski. Others expected compete are Alex Lawson, Nicholas Bybel, Chad Kissell and Roy Smith, with an eighth to be announced. A YouTube video explains the format for the two-day event, which is two round robin groups, with the top two finishers advancing to Sunday's semifinals and final. The round robin format is Fast 4, but regular scoring with a match tiebreaker in lieu of a full third set is the format for Sunday's matches. Spectators at the private court are limited to ten, and tickets are not cheap, with prices for one day $200 and both days $350. The tournament's champion receives $4000, with the finalist earning $1000. 

For more on the event, see this YouTube video, or read this article from the Reading Eagle. The video mentions that live streaming will be available.

If you checked out Tennis Recruiting Network this morning, you would have seen my article on Lauren Anzalotta's commitment to Oklahoma State. However, due to the fact that she has not yet been cleared by the school in regards to her eligibility, that article was removed as of this afternoon.