Monday, October 12, 2020

French Open Champion Jacquemot Takes Top Spot in ITF Junior Rankings; Doubles Titles for Seven American Juniors on ITF Circuit; Tiafoe, Alcaraz Earn Challenger Titles

Any time a junior wins a slam, the rankings change dramatically, and the significance of the recently completed French Open Junior Championships is even greater given the limited opportunities juniors have had to earn points since March.

Back in August, the ITF announced that Grade 3 points were to be the maximum that could be earned through the end of the year, and draw sizes were to be limited to 32, but an exception was granted to the French Open, both in points and in draw size. The singles winner of a Grade 3 earns 100 points, while French junior champions Elsa Jacquemot of France and Dominic Stricker of Switzerland received ten times that amount, 1000, which is the standard number at a junior slam.

That boost moved the 17-year-old Jacquemot from sixth to No. 1, while semifinalist Alexandra Eala of the Philippines earned 490 points, which helped her move to No. 2. Boys champion Stricker went from No. 10 to No. 3, but Harold Mayot of France kept his position at the top despite a second round loss.  Last year's junior champions at Roland Garros, Holger Rune of Denmark and Leylah Fernandez of Canada, did not have to defend their points, so they are still No. 2 and No. 16 respectively.

With US junior wins scare in Paris, nearly all the Top 100 Americans fell in this week's rankings, although Ellie Coleman moved up 10 spots to a career high of 44.

For the explanation of the ITF ranking rules post shutdown, see this article from the ITF.

Not all American juniors on the ITF Circuit were in Paris last week, and seven of them collected doubles titles in Portugal, Turkey and the Dominican Republic.

At the Grade 3 in Portugal, unseeded Qavia Lopez and Charlotte Owensby captured the girls doubles title, beating the unseeded team of Anastasia Abbagnato of Italy and Lucija Bagaric of Croatia 6-4, 6-4 in the finals. Lopez and Owensby defeated the top seeds in the first round and the No. 3 seeds, Clervie Ngounoue and her Greek partner Michaela Laki, in the semifinals. Lopez, who was unseeded in singles, advanced to the semifinals.

At the Grade 5 in Istanbul, top seeds Samir Banerjee and Ekansh Kumar took the boys doubles title, beating No. 2 seeds Erik Arutiunian and Taras Ignatiuk of Belarus 7-6(1), 7-5 in the final. Banerjee, who won two titles in Macedonia the previous week, was not in the singles draw, but No. 4 seed Aman Sharma of the US reached the singles final, after beating Kumar in the semifinals.

At the Grade 5 in Santo Domingo, top seeds Leah Kuruvilla and Sage Loudon defeated No. 2 seeds Deborah Dominguez Collado of Guatemala and Carolina Xavier Laydner of Brazil 6-2, 6-3 in the final. In the boys doubles final, No. 3 seeds Samuel Dickson and his partner Alejandro Jose Gandini of the Dominican Republic defeated No. 4 seeds Miguel Angel Alonso of Mexico and Gillian Osmont of France 6-4, 6-4. Unseeded 15-year-old Mia Saveljic of the US reached the girls singles final, falling in three sets.

Next week, the ITF Junior Circuit will resume in the United States, at the Grade 4 in Atlanta. Acceptances can be found here.

Frances Tiafoe claimed the title at the ATP Challenger 125 in Parma Italy, with the top seed defeating No. 5 seed Salvatore Caruso of Italy 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the final, which was held today due to rain in Italy on Sunday. Tiafoe defeated 18-year-old rising star Lorenzo Musetti of Italy 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in the second round and came back from a set down to defeat No. 4 seed Federico Bagnis of Argentina in the semifinals. 

At the ATP Challenger 80 in Spain, unseeded 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz won his second Challenger title since the resumption of the tour, beating No. 4 seed Damir Dzumur of Bosnia 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the final. Alcaraz, who had to finish his semifinal match before playing the championship match later on Sunday, is now up to 158 in the ATP rankings. Alcaraz  has joined some big names now that he has earned his second Challenger title as a 17-year-old, as this ATP article details

The ATP has three tournaments on the schedule in Europe this week, a 500 in St. Petersburg Russia, and 250s in Cologne Germany and Sardinia Italy. 

JJ Wolf qualified in St. Petersburg and has drawn No. 6 seed Milos Raonic of Canada in the first round. Taylor Fritz, the No. 8 seed, lost to Cameron Norrie(TCU) in the first round, while Tennys Sandgren and Mackenzie McDonald also dropped their first round matches today. Sam Querrey had been expected to play, but he was replaced due to illness, and the ATP announced, without naming the player, that a player was removed from the draw due to a positive Covid-19 test.

Steve Johnson is the only American in the Cologne main draw; he defeated No. 5 seed Filip Krajinovic of Serbia 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round. 

Tommy Paul, who is joined in the main draw in Italy by Frances Tiafoe, had a memorable comeback today, saving two match points in his 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 win over lucky loser Andrej Martin of Slovakia. Paul, the No. 7 seed, trailed 5-0 in the third set. Musetti, who received a wild card, defeated No. 8 seed Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 7-6(4), 7-5.