Zootennis

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Kenin and Swiatek Advance to French Open Women's Final; Junior Semifinals Set; USTA National Indoor Championships in November Canceled; Virtual Tournament Desk Facilitates Safe Play

Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin will have the advantage in experience on Saturday, when the 21-year-old from Florida takes on 19-year-old Iga Swiatek of Poland in the French Open final, but Swiatek is putting together a run that suggests this is just the first of many slam final appearances.

The unseeded Swiatek, who beat top seed and heavy favorite Simona Halep in the fourth round, continued her string of impressive scorelines today, beating qualifier Nadia Podoroska of Argentina 6-2, 6-1. Swiatek, who won the French Open girls doubles title in 2018 and the Wimbledon girls singles title the following month, has not lost a set in her six wins and only 23 games total.

Kenin, on the other hand, was pushed to three sets in four of her six matches, including yesterday, but fortunately for her, she got out of today's semifinal with No. 7 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5. Kenin, the No. 4 seed, wasn't able to hold on to her two-break lead in the first set, and had to save a break point serving at 4-3, but she managed to serve out the opening set when Kvitova made a couple of forehand errors in crucial points in the tenth game.

Kenin worked broke for a 3-2 lead in the second set, then got through and extremely tough service game to consolidate, saving four break points to stay in front. Serving for the match at 5-4, Kenin played a very nervous game, with uncharacteristic unforced errors and few first serves, but she shook off that disappointment and broke for a 6-5 lead. Again, it wasn't easy, with Kenin needing to save a break point, but she did close out the match on her first attempt to earn her first win over Kvitova and an opportunity for a second slam title in 2020.

The only time that Kenin and Swiatek have played was also in Paris, at the 2016 Junior Championships at Roland Garros, with Swiatek winning 6-4, 7-5 in the third round.

Highlights of the match are here; Kenin's press conference is here.

The men's semifinals Friday feature top seed Novak Djokovic against No. 5 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal against No. 12 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.

Torres reached the Grade A Orange Bowl final last year

The semifinals of both singles and doubles in the Junior Championships are scheduled for Friday, with one unseeded girl and two unseeded boys in singles and four unseeded doubles teams in the last four.

Eighteen-year-old Alina Charaeva set up an all-Russian girls semifinal by defeating No. 9 seed Alexandra Vecic of Germany 6-2, 6-3. Charaeva will face No. 4 seed Polina Kudermetova, the younger sister of WTA Top 50 player Veronika Kudermetova, who defeated unseeded Oceane Babel of France 6-3, 7-5. France's Elsa Jacquemot, seeded third, defeated No. 10 seed Kristina Dmitruk of Belarus 6-4, 6-4 and will play No. 2 seed Alexandra Eala of the Philippines. Eala, who has played three consecutive three-set matches, defeated unseeded Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. 

While all of the eight semifinalists will be playing in their first junior slam Final Four, unseeded Guy Den Ouden of the Netherlands is the least likely to have made it this far. The 18-year-old Pepperdine recruit, who beat French wild card Sean Cuenin 6-3, 6-4 today, had never even played a Grade A tournament before this week. He will take on No. 8 seed Leandro Riedi of Switzerland, who beat Alex Barrena of Argentina 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. Unseeded Juan Bautista Torres, who reached the Orange Bowl final last year, defeated unseeded Lilian Marmousez of France 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-1, and will play the other seeded Swiss boy, Dominic Stricker. Stricker, the No. 7 seed, defeated Austrian Lukas Neumayer 6-3, 6-3.

Stricker is also in the doubles semifinals, with partner Flavio Cobolli of Italy. The No. 3 seeds, who were in the boys doubles final last year, will play the unseeded French team of Marmousez and Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard.  Unseeded Martin Krumich and Dalibor Svrcina of the Czech Republic will face No. 8 seeds Bruno Oliveiro and Natan Rodrigues of Brazil in the other boys doubles semifinal.

Americans Ellie Coleman and Madison Sieg fell just short in their upset bid of No. 2 seeds and US Open champions Kamilla Bartone of Latvia and Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia, falling 1-6, 6-1, 10-8. Coleman and Sieg recovered from 7-2 down in the tiebreaker to get within 7-8, but couldn't quite pull even, and Bartone and Selekhmeteva closed it out on their second match point.

Bartone and Selekhmeteva will play the unseeded Italian team of Lisa Pigato and Eleonora Alvisi, while No. 5 seeds Maria Bondarenko and Diana Shnaider of Russia face the unseeded team of Jessica Bouzas Maneiro of Spain and Guillermina Grant of Uruguay.

The USTA announced today that it was canceling the National Indoor Championships, which were scheduled for the Thanksgiving weekend.

October 8, 2020

USTA STATEMENT ON NATIONAL INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

The USTA has canceled the 2020 National Indoor Championships, set to be held at various locations around the country, Nov. 27-30.

The decision to cancel the events was made with the health and safety of all those involved at the forefront, and due to numerous challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. These included differing local government mandates and policies surrounding indoor building capacities, as well as mandatory quarantine periods due to interstate travel.

While travel restrictions have made national events difficult, the Tennis Recruiting Network published an article today on how some sections, including USTA Southern California, have eliminated congregating at tournament desks with an app. Developed by former WTA pro Lindsay Lee-Waters and her husband, Heath Waters, the Virtual Tournament Desk is part of their Match Tennis App. For more on the app and how it has been positioned to help with social distancing at tournaments, check out the TRN article.

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