Saturday, October 10, 2020

Stricker Sweeps Boys French Open Titles, France's Jacquemot Claims Girls Championship; Swiatek Downs Kenin for Women's Crown; Auburn's Mies, Partner Krawietz Defend Men's Doubles Title; Oracle ITA Masters Update

Dominic Stricker made history Saturday at Roland Garros, winning the first all-Swiss junior slam singles final over friend Leandro Riedi 6-2, 6-4, then becoming the first boy this century to add a doubles title with partner Flavio Cobolli of Italy.

Stricker, the No. 7 seed, ran out to a quick 3-0 lead and with his all-court game, the 18-year-old left-hander made the first set look easy.  The eighth-seeded Riedi, also 18, was completely outplayed in the first set, but he settled down midway through the second, going from 1-3 down to 4-3 up, saving four break points in that seventh game. Stricker, who got 75% of his first serves in during the match, held for 4-all, then broke Riedi in the next game, after Riedi had failed to convert his two game points.

Serving for the match, Stricker probably was nervous, but that wasn't the reason he failed to convert his first two match points; Riedi hit clean winners on those, and actually earned a break point, only to see Stricker swat it away with an overhead winner. On his third match point, Stricker ended the point even more quickly than usual, hitting his second ace of the match.

Stricker trained with Roger Federer early this year in Dubai, and got some specific advice, which he took to heart:

He actually said I should improve my serve. That's what I did actually. So I think my serve is pretty good now. So, yeah, it helped me a lot here.

For more on the boys final, see this article from the ITF Junior website.

Later in the afternoon, No. 3 seeds Stricker and Cobolli, who lost in the boys doubles final last year, snared the title this time, beating No. 8 seeds Bruno Oliveira and Natan Rodrigues of Brazil 6-2, 6-4. Stricker is the first player since Chile's Fernando Gonzalez in 1998 to win both the boys championships.

Seventeen-year-old Elsa Jacquemot of France, the No. 3 seed, was not at her best in the first half of the girls final against unseeded Alina Charaeva of Russia. But down 6-4, 4-2, something clicked, and eight straight games later she had a 4-0 lead in the third set, before closing out the title with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory.  I was able to watch the boys final in its entirety on Tennis Channel, but they inexplicably left the girls final at 4-3 in the second set, not for another match, but for a studio conference on the women's final, still an hour away. So I don't know what changed exactly in the match, as I was confined to watching live scoring, but Jacquemot recorded her sixth consecutive break of the Charaeva serve to claim the first girls singles title in Paris for a French girl since Kristina Mladenovic won it in 2009.

For more on Jacquemot's title, see this article from the ITF Junior website.

The girls doubles title went to the unseeded Italian team of Eleonora Alvisi and Lisa Pigato, who defeated No. 5 seeds Maria Bondarenko and Diana Shnaider of Russia 7-6(3), 6-4. Neither Alvisi nor Pigato, 94 and 102 in the ITF junior rankings, received entry into the singles draw, but leave Paris with Roland Garros champions trophies.

Just over two years ago, I was covering Iga Swiatek's junior Wimbledon title; today she claimed her first slam title on the professional tour, beating No. 4 seed and Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 6-4, 6-1. Swiatek had been rolling through the draw, with her 6-1, 6-2 fourth round win over No. 1 Simona Halep particularly impressive, but no one knew how the 19-year-old from Poland would react to the pressure of a final of this magnitude. The first set was tough, and Swiatek was unable to serve it out, although she broke to win it. As Kenin demonstrated in Australia, it's not always the most experienced player who is able to summon her best tennis in a final, and Swiatek sailed through the second set to become the first Polish player, male or female, to win a slam singles title. Kenin, who has had her thigh taped for the past week, took a medical timeout at 2-1 in the second to get it re-taped, but the expected comeback from Kenin failed to materialize with Swiatek firmly in control as she closed it out.

For more on Swiatek's win, see this article from the WTA.

Last year, the German team of Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies shocked the tennis world with their French Open men's doubles title, and today they proved that it was no fluke. The eighth-seed Krawietz and Mies, the latter an All-American at Auburn, defeated US Open champions Bruno Soares of Brazil and Mate Pavic of Croatia, the seventh seeds, 6-3, 7-5 to earn a second title. They are just the fourth team in the Open era to win back-to-back titles in Paris, and the first since Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor did it in 2011-12.  For more on their title, see this article from the ATP.

The Oracle ITA Masters quarterfinals are complete and the semifinals are underway, with two major surprises coming in the second round late last night at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego. Fifteen-year-old Kyle Kang defeated top seed Raymond Sarmiento(USC) 6-4, 7-5, and 16-year-old Anne Lutkemeyer defeated Pepperdine's fifth-year senior Ashley Lahey, the No. 2 seed, 5-7, 7-6(9), 10-7. Neither Kang nor Lutkemeyer were able to extend their tournaments in today's quarterfinals, with Kang losing to No. 5 seed Govind Nanda(UCLA) 6-3, 6-2 and Lukemeyer falling to No. 5 seed Angela Kulikov(USC) 6-2, 6-4.

Other women's quarterfinal winners were top seed Sophie Whittle(Gonzaga), unseeded Eryn Cayetano(USC) and No. 4 seed Alexa Ryngler. Other men's quarterfinal winners were Keegan Smith(UCLA), the No. 4 seed, No. 2 seed Brandon Holt(USC) and No. 3 seed Cannon Kingsley(Ohio State).


Women's semifinals:

Angela Kulikov[5] d. Alexa Ryngler[4] 4-6, 6-4, 13-11

Eryn Cayetano d. Sophie Whittle[1] 6-1, 4-6, 10-6

Men's semifinals:

Brandon Holt[2] d. Keegan Smith[4] 6-7(6), 6-2, 10-5

Cannon Kingsley[3] d. Govind Nanda[5] d.  5-7, 7-6(8), 11-9 

The finals will be televised on ESPNU Sunday beginning with the women's match at 2 p.m. Pacific. 

Live scoring is here.