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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Murali and Duong Qualify for Australian Open Junior Championships; Poljicak Sweeps Traralgon J1 Titles; Tennessee Men Move to Number 1 in Latest Coaches Poll; Bellis Announces Retirement

Qualifying for the Australian Open Junior Championships is going on now, and with live scoring available, I'm able to report on the boys results, the only draw with Americans competing. All four US boys in the qualifying won their first round matches Wednesday, with Quang Duong[13] needing nearly three hours to secure a 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 win over Jeremy Zhang of Australia and Rohan Murali playing over four hours before getting past No. 5 seed Patrick Brady of Great Britain 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(7). Kurt Miller[1] beat Michael Caspanello of Australia 6-4, 6-2 and Alex Michelsen[3] defeated Nicholas Di Vivo of Australia 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

Murali surely needed a less arduous final round qualifying match Thursday and he got it, beating Kenta Miyoshi[12] of Japan 6-0, 6-1 in just over an hour to reach the main draw, his first at a junior slam. Miller lost to No. 14 seed Jack Loutit of New Zealand, a Kentucky recruit, 6-4, 6-4 and Alex Michelsen[3] lost to Asahi Harazaki[16] of Japan 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-1. Duong's court wasn't available on live scoring, but he will join his fellow Southern Californian in a first main draw of a junior slam after defeating Adam Kresina of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-3.

The ITF J1 Traralgon warmup event for the Australian Open Junior Championships is complete, with Sofia Costoulas of Belgium winning her first J1 title and Mili Poljicak of Croatia sweeping the singles and doubles championships.

Costoulas, the No. 7 seed, defeated No. 16 seed Kayla Cross of Canada 6-4, 6-2, and Poljicak, the No. 2 seed beat No. 6 seed Edas Butvilas of Lithuania 5-7, 6-3, 6-3. Cross did leave Traralgon with a winner's trophy however, claiming the doubles title with Victoria Mboko. The No. 4 seeds defeated No. 8 seeds Mia Kupres of Canada 6-3, 4-6, 10-6. It's the fifth ITF junior circuit doubles title for the pair, who won four last year, including November's JA in Merida.

Butvilas also managed to get a title in Traralgon, partnering with Poljicak to earn the doubles title. The top seeds defeated No. 2 seeds Bruno Kuzuhara and Hong Kong's Coleman Wong 5-7, 6-2, 10-4 in the final. 

The latest ITA Division I team coaches poll was released today, with the only changes in the top 10 on the men's side. With TCU beating Florida, Florida beating Texas and Tennessee beating TCU, there was some shuffling at the top with the Volunteers taking over the top ranking. It's the first time since 2011 that Tennessee has been No. 1 in the rankings, according to this article from the school's website. The top 10 women haven't had any head-to-head matches, so their rankings did not change from two weeks ago. Top 25 rankings can be found by clicking the heading.

Men's Division I Top 10 January 19 coaches poll (previous ranking)

1. Tennessee (4)
2. Baylor (2)
T3. Florida (1)
T3. TCU (5)
5. Texas (3)
6. Ohio State (6)
7. Virginia (7)
8. Georgia (8)
9. Southern Cal (9)
10. Wake Forest (10)

Women's Division I Top 10 January 19 coaches poll (previous ranking)

1. Texas (1)
2. Pepperdine (2)
3. North Carolina (3)
4. Georgia (4)
5. UCLA (5)
6. Duke (6)
7. Virginia (7)
8. NC State (8)
9. California (9)
10. Ohio State (10)

Five Americans advanced to the third round of the Australian Open Wednesday, with six more in second round action Thursday.

Thursday's second round matches featuring Americans:

Jannik Sinner[11](ITA) d. Steve Johnson 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 
Taylor Fritz[20] d. Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(5)
Maxime Cressy d. Tomas Machac[Q](CZE) 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5)

Danielle Collins[27] d. Ana Konjuh(CRO) 6-4, 6-3
Maddison Inglis[WC](AUS) d. Hailey Baptiste[Q] 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-2v

Wednesday's second round results:

Amanda Anisimova d. Belinda Bencic[22](SUI) 6-2, 7-5
Naomi Osaka[13](JPN) d. Madison Brengle 6-0, 6-4
Jessica Pegula[21] d. Bernarda Pera 6-4, 6-4
Jelena Ostapenko[26](LAT) d. Alison Riske 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
Madison Keys d. Jaqueline Cristian(ROU) 6-2, 7-5

Miomir Kecmanovic(SRB) d. Tommy Paul 7-6(7), 7-5, 7-6(8)
Sebastian Korda d. Corentin Moutet(FRA) 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-5, 7-6(6)
Matteo Berrettini[7](ITA) d. Stefan Kozlov[WC] 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
Reilly Opelka[23] d. Dominik Koepfer(GER) 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(4)
Aslan Karatsev[18](RUS) d. Mackenzie McDonald 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3

Cici Bellis, still just 22 years old, announced today that she has retired from tennis. Bellis, who has not played in over a year and did commentary for the NCAA championships last spring, said that her arm injury and all the surgeries and rehab she has done in the past three years, to no avail, prompted the decision. She is near college graduation and is planning to get her MBA. For more on her career plans, see this tweet. I've been following Cici's career since I first saw her at the Junior Orange Bowl in 2011, where she made the 12s final, and I'm sure that although we'll miss seeing her on a tennis court, she'll take that same tenacity and competitive spirit to her business career.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Australian Open Junior Qualifying Begins Wednesday, with Four American Boys Vying for Main Draw; Williams Leads Large US Contingent at Colombia J1; Top Seeds Out at J5 in New Jersey; Six More Americans Advance in Melbourne

Qualifying for the Australian Open Junior Championships begin Wednesday, which is tonight in the United States. Four American boys are in the qualifying draw: top seed Kurt Miller, No. 3 seed Alex Michelsen, Rohan Murali and No. 13 seed Quang Duong. Murali, who did not play Traralgon, made the trip from San Diego for what could turn out to be just one match. Murali, a blue chip junior, has played mostly UTR Pro Tour events in Newport Beach, but he did take ITF No. 1 junior Jerry Shang to three sets in the third round of the Easter Bowl ITF this year as a wild card entry.

There are no US girls in the AO junior qualifying, with 26 of the 32 girls competing from Australia. In contrast, the boys qualifying features just 12 Australians.

Top seed Bruno Kuzuhara lost in the semifinals of the J1 in Traralgon, with No. 6 seed Edas Butvilas of Lithuania earning a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 victory for a spot in his first J1 final. Butvilas will play No. 2 seed and doubles partner Mili Poljicak of Croatia, who defeated No. 5 seed Gabriel Debru of France 7-6(2), 7-6(4). Kuzuhara is still in the running for a title in the doubles, however, after he and Coleman Wong of Hong Kong, the No. 2 seeds, defeated unseeded Ozan Colak and Aidan Kim 6-4, 7-6(8) in the semifinals. They will face top seeds Butvilas and Poljicak in the championship match.

No. 7 seed Sofia Costoulas of Belgium and No. 16 seed Kayla Cross of Canada will meet for the girls title, after Costoulas defeated Australian wild card Taylah Preston 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 and Cross beat No. 8 seed Celine Naef of Switzerland 7-6(5), 6-2. It's the first J1 final for Cross, the third for Costoulas, who is 0-2 so far at that level.  Cross and Victoria Mboko will also play for the doubles title, with the No. 4 seeds facing No. 8 seeds Mia Kupres of Canada and Ranah Stoiber of Great Britain.

While the J1 in Australia is concluding, the J1 in Barranquilla Colombia is beginning, with 15 US boys and 12 US girls in the draw. Unlike Tralagon, which features a normal 64-player draw, Barranquilla is reduced to 48, with the 16 seeds not playing until today's second round.  Seven of the 16 boys seeds are from the United States: Cooper Williams[1], Nico Godsick[3], Michael Zheng[5], Joseph Phillips[10], Alex Razeghi[11], Jonah Braswell[12] and Alexander Frusina[14].  Seven of the 16 girls seeds are also from the United States: Krystal Blanch[2], Mia Slama[5], Ava Krug[7], Olivia Lincer[9], Kaitlin Quevedo[10], Sonya Macavei[12] and Tatum Evans[14].

Coffee Bowl champion Sebastian Gorzny and semifinalist Learner Tien are not playing this week in Colombia.

Fourteen-year-old Katie Rolls qualified and defeated last week's finalist Naomi Xu of Canada 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 in the first round.  Junior Orange Bowl 14s champion Alejandro Arcila did get the wild card he was hoping for, but he lost to Ye Hongyu of China 6-4, 6-4.

The J5 in Medford New Jersey has reached the quarterfinal stage, with neither of the top seeds in either the boys or girls draws still alive.

Qualifier Erin Ha defeated top seed Vladislava Andreevskaya of Kyrgyzstan 6-0, 6-0 in the second round today, while lucky loser Claire Hill beat No. 2 seed Sophie Williams 6-2, 6-1 in Monday's first round.

In the boys draw, Payton Young defeated top seed Rohan Belday 6-0, 6-2 in today's second round, with wild card Maximus Dussault taking out No. 2 seed Joseph Oyebog Jr. 7-5, 6-2, also today.

The first round of singles is complete at the Australian Open, with Americans winning 17 and losing 17. It was a tough Day Two for US women, with just two wins and seven losses, but qualifier Hailey Baptiste did come from 6-4, 5-3 down to beat Caroline Garcia of France 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3.  Maxime Cressy continued his stellar play of the past three months, defeating No. 22 seed John Isner 7-6(2), 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-7(4), 6-4.

Wednesday's second round singles matches featuring Americans:

Amanda Anisimova d. Belinda Bencic[22](SUI) 6-2, 7-5
Naomi Osaka[13](JPN) d. Madison Brengle 6-0, 6-4
Jessica Pegula[21] d. Bernarda Pera 6-4, 6-4
Jelena Ostapenko[26](LAT) d. Alison Riske 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
Madison Keys d. Jaqueline Cristian(ROU) 6-2, 7-5

Miomir Kecmanovic(SRB) d. Tommy Paul 7-6(7), 7-5, 7-6(8)
Sebastian Korda d. Corentin Moutet(FRA) 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-5, 7-6(6)
Matteo Berrettini[7](ITA) d. Stefan Kozlov[WC] 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
Reilly Opelka[23] d. Dominik Koepfer(GER) 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(4)
Aslan Karatsev[18](RUS) d. Mackenzie McDonald 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3


Tuesday's first round results featuring Americans:

Ana Konjuh(CRO) d. Shelby Rogers 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
Danielle Collins[27] d. Caroline Dolehide[Q] 6-1, 6-3
Beatriz Haddad Maia(BRA) d. Katie Volynets[Q] 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
Emma Raducanu[17](GBR) d. Sloane Stephens 6-0, 2-6, 6-1 
Samantha Stosur[WC](AUS) d. Robin Anderson[WC] 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3 
Hailey Baptiste[Q] d. Caroline Garcia(FRA) 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3
Liudmila Samsonova(RUS) d. Emina Bektas[Q] 7-5, 6-4 
Xinyu Wang(CHN) d. Ann Li 7-6(5), 6-3

Steve Johnson d. Jordan Thompson(AUS) 7-6(5), 6-7(6), 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
Frances Tiafoe d. Marco Trungelliti[Q](ARG) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Taylor Fritz[20] d. Maximilian Marterer[Q](GER) 7-6(8), 6-3, 6-2
Maxime Cressy d. John Isner[22] 7-6(2), 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-7(4), 6-4

Monday, January 17, 2022

Kuzuhara Through to Semifinals at Traralgon J1; Australian Open Junior Wild Cards; Eleven Americans Advance in Melbourne; Chang Sweeps Titles at Vero Beach $25K, Black Wins $15K

Top seed Bruno Kuzuhara has moved into the semifinals of the ITF J1 in Traralgon Australia, with the other three Americans in the quarterfinals failing to advance.

Kuzuhara defeated No. 7 seed Olaf Pieczkowski of Poland 6-2, 6-2 and will play No. 6 seed Edas Butvilas of Lithuania in the semifinals. Butvilas ended the run of qualifier Alex Michelsen 6-3, 7-6(4).  The other boys semifinal features No. 5 seed Gabriel Debru and No. 2 seed Mili Polijcak of Croatia.

Top seed Diana Shnaider of Russia lost to No. 7 seed Sofia Costoulas of Belgium 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 and will face Australian wild card Taylah Preston. Preston defeated No. 11 seed Liv Hovde 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. Clervie Ngounoue, the No. 4 seed, retired trailing No. 8 seed Celine Naef of Switzerland 6-4, 0-1. Naef's semifinal opponent is No. 16 seed Kayla Cross of Canada, who defeated unseeded Dominika Salkova of the Czech Republic 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Kuzuhara and his partner Coleman Wong of Hong Kong, the No. 2 seeds, will play the unseeded team of Ozan Colak and Aidan Kim in the doubles semifinals, assuring at least one American in the final. No US girls remain in doubles.

The main wild cards for the Australian Open Junior Championships have been announced, with all but two from the host country. The six Australian boys below all received Traralgon wild cards as well, with Winter, who beat Gilles Simon in the first round of men's qualifying, getting one win and Jin two before falling to seeds Debru and Kuzuhara respectively. Of the girls AO wild cards, seven of the eight also received wild cards into Tralagon. Preston is still going, of course, with Gibson and Saito reaching the third round.

Boys:
Edward Winter (AUS)
Jeremy Jin (AUS)
Charlie Camus (AUS)
Hayden Jones (AUS)
Alec Braund (AUS)
Amor Jasika (AUS)
Maxim Batyutenko (KAZ)
TBA

Girls:
Taylah Preston (AUS)
Talia Gibson (AUS)
Catherine Aulia (AUS)
Lily Taylor (AUS)
Roisin Gilheany (AUS)
Lily Fairclough (AUS)
Yuilin Yan (AUS)
Sara Saito (JPN)

Americans went 11-9 in first round play Monday at the Australian Open. Sebastian Korda, who tested positive on his arrival in Australia and did not get to play any warmup events, defeated No. 12 seed Cameron Norrie of Great Britain 6-3, 6-0, 6-4 in the biggest men's upset of the first day. The only two seeded women to lose Monday were both Americans: Coco Gauff, the No. 18 seed, fell to Qiang Wang of China 6-4, 6-2 and Sofia Kenin, the 2020 champion and No. 11 seed this year, lost to Madison Keys 7-6(2), 7-5.

Fourteen more Americans are in action Tuesday (Monday night in the US):

Ana Konjuh(CRO) d. Shelby Rogers 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
Danielle Collins[27] d. Caroline Dolehide[Q] 6-1, 6-3
Beatriz Haddad Maia(BRA) d. Katie Volynets[Q] 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
Emma Raducanu[17](GBR) d. Sloane Stephens 6-0, 2-6, 6-1 
Samantha Stosur[WC](AUS) d. Robin Anderson[WC] 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3 
Hailey Baptiste[Q] d. Caroline Garcia(FRA) 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3
Liudmila Samsonova(RUS) d. Emina Bektas[Q] 7-5, 6-4 
Xinyu Wang(CHN) d. Ann Li 7-6(5), 6-3

Steve Johnson d. Jordan Thompson(AUS) 7-6(5), 6-7(6), 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
Frances Tiafoe d. Marco Trungelliti[Q](ARG) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Taylor Fritz[20] v Maximilian Marterer[Q](GER) 7-6(8), 6-3, 6-2
Maxime Cressy d. John Isner[22] 7-6(2), 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-7(4), 6-4

Monday's first round results:

Tereza Martincova(CZE) d. Lauren Davis 7-5, 6-2 
Amanda Anisimova d. Arianne Hartono[Q](NED) 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
Madison Brengle d. Dayana Yastremska(UKR) 6-1, 0-6, 5-0 ret.
Bernarda Pera d. Ekaterina Alexandrova(RUS) 7-5, 6-3
Jessica Pegula[21] d. Anhelina Kalinina(UKR) 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-5
Veronika Kudermetova[28](RUS) d. Claire Liu 6-4, 6-4
Alison Riske d. Donna Vekic(CRO) 6-2, 6-2
Madison Keys d. Sofia Kenin[11] 7-6(2), 7-5
Qiang Wang(CHN) d. Coco Gauff[18] 6-4, 6-2 


Tommy Paul d. Mikhail Kukushkin[Q](KAZ) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
Lorenzo Sonego[25](ITA) d. Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-3, 6-3
Alexander Bublik(KAZ) d. Ernesto Escobedo[LL] 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-3
Sebastian Korda d. Cameron Norrie[12](GBR) 6-3, 6-0, 6-4
Stefan Kozlov[WC] d. Jiri Vesely(CZE) 7-5, 6-3, 6-4
Matteo Berrettini[7](ITA) d. Brandon Nakashima 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(5), 6-3
Reilly Opelka[23] d. Kevin Anderson(RSA) 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3)
Mackenzie McDonald d. Nikola Milojevic[Q](SRB) 5-7, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2
Karen Khachanov[28](RUS) d. Denis Kudla 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(2) 
Rafael Nadal[6](ESP) d. Marcos Giron 6-1, 6-4, 6-2


Rain interrupted the finals of the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Vero Beach, but they did manage to complete it last night, with Sophie Chang claiming both the singles and doubles titles. The 24-year-old Chang, the No. 7 seed, defeated No. 4 seed Vera Lapko of Belarus 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 to earn her second singles title on the Pro Circuit and her first since 2018. Chang and partner Allie Kiick, the No. 3 seeds, then won the doubles title, beating No. 4 seeds Anna Rogers(NC State) and Christina Rosca(Vanderbilt) 6-3, 6-3. Chang now has won 11 titles on the ITF World Tennis Tour.

Hurricane Tyra Black ended her year in November with the title at a $15,000 ITF World Tennis Tour women's tournament in Guatemala and she picked up right where she left off last week in Turkey, running her winning streak to 20 sets and 10 matches at the $15,000 tournament in Antalya. The No. 1 seed, Black defeated Czech junior Barbora Palicova, seeded No. 7, 6-0, 6-4 in the final.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Orange Bowl Videos; Four Americans Advance to Traralgon J1 Quarterfinals; Twenty Americans in Action as Australian Open Begins

I've processed my videos of last month's finals from the Orange Bowl, with those of the champions embedded below. For videos of the finalists, click on their names to watch on YouTube.

Bruno Kuzuhara

Diana Shnaider

Alexander Frusina

Stephanie Yakoff






Four of the six Americans competing in Sunday's round of 16 at the J1 in Traralgon Australia advanced to Monday's quarterfinals. Top seed Bruno Kuzuhara defeated wild card Jeremy Jin of Australia 6-3, 6-3 and will play No. 7 seed Olaf Pieczkowski of Poland. Qualifier Alex Michelsen defeated No. 3 seed Jakub Mensik of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-1 and faces No. 6 seed Edas Butvilas of Lithuania next. If both Kuzuhara and Michelsen win, they will meet in the semifinals. No. 12 seed Ozan Colak lost to No. 5 seed Gabriel Debru of France. 
Qavia Lopez, the No. 15 seed, lost to top seed Diana Shnaider of Russia 1-6, 6-3, 6-3. Liv Hovde, seeded No. 11, beat No. 5 seed Michaela Laki of Greece 7-5, 6-0. Hovde will play wild card Taylah Preston of Australia in the quarterfinals. No. 4 seed Clervie Ngounoue came back to defeat Sara Saito of Japan 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 and will take on No. 8 seed Celine Naef of Switzerland. No. 16 seed Kayla Cross of Canada took out No. 2 seed Ksenia Zaytseva of Russia 6-4, 6-2.

Twenty Americans will begin play at the Australian Open Monday (tonight in the United States), with the top half of both the men's and women's draws in action. Below are the matchups; I will update this post first thing Monday morning with the results. All matches should be available for streaming via ESPN+.

Monday's first round singles matches featuring Americans:

Tereza Martincova(CZE) d. Lauren Davis 7-5, 6-2 
Amanda Anisimova d. Arianne Hartono[Q](NED) 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
Madison Brengle d. Dayana Yastremska(UKR) 6-1, 0-6, 5-0 ret.
Bernarda Pera d. Ekaterina Alexandrova(RUS) 7-5, 6-3
Jessica Pegula[21] d. Anhelina Kalinina(UKR) 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-5
Veronika Kudermetova[28](RUS) d. Claire Liu 6-4, 6-4
Alison Riske d. Donna Vekic(CRO) 6-2, 6-2
Madison Keys d. Sofia Kenin[11] 7-6(2), 7-5
Qiang Wang(CHN) d. Coco Gauff[18] 6-4, 6-2 

Tommy Paul d. Mikhail Kukushkin[Q](KAZ) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
Lorenzo Sonego[25](ITA) d. Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-3, 6-3
Alexander Bublik(KAZ) d. Ernesto Escobedo[LL] 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-3
Sebastian Korda d. Cameron Norrie[12](GBR) 6-3, 6-0, 6-4
Stefan Kozlov[WC] d. Jiri Vesely(CZE) 7-5, 6-3, 6-4
Matteo Berrettini[7](ITA) d. Brandon Nakashima 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(5), 6-3
Reilly Opelka[23] d. Kevin Anderson(RSA) 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3)
Mackenzie McDonald d. Nikola Milojevic[Q](SRB) 5-7, 7-4, 6-3, 6-2
Karen Khachanov[28](RUS) d. Denis Kudla 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(2) 
Rafael Nadal[6](ESP) d. Marcos Giron 6-1, 6-4, 6-2

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Macavei and Gorzny Claim ITF J1 Coffee Bowl Titles; Six Americans Advance at J1 in Traralgon; Bhat Reaches Singles Final, Wins Doubles Title at J2 in India; Keys Captures Adelaide Title

The ITF J1 Coffee Bowl concluded tonight in Costa Rica, with Americans claiming three of the four finals contested today.

Unlike most junior tournaments, the doubles are often played before the singles tournaments and so it was today, with the boys doubles final first on the schedule. Top seeds Cooper Williams and Michael Zheng defeated No. 2 seeds Nicholas Godsick and Sebastian Gorzny 6-3, 6-1 to win the first of two finals featuring Williams and Gorzny.

Gorzny got his revenge in the singles final which closed the evening, with the No. 7 seed defeating top seed Williams 6-3, 7-6(7). Gorzny, who turns 18 later this month, has won four ITF junior circuit doubles titles, but this is his first singles title at any level on the ITF junior circuit. He did reach the final of the J4 in Boca Raton last November, but it was abandoned due to rain. Gorzny has committed to TCU for this fall.

In the girls doubles final, No. 2 seeds Nikola Daubnerova of Slovakia and Luca Udvardy of Hungary defeated unseeded Gabriella Broadfoot of South Africa and Elisabeth Jones 2-6, 6-1, 11-9.

In the girls singles final, No. 8 seed Sonya Macavei took on unseeded 15-year-old Naomi Xu of Canada. Macavei, who has signed with Vanderbilt for this fall, earned her second ITF junior circuit singles title with a 7-5, 2-6, 6-0 victory. The 17-year-old left-hander, who had won just one match at a J1 before this week, also reached the semifinals in doubles with Mia Slama.

Photos from the Coffee Bowl can be found at the tournament website.

At the J1 in Traralgon, three US girls and three US boys advanced to the round of 16. Top seed Bruno Kuzuhara, No. 12 seed Ozan Colak and qualifier Alex Michelsen are the boys, with No. 4 seed Clervie Ngounoue, No. 11 seed Liv Hovde and No. 15 seed Qavia Lopez the girls advancing out of the second round. Wild card Taylah Preston, the 16-year-old Australian who won a round in the women's qualifying, defeated No. 3 seed Solana Sierra of Argentina 6-3, 6-3 in the first round. No. 4 seed Ignacio Buse of Peru lost to Jakub Nicod of the Czech Republic 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(4) in the second round.

At this week's J2 in India, 17-year-old Aayush Bhat won his fifth ITF Junior Circuit doubles title, while also advancing to the final in singles. Bhat and India's Rushil Khosla, the No. 2 seeds, defeated the unseeded team of Fadi Bidan of Lebanon and Thanaphat Boosarawongse of Thailand 6-3, 6-2 in the final. Bhat, the No. 7 seed, lost to 14-year-old qualifier Manas Dhamne of India 7-5, 6-1 in the singles final. It's the first ITF junior circuit title for Dhamne, who won the Eddie Herr 12s title in 2019.

In Australia, Madison Keys won her first title since 2019 at the WTA 250 in Adelaide, defeating Alison Riske 6-1, 6-2. At the ATP 250 in Adelaide, former Texas A&M star Arthur Rinderknech of France lost in the final to Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia 6-7(6), 7-5(5), 6-3. Rinderknech will move into the ATP Top 50 for the first time with his results this week.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Banerjee Practices with ATP Top Players; Macavei Reaches Costa Rica J1 Final; Joint and Mesarovic Win J5 Titles in Wisconsin; Volynets, Dolehide, Baptiste and Bektas Qualify for Australian Open; Kalieva Advances at Vero Beach $25K

I had an opportunity to talk with Wimbledon boys champion Samir Banerjee last month at the Orange Bowl, his last ITF junior tournament (he is eligible to compete in Kalamazoo this year), about his two weeks in Italy as a practice partner at the ATP Tour Finals. It was fascinating to hear how he interacted with the very best of the best, hitting with Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and many others. He admitted it wasn't the best preparation for the Orange Bowl, but he doesn't regret it for a second. The article for the Tennis Recruiting Network is available here.

The boys semifinals at the ITF J1 Coffee Bowl in Costa Rica are being played tonight, but the girls final is set, with Sonya Macavei, the No. 8 seed, set to take on 15-year-old Canadian Naomi Xu Saturday. Macavei, the 17-year-old Vanderbilt signee, defeated No. 7 seed Sayaka Ishii of Japan 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the semifinals; the unseeded Xu beat No. 6 seed Luca Udvardy 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. Tonight's boys semifinals feature top seed Cooper Williams and No. 5 seed Michael Zheng and qualifier Learner Tien and No. 7 seed Sebastian Gorzny. Tien defeated No. 3 seed Nico Godsick 6-1, 6-3 last night.

Williams and Zheng, the No. 1 seeds in doubles, will face No. 2 seeds Gorzny and Godsick for the title Saturday. 

The ITF J5 in Eau Claire Wisconsin concluded today, with top seed Marko Mesarovic and No. 2 seed Maya Joint taking the titles. It was the first ITF Junior Circuit title for Mesarovic, who defeated his doubles partner, unseeded 15-year-old Cooper Woestendick 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the final. Mesarovic got his second title in a hurry, with he and Woestendick, the top seeds, taking the doubles with a 2-6, 6-4, 10-5 win over unseeded Maxwell Exsted and Matisse Farzam. The 15-year-old Joint defeated unseeded Selah Stibbins 6-0, 6-0 to claim her second ITF Junior Circuit singles title to go with her three doubles titles. Joint wasn't able to add another doubles title to her total; she and partner Natalie Stasny, the No. 3 seeds, lost to the unseeded team of Susanna Maltby and Amber Yin 7-6(5), 6-2 in today's final. 

The first round of the J1 in Traralgon was not completed as planned Friday, with many of the girls first round matches unfinished. In the boys draw, qualifier Alex Michelsen defeated No. 13 seed Dino Prizmic of Croatia 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 to join Bruno Kuzuhara[1], Ozan Colak[12] and Aidan Kim in the second round. 

The final round of qualifying at the Australian Open saw four American women advancing to the main draw, as well as the only man competing Friday, Ernesto Escobedo. Escobedo lost to Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan, but received entry into the main draw as a lucky loser. Escobedo will face another player from Kazakhstan Alexander Bublik, in the main draw. Katie Volynets has drawn Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil, who she defeated in the final round of qualifying at Wimbledon last summer; Caroline Dolehide plays Danielle Collins[27], Hailey Baptiste faces Caroline Garcia of France and Emina Bektas plays Liudmila Samsonova of Russia.

Friday's final round of qualifying results for Americans:

Mikhail Kukushkin(KAZ) d. Ernesto Escobedo 6-4, 5-7, 7-5

Katie Volynets d. Mirjam Bjorklund(SWE) 7-5, 6-2
Caroline Dolehide d. Julia Grabher(AUT) 7-6(5), 6-2
Hailey Baptiste d. Yue Yuan(CHN) 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3
Emina Bektas d. Christina McHale 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(7)

Madison Keys and Alison Riske will play for the WTA 250 title in Adelaide Saturday.

At the USTA Pro Circuit women's $25,000 tournament in Vero Beach, 18-year-old Elvina Kalieva is through to the semifinals. The No. 6 seed defeated No. 3 seed Louisa Chirico 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) and will face No. 7 seed Sophie Chang, who beat qualifier Reese Brantmeier 1-6, 7-6(7), 6-0. Unseeded Chanelle Van Nguyen(UCLA) and No. 4 seed Vera Lapko of Belarus will meet in the other semifinal.