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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kozlov and Wiersholm to Meet Again in Teen Tennis Final; USTA National Teams Win Two in College Contests

I spent the day watching junior and college tennis matches in beautiful Florida sunshine at the USTA National Training Center, while across the Atlantic, two Americans were earning spots in the 14-and-under Aegon International Teen Tennis tournament championship match held indoors in Bolton England. No. 3 seed and defending champion Stefan Kozlov defeated No. 8 seed Domagoj Biljesko of Croatia 6-0, 6-4 to set up another meeting with Henrik Wiersholm, the No. 9 seed. Wiersholm beat Francis Tiafoe of the U.S. 6-1, 6-1 in the semifinals. Wiersholm and Kozlov met recently in the semifinals of the 14s Winter Nationals, with Kozlov winning 6-1, 6-0. Wiersholm and Kozlov, seeded second, won the doubles title with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over top seeds Andrey Rublev of Russia and Alexander Zverev of Germany.

Julia O'Loughlin, the last American girl remaining, lost in the semifinals to No. 2 seed Anastasiya Rychagova of Russia 1-6, 6-3, 6-1. Rychagova will play top seed Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in the girls final. For complete draws, see the LTA site.

The first tennis match I covered today featured Jack Sock and Bjorn Fratangelo, who were the finalists in a four-man round robin tournament that also featured Alexios Halebian and Morgan Mays. The prize was a wild card into the Weston Futures event that begins with qualifying on Friday. Neither player looked particularly sharp in the opening few games of the match and Sock made a habit in the first set of coming from 0-30 down on his own serve to hold. There were no breaks until Fratangelo lost his serve at 3-4, and in his next service game, Sock didn't dig any holes for himself.

Sock opened the second set with a break, but was broken right back. Fratangelo saved two break points in the next game, but Sock was beginning to serve better and vary his forehand to keep Fratangelo off balance. Each held the next three service games, but at 4-4, Fratangelo was broken. A serve he thought was an ace to save break point was called out by Sock and after some examination, the call stood. Fratangelo then double faulted on his second serve and Sock had the break. Again he eliminated any drama in closing out the match, serving well and forcing errors to post a 6-3, 6-4 win. Sock seems to have a knack for recognizing when he needs to focus, what points are crucial and how to win those points. Tennis is really not as easy as he made it look today, both in his match against Fratangelo and in his 6-1, 6-3 win over Ricky Doverspike, Alabama's No. 1. I did hear later however, that Fratangelo had also received a wild card into the main draw of the Weston Futures, thus avoiding the 128-draw qualifying there.

I'll have a complete recap of the USTA National Boys Junior team's 7-5 win over the University of Alabama on the Tennis Recruiting Network Friday, but for the complete results, see rolltide.com.

The USTA National Girls Junior team played their third match in three days, this one at the University of Central Florida, posting a 6-1 win.

Samantha Crawford and Lauren Herring USTA def. Jenny Frisell and Alexis Rodriguez 8-4
Vicky Duval and Krista Hardebeck USTA def. Genevieve Lorbergs and Courtney Griffith 8-4
Taylor Townsend and Mia King USTA def. Jenna Doerfler and Andrea Yacaman 8-4
Caroline Doyle and Sachia Vickery USTA def. Josephine Haraldson and Allison Hodges 8-2

Hardebeck USTA def. Frisell 6-1, 6-1
Duval USTA def. Rodriquez 6-1, 6-0
Herring USTA def. Lorbergs 6-3, 6-4
Crawford USTA def. Doerfler 5-7, 6-1, 6-3
Townsend USTA def. Griffith 6-4, 6-3
Haraldson UCF def. King 6-4, 4-6, 10-2
Doyle USTA def. Yacaman 6-0, 6-1