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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Grade A Youth Olympic Games Begin Sunday; Wild Cards for ITF Grade 1 in College Park; Gordon Reaches Semifinals of US Open National Playoffs

The Youth Olympic Games were introduced in 2010, and just as their much more established adult counterpart, they are scheduled for every four years (the same schedule as the Winter Olympic Games).  The tennis competition, which is administered through the International Tennis Federation, begins on Sunday, with the current world No. 1s Andrey Rublev of Russia and Ivana Jorovic of Serbia the top seeds.

The United States has sent two players to Nanjing China--Sofia Kenin and Alex Rybakov--but with the US Open qualifying and junior championships right around the corner, it's understandable that other top American juniors declined the opportunity. The fields are strong, as befitting a Grade A tournament, and the results next week will have a major impact on the seedings for the US Open junior championships, which begin on August 31st.

The draws have been released and can be found here. The ITF's Olympic tennis site is the place to go for coverage of the event.

While the Olympics will garner most of the international attention in junior tennis this week, I'll be covering the ITF Grade 1 Prince George's County International Hard Court Championships in College Park Maryland beginning Monday.  Qualifying for the tournament began today and will continue through Sunday.  For draws and order of play, see the tournament website.  The main draw wild cards awarded for the tournament:


Trent Bryde
Matt Kuhar
Brian Cernoch
Yancy Dennis
Patrick Kypson

Sam Riffice

Kayla Day
Kylie Mckenzie 
Ingrid Neel
Alexandra Sanford 
Jada Robinson
Elizabeth Scotty
Ines Vias

The US Open National Playoffs in singles are underway in New Haven Connecticut, with the first round of play completed Friday.  With Asia Muhammad receiving a women's qualifying wild card last week, she withdrew from the tournament, so there was no No. 1 seed in the women's event.  No. 2 seed Denise Muresan (Michigan) lost to 15-year-old Kelly Chen 6-3, 7-5, but the other three seeds in the women's draw and all four men's seeds, advanced to Saturday's quarterfinals.  Friday's results are here.

In Saturday's quarterfinals, Michaela Gordon (who may not be playing in the College Park ITF after all, if she wins in New Haven tomorrow) defeated No. 3 seed Jennifer Elie 6-1, 6-1. No. 4 seed Ashley Weinhold and No. 5 seed Jacqueline Cako also advanced to the semifinals, where she will meet Gordon. Weinhold will play unseeded Caitlin Whoriskey(Tennessee), who played two matches yesterday--one in the WTA Connecticut Open qualifying draw and one in the National Open playoffs. Today she defeated Chen in two tiebreakers to reach the semifinals.

Top seed Sanam Singh(Virginia), No. 2 seed  and defending champion Jeff Dadamo(Texas A&M), No. 3 seed Jesse Witten(Kentucky) and No. 4 seed Ronnie Schneider(North Carolina) make up the men's semifinals Sunday.

The mixed doubles National Open Playoffs, for a place in the main draw of the US Open, begins on Wednesday, also in New Have.