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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Keys Upsets Kvitova in Melbourne; Mmoh, Vondrousova Out at Australian Open Juniors; Tiafoe, Arconada Reach $10K Finals; Blanch vs Ruud for Colombia Grade 1 Title

Early this morning in the US, 19-year-old Madison Keys completed the biggest victory of her career defeating Wimbledon champion and No. 4 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 7-5 at the Australian Open, to set up a fourth round encounter with Madison Brengle. Earlier, Brengle had taken out CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-2 in another all-American matchup.  Brengle has already won two of those, beating Irina Falconi in the second round, and she'll get her chance for a third against Keys, who impressed everyone by overpowering Kvitova, who is usually the player doing the overpowering.  For more on Keys' win, see this article by Tom Perotta of the Wall Street Journal. The Williams sisters both won their third round matches after trailing by a set, meaning four US women are in the final 16, the most since 2003. It is the first time in the second week of a major for both Keys and Brengle.

The US juniors went 4-1 in the first day of play in Melbourne.  No. 11 seed Raveena Kingsley beat Monika Kilnarova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 7-6(5), Olivia Hauger, a quarterfinalist last year, recovered to beat Ojasvinee Singh of India 0-6, 6-4, 6-1 and Jessica Ho got her junior slam win with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Australian wild card Jaimee Fourlis. Will Blumberg, who will turn 17 on January 26, also collected his first junior slam victory, cruising past qualifier William Matheson of New Zealand 6-1, 6-1.

The lone loss was suffered by No. 5 seed Michael Mmoh, who was beaten by Sumit Nagal of India 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.  Nagal reached the semifinals of the Grade 1 in Traralgon, so that was a tough first round for both players, but it is the second straight junior slam that Mmoh has exited in the first round.

No. 3 seed Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, No. 8 seed Fiona Ferro of France and No. 8 seed Jumpei Yamasaki of Japan were the other Top 8 seeds ousted Saturday. For more on the first day of singles play, see the ITF website, where Stuart Fraser is providing onsite coverage.

Four US juniors will play in tonight's (Sunday in Australia) completion of the first round, including No. 3 seed Taylor Fritz, who takes on Alex Molcan of Slovakia.  Sameer Kumar plays Japanese qualifier Renta Tokuda of Japan, Mia Horvit gets Margot Yerolymos of France and Raquel Pedraza faces Tessah Andrianjafitrimo, also of France.

The doubles competition also begins tonight.  Ho and Kingsley are playing together again this week after making the semifinals in Traralgon, but the other three US girls are playing with partners from other countries.  Taylor Fritz, who had planned on playing with Michael Mmoh, is not in the draw, no doubt due to the shoulder pain that forced him out of Traralgon. Mmoh will be playing with fellow IMG student Miomar Kecmanovic of Serbia, and they are the third seeds. Blumberg is partnering Orlando Luz of Brazil, and they are seeded second.

For junior draws, click here.  Several junior matches each day will be live streamed via Watch ESPN.

Two Junior Tennis Champion Center students will play in their first $10,000 tournament finals on Sunday.  Francis Tiafoe overcame the loss of six straight games in the middle of the match to beat No. 6 seed Markus Eriksson of Sweden 6-3, 5-7, 6-0 in the Weston Futures. That sets up a rematch with No. 7 seed Benjamin Balleret of Monaco, who beat him 6-3, 6-0 in the semifinals last week in Sunrise.  Tiafoe, who just turned 17, had beaten the 32-year-old Balleret in the first round of qualifying at the ATP Atlanta tournament last summer, so Sunday's meeting will be the rubber match for the two.  Today, Tiafoe was serving at 6-3, 5-1, lost six straight games, then won six straight games to pick up his third win over Eriksson.

Usue Arconada reached her first pro level final at the ITF Women's Circuit event in Guadaloupe. The unseeded 16-year-old beat Maria Fernanda Alves of Brazil 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinals and will meet top seed Victoria Bosio of Argentina for the title. Bosio defeated Nicole Frenkel 6-2, 7-5 in the semifinals.  Former Alabama All-American Alexa Guarachi won the doubles title, with former Georgia player Ayaka Okuno. The top seeds beat Lena Litvak(Harvard) and Sonja Molnar of Canada(Iowa), the No. 3 seeds, 7-5, 6-3 in the final.

At the ITF Grade 1 in Colombia, Ulises Blanch has reached his first Grade 1 final and will attempt to keep Norway's Casper Ruud from winning his third straight in Sunday's championship match.  No. 3 seed Blanch defeated Nuno Borges of Portugal 6-4, 6-2 in the semifinals, while No. 1 seed Ruud downed Felipe Cunha Silva, also of Portugal, 6-2, 6-1.  In the girls final, No. 2 seed Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia will play No. 3 seed Maria Fernanda Herazo Gonzalez of Colombia.


Forfeiting bug hits again said...

UVa women only played 4 against Baylor. I know the main focus is on "speeding up" the matches, but a top 10 team with 8 scholarships should not be forfeiting matches. Yes, it happened to Duke not long ago with an injury bug. But when have you ever heard of a men's team forfeiting a line?

The fact that it's happend more than once speak to an issue with the overall system and that men's and women's college tennis are quite different in their structure. We know it's going to happen again at some point.

Anonymous said...

UVA web site says the forfeited matches were because of the flu. They only had 4 healthy. Hard to say that is a system issue. Both Duke and UVA could have added walk-ons but there is no way they could have competed.

Anonymous said...

The women had two matches were the better teams according to rankings lost. I do not recall seeing that in the Kickoff Weekend before involving rankings in the 30's and 40's.
Sat, Jan 24 – 11am #32 Arizona State def. #17 Northwestern, 4-3
Sat, Jan 24 – 3pm #44 Kentucky def. #21 Rice, 4-0

Forfeit bug said...

Jim, the "system" on the women's side opens the door for potential forfeits. Yes, hardly any team goes more than 8 deep, because they all have full scholarships. Name another college sport where a top ten team has played a game, match, etc. without the minimum complement of players. Would UVa or Duke ever play a women's basketball game with just 4 athletes?

While uncommon, forfeits happen in women's tennis and will continue to occur, because, for top teams, a walk-on cannot be competitive. That's a systemic issue.

Though maybe, this is another effort to speed up the game. Doubles and then 4 singles. Hmmmm.