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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Australian Open Junior Wild Cards, Qualifying Draws; Sixteen Americans Reach Australian Open Second Round; Blanch in G1 Traralgon Semis; Bolton, Pro Circuit Update

The wild cards for the Australian Open Junior Championships, which begin Saturday (Friday night here in the US) have been announced. All are Australian, except for the two winners of the Asian Wild Card playoffs.

Moerani Bouzige
Oliver Anderson
Blake Ellis
Max Purcell
Scott Jones
Richard Yang
Adam Walton
Tao Mu (CHN)

Michaela Haet
Violet Apisah
Petra Hule
Kaitlin Staines
Aleksa Cveticanin
Jeanette Lin
Renee McBryde
Xiyu Wang (CHN)

Qualifying for the Australian Open Junior Championships begins Wednesday(tonight in the US), with two US boys and one US girl competing for a place in the main draw.  Zeke Clark is the top seed in qualifying, meaning he just missed direct entry. Lane Leschly was the third alternate but made the trip and got into qualifying.  Six Top 100 players are in the boys qualifying, but it appears, with no wild cards, that everyone who signed in got in.  Four Top 100 girls are in qualifying, but there was a cutoff (very unusual for a girls draw to be stronger than a boys), at 796, and wild cards used, including one for Sara Tomic, Bernard's younger sister.  The qualifying draws can be found at the top right hand corner of the ITF Junior website.

Nineteen Americans were in action on Day Two of the Australian Open, with nine advancing to the second round.  Madison Keys(15) defeated Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan 7-6(5), 6-1, John Isner(10) took out Jerzy Janowicz of Poland 6-3, 7-6(7), 6-3 and Steve Johnson(31) beat Aljaz Bedene of Great Britain 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3). Jack Sock(25) and qualifier Taylor Fritz went five sets before Sock emerged with a 6-4, 3-6, 0-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory.  The Australian Open website has this account of the match, while Jonathan Kelley explores the ramifications of all the drama it contained (along with the other Day Two matches involving US players) at On The Rise Tennis.

Other US players getting victories included Rajeev Ram, who won the Illinois-alumni battle when No. 11 seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa retired at 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 6-3, 3-0. Vania King beat Mona Barthel of Germany 3-6, 7-5, 6-4, Varvara Lepchenko took out No. 31 seed Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3, and Madison Brengle beat CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-4.  Tim Smyczek was the only US qualifier/lucky loser to advance, beating Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

US players losing in the first round: Venus Williams(8), Donald Young, Brian Baker(but great, competitive effort in his first match in two years), Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Vicky Duval, Samantha Crawford, Bjorn Fratangelo, Ryan Harrison, Fritz and Vandeweghe.

Seven Americans are in second round singles action tonight: Austin Krajicek, Nicole Gibbs, Serena Williams(1), Noah Rubin, Lauren Davis, Irina Falconi and Denis Kudla. 

At the Grade 1 in Traralgon, No. 9 seed Ulises Blanch has advanced to the semifinals, defeating unseeded Louis Tessa of France Tuesday  3-6, 6-3, 6-1. Blanch will face No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece tonight for a place in a Grade 1 final for the second time this year. The other boys semifinal features No. 2 seed Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia against unseeded Australian qualifier Blake Ellis.  The girls semifinals have unseeded Eva Guerrero Alvarez of Spain against No. 3 seed Anna Kalinskaya of Russia and No. 4 seed Vera Lapko of Belarus against No. 12 seed Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine. Live scoring is available here.

At the Nike International Teen Tennis 14-and-under tournament in Bolton, four US players have advanced to the quarterfinals: No. 6 seed Stefan Leustian and Faris Khan in the boys draw, and No. 5 seed Alexa Noel and Vanessa Ong in the girls draw.  Noel and Ong have also advanced to the doubles semifinals. Complete results can be found at the Tennis Europe tournament website.

At the $10,000 Men's Pro Circuit Futures in Sunrise, Florida, qualifying is now complete after rain over the weekend pushed it back a day. Sixteen-year-olds Sam Riffice and Denis Shapovalov of Canada are among the eight qualifiers. Tommy Paul and Sekou Bangoura, who received a wild card, are the top two seeds. Sixteen-year-old Vasil Kirkov, Cornell recruit Pietro Rimondini and former North Carolina State star Robbie Mudge received wild cards; all were beaten today, with Bangoura beating Rimondini 6-4, 7-5. 

Qualifying was completed on schedule today at the $25,000 Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Wesley Chapel, Florida, with Sonya Kenin and Nicole Frenkel winning three-hour matches--Kenin over Ellie Halbauer and Frenkel over Taylor Townsend--to reach the main draw.  Stanford junior Carol Zhao of Canada and 16-year-old Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, a recent ITF World No. 1, also reached the main draw with wins. Vondrousova will play top seed Shelby Rogers; Kat Stewart, the No. 2 seed, will face fellow 18-year-old Natalia Vikhlyantseva of Russia.  Kayla Day, Lauren Embree and Pepperdine freshman Luisa Stefani of Brazil received wild cards.


Baker fan said...

Kudos to Brian Baker for a great effort, coming back from ANOTHER lengthy injury. It would be fun to see what he could do if he could stay healthy enough to play a full season

Baker Fan said...

Unfortunately, it appears that he has only come back to play one match so far. He looked like he was limping around in that one match, so I don't expect to see him playing in a tournament any time soon. I hope he comes back though. The guy's been through hell and he's obviously a great talent who might have been Top 20 on the ATP Tour had he stayed healthy.