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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Qualifying Complete at Three Women's USTA Pro Circuit Events; Mmoh, Kozlov to Meet in Tiburon Challenger Second Round; US Teams Start Junior Davis, Fed Cup with Victories

Qualifying was completed today at the three women's USTA Pro Circuit events in Las Vegas, Stillwater, Oklahoma, and Charleston, South Carolina.

At the $50,000 tournament in Las Vegas, there are only four places for qualifiers in the main draw. Those went to Anna Zaja of Germany, Julia Elbaba, Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic and Fanni Stollar of Hungary.  Zaja defeated US Open champion and top qualifying seed Kayla Day 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, while Elbaba defeated Chanel Simmonds of South Africa 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. 2014 US Open girls champion Bouzkova, now 18, defeated Pepperdine sophomore Luisa Stefani of Brazil, 6-2, 6-3 and 17-year-old Stollar beat former Baylor star Ema Burgic Bucko of Bosnia 6-3, 6-4.  In first round action, Jamie Loeb defeated No. 3 seed Julia Boserup 7-5, 6-4, while Taylor Townsend(6) and Sachia Vickery(8) both won three-setters to advance to the second round. Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium is the top seed.

In Stillwater, a $25,000 level tournament, eight qualifiers are through to the main draw: Giuliana Olmos of Mexico(USC), Michaela Gordon, Catherine Harrison(UCLA), Danielle Collins(Virginia), Ronit Yurovsky(Michigan), Alexandra Sanford, Sofya Zhuk of Russia and Romania's Gabriela Talaba(Texas Tech junior).  The only two Americans in first round action today were wild card Morgan Coppoc and Usue Arconada, with both falling to seeded players. Barbora Stefkova of the Czech Republic is the top seed.

At the $10,000 tournament in Charleston, South Carolina, 15-year-old Elli Mandlik, daughter of Hana Mandlikova, qualified, as did South Carolina freshman Mia Horvit, Notre Dame graduate Quinn Gleason, Madeline Meredith and 15-year-old Chloe Beck, who will be playing in her first Pro Circuit main draw.  Lauren Embree, who had announced her retirement back in April, is in the main draw, and she won her first round match today, as did Amy Zhu(Michigan) and Jaeda Daniel.

Two USTA Pro Circuit events for men are on this week's schedule, with a $10,000 Futures in Fountain Valley, California and the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger, which I mentioned in yesterday's post. Kalamazoo champion Michael Mmoh, who qualified for Tiburon with a victory of Denis Shapovalov of Canada Monday, advanced to the second round when Tennys Sandgren retired with Mmoh leading 4-6, 7-6(5), 2-0. Sandgren served for the match at 5-4 in the second set and had three match points, but a backhand error, a double fault and a bold Mmoh forehand drop shot erased them. In the tiebreaker, Sandgren had the match on his racquet, serving at 5-4, but Mmoh's return winner, then two missed forehands by Sandgren gave Mmoh the set. Sandgren took a medical time out after the set and continued to play, but after dropping serve in the first game and a love hold by Mmoh, Sandgren retired.

Mmoh's opponent in Wednesday's second round is none other than his longtime friend Stefan Kozlov, who won his first round match on Monday. Kozlov, the No. 6 seed, lost to Mmoh earlier this year in the first round of the $25,000 Long Beach Futures.  The match, third on after 11 am Pacific, will be streamed (without commentary) here.

In Fountain Valley, Keegan Smith, who just announced his verbal commitment to UCLA, qualified for his first Futures with a win yesterday and will play Pepperdine senior Stefan Menichella, also a qualifier, in Wednesday's first round.   In first round action today, US Open boys finalist Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia defeated No. 7 seed Alexios Halebian 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(1) and wild card Evan Zhu came back to defeat Nick Chappell 1-6, 7-6(11), 7-5 in three hours and 14 minutes. Zhu's next opponent is top seed Carl Soderlund of Sweden, who is a freshman at the University of Virginia.

The first day of Junior Davis and Junior Fed Cup produced few surprises, with the only seeded team to fall No. 3 Junior Davis Cup seed China, who lost to Bulgaria 2-1.

The US boys, seeded No. 4, needed a doubles win to get past Switzerland 2-1. Keenan Mayo won at No. 2 singles, but Sebastian Korda dropped his match at No. 1 singles.  Korda and Sangeet Sridhar won the doubles match in straight sets to clinch the win.  They will play Brazil, who lost 3-0 to No. 6 seed Czech Republic, on Wednesday.

The US girls, seeded No. 2, lost only three games in three matches, crushing New Zealand 3-0.  Their opponent Wednesday is Peru, who lost to No. 6 seed Czech Republic 2-1.

The ITF Junior website has more on today's matches.  Live scoring and live streaming (for 4 courts) is available.