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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Day Downs Dolehide to Reach Second Round at Dow Tennis Classic, Sanford Advances to Main Draw

©Colette Lewis 2017--
Midland, MI--

Kayla Day has always been comfortable playing a lot of matches, and with the 17-year-old Californian going deep in tournament after tournament on the ITF Junior and Pro Circuit, her match count hit 73 last year, not including qualifying.

So by November, Day was in need of a break, mentally and physically, willing to concede her ITF junior No. 1 ranking while preparing for 2017's Australian Open and her first tournament as a professional. Day had hoped to play qualifying at the WTA in Hobart prior to the Australian Open, but she didn't get in, so when she took the court in Melbourne against Andrea Petkovic of Germany, she had little time to work out any rust.

"I was so ready to play, but it was tough for me," Day said. "The Australian Open was my first tournament back, but that's a big one to jump right into. It was my first match in so long and at such a big tournament."

Day's second match of 2017 was today in the first round of the $100,000 Dow Tennis Classic in Midland, and she assured herself of another one this week by beating her doubles partner Caroline Dolehide 6-3, 7-5.

"My host family asked me, do you ever play your doubles partner, that must be hard," Day said. "I actually hadn't played my doubles partner in three or four years. And then I see the draw, and of course.  It's generally harder, because I train with her and I know her really well, but you have to put that all aside when you go on the court."

Day looked to be cruising along just fine at 6-3, 5-2, although game after game went to deuce regardless of who was serving.  Serving at 4-2 Day saved a break point in the three-deuce game, with her serve getting her out of difficulty.

The next game was a marathon, with 11 deuces and Dolehide saving two match points before finally holding for 5-3.

With a chance to serve out the match in the next game, Day stumbled, with the length of the previous game part of the reason.

"I felt like because the game was so long, my serve routine kind of got out of rhythm," said the left-hander from Santa Barbara. "Before, the games were long but not too long, but that game was so long and I had two match points, so I think I lost my focus just a little bit. And she's such a good player, she broke me and then she played another good service game."

When Day went down 0-30 at 5-5, momentum appeared to be with Dolehide, who made very few errors despite her aggressive play throughout the later stages of the second set.  But Day won the next four points to take a 6-5 lead and Dolehide contributed a couple of unforced errors to give Day a third match point at 30-40.  Dolehide saved it with a forehand winner and then earned a game point, but Day saved that with a backhand winner.  Dolehide then sliced a backhand into the net to give Day her fourth match point, and Day converted, with Dolehide's wide forehand ending the 65-minute set and one-hour-and-53-minute match.

"I'm really happy to win today be able to play another match," Day said. "It's really exciting to come here and play matches again."

After a possible rematch with top seed Madison Brengle, who Day defeated in the first round of the US Open, in Thursday's second round, Day will be traveling to Maui to train with the US Fed Cup team, helping new Captain Kathy Rinaldi's team prepare to take on Germany February 11 and 12.  The team will consist of Alison Riske, CoCo Vandeweghe, Shelby Rogers and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

The final round of qualifying was completed on Tuesday, with Katherine Sebov of Canada, Valeria Savinykh of Russia, Katarzyna Kawa of Poland and Allie Sanford moving into the main draw.  Sebov came back to defeat Amanda Anisimova 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, Savinykh advanced when Chael Simmonds of South Africa retired after losing the first set 6-3 and Kawa defeated Nicole Frenkel 7-6(4), 6-3.  Frenkel was chosen as the lucky loser to replace Jennifer Brady.

Sanford, who saved two match points against Michaela Gordon Monday, downed Julia Elbaba 6-4, 6-3, without any of the drama that accompanied her two 7-6 in the third victories in the previous two rounds.

"I felt a lot looser on my shots," said Sanford, who qualified and reached the quarterfinals of the Dow last year. "I was able to stay loose on my serve, just stay relaxed."

Sanford faced only one break point in the match, in her first service game.

"My serve helped me out a lot today," said the 18-year-old from Ohio, who had six aces. "That was important, because she has a very good serve and up until 4-all in the first, no one had gotten broken."

After an early break in the second set, Sanford held on to that slim advantage. Elbaba, a recent University of Virginia graduate, went up 40-15 serving at 3-5, but Sanford won the final four points of the match to secure the win.

Sanford, who has committed to North Carolina for this coming fall, will play Catalina Pella of Argentina in Wednesday's first round.

Draws, the order of play and a link to live streaming is available at the tournament website.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Sanford Saves Two Match Points to Advance to Final Round Qualifying at $100K Dow Tennis Classic; Cal Tops Men's 2017 Recruiting Class Rankings

©Colette Lewis 2017--
Midland, MI--

Alexandra Sanford reached the quarterfinals of the $100,000 Dow Tennis Classic last year, winning three qualifying matches and earning victories over Jennifer Brady and Alexa Glatch in the main draw.  The 18-year-old from Ohio is one match from returning to the main draw, thanks to saving two match points in her 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(8) win over 17-year-old Michaela Gordon.

Today's victory is 24 hours after Sanford defeated No. 3 seed Maria Sanchez 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(4) in the first round.

"I said to myself yesterday I can't recall playing a 7-6 in the third match, and now I have two in a row," Sanford said. "Maybe a long time ago, but I don't remember any recent ones."

Sanford did not face any match points again Sanchez, and in fact was up 5-2 in third set, but against Gordon, she needed every point.

Sanford broke Gordon serving at 4-5 to take the second set, and went up 3-1 in the third before Gordon fought back to even it 3-3 and 4-4. Serving at 4-5 in the third, Gordon fell behind 0-30, but she came up with a couple of winners and a good first serve to get out of that tight spot.

"She had a couple of good serves and a couple of good third-ball shots, so there wasn't much I could do there either," Sanford said. "From 3-all to 6-all we both just played pretty solid service games."

Sanford then put herself in the same position as Gordon, going down 0-30 at 5-5, but good serving and big forehands led to four straight points and a hold, followed by a love hold by Gordon.

The tiebreaker featured some big hitting and only three mini-breaks, one for each at 2-all and then the final one at 9-8.  Sanford saved her first match point serving at 5-6, with Gordon missing a backhand return on a second serve.  At 6-6 Sanford hit the baseline twice before her forehand forced an error to give her a match point, but Sanford couldn't convert, hitting a forehand wide after a lengthy rally to make it 7-7.  Gordon went up 8-7 when Sanford missed another forehand wide, but Sanford saved it with a good first serve.  She hit a forehand winner to earn her second match point, and then closed out the match with another blistering forehand winner.

The tendency to hit out in a tense point in the match does not come naturally to Sanford.

"It would definitely be my first nature to get tentative," Sanford said. "So I almost have to push myself to keep hitting the ball. Otherwise, it never works out for me. I have to stick to my shots and try to go for it, play my game even in a tight situation. That takes some getting used to, but I feel I did a good job of it yesterday and today."

Sanford played two $25,000 tournaments on clay in Florida this month, but spent last week training on the indoor courts of the USTA's National Campus in Lake Nona to prepare for this event.

"Growing up in Ohio and obviously last year here, hard, fast indoor is my favorite," said Sanford, who has joined the recent surge in players to the Yonex racquet. "I live for this tournament."

Sanford hopes winning two third-set tiebreakers will help her relax a bit.

"I was a little bit nervous, just because of my result last year," said Sanford. "I wanted to get the win really bad, but when you have two close matches like that you put perspective on it, and it shows me I need to do what I did last year. When I just play and don't think about it too much, that's when I'm at my best. Hopefully two close matches can help me ease in and not put so much pressure on myself."

Sanford's opponent in the final round of qualifying will be Julia Elbaba, who defeated Alexandra Mueller 6-0, 7-6(8).

Elbaba, a 2016 Virginia graduate, was able to keep Mueller on defense most of the first set.

"I feel like she definitely struggled a little bit in the first set with my pace," said Elbaba, the No. 7 seed. "I was taking the balls nice and early and I felt she really didn't know what to do to counteract those shots."

Mueller began hitting bigger and deeper in the second set, and took a 4-2 lead, only to see Elbaba win the next four games.  Mueller had a chance to serve for the second set at 6-5, but Elbaba dug in, denying Mueller a set point and forced a tiebreaker.

"When you play such big players that have such strong serves, going down 4-2 is a little bit scarier than going down 4-2 against someone my height," Elbaba said. "I knew it was going to take a lot, but it reminded me of the Federer - Nadal fifth set, when Federer went down a break. I said, you know what, if Federer can do it, then maybe I can do it too. Watching these pro matches does help you in your own match."

Also down 4-2 in the tiebreaker, Elbaba again was able to keep herself calm.

"I told myself if it goes to a third set, that's fine," said the 22-year-old New Yorker. "But let's just free up and hit. Let's keep the balls deep, let's try to get ahead in the point from the start.  Because whenever she was ahead in the point it was hard to beat her. I took it, like literally, one point at a time, and the crowd was really nice."

Mueller came up with a couple of winners to deny Elbaba victory at 7-6 and 8-7, but at 9-8 Mueller hit a forehand long to put Elbaba one match from the main draw.

Sanford and Elbaba have never played before, and Sanford said she will figure out her strategy early on.

"I don't know much about her and today's the first time I've seen her play," Sanford said. "I'll try to just play the ball, focus on what I'm doing and use the first couple games to try and figure out if I need a strategy or what I need to do from then on in the match."

The only other Americans to reach the final round of qualifying are 15-year-old Amanda Anisimova and 18-year-old Nicole Frenkel.  Anisimova defeated No. 8 seed Hanna Chang 6-0, 7-5 and will play 18-year-old Canadian Katherine Sebov.  Frenkel beat Anca Craciun 6-2, 7-5 and will face Katarzyna Kawa of Poland, the No. 5 seed.  Kawa defeated local teenager Alyvia Jones, a Michigan recruit, 6-3, 6-1.

In addition to the four final round qualifying matches, four main draw matches will be played on Tuesday.  I'll be watching US Open girls doubles finalists Caroline Dolehide and Kayla Day face off in a first round singles match, which should be streamed at usta.com

Jennifer Brady, who reached the round of 16 at the Australian Open, withdrew, so one of the losers in qualifying will get in.  Draws and Tuesday's order of play is available at dowtennisclassic.com.

The Tennis Recruiting Network revealed its 2017 men's recruiting class rankings today, with Cal edging Florida by one point for the top spot, the closest finish in the 12 years TRNet has been providing these lists. I am one of the 19 voters who participated in these January rankings. A second and final ranking for 2017 will come out in May.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Italy's Nardi, Russia's Timofeeva Win Les Petits As Titles; Spears Claims Australian Open Mixed Doubles Championship; Qualifying Underway at $100K Dow Tennis Classic; Men's ITA Indoor Field Set

Nardi and Timofeeva in Tarbes
photo courtesy Richard van Loon

The Les Petits As singles titles were decided Sunday in Tarbes France, with Italian Luca Nardi and Russian Maria Timofeeva putting their names on the prestigious tournament's list of champions.

Nardi, the No. 4 seed, defeated No. 3 seed Hamad Medjedovic of Serbia 6-2, 7-5 in the boys final. He is just the second Italian to claim the title in the tournament's 35 years of existence, joining Samuele Ramazzotti, who won in 2013.

No. 2 seed Timofeeva defeated unseeded wild card Dasha Lopatetskaya of Ukraine 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, spoiling a perfect weekend for Ukrainian teenagers after Kostyuk won the Australian Open girls title and Anhelina Kalinina won the USTA Pro Circuit title in Wesley Chapel Florida (more on that below). Timofeeva is the ninth Russian girl to win the Les Petits As singles championship.

Roger Federer may have claimed his 18th slam title Sunday, but fellow 35-year-old Abigail Spears is happy to have earned her first.  The former UCLA star, playing with Colombian Juan Sebastian Cabal, won the mixed doubles championship at the Australian Open, with the unseeded pair taking out No. 2 seeds Sania Mirza of India and Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-2, 6-4.  For more on the mixed doubles final, see the article at ausopen.com.

I am currently in Midland, Michigan, a three-hour drive from Kalamazoo, for $100,000 Dow Tennis Classic, a USTA women's Pro Circuit event.  The first round of qualifying was completed today, with Amanda Anisimova, Hanna Chang, Chanelle Van Nguyen, Sophie Chang, Alexandra Sanford, Michaela Gordon, Alexandra Mueller, Julia Elbaba, Nicole Frenkel and Alyvia Jones the Americans advancing to round two.  Chang and Anisimova, Sanford and Gordon and Mueller and Elbaba are the all-US matches Monday.

The tournament announced the main draw wild cards last week, with Varvara Lepchenko, Caroline Dolehide, Usue Arconada and Raveena Kingsley the recipients.

Ken Thomas is doing radio streaming of Monday's qualifying at radiotennis.com. He will then move over to the USTA's live stream beginning on Tuesday, for main draw matches.

The final of the $15,000 Futures tournament in Weston Florida was not played Sunday due to rain, with the match between former Tulane star Dominik Koepfer of Germany and Hugo Dellien of Bolivia rescheduled for Monday.

The final of the $25,000 tournament in Wesley Chapel Florida was played, with 19-year-old qualifier Kalinina winning her second $25K title in Florida this month.  Kalinina defeated unseeded Elizaveta Ianchuk, also of Ukraine, 6-4, 6-4 in the championship match.

At the $75,000 ATP Challenger in Maui, Hyeon Chung of Korea, the No. 2 seed, beat No. 4 seed Taro Daniel of Japan 7-6(3), 6-1 in the singles final.  Jackson Withrow and Austin Krajicek, both former Texas A&M Aggies, defeated Bradley Klahn and Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 6-3 in the doubles final. Neither team was seeded. It's Withrow's first Challenger doubles title to go with his two Futures doubles titles.

This week the men are at a $15,000 Futures in Palm Coast Florida and the $125,000 ATP Challenger in Dallas.

It was a big weekend in college tennis, with all 15 participants in the upcoming men's ITA National Team Indoor Championships decided, with the 16th team being host Virginia.  There were a couple of surprises, with unranked Utah State going into Fort Worth and taking out 12th-ranked TCU 4-3, and No. 21 Baylor going to No. 15 Texas A&M as the fourth seed and taking that regional with wins over the Aggies and SMU.  Complete men's results can be found here.

Two of the women's regionals at Cal and Miami are not yet complete but only one regional so far has not gone as anticipated, with unranked Ole Miss going to Virginia and beating both the Cavaliers and the No. 19 LSU Tigers to advance to the women's Team Indoor Championships at Yale.  The results of the women's matches this weekend are here.

Bobby Knight will also have much more on this weekend's matches at College Tennis Today.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Kostyuk, Piros Win Australian Open Junior Championships; Meyer Takes Grade 1 Title in Ecuador; Gauff, Bernard Lose in Les Petits As Semis; TCU's Norrie Falls in Maui Challenger Semis

Marta Kostyuk was playing in her first junior slam, so expectations were tempered for the 14-year-old Ukrainian at the Australian Open Championships.  But her success in late 2015 and early 2016, when she won the Eddie Herr 14s, the Junior Orange Bowl 14s and Les Petits As, proved she was comfortable on the big stage, and she demonstrated that again on Saturday, beating top seed Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland 7-5, 1-6, 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena.

No. 11 seed Kostyuk, who had reached the final of the Grade 1 in Traralgon last week, looked as if she might have missed her chance to win the first set when she failed to convert two break points leading 5-2, then two more with Masarova serving at 4-5.  But after a love hold to go up 6-5, Kostyuk was able to convert her fifth break point, with Masarova's forehand, the source of most of her errors, producing an error at 30-40.

The second set belonged Masarova, with the 17-year-old French Open girls champion breaking Kostyuk all four times she served.  The third set started with four straight breaks, but Kostyuk finally held for 3-3 and she made Masarova earn her next service game, forcing six deuces.  Despite the disappointment of failing to convert two break points in that game, and getting a warning for coaching, Kostyuk held, then  broke Masarova to give herself the opportunity to serve for the championship.  Given the seesaw battle that waged the entire match, and her often visible frustration, Kostyuk was not exactly a lock to serve out the match.  But she made the hardest game in tennis look easy, playing aggressive and error-free tennis. She closed out the much more experienced Masarova on the first match point, hitting a forehand winner to become the youngest girls slam winner since Laura Robson won at Wimbledon in 2008.

In her press conference, Kostyuk said she will play the other junior slams this year, admitting that her limited opportunities to play on the WTA/ITF Pro Circuits due to her age make that necessary. She also had some interesting comments on how expecting to win can be counterproductive.

"And juniors is also not that good for me now. Because if you win something, when you go to the tournament, you're -- you focused to win. But sometimes it's not good. If you are coming, like me this year, if you're coming just to play, you will win. But if you come to win, you will always have something in your mind that is very tight, you know? You can't play your game, because you have to win."

The boys final also went three sets, and also went to the Traralgon finalist, not the higher seed, with Hungary's Zsombor Piros defeating Yshai Oliel of Israel 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.  Both players had enthusiastic fan bases cheering for them, but the final was not on a show court and did not have Hawkeye available, a curious choice after many years of having the boys final follow the girls on Rod Laver.

Oliel served well in opening set, with the 17-year-old left-hander getting an early break back then breaking at 3-3 and holding.  Piros, the No. 15 seed, took a 5-2 lead in the second set but was unable to serve it out, with Oliel breaking to make it 5-4.  Piros, who said in his press conference that he lost some belief after dropping the first set, rebounded, with a big assist from Oliel, who double faulted twice in that tenth game, including on set point.

The third set was close and tense, with longer rallies than previously and only one break. Piros got it, on his second break point, to go up 4-2 and this time, with a chance to serve out the set, he held firm, cracking forehand winners and holding at love to claim the championship.

Piros, 17, had played only one junior slam prior to this one, last year at Australia, where he lost in the first round.

For more on the finals, see the ITF Junior website.

Congratulations to Serena Williams for securing her 23rd slam title, beating sister Venus 6-4, 6-4.  Bob and Mike Bryan's quest for a seventh Australian Open title fell short, with former Baylor star John Peers of Australia and Henri Kontinen of Finland winning the men's doubles championship by a 7-5, 7-5 score.  Peers and Kontinen won the ATP World Tour finals last November and now have collected their first slam title.

Another former college star goes for a slam title Sunday, with UCLA's Abigail Spears playing for the mixed championship.  Spears and Juan Sebastian Cabal of Colombia face No. 2 seeds Sania Mirza of India and Ivan Dodig of Croatia.

At the ITF Grade 1 in Ecuador, unseeded Amanda Meyer won her first Grade 1 title, beating No. 5 seed Francesca Jones of Great Britain 6-3, 6-2 in the final. In her six wins this week, the Vanderbilt recruit defeated the 1, 3, 5, 7 and 14 seeds en route to the title.

Brian Cernoch, the No. 9 seed, lost in the final to No. 10 seed Axel Geller of Argentina 6-2, 6-3.

The Les Petits As tournament is over for Americans, with No. 5 seed Cori Gauff and No. 8 seed Alexander Bernard losing tough three-setters in the semifinals and Martin Damm and Toby Kodat losing in the boys doubles final.

The 12-year-old Gauff fell to unseeded wild card Dasha Lopatetskaya of Ukraine 6-2, 5-7, 7-6(3) in the battle of recent Junior Orange Bowl 12s champions.  Lopatetskaya will play No. 2 seed Maria Timofeeva of Russia in the final.

Bernard got off to a great start against No. 3 seed Hamad Medjedovic of Serbia, taking a 4-0 lead, but he lost that advantage completely, then broke and held to secure the first set.  Bernard had beaten Medjedovic in the 2015 consolation finals at the Junior Orange Bowl 12s, but Medjedovic kept battling and he won the second set and took a 4-1 lead in the third.  Bernard held and then won a five-deuce game to get back on serve, and when he held for 4-4, it looked as if momentum had swung to him.  But Medjedovic saved two break points at 15-40 and won the next two points to force Bernard to serve down 4-5.  Up 30-15, Bernard's backhand let him down, with three unforced errors on that side resulting in a victory for Medjedovic.

Medjedovic will play No. 4 seed Luca Nardi of Italy, who defeated top seed Holger Run of Denmark 7-6(5), 6-2.

Nardi already has claimed one title in Tarbes.  He and partner Alessio Tramontin, who were unseeded, defeated No. 3 seeds Damm and Kodat 4-6, 6-3, 10-2 in the boys doubles final.  The top-seeded Russian team of Timofeeva and Oksana Selekhmeteva won the girls doubles title, beating unseeded Matilde Paoletti and Lisa Pigato of Italy 6-3, 6-4 in the final.

TCU junior Cameron Norrie of Great Britain saw his run at the $75,000 Maui Challenger come to an end today in the semifinals. The unseeded Norrie lost to No. 4 seed Taro Daniel of Japan 6-4, 6-4, but his ATP ranking should move to around 234 with his three wins this week. Daniel will play Hyeon Chung of Korea in the final. Chung defeated Michael Mmoh last night 6-2, 6-4 and No. 7 seed Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland 6-1, 6-3 in today's semifinal.

Friday, January 27, 2017

2017 Rule Changes; Branstine Wins Australian Open Doubles Title; Gauff, Bernard Reach Les Petits As Semifinals; Cernoch, Meyer Advance to Finals in Ecuador Grade 1

Changes to junior tennis rules, regulations and competitive structures are nothing new, and 2017 has brought plenty of them in both the USTA and ITF systems.  I spoke with the USTA's Lew Brewer about these changes, highlighting some of the significant ones, but this Tennis Recruiting article is no substitute for reading the rules themselves. Parents, coaches and players should take the time to read about these changes and it never hurts to brush up on the rules that haven't changed.  Links to the USTA's 2017 Junior Tournament Regulations and Junior National Tournament Structure can be found here.  The 2017 ITF Junior Rules and Regulations underline what is new for this year.

Carson Branstine announced last fall that she would be changing her country for competition from the US to Canada as soon as the paperwork could be approved, but as of now, the 16-year-old Southern Californian is still competing under the American flag.  Regardless of what country she is playing for, Branstine is now a junior slam champion, winning the Australian Open girls doubles title on Friday with Canadian Bianca Andreescu.  The No. 3 seeds defeated unseeded Maja Chwalinska and Iga Swiatek of Poland, last week's doubles champions at the Grade 1 in Traralgon, 6-1, 7-6(4).  The boys doubles title went to No. 4 seeds Yu Hsiou Hsu of Taiwan and Lingxi Zhao of China, who defeated unseeded Duarte Vale of Portugal and Finn Reynolds of New Zealand 6-7(8), 6-4, 10-5 in the final.

Congratulations to Bethanie Mattek-Sands for her women's doubles title in Australia.  Second seeds Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic picked up their second Australian Open doubles title with a 6-7(4), 6-3 6-3 decision over No. 12 seeds Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic and Peng Shuai of China. For more on the title, see the Australian Open website.

The singles finals are set for Saturday(tonight in the US), with top seed Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland facing No. 11 seed Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine.  Masarova was down a set and a break to Andreescu and was two points from losing in straight sets to the 16-year-old Canadian, but the 17-year-old French Open girls champion fought back for a 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-0 win.  Kostyuk, who at 14 is playing in her first junior slam, defeated No. 16 seed Elena Rybakina of Russia 6-1, 7-5.

The boys final, which unlike the girls is not going to be played on Rod Laver arena this year, features No. 4 seed Yshai Oliel of Israel against No. 15 seed Zsombor Piros of Hungary.  Oliel beat top seed Yibing Wu of China 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, while Piros avenged his lost last week in the Traralgon final, beating No. 5 seed Corentin Moutet of France 6-3, 6-4. Neither 17-year-old has played in a Grade A final until now. The Associate Press has written an article about the hopes for Wu as the first ATP Top 100 player from China.  The ITF Junior website has coverage of the semifinals with quotes from Oliel and Masarova.

The finals will be streamed via WatchESPN.

Two Americans have reached the semifinals of Les Petits As, while the boys doubles team of Martin Damm and Toby Kodat will compete for the championship on Saturday.

Bolton champion Cori Gauff, the No. 5 seed, defeated No. 4 seed Noa Krznaric of Croatia 7-5, 6-3, her ninth consecutive straight-sets victory on this European trip.  The 2016 Junior Orange Bowl 12s champion will play the 2015 Junior Orange Bowl champion, wild card Dasha Lopatetskaya of Ukraine in Saturday's semifinals. Lopatetskaya took out top seed Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia 7-5, 6-0.  The other girls semifinal will be all-Russian: No. 15 seed Polina Kudermetova against No. 2 seed Maria Timofeeva. Timofeeva defeated No. 6 seed Elina Kalieva 7-6(7), 6-1.  Kalieva had a set point in the first set at 7-6 but failed to convert it.

No. 4 seed Luca Nardi of Italy defeated Bolton champion and No. 5 seed Toby Kodat 7-5, 6-2 leaving No. 8 seed Alexander Bernard as the sole US boy in singles.  Bernard defeated No. 2 seed Elmer Moller of Denmark 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 and will play No. 3 seed Hamad Medjedovic of Serbia in the semifinals Saturday.  Top seed Holger Rune of Denmark eliminated the last French player in the draw, beating unseeded Leo Raquin 6-1, 6-2. Rune has lost only 11 games in his four wins this week.

Damm and Kodat, the No. 3 seeds, will face the unseeded Italian team of Nardi and Alessio Tramontin in the boys doubles final. Damm and Kodat, who did not play together in Bolton, defeated top seeds Rune and Carlos Alcaraz Garfia of Spain 7-6(4), 3-6, 10-6 in the semifinals today.

All results from today can be found at the Tennis Europe tournament page.

The finals are set at the ITF Grade 1 in Ecuador, with Brian Cernoch advancing to his first Grade 1 final with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over qualifier Thiago Tirante of Argentina, the 2015 Junior Orange Bowl 14s champion.  The previous best Grade 1 performance for Cernoch, the No. 9 seed, was last week's semifinal appearance in Colombia. The 17-year-old left-hander will face No. 10 seed Alex Geller of Argentina in the final.  Geller is also a former Junior Orange Bowl 14s champion, back in 2013.

Unseeded Amanda Meyer is also having the best Grade 1 tournament of her career. The Vanderbilt recruit avenged her 2016 USTA 18s Clay Court loss to No. 7 seed Ann Li on Thursday and today ousted top seed Emiliana Arango of Colombia 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.  Prior to this week, Meyer's best showing at a Grade 1 is a third round appearance at this same tournament last year.  She will play No. 5 seed Francesca Jones of Great Britain in Saturday's final.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Four Americans Reach Les Petits As Quarterfinals; Australian Open Junior Semis Set; Korda Advances to First Futures Quarterfinal

Four Americans won their third round matches today at Les Petits As, advancing to the quarterfinals of the prestigious 14-and-under tournament in Tarbes France.

Nike Junior International Teen Tennis champions Toby Kodat and Cori Gauff, both seeded No. 5 this week, continued their streaks with straight-sets wins today.  Kodat defeated No. 12 seed Carlos Alcaraz Garfia of Spain 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 for his eighth consecutive win and the first in which he's needed three sets. Kodat plays No. 4 seed Luca Nardi of Italy in Friday's quarterfinals. Gauff beat No. 9 seed Maria Bondarenko of Russia 6-4, 6-4; the 12-year-old has yet to drop a set in her eight wins in the past two weeks.  I watched most of Gauff's match this morning on the live stream, and it wasn't an easy victory for Gauff, as she was serving up 4-0 in the first set and was up 3-0 in the second set, with Bondarenko getting back on serve both times. Gauff served for the match at 5-3, was broken, then broke for the win.  She will play Noa Krznaric of Croatia, the No. 4 seed, next.

Alexander Bernard, the No. 8 seed, defeated No. 11 seed Konstantin Zhzhenov of Russia 6-0, 6-0 and will face No. 2 seed Elmer Moller of Denmark in the quarterfinals.  No. 6 seed Elina Kalieva defeated No. 10 seed Darja Vidmanova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-2 to earn a quarterfinal match with No. 2 seed Maria Timoveeva of Russia.

No. 3 seeds Martin Damm and Kodat have reached the doubles semifinals.

All Thursday's results can be found here.

The semifinals are set at the Australian Open Junior Championships, and all eight players are seeded.  Top seed Yibing Wu will play No. 4 seed Yshai Oliel of Israel and No. 5 seed Corentin Moutet of France faces No. 15 seed Zsombor Piros of Hungary.  Wu and Oliel have not met in ITF junior competition before, but Moutet and Piros were finalists last week at the Grade 1 in Traralgon, with Moutet winning 7-5, 6-3.  For more on Piros and his unusual hobby, see the ITF junior website.

The girls semifinals will feature top seed Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland against No. 7 seed Bianca Andreescu of Canada, who have not met before in ITF junior competition. Masarova is the reigning French Open girls champion, while Andreescu is making her second straight trip to a junior slam semifinal.  Fourteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine, the No. 11 seed, will face No. 16 seed Elena Rybakina of Russia.

The doubles finals are Friday (tonight in the US), with Carson Branstine and Andreescu, the No. 3 seeds, against Maja Chwalinska and Iga Swiatek of Poland, who are unseeded.  Andreescu and Branstine outlasted No. 5 seeds Caty McNally and Natasha Subhash 6-4, 4-6, 10-7 in the semifinals.  McNally and Subhash trailed 6-4, 4-1 but won the final five games of the second set to force the match tiebreaker.

The boys doubles final will also be unseeded against seeded.  Florida recruit Duarte Vale of Portugal and Finn Reynolds of New Zealand will face No. 4 seeds Yu Hsiou Hsu of Taiwan and Lingxi Zhao of China.

Congratulations to Serena and Venus Williams for advancing to the women's final with victories Thursday.  See the WTA website for more on that improbable championship match.  The Bryan brothers will also play for a title in Australia, their seventh, although with, not against, each other. The No. 3 seeds face former Baylor star John Peers of Australia and Henri Kontinen of Finland, who are seeded fourth. For more on the Bryans semifinal win, see this article from the Australian Open website.

At the ITF Grade 1 in Ecuador, two pairs of Americans met in the quarterfinals today.  Ann Li, the No. 7 seed, was playing Amanda Meyer in a rematch of the 2016 Girls 18s Clay Court final, which Li won 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. Meyer advanced to the quarterfinals by virtue of a 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 3 seed Shelly Krolitzky of Israel.   Brian Cernoch, the No. 9 seed, was taking on unseeded Timothy Sah in the boys quarterfinals.

At the USTA Pro Circuit $15,000 men's Futures in Weston Florida, 16-year-old Sebastian Korda reached his first quarterfinal, beating No. 4 seed Peter Torebko of Germany, ranked 409, 6-4, 6-4.  Torebko had beaten last week's Futures champion Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia in the opening round.  Korda will face No. 5 seed Christian Lindell of Sweden on Friday.  Sixteen-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada also has advanced to the quarterfinals, as has former Tulane star Dominik Koepfer of Germany.

The quarterfinals of the $25,000 Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Wesley Chapel Florida has an interesting quarterfinal coming on Friday, with former Florida teammates Brianna Morgan and Lauren Embree facing off.  Morgan, a qualifier, beat top seed Teliana Pereira of Brazil 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday and followed that with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over lucky loser Sophie Chang.  Embree, a wild card, defeated Mexico's Renata Zarazua 6-0, 6-2 in today's second round.  ITF World Junior No. 1 Anastasia Potapova of Russia won her opening round match yesterday, but fell 6-4, 6-3 to No. 8 seed Robin Anderson. Anderson will face No. 2 seed Sonya Kenin, who came through in three sets over South Africa's Chanel Simmonds today.

Michael Mmoh defeated No. 8 seed Vasek Pospisil of Canada in the first round of the $75,000 Maui Challenger, and took out Tommy Paul today 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 to advance to the quarterfinals.  He will play Hyeon Chung of Korea, the No. 2 seed, next.  TCU junior Cameron Norrie of Great Britain cruised past Austin Krajicek 6-1, 6-3 to set up a quarterfinal match with Alex Sarkissian, who had beaten top seed Jared Donaldson in the opening round.  Live streaming is available for this event at the ATP Challenger website.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

No US Juniors Reach Quarterfinals at Australian Open; Six of Eight Americans Advance to Third Round at Les Petits As; Virginia Men, Florida Women Remain No. 1 in Division I Rankings; ITA Kickoff is This Weekend

All three US juniors lost last night in third round action at the Australian Open Junior Championships, with No. 2 seed Taylor Johnson, No. 13 seed Carson Branstine and Alexandre Roetsaert falling in straight sets.

Branstine went out to top seed and French Open champion Rebekah Masarova of Switzerland 6-2, 7-5 and Alexandre Rotsaert failed to win a game in his loss to No. 4 seed Yshai Oliel of Israel.  Johnson lost to No. 16 seed Elena Rybakina of Russia 6-3, 6-2.

Johnson was not the only No. 2 seed to lose on Wednesday, with boys second seed Yu Hsiou Hsu of Taiwan falling to No. 15 seed Zsombor Piros of Hungary by the same 6-3, 6-2 score.

The seeds have held up much better in the girls draw than in the boys, with six of the eight quarterfinalists seeded.  In the boys draw, only four of the eight players remaining are seeded, but two of the favorites going in, China's Yibing Wu, the top seed, and No. 5 seed Corentin Moutet of France have advanced.  A qualifier, Menelaos Efstathiou of Cyprus, beat Florida recruit Duarte Vale of Portugal, the No. 6 seed, 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-4 and will play Oliel Thursday (tonight in the US).  For more on Efstathiou, including his recent selection to the Cyprus Davis Cup team, see the ITF Junior website.

The doubles semifinals are set and there will be an American girl in the final, possibly two.  No. 5 seeds Caty McNally and Natasha Subhash beat top seeds Jodie Burrage and Emily Appleton of Great Britain 6-4, 6-3 in Wednesday's quarterfinals and will play No. 3 seeds Carson Branstine and her partner Bianca Andreescu of Canada in Thursday's semifinals.

Draws are available at ausopen.com.

At Les Petits As, six of the eight Americans in the second round moved into the third round. Girls Cori Gauff[5] and Elvina Kalieva[6] advanced, while No. 7 seed Charlotte Owensby and qualifier Alexandra Yepifanova were defeated.  All four boys--Toby Kodat[5], Martin Damm[6], Aidan Mayo[7], and Alexander Bernard--won their matches, with only Mayo needing three sets.  Both boys teams have made the quarterfinals in doubles, as have Gauff and Kalieva, who are the No. 2 seeds.

The ITA Division I team rankings have been released, but as with last week, there is little change to note, with some teams not yet playing a dual match and others beating less highly regarded opponents.  The women's Top 10 didn't change at all.  In the men's, Northwestern moved up to 10 after a win over TCU, while Texas fell from 4 to 9 after losing to Tulsa.  Bobby Knight has more on the rankings at College Tennis Today.  The ITA has also published an explanation on how the rankings work, with voting by a committee now, and computer rankings taking over next month.

Speaking of rankings, the USTA announced yesterday a panel of experts will provide their own team rankings, with nine voters submitting ballots.  I was invited, but could not fit another obligation into my schedule.  The Tennis Recruiting Network spoke with Scott Treibly about the reasons for an additional poll, not connected to that of the ITA, in this article.

Men's Team Top 10 (previous ranking in parentheses)
1. Virginia (1)
2. Wake Forest (2)
3. Ohio State (3)
4. Cal (5)
5. Georgia (6)
6. UCLA (T7)
7. North Carolina (9)
8. USC (10)
9. Texas (4)
10. Northwestern (13)

Women's Team Top 10 (previous ranking in parentheses)
1. Florida (1)
2. North Carolina (2)
3. Pepperdine (3)
4. Stanford (4)
5. Oklahoma State (5)
6. Georgia (6)
7. Ohio State (7)
8. California (8)
9. Vanderbilt (9)
10. Duke (10)

The next individual rankings will come out on February 8th.

The annual Kickoff Weekend, the qualifying for the Division I National Team Indoor Championships, begins Friday, with 15 teams earning spots in February's tournaments. Similar to the NCAA regionals, three teams travel to a host site to play two matches, with the team going 2-0 advancing to the Nationals.  A notably absent team is the 2016 NCAA champion Stanford women, who rarely play the Team Indoor.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Rotsaert, Branstine into Australian Open Juniors Third Round; All Eight Americans Advance at Les Petits As; Pro Circuit Update

Until this week, Alexandre Rotsaert's only appearance in the junior slams had been at the US Open, where he went 1-2, with his first slam win coming in 2016.  The 17-year-old from Boca Raton decided to make the trip to Melbourne for his last opportunity at play the Australian Open Junior Championships and it has proven to be his best slam yet, with his 6-2, 6-1 victory over No. 14 seed Dan Added of France putting him in the round of 16.  Rotsaert will play No. 4 seed Yshai Oliel of Israel Wednesday(tonight in the US).

The other American in singles action on Tuesday was No. 13 seed Carson Branstine, who beat Australian wild card Baijing Lin 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.  Branstine faces top seed Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland Wednesday.  For more on Branstine and her move to Montreal Canada, see the ITF junior website.

The third American still in singles, No. 2 seed Taylor Johnson, won on Monday and plays No. 16 seed Elena Rybakina of Russia next.

The second round of doubles was completed on Tuesday, with five US girls and two US boys reaching the quarterfinals: Caty McNally and Natasha Subhash[5], Johnson and Nicole Mossmer, Branstine(who is playing with Bianca Andreescu of Canada)[5], Trent Bryde and Alafia Ayeni.  Bryde and Finn Bass of Great Britain are the No. 8 seeds.  Ayeni is playing with Moerani Bouzige of Australia.

All junior matches have been streamed this week via WatchESPN.

CoCo Vandeweghe has reached the first slam semifinal of her career with an impressive 6-4, 6-0 win over French Open champion Garbine Muguruza of Spain, the No. 7 seed.  The 25-year-old Southern Californian will play No. 13 seed Venus Williams for a place in the final on Thursday.  Williams defeated No. 24 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, a two-time Australian Open girls champion, 6-4, 7-6(3).

At Les Petits As, the first round is complete, with all eight Americans into the second round.  Cori Gauff[5], Elvina Kalieva[6], Charlotte Owensby[7] and Martin Damm[6] won their first round matches Monday.  Qualifier Alexandra Yepifanova, Toby Kodat[5], Aidan Mayo[7] and Alexander Bernard[8] won their first round matches today.

The seeding held up well in the first round, with only two boys seeds--No. 9 Daniel Siniakov (brother of WTA No. 37 Katarina Siniakova) and No. 13 seed Tsotne Dzimistarishvili--and three girls seeds--Alina Shcherbinina[8], Sara Suchankova[12] and Anna Chekanskaya--failing to reach the second round.

Speaking of accomplished relatives, Bjorn Borg's son Leo is in the draw, and won his first round match Monday. All results from today, including doubles, can be found at the tournament site on Tennis Europe.

Streaming is available on three courts through this page.

Qualifying is complete at the women's $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Wesley Chapel Florida, with ITF junior No. 1 Anastasia Potapova of Russia, Stanford recruit Michaela Gordon, Sofia Sewing, Jaeda Daniel and Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine the teenagers earning berths in the main draw.  Former Notre Dame star Quinn Gleason and former Florida star Brianna Morgan also advanced to the main draw. Teliana Pereira of Brazil is the top seed, Sonya Kenin is the No. 2 seed, and wild cards were awarded to Chiara Scholl, Jessica Wacnik, Dasha Ivanova and Lauren Embree. On Wednesday, Gordon plays Sewing in the first round and Potapova plays Gleason.

At the $15,000 Futures in Weston Florida, 16-year-olds Sebastian Korda and Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime each won four qualifying matches to advance to the main draw, as did former Ohio State Buckeye Hunter Callahan.  Tomas Lipovsek Puches of Brazil is the top seed, and US juniors Oliver Crawford, a Florida recruit, and Kalamazoo 16s champion Lukas Greif received wild cards. Last week's Futures champion Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia received a special exemption into the main draw.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Johnson Reaches Third Round at Australian Open Junior Championships; Details on Italian Girl's Default; Sah and Mayo Win Doubles Title at Colombia Grade 1; Roddick Tapped for Hall of Fame

Taylor Johnson has struggled in her first two matches at the Australian Open Junior Championships, but she has managed to get through both to advance to the round of 16.  In her second round match on Monday, the No. 2 seed defeated Tatiana Pieri of Italy 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-4 to set up a match Wednesday with No. 16 seed Elena Rybakina of Russia. The only other US girl in the draw is No. 13 seed Carson Branstine, who plays Australian wild card Baijing Lin Tuesday. Branstine is moving to Montreal and will be playing under the Canadian flag soon.  After qualifier Tristan Boyer bowed out to No. 2 seed Yu Hsiou Hsu of Taiwan in the second round Monday, the only US boy remaining in singles is Alexandre Rotsaert, who plays No. 14 seed Dan Added of France in a second round match Tuesday.

Most of the news surrounding the juniors early in the tournament was focused on the default of Maria Vittoria Viviani of Italy, who struck a ball in anger that hit a ballrunner. Details and a partial video of the incident are included in this article.  The double standard referred to in the article undoubtedly exists, but I believe a strict interpretation of the rule can be defended for the juniors, who are still learning the boundaries of behavior in the game.

In the women's draw, former UCLA star Jennifer Brady fell to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia 6-4, 6-2, ending her streak of six matches won in Melbourne, including qualifying.  Serena Williams advanced to the quarterfinals, with Venus Williams and CoCo Vandeweghe in quarterfinal action Tuesday(tonight in the US).

To wrap up last week's Grade 1 results, No. 6 seed Alan Rubio Fierros of Mexico won the boys title at the Copa Barranquilla in Colombia, while the home country took the girls title, with No. 3 seed Maria Osorio Serrano, just 15, defeating No. 4 seed Shelly Krolitzky of Israel 6-0, 7-6(3).  Rubio defeated No. 14 seed Hugo Gaston of France 6-0, 3-6, 7-5.  American Brian Cernoch lost in the semifinals to Rubio, but the US did get a title with Keenan Mayo and Timothy Sah taking the doubles championship.  The unseeded Mayo and Sah beat Sergio Hernandez Ramirez and Alejandro Hoyos Franco of Colombia, also unseeded, 6-1, 3-6, 10-7  in the final.  The girls doubles title went to No. 8 seeds Ania Hertel of Poland and Draginja Vukovic of Serbia, who beat Fernanda Labrana of Chile and Nathalia Wolf Gasparin of Brazil 6-2, 6-2 in the final.

The week's stop on the South American tour, a Grade 1 in Ecuador, features a dozen Americans: Sah, Mayo[15], Cernoch[9], William Woodall, Axel Nefve, Marlee Zein[16], Amanda Meyer, Ann Li[7], Elli Mandlik[9], Chloe Hamlin, Katya Townsend and Lea Ma[13].

At Les Petits As, the first round began today and will be completed on Tuesday.  Three US girls, Cori Gauff[5], Elvina Kalieva[6] and Charlotte Owensby[7] won their opening round matches.  I need to correct my post from yesterday about Bolton finalist Alexandra Yepifanova possibly being hurt or ill and not in the draw.  She is in the draw, as a qualifier, and will play her first round match Tuesday.  Usually all four US players are given direct entry into the main draw at Les Petits As, but something has changed, because Owensby, Aidan Mayo and Martin Damm all received wild cards, and apparently there wasn't one available for Yepifanova.  Damm[6] was the only US boy to play today, with Toby Kodat[5], Mayo[7](Keenan's brother) and Alexander Bernard[8] on Tuesday's schedule.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame announced its 2017 inductees today. The players are Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters, the contributors are writer Steve Flink and the late coach Vic Braden, and the wheelchair tennis inductee is Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch. The induction will take place on July 22nd at the Hall of Fame, in Newport, Rhode Island.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Four US Juniors Advance at Australian Open; Draws out for Les Petits As; Kecmanovic Wins First Futures Title; Grishuk Claims ITF Grade 4 Championship

Two US boys and two US girls have advanced to the second round of the Australian Open Junior Championships, with Alexandre Rotsaert and Carson Branstine getting victories in Sunday's completion of the first round.  Rotsaert defeated Jack Molloy of Great Britain 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 to join qualifier Tristan Boyer in the second round, while No. 13 seed Carson Branstine defeated Patricia Apisah of Papua New Guinea 6-1, 6-3 to join No. 2 seed Taylor Johnson, who advanced on Saturday. Hurricane Tyra Black, No. 15 seed Natasha Subhash and Nicole Mossmer all lost in straight sets, while No. 10 seed Trent Bryde lost in three sets.

Although the top two seeds in both draws have survived their opening round matches, there were surprises.  No. 3 seed Marvin Moeller of Germany, who reached the semifinals at the just completed Grade 1 in Traralgon, lost to wild card Lucas Vuradin of Australia 6-3, 6-1. An even more unexpected result was the loss of Traralgon champion and No. 8 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland, who was beaten by Pei Hsuan Chen of Taiwan 2-6, 7-5, 6-1.  For more on Swiatek's loss, see the ITF Junior website.  Other seeds to lose Sunday were No. 13 Lingxi Zhao of China and No. 9 seed Toru Horie of Japan.

2008 US Open girls champion CoCo Vandeweghe advanced to the quarterfinals of the women's draw of the Australian Open, defeating defending champion and world No. 1 Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-2, 6-3.  It is Vandeweghe's second major quarterfinal, having made the final eight at Wimbledon in 2015.  Venus Williams advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 7-5 win over qualifier Mona Barthel of Germany.  Serena Williams and Jennifer Brady will attempt to join them in the quarterfinals when they play Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia, respectively.

The draws for Les Petits As have been posted, with Cori Gauff seeded No. 5, Elvina Kalieva No. 6 and Charlotte Owensby No. 7 in the girls draw.  The fourth US girl on the trip, Bolton finalist Alexandra Yepifanova, is not in the draw, so I'm assuming she is sick or injured. (Update: she was forced to qualify, but is in the draw now).  The top seed in the girls draw is Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia. Similar to the girls, the US boys are all seeded, with Toby Kodat No. 5, Martin Damm No. 6, Aidan Mayo No. 7 and Alexander Bernard No. 8. The top seed in the boys draw is Holger Rune of Denmark.

2016 ITF World Junior Champion Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia won his first Futures title today at the $15,000 tournament in Sunrise Florida. The 17-year-old qualifier defeated No. 5 seed Christian Lindell of Sweden 6-2, 6-2 in the final, his ninth victory in the past ten days.

At the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit event for women, No. 3 seed Sonya Kenin fell to Katarzyna Piter of Poland 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4. Sophie Chang and Madeline Kobelt(Syracuse) won the doubles title, beating top seeds Piter and Paula Kania, also of Poland, 6-3, 3-6, 10-6 in the final.

While many Americans were competing in Grade 1 ITF tournaments this week, 14-year-old Skyler Grishuk was in New Zealand at a Grade 4. The No. 9 seed, who reached the final of two grade 5 tournaments in Canada last November, her first two ITF events, won her first ITF title with a 6-0, 6-4 victory in the final over unseeded Anastasia Beresov of Australia.  Grishuk, a 14s finalist at the Easter Bowl last year, also reached the doubles final.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Brady Advances to Second Week at Australian Open; Boyer, Johnson Win in Juniors; Kecmanovic and Kenin Reach Pro Circuit Finals

Qualifier Jennifer Brady hadn't played in the main draw of a slam prior to this year, but she has now won six straight matches and is into the round of 16 after beating No. 14 seed Elena Vesnina of Russia 7-6(4), 6-2 Saturday.  The 21-year-old, who left UCLA after her sophomore year in 2015, was down a break early in the first set, got it back to 4-4, was broken, but broke Vesnina when she served for the first set.  Down 4-3 in the tiebreaker, Brady won the final four points of the set, then held on to an early break in the second set for a 4-2 lead. She then broke Vesnina and served out the match, for her WTA Top 20 win.

In the press conference after her win, Brady was asked what had changed for her in the past two weeks and she gave much of the credit to mental aspect of her game.

"Just believing in myself. Having the confidence in my game. You know, walking out on court, knowing that if I play my game, you know... Yeah, I mean, just having the confidence in myself."

Brady, who saved five match points in her second round win over Heather Watson of Great Britain, gave the USTA's Mental Skills Specialist Larry Lauer credit for his help in instilling that confidence in her game. And when added to her serve and her forehand, and the poise she exhibited in critical stages of the match, that mindset has led to the second week of a major in her first appearance in a main draw. She will play 34-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia, who won the Australian Open girls title in 1997, on Monday.

Nicole Gibbs, the other former collegian remaining in the draw, lost to Serena Williams 6-1, 6-3.

In the Australian Open Junior Championships, five Americans were on Saturday's schedule, with No. 2 seed Taylor Johnson and qualifier Tristan Boyer advancing to the second round.

Johnson defeated Violet Apisah of Papua New Guinea 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-2 and Boyer got his first junior slam win by beating fellow qualifier Philip Henning of South Africa 6-3, 6-2.  Next for Boyer is No. 2 seed Yu Hsiou Hsu of Taiwan.

Caty McNally was one of two girls seeds to fall in the first round. The No. 12 seed lost to Gabriella Da Silva Fick of Australia 6-3, 6-1 and No. 9 seed Ayumi Miyamoto of Japan lost to qualifier Julie Niemeier of Germany.  Two boys seeds also lost, with No. 12 seed Kacper Zuk of Poland and No. 8 seed Naoki Tajima both losing in three sets.

The rest of the first round of singles and some of the first round of doubles are underway Sunday (tonight here in the US).  McNally and Nathasha Subhash are the No. 5 seeds.  Carson Branstine, who is still showing as USA, but moving to Canada, is the No. 3 seed with Bianca Andreescu of Canada. Trent Bryde is playing with Finn Bass of Great Britain and they are seeded No. 8 in the boys doubles draw.

Many of the junior matches are being streamed via WatchESPN.

At the $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit Futures in Sunrise, Florida, 2016 ITF junior champion Miomir Kecmanovic has reached his second career Futures final.  The 17-year-old from Serbia, who qualified and has now won eight matches this tournament, defeated Peter Nagy of Hungary 6-1, 6-1 and will face No. 5 seed Christian Lindell of Sweden.  Lindell prevented an all-17-year-old-qualifier final by downing Patrick Kypson 7-5, 6-0.

At the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit women's event in Orlando, No. 3 seed Sonya Kenin will face Katarzyna Piter of Poland in Sunday's final. The 18-year-old Floridian defeated qualifier Katherine Sebov of Canada 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 in a match that took almost three and a half hours. Piter prevented an all-US teen final by beating Ellie Halbauer 6-1, 6-3. If she wins, the 2015 National 18s champion will collect her third career title on the Pro Circuit in her fifth attempt.

Friday, January 20, 2017

My Australian Open Junior Preview; Kodat, Gauff Claim Bolton Titles; Kypson Reaches Futures Semifinal; NCAA D-1 Cuts Teams at Final Site; Crimbill Honored by NCAA

The Australian Open Junior Championships begin Saturday (tonight here) in Melbourne, with seven US girls and four US boys in the main draw.  Taylor Johnson[2], Caty McNally[12], Carson Branstine[13] and Natasha Subhash[15] are the girls seeds from the US.  Trent Bryde[10] is the American boys seeded. My preview of the tournament is up at the Tennis Recruiting Network.  Americans on today's Australian Open schedule are Alafia Ayeni, qualifier Tristan Boyer, Johnson, McNally and qualifier Jimena Rodriguez-Benito.  Complete draws can be found at ausopen.com.

All US men are out of the Australian Open after the third round, with Jack Sock and Sam Querrey losing Friday.

Friday's third round results featuring Americans:
CoCo Vandeweghe def. Eugenie Bouchard(CAN) 6-4, 3-6, 7-5
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga[12](FRA) def. Jack Sock[23] 7-6(4), 7-5, 6-7(8), 6-3
Venus Williams[13] def. Ying-Ying Duan)CHN) 6-1, 6-0
Andy Murray[1](GBR) def. Sam Querrey[31] 6-4, 6-2, 6-4
Sorana Cirstea(ROU) def. Alison Riske 6-2, 7-6(2)

Saturday’s third round matches involving Americans:
Nicole Gibbs vs. Serena Williams[2]
Elena Vesnina[14](RUS) vs. Jennifer Brady

The Nike Junior International Teen Tennis champions for 2017 are Toby Kodat and Cori Gauff.  For the first time in the 14-and-under Level 1 tournament's 23-year history, all four finalists were from the same country, with top seed Gauff defeating Alexandra Yepifanova 7-5, 6-2 and No. 4 seed Kodat beating No. 7 seed Martin Damm 7-5, 6-0. Kodat is the half-brother of former WTA star Nicole Vaidisova; Damm is the son 2006 US Open doubles champion Martin Damm.  Next up for all eight of the US players, seven of whom made the semifinals, is Les Petits As, which begins Monday in Tarbes France.

At the ITF Grade 1 Copa Barranquilla in Colombia, qualifier Victoria Flores and No. 11 seed Brian Cernoch have advanced to the quarterfinals.

Seventeen-year-old qualifier Patrick Kypson has advanced to the semifinals of a Futures for the second time after defeating Roberto Cid of the Dominican Republic 6-2, 6-3 at the $15,000 tournament in Sunrise Florida.  Kypson had previously reached the semifinals of a Futures at the $10,000 tournament last November in Pensacola. Qualifier Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia, also 17, advanced to the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Filip Peliwo of Canada.  Kypson plays No. 5 seed Christian Lindell of Sweden next, with Kecmanovic facing Peter Nagy of Hungary.  The doubles title in Sunrise went to Peter Torebko of Germany and Bastian Trinker of Austria, who defeated last week's champions Tomaslav Brkic and Nikola Cacic of Serbia 7-6(3), 4-6, 10-7.

At the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit women's event in Orlando, No. 3 seed Sonya Kenin ended the run of last week's champion at Daytona Beach, beating Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine 6-4, 6-1. Kenin's next opponent will be qualifier Katherine Sebov of Canada.  Nineteen-year-old Ellie Halbauer continued her excellent start to 2017 with the Daytona Beach finalist advancing to Saturday's semifinals with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over No. 8 seed Kristie Ahn(Stanford). Halbauer will face unseeded Katarzyna Piter of Poland.

The NCAA announced yesterday that beginning in 2019, the Division I team championships' final site will have eight men's and eight women's teams competing rather than the current 16 for each.  Super Regional matches will be played on host campuses, with the winners advancing to the final site.  It will eliminate two days from the NCAA Championships and the two long days, which can extend from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. or beyond.  The sites for 2019 and beyond have yet to be announced.  Bobby Knight of College Tennis Today has more on the announcement, and if he can't figure out what the other change mentioned in the release actually means, I'm certainly in no position to clarify.

CJ Crimbill of Division III Case Western Reserve received NCAA Today's Top Ten award Wednesday, the first tennis player ever to be so honored. The award is based on achievements in academics, athletics and community service.  For more on the award and Crimbill's impressive resume, see this article.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

All-American Finals Set for Bolton; Two US Players Qualify for Australian Open Junior Championships; Brady Saves Five Match Points to Reach AO Third Round; Pro Circuit Update

The singles finals are set for the Nike Junior International Bolton Teen Tennis tournament and the winners are guaranteed to come from the United States.

Top seed Cori Gauff defeated Elvina Kalieva 6-4, 6-3 to advance to the final, where she'll meet unseeded Alexandra Yepifanova, who defeated No. 2 seed Kylie Bilchev of Great Britain 6-2, 7-6(7).  The 12-year-old Gauff already has claimed one title at the Grade 1 Tennis Europe 14-and-under event, teaming up with Charlotte Owensby to win the doubles title.  Gauff and Owensby, the top seeds, defeated No. 5 seeds Flavie Brugnone and Anaelle LeClercq of France 4-6, 6-2. 10-6.

All the boys semifinalists were from the US, with No. 7 seed Martin Damm defeating Alexander Bernard 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 and No. 4 seed Toby Kodat beating Aidan Mayo 6-3, 6-3.  No. 8 seeds Damm and Mayo fell in the boys doubles final, with No. 2 seeds Joel Pierleoni and Jack Pinnington Jones of Great Britain prevailing by a score of 6-3, 7-5.

Overnight in Traralgon, where qualifying for the Australian Open Junior Championships is held, two American juniors made it into the main draw, with play beginning in Melbourne Saturday (Friday night in the US).  Fifteen-year-old Tristan Boyer, the No. 15 seed, defeated Australian wild card Anthony Popyrin 6-2, 6-2 to earn a place in junior slam for the first time, and No. 10 seed Jimena Rodriguez-Benito, 16, will also be making her slam debut after outlasting No. 8 seed Ana Biskic of Croatia 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.

Complete draws can be found at the tournament site at Tennis Australia.

The champions at Grade 1 in Traralgon were determined Thursday, with No. 6 seed Corentin Moutet taking the boys title with a 7-5, 6-3 win over No. 16 seed Zsomber Piros of Hungary. It's Moutet's first Grade 1 title, but as I mentioned in my upcoming preview of the Australian Open Junior Championships for the Tennis Recruiting Network, the 17-year-old from France has established himself as the favorite for the title.

Fifteen-year-old Iga Swiatek of Poland, seeded fifth, swept both titles, taking out No. 10 seed Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine 6-3, 6-3 in the singles final and partnering Maja Chwalinska for the doubles title. No. 7 seeds Swiatek and Chwalinska, who is also from Poland, defeated the unseeded Australian team of  Gabriella Da Silva-Fick and Kaitlin Staines 3-6, 6-4, 10-7 in the final.

The boys doubles final, which featured two unseeded teams, went to the Italian team of Francesco Forti and Mattia Frinzi, who defeated Ryan Nijboer of the Netherlands and Ajeet Rai of New Zealand 7-6(6), 7-6(7).

In men's and women's action at the Australian Open, all three US men were defeated last night, while Serena Williams, Nicole Gibbs and qualifier Jennifer Brady picked up victories.  Brady's was by far the most dramatic, as the former UCLA star saved five match points in her win over Great Britain's Heather Watson.  This article from the Independent has the details, mostly from Watson's perspective, but it's clear that Brady served well, and she has 20 aces, third among women in the tournament, through two rounds.  Brady plays No. 14 seed Elena Vesnina of Russia next, while Gibbs faces Williams.

Thursday's second round results for US players:
Serena Williams[2] def. Lucia Safarova(CZE) 6-3, 6-4
Alexander Zverev[24](GER) def. Frances Tiafoe 6-2, 6-3, 6-4
Philipp Kohlschreiber[32](GER) def. Donald Young  7-5, 6-3, 6-0
David Ferrer[21](ESP) def. Ernesto Escobedo 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2
Jennifer Brady def. Heather Watson(GBR) 2-6, 7-6(3), 10-8
Nicole Gibbs def. Irina Falconi 6-4, 6-1

Friday's third round matches involving Americans:
Eugenie Bouchard(CAN) vs. CoCo Vandeweghe
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga[12](FRA) vs. Jack Sock[23]
Ying-Ying Duan)CHN) vs. Venus Williams[13]
Andy Murray[1](GBR) vs. Sam Querrey[31]
Sorana Cirstea(ROU) vs. Alison Riske

The quarterfinals are set at the two USTA Pro Circuit events this week in Florida, with qualifiers Patrick Kypson and Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia both advancing in the $15,000 Futures in Sunrise.  Kypson defeated fellow Kalamazoo 16s champion John McNally, a wild card, 6-0, 6-4 today, while Kecmanovic, the ITF No. 1 junior, squeezed past Jaume Pla Malfeito of Spain 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3. Kypson will next face last week's Futures champion Roberto Cid of the Dominican Republic. The recent South Florida star defeated top seed Emilio Gomez of Eucador 6-0, 6-4.  Kecmanovic will play 2012 ITF World Junior Champion Filip Peliwo of Canada, who beat qualifier Kevin King 6-1, 6-3.  Also in the quarterfinals are Canada's Brayden Schnur(North Carolina), Hungary's Peter Nagy(Texas A&M-Corpus Christi), Ecuador's Gonzalo Escobar(Texas Tech) and Sweden's Christian Lindell[5], the only seed.

At the $25,000 Women's tournament in Orlando, 18-year-old qualifier Katherine Sebov of Canada had a big win, taking out No. 5 seed Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia, the 2016 US Open girls finalist, 6-4, 6-3. Kristie Ahn[8], Sonya Kenin[3] and Ellie Halbauer are the US players who have advanced to the quarterfinals at the USTA's campus in Lake Nona.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Americans Dominate Bolton, with Seven of Eight Semifinalists; AO Junior Qualifying; Traralgon G1 Finals Set; Gibbs Feature

The Nike International, which has gone by different names in the past, but has remained in Bolton, England, has always been kind to Americans. In six of the past seven years, at least one US player has won a singles title at the 14-and-under event, which is the same level as next week's Les Petits As, although the fields are never as deep as in Tarbes.  A US boys champion is already assured with all four of the players USTA National Coach Jon Glover took on the trip reaching the semifinals: No. 4 seed Toby Kodat, No. 7 seed Martin Damm, Alexander Bernard and Aidan Mayo.  Damm will play Bernard and Kodat will face Mayo to determine the finalists.  Three of the US girls on the trip, top seed Cori Gauff, Alexandra Yepifanova and Elvina Kalieva won their quarterfinal matches today, with Gauff playing Kalieva in the semifinals.  No. 8 seed Charlotte Owensby lost to No. 2 seed Kylie Bilchev of Great Britain 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 to deny the US a clean sweep.  Maureen Diaz is the USTA coach for the girls.

A team from the US will also play in both doubles finals.  Top seeds Gauff and Owensby will face No. 5 seeds Flavie Brugnone and Anaelle Leclercq of France, who defeated Kalieva and Yepifanova in the semifinals to prevent an all-US doubles final.  Damm and Mayo, the No. 8 seeds in the boys doubles, beat the top seeds in today's semifinals and will play No. 2 seeds Joel Pierleoni and Jack Pinnington Jones of Great Britain in the finals.

Qualifying for the Australian Open junior championships will finish on Thursday (tonight in the US), with Americans Jimena Rodriguez-Benito and Tristan Boyer getting to the final round with victories on Wednesday in Traralgon.  Draws and the order of play can be found at the Tennis Australia tournament site.

The finals are set at the Grade 1 in Traralgon, with 15-year-old Iga Swiatek of Poland, seeded fifth, facing 14-year-old Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine, seeded tenth, in the girls final.  The boys finals will be between two 17-year-olds: No. 6 seed Corentin Moutet of France and No. 16 seed Zsombor Piros of Hungary.  The boys doubles final will feature two unseeded teams: Ryan Nijboer of the Netherlands and Ajeet Rai of New Zealand and Francesco Forti and Mattia Frinzi of Italy. Swiatek will go for her second title of the day in the girls doubles final. She and Maja Chwalinska, seeded seventh, will face the unseeded Australian team of Gabriella Da Silva Fick and Kaitlin Staines.

Traralgon is one of three Grade 1s this week. There are no Americans in the Czech Republic tournament's draw, but 17 US juniors made the trip to Colombia for the Copa Barranquilla. Of the ten boys, three advanced to the second round: Govind Nanda, Brian Cernoch(11) and William Grant.  Of the seven girls, five advanced to the second round, with No. 2 seed Victoria Emma and No. 14 seed Lea Ma getting byes in the 48-player girls draw.  Chloe Hamlin, Amanda Meyer and qualifier Victoria Flores won their first round matches.

The first day of the second round of the Australian Open didn't go as well for Americans as the past two, with US players going 5-8 and No. 19 seed John Isner bowing out after winning the first two sets from Mischa Zverev of Germany. But that was probably the only surprising loss, and Noah Rubin acquitted himself well against Roger Federer on Rod Laver Arena before falling 7-5, 6-3, 7-6(3).

Wednesday's second round matches featuring Americans:

Venus Williams[13] def. Stefanie Voegele(SUI) 6-3, 6-2
Roger Federer[17](SUI) def. Noah Rubin 7-5, 6-3, 7-6(3)
Garbine Muguruza[7](ESP) def. Samantha Crawford 7-5, 6-4
Elina Svitolina[11](UKR) def. Julia Boserup 6-4, 6-1
Stan Wawrinka[4](SUI) def. Steve Johnson 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
Ashleigh Barty(AUS) def. Shelby Rogers 7-5, 6-1
Sam Querrey[31] def. Alex De Minaur(AUS) 7-6(5), 6-0, 6-1
CoCo Vandeweghe def. Pauline Parmentier(FRA) 6-4, 7-6(5)
Alison Riske def. Shuai Zhang[20](CHN) 7-6(7), 4-6, 6-1
Tomas Berdych[10](CZE) def. Ryan Harrison 6-3, 7-6(6), 6-2
Ying-Ying Duan(CHN) def. Varvara Lepchenko 6-1, 3-6, 10-8
Mischa Zverev(GER) def. John Isner[19] 6-7(4), 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(7), 9-7
Jack Sock[23] def. Karen Khachanov(RUS) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4

Only seven Americans are on Thursday's schedule, including two former college stars playing each other in Nicole Gibbs and Irina Falconi. Gibbs is the subject of this excellent New Yorker article, which focuses on her commitment to speaking out on issues that concern her, both inside and outside of tennis.

Frances Tiafoe and Alexander Zverev will play in an interesting ATP Next Gen match. It's surprising to me that they didn't play in their junior careers, despite the fact that Zverev is only one year older.

Thursday's second round matches featuring Americans:
Lucia Safarova(CZE) vs. Serena Williams[2]
Alexander Zverev[24](GER) vs. Frances Tiafoe
Donald Young vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber[32](GER)
Ernesto Escobedo vs. David Ferrer[21](ESP)
Jennifer Brady vs. Heather Watson(GBR)
Nicole Gibbs vs. Irina Falconi

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Australian Open Junior Qualifying Begins, Wild Cards Announced; Twenty Americans Reach AO Second Round; US Claims Half of Quarterfinal Berths in Bolton

The wild cards for the Australian Open Junior Championships, which begin on Saturday, have been distributed.  Note that a wild card, Oliver Anderson of Australia, won the boys title in 2016, a result not particularly rare in the ITF Junior ranks. I believe the two Chinese wild cards are a results of playoffs for Asian juniors, similar to the competition Tennis Australia holds for a men's and women's main draw wild card.

Matthew Dellavedova (AUS)
Kody Pearson (AUS)
Chase Ferguson (AUS)
Alexander Crnokrak (AUS)
Lucas Vuradin (AUS)
Dane Sweeny (AUS)
Thomas Bosancic (AUS)
Tao Mu (CHN)

Lisa Mays (AUS)
Alexandra Bozovic (AUS)
Aleksa Cveticanin (AUS)
Ivana Popovic (AUS)
Michaela Haet (AUS)
Selina Turulja (AUS)
Zoe Kruger (RSA)
Chengyiyi Yuan (CHN)

Special exempts went to Traralgon doubles semifinalists Francesco Forti of Italy in the boys draw and Gabriella Da Silva-Fick of Australia in the girls draw.  The special exempt spots not used allowed Lisa Piccinetti of Italy and Siphosothando Montsi of South Africa to move into the main draw.

The qualifying draw cannot be posted on the ITF junior website until after the Freeze deadline, but qualifying does begin on Wednesday in Traralgon (tonight here in the US), so the draw has been made.  There is a bye in the girls draw, and no wild cards were necessary, which is unusual for a junior slam, and it means that top seed Ali Collins of Great Britain has to win only one match to advance to the main draw. American girls in qualifying are Jazmin Walle, Alana Smith[5] and Jimena Rodriguez-Benito[10].  The boys qualifying draw does have six wild cards, all from Australia.  American boys in qualifying are Tristan Boyer[15] and Zachary Garner.

All Americans are out of both singles and doubles at the ITF Grade 1 in Traralgon, with Hurricane Tyra Black losing to No. 5 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.  Black also lost in the quarterfinals of doubles, as did No. 3 seeds Caty McNally and Natasha Subhash.

American success was much greater for the older players in Melbourne, where 20 competitors from the US advanced to the second round of the Australian Open. Americans who played college tennis went 6-0 in the first round, with qualifier Jennifer Brady, Nicole Gibbs and Irina Falconi joining John Isner, Steve Johnson and Noah Rubin, who won on Monday.  Gibbs and Falconi will play each other Thursday for a chance to play, most likely, Serena Williams.  The young Americans had mixed results yesterday, with both National 18s champions Michael Mmoh and Kayla Day dropping their matches in straight sets.  Qualifier Reilly Opelka lost the last 10 points of his match with No. 11 seed David Goffin, Taylor Fritz is still looking for his first win at a major after a loss to Gilles Muller and Jared Donaldson won the first two sets from Brazil's Rogerio Dutra Silva before falling in five sets.  Frances Tiafoe earned his first slam win, and Ernesto Escobedo claimed his second after making the second round last year at the US Open.  For more on the young Americans, see this article from ESPN.com.

Tuesday's first round results for Americans:

Serena Williams[2] def. Belinda Bencic(SUI) 6-4, 6-3
David Goffin(BEL)[11] def. Reilly Opelka 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
Rogerio Dutra Silva(BRA) d. Jared Donaldson 3-6, 0-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4
Jennifer Brady def. Maryna Zanevska(BEL) 6-3, 6-2
Andrea Petkovic(GER) def. Kayla Day 6-3, 6-2
Donald Young def. Thomas Fabbiano(ITA) 6-4, 7-6(1), 6-4
Gilles Muller(LUX) def. Taylor Fritz 7-6(6), 7-6(5), 6-3
Irina Falconi def. Xinyun Han(CHN) 6-1, 7-5
Frances Tiafoe def. Mikhail Kukushkin(KAZ) 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-2
Gilles Simon[25](FRA) def. Michael Mmoh 6-1, 6-3, 6-3
Nicole Gibbs def. Timea Babos[25](HUN) 7-6(3), 6-4
Ernesto Escobedo def. Daniil Medvedev(RUS) 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-1

Wednesday's second round matches involving Americans:

Stefanie Voegele(SUI) vs. Venus Williams[13]
Noah Rubin vs. Roger Federer[17](SUI)
Samantha Crawford vs. Garbine Muguruza[7](ESP)
Elina Svitolina[11](UKR) vs. Julia Boserup
Stan Wawrinka[4](SUI) vs. Steve Johnson
Shelby Rogers vs. Ashleigh Barty(AUS)
Alex De Minaur(AUS) vs. Sam Querrey[31]
Alison Riske vs. Shuai Zhang[20](CHN)
Tomas Berdych[10](CZE) vs. Ryan Harrison
Varvara Lepchenko vs. Ying-Ying Duan)CHN)
John Isner[19] vs. Mischa Zverev(GER)
Karen Khachanov(RUS) vs. Jack Sock[23]
Pauline Parmentier(FRA) vs. CoCo Vandeweghe

The quarterfinals are set for the Nike International 14U tournament in Bolton, with Americans occupying four of the eight spots in both the boys and girls draws.  Unseeded Alexandra Yepifanova has lost only seven games in her three victories and today she defeated No. 3 seed Elsa Jacquemot of France 6-1, 6-2. Elvina Kalieva, top seed Cori Gauff and No. 8 seed Charlotte Owensby also won in straight sets.

Only three seeds advanced to the boys quarterfinals and two of them are Americans: No. 7 seed Martin Damm and No. 4 seed Toby Kodat, both of whom won in straight sets. Aidan Mayo and Alex Bernard also took out their opponents in straight sets.  Complete draws are available at the Tennis Europe tournament site.