Thursday, March 9, 2017

Miami Open Wild Cards for Anisimova, Gibbs and Mmoh; Day, Kirkov Receive Qualifying Wild Cards; US Losses Mount at BNP Paribas Open; Pro Circuit Update

The Miami Open, which begins March 20th and runs through April 2, announced its wild cards today, with initially just two US women among those receiving main draw entry: Nicole Gibbs and Bethanie Mattek-Sands. But Belinda Bencic, who was announced as receiving a wild card, is no longer on the current list, so it's likely she moved into the main draw on her ranking. Her main draw wild card was awarded to 15-year-old Floridian Amanda Anisimova, who will make her WTA main draw debut in Key Biscayne.

Other main draw wild cards were given to Ashleigh Barty(AUS), Natalia Vikhlyantseva(RUS), Ajla Tomljanovic(CRO), Beatriz Haddad Maia(BRA) and Paula Badosa(ESP).

Qualifying wild cards were given to Anastasia Potapova, Kayla Day, Sofya Zhuk and Urszula Radwanska.

Michael Mmoh is the only US man receiving a main draw wild card. the 19-year-old Bradenton Florida resident is joined by three other teenagers: Mikael Ymer(SWE), Casper Ruud(NOR) and Andrey Rublev(RUS). Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci also received a main draw wild card.

Qualifying wild cards went to teenagers Vasil Kirkov, Miomir Kecmanovic(SRB), Yibing Wu(CHN), Nicola Kuhn(ESP) and 20-year-old Elias Ymer of Sweden.

Unlike the Miami Open, the wild cards for the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, where the main draw began yesterday, were given mainly to Americans. So far, they have struggled to post wins, with Mattek-Sands, Gibbs, Irina Falconi, CiCi Bellis, Danielle Collins, Taylor Townsend and Jennifer Brady all dropping their opening matches. Kayla Day is the only women's wild card to advance to the second round. She defeated Kurumi Nara of Japan 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday.

The US men's wild cards have not all played their first round matches, with Taylor Fritz and Stefan Kozlov both on the schedule for Friday. Frances Tiafoe and Reilly Opelka lost their opening round matches today, Bjorn Fratangelo took out Bernard Tomic of Australia 6-2, 6-2.

The only USTA Pro Circuit event this week is the $15,000 women's tournament in Orlando, where three Americans have advanced to the quarterfinals: qualifier Quinn Gleason, No. 8 seed Chiara Scholl and No. 7 seed Sanaz Marand.  Former Notre Dame star Gleason defeated No. 9 seed Emina Bektas(Michigan) 6-4, 6-2, while Marand beat qualifier Johana Markova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-1. Scholl defeated Zhanlan Wei of China 6-1, 6-2.  Teen wild cards Elysia Bolton and Whitney Osuigwe both won their opening round matches before falling today, as did qualifiers Jada Robinson and Anastasia Nefedova. 2014 US Open girls champion Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic is the top seed.

The second round of the $25,000 Futures in Canada is complete, and no Americans advanced to the quarterfinals, with losses by Christian Harrison and qualifiers Winston Lin, Ryan Shane and Henrik Wiersholm today.  No. 2 seed Denis Shapovalov, who beat Harrison, and good friend Felix Auger-Aliassime are two of the three Canadians in the quarterfinals, along with former North Carolina star Brayden Schnur, who took out Wiersholm. Former Texas star Ed Corrie of Great Britain is the top seed.