Sunday, March 12, 2017

US Open Junior Champions Win Titles in Canada and Florida; Day Falls in Three to Muguruza; ITF Grade 1s in Southeast Asia

Reigning US Open boys champion Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada won his second Futures title today, defeating No. 3 seed Gleb Sakharov of France 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 at the $25,000 event in Sherbrooke Canada. Auger-Aliassime, who was unseeded, got an early break in the third set against Sakharov, a finalist at last week's Futures tournament in Canada, and made it stand up.

For Auger-Aliassime, 16, it was the fourth final of his career, with the previous three coming at the $10,000 (now $15,000) level. He received a wild card into next week's $75,000 Drummondville Canada Challenger and will play a qualifier in the first round.  Auger-Aliassime qualified for the Drummondville Challenger as a 14-year-old in 2014, a result that first put him on the radar.

Americans in the main draw of Drummondville are Daniel Nguyen, Sekou Bangoura, Mackenzie McDonald and Tennys Sandgren[6].

Top seeds Isak Arvidsson of Sweden and Frederik Nielsen of Denmark won the doubles title in Sherbrooke, defeating No. 4 seeds Mikelis Libietis of Latvia and Hugo Nys of France 6-0, 6-4 in the final.

The final at the women's $25,000 Pro Circuit event in Orlando also went three sets, and also went to a US Open junior champion.  Top seed Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic, who won the 2014 girls title in New York, defeated No. 2 seed Victoria Rodriguez of Mexico 7-5, 5-7, 6-0 in the final.  It was the 18-year-old's tenth singles title on the ITF Women's Circuit and her second this year.

The doubles title went to Americans Emina Bektas(Michigan) and Sanaz Marand(North Carolina), with the No. 2 seeds defeating unseeded Marcela Zacarias of Mexico and Chiara Scholl 6-1, 6-3 in the final. It's the seventh pro doubles title for Bektas, all with different partners. Marand now has 14 pro doubles titles.

This year's US Open girls champion Kayla Day was playing on a bigger stage today, taking on French Open champion Garbine Muguruza of Spain in the third round at the BNP Paribas Open.  Day claimed the first set and hung with Muguruza throughout the match, but was unable to convert on her five break points in the second set, while her opponent seized her only opportunity to propel her to a 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory. The 17-year-old left-hander from Santa Barbara California, who was featured on the WTA website after her victory over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, made a lot of new fans with her performances at Indian Wells. Her next tournament is the Miami Open, where she was given a wild card into qualifying.

The Grade 1 events this time of year are in Southeast Asia, with back-to-back tournaments in Thailand and Malaysia.  Few Americans make the trip, with the Carson Grade 1 and Easter Bowl Grade B1 coming up, but three did play last week in Thailand.  Timothy Sah lost in the first round and No. 15 seed Keenan Mayo, who had a first round bye, lost in the second round. No. 16 seed Hurricane Tyra Black lost in the quarterfinals to No. 5 seed Sofya Lansere of Russia 7-5, 3-6, 6-4.  All three Americans are on the acceptance list for next week's Grade 1 in Malaysia. 

The girls title in Thailand went to No. 6 seed Xin Yu Wang of China, who defeated No. 8 seed Simona Waltert of Switzerland 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in the final.  No. 10 seed Blake Ellis of Australia won the boys title, defeating No. 11 seed Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-2.