Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Great Britain's Jones Beats Top Seed Osuigwe; Liu, Johnson and Riffice Advance to ITF G1 Roehampton Quarterfinals; Tiafoe Caps Another Good Day for Americans at Wimbledon

An early post today, because I'm heading to Europe to cover the Wimbledon Junior Championships, which begin Saturday.

Francesca Jones at 2016 Wimbledon 
The ITF Grade 1 at Roehampton ends Friday, and the US presence in the draw is dwindling.  Top seed Whitney Osuigwe bowed out today, losing to Francesca Jones of Great Britain 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3).  Jones, 16, has now won consecutive matches in third set tiebreakers. Last year, Jones, a wild card, lost in three sets to Kayla Day in the second round of Wimbledon Juniors, and the fact that she was born with six fingers and seven toes has made her rapid rise in the ITF junior ranks especially noteworthy. Now 46, Jones earned entry to Wimbledon this year on her own ranking.

Claire Liu, the No. 2 seed, had no difficulty advancing to the quarterfinals, beating No. 16 seed Simona Waltert of Switzerland 6-3, 6-1. Liu will face wild card Ali Collins of Great Britain next.

Caty McNally served for the match at 5-4 against No. 5 seed Taylor Johnson, but it was Johnson who won the all-US contest, beating McNally 6-4, 0-6, 7-5.  Johnson will play No. 3 seed and Australian Open girls champon Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine in the quarterfinals.

Unseeded Sam Riffice made his way into the quarterfinals, beating qualifier Jesper de Jong of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-4.  He will face No. 16 seed Constantin Bittoun-Kouzmine of France, who beat Vasil Kirkov 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5).  Danny Thomas, the third American boy in the third round, lost to Stanford incoming freshman Axel Geller 6-3, 6-4.

Kirkov and Thomas have advanced to the doubles quarterfinals, as has Riffice, who is playing with future Florida Gator teammate Duarte Vale of Portugal. Sebastian Korda, playing with frequent partner Nicola Mejia of Colombia, also advanced to the quarterfinals and will face Kirkov and Thomas next.

Top girls doubles seeds Liu and Johnson advanced to the quarterfinals as did No. 3 seeds Osuigwe and McNally.

Americans again had a successful day Tuesday at Wimbledon, with the women going 6-4 (three of those losses were to fellow Americans.) Shelby Rogers, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Christina McHale, Varvara Lepchenko, Alison Riske and CoCo Vandeweghe reached Thursday's second round with victories today.  Qualifier Irina Falconi fell to top seed Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-4, 6-4, so the only two US women's losses to non-Americans were to WTA No. 1s (Kerber current, Azarenka former).

Last year's girls champion, 16-year-old Anastasia Potapova of Russia, had to retire at  3-6, 2-2 after a fall in her first round match with Tatjana Maria of Germany.

The US men advancing to the second round Thursday are Jack Sock[17], Ryan Harrison, Jared Donaldson, and No. 23 seed John Isner, who defeated qualifier Taylor Fritz 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-3.  Closing out the US men's first round action was 19-year-old Frances Tiafoe, the 2015 Kalamazoo champion, who defeated Robin Haase of the Netherlands 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5) 7-5.  Tiafoe saved a set point at 4-5 in the fourth set, then broke and held at love to earn his first main draw Wimbledon win and his second slam victory.

Seven Americans--Jennifer Brady, Madison Brengle, Venus Williams[10], Madison Keys[17], Sam Querrey[24], Donald Young and Steve Johnson[26]--are on Wednesday's schedule, with doubles play beginning as well.