Thursday, July 27, 2017

Top Juniors Receive WTA Wild Cards; Hanfmann Beats Lopez to Reach Second ATP Quarterfinal; Champaign Futures Semifinals Set; Blumberg's Challenger Success

The US Open series begins next week for the WTA, with three prominent juniors receiving wild cards into three separate events.  The Bank of the West Classic, a Premier event in Stanford, has extended a main draw wild card to Wimbledon girls champion and ITF World Junior No. 1 Claire Liu. When I spoke to Liu about her schedule at Wimbledon, she mentioned playing in qualifying at Stanford, but she obviously raised her profile significantly with the title there.  Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova have also received main draw wild cards for the Stanford tournament, which begins on Monday.

Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, who has not played a junior event in more than a year, but is still just 18, was granted a wild card into Cincinnati's Western & Southern Open, a WTA Premier 5 tournament that begins on August 12th.  Also receiving wild cards for Cincinnati are Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and Sloane Stephens.

Although the CitiOpen, a WTA international tournament the same week as Stanford, has not released an official statement, it's being reported that 17-year-old Bianca Andreescu of Canada has been given a main wild card into that tournament.  Andreescu, the No. 1 seed at the $60,000 ITF Women's Circuit event in Granby, lost today to fellow Canadian teen Katherine Sebov 7-6(3), 7-5.

For the second time in three months, former USC star Yannick Hanfmann has reached an ATP quarterfinal as a qualifier.  The 25-year-old German posted his best career win today in Gstaad Switzerland, beating defending champion and No. 3 seed Feliciano Lopez of Spain 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-1. Hanfmann, who reached the quarterfinals of the ATP event in Munich back in May, will face No. 8 seed Joao Sousa of Portugal Friday.

The semifinals are set at the $25,000 Futures in Champaign Illinois. Two Illini, rising senior Aleksandar Vukic and alum Dennis Nevolo[4], have advanced and will play each other for a place in the finals. Qualifier Deiton Baughman and recent Valparaiso grad Jeffrey Schorsch will meet in the other semifinal.

At the Evansville $15K, Ann Li defeated Whitney Osuigwe 7-6(4), 6-1 and will play another 15-year-old, Caty McNally, in Friday's semifinals. McNally, a qualifier, beat Madeline Kobelt 6-3, 6-0 to advance to her first Pro Circuit quarterfinal.

2017 NCAA finalist William Blumberg will play his quarterfinal match at the Binghamton Challenger on Friday, taking on Ze Zhang of China. The 19-year-old rising UNC sophomore spoke with the ATP Challenger staff about his recent run of form and what differences he has observed between players in the college and in the pros.