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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Final Round Qualifying for Australian Open Juniors Features Three Americans; Five US Semifinalists at Bolton; Second Seeds Nanda, Ong Out at G1 Coffee Bowl; McDonald Falls Just Short Against Dimitrov

Qualifying for the Australian Open Junior Championships began on Wednesday in Traralgon, and three of the five Americans participating advanced to Thursday's final round.  Dakota Fordham, who was still an alternate at the last acceptance list update, got into qualifying and advanced with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Ayumi Miyamoto of Japan, the No. 4 seed.  No. 6 seed Niluka Madurawe won her first round match, as did No. 15 seed Jaycer Lyeons, who did not play Traralgon.  The other two US boys, William Woodall and No. 3 seed Brian Shi, lost their first round qualifying matches.  Live scoring for the final round can be found here.  Draws are at the Tennis Australia tournament website.

Both US girls in the semifinals at the Grade 1 in Traralgon lost Wednesday.  Top seed En Shuo Liang of Taiwan avenged her loss to Coco Gauff at last summer's College Park Grade 1 by claiming a 7-6(2), 6-0 victory after Gauff had served for the first set.  Dalayna Hewitt, who reached the second Grade 1 semifinal of her career this week, gave a walkover to No. 8 seed Xiyu Wang of China.  The boys final will feature No. 5 seed Hugo Gaston of France against unseeded Aidan McHugh of Great Britain.

The semifinals are set at the 14-and-under Tennis Europe event in Bolton England, with two US boys and three US girls advancing to the final four.  No. 4 seed Evan Wen and No. 7 seed Victor Lilov moved on, with Wen, a 1-6, 6-0, 6-1 winner over qualifier Paul Inchauspe of France, taking on Samuel Reeve of Great Britain Thursday.  Reeve defeated top seed Mili Poljicak of Croatia 6-2 4-6, 6-3.  Lilov, the 2016 Junior Orange Bowl champion, defeated No. 2 seed Alexander Blockx of Belgium, the 2017 Junior Orange Bowl 3rd place finisher, 5-7, 6-1, 6-0. He will play No. 3 seed Cesar Bouchelaghem of France.  Wen and Lilov have also advanced to the doubles final.

No. 2 seed Katrina Scott and No. 13 seed Robin Montgomery will play each other for a place in the final after straight-sets wins today.  Scott defeated unseeded Maelle LeClercq of France 6-2, 6-2 and Montgomery downed No. 6 seed Hanne Vandewinkel of Belgium 6-1, 6-3.  Scott defeated Montgomery 6-1, 6-2 in the third round of the Orange Bowl 16s last month. No. 5 seed Katja Wiersholm beat No. 4 seed Oceane Babel of France 6-4, 6-3 and will face top seed Matilda Mutavdzic of Great Britain, who prevented another all-US semifinal with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over No. 8 seed Vivian Ovrootsky.  Wiersholm and Montgomery have also reached the doubles final.

The ITF Grade 1 Coffee Bowl was dominated by Americans, and with the quarterfinals nearly set (there are a couple of night matches yet) five of the boys quarterfinalists and six of the girls quarterfinalists are from the US.  Those numbers do not include the No. 2 seeds however, as Govind Nanda lost last night to Sebastian Gonzalez of Peru 6-3, 7-6(6) and Vanessa Ong lost yesterday to Kylie Collins.  Gonzalez backed up his upset with another win today, but Collins lost to Nikki Redelijk.  Lea Ma[7] will face Redelijk in the quarterfinals; No. 14 seed Skyler Grishuk, No. 5 seed Chloe Beck and Charlotte Owensby have also advanced.  Owensby will play the winner of tonight's match between Elli Mandlik[4] and Sanyukta Gawande[16] in a second all-US quarterfinal.  A stream of that match is available at the tournament website.

The marquee matchup in the boys draw Thursday is top seed Trey Hilderbrand, playing in his first event since last October, against No. 8 seed Brandon Nakashima, the 2017 Kalamazoo 16s champion.  Toby Kodat and Keenan Mayo[7] play in the other quarterfinal in the top half, assuring a finalist from the US.  No. 6 seed Tyler Zink is the only American left in the bottom half; he will play No. 3 seed Mateus Alves of Brazil.

The talk of the Australian Open on the men's side Wednesday was the performance by 2016 NCAA champion Mackenzie McDonald, who took No. 3 seed Grigor Dimitrov to the limit before falling 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 0-6, 8-6. McDonald, who won his first round match over fellow qualifier Elias Ymer of Sweden Monday, impressed everyone with his level and his stamina.  For more on the match, read Joel Drucker's account at tennis.com.  Overshadowed by McDonald's heroics was Ryan Harrison's win over No. 31 seed Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay, which puts him in the third round of a slam for just the second time in his career.

Marta Kostyuk, the 15-year-old Ukrainian, continues to be undefeated in Melbourne. The 2017 Australian Open girls champion defeated wild card Olivia Rogowska of Australia 6-3, 7-5 to reach the third round, becoming the youngest woman to go that far in a slam since Mirjana Lucic Baroni did it in 1997.  For more on the rare accomplishments by Kostyuk this week, see this article from the Australian Open website.

Americans in Australian Open:

Wednesday (Tuesday night in US)

Grigor Dimitrov[3](BUL) def. Mackenzie McDonald 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 0-6, 8-6
Kiki Bertens[30](NED) def. Nicole Gibbs 7-6(3), 6-0
Ryan Harrison v Pablo Cuevas[31](URU) 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-4

Thursday (Wednesday night in US)

Denis Kudla v Dominic Thiem[5](AUT)
Madison Keys[17] v Ekaterina Alexandrova(RUS)
Tennys Sandgren v Stan Wawrinka[9](SUI)
Bernarda Pera v Johanna Konta[9](GBR)
Sam Querrey[13] v Marton Fucsovics(HUN)
Tim Smyczek v Albert Ramos-Vinolas[21](ESP)
Lauren Davis v Andrea Petkovic(GER)