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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Day Top Seed at San Diego Girls Nationals; Southern Cal Repeats as Champions at USTA National Boys 18s Team Tournament; Pro Circuit Update; Kratzer Wins First WTA Match

The seeds have been posted for the Girls 16s and 18s USTA National Championships in San Diego, with the top 16 in each age division listed below:

Girls 18s:
1. Kayla Day
2. Whitney Osuigwe
3. Coco Gauff
4. Salma Ewing
5. Caty McNally
6. Alexa Noel
7. Hailey Baptiste
8. Lea Ma
9. Katie Volynets
10. Dalayna Hewitt
11. Gabby Price
12. Natasha Subhash
13. Elli Mandlik
14. Peyton Stearns
15. Hurricane Tyra Black
16. Kacie Harvey

Elysia Bolton, who just won the $15K in Evansville Indiana is a 17-32 seed, as is Clay Court champion Emma Navarro. Connie Ma, who reached the Evansville final, is in the 33-64 seeding group.  None of the 18s wild cards--Alexandra Yepifanova, Marlee Zein, Alexa Ryngler, Alana Smith, Chidimma Okpara, Michelle Xu, Anessa Lee and Najah Dawson--are seeded, nor are Ellie Douglas, a former Top 20 ITF junior who has only played two tournaments this year and Taylor Johnson, a former Top 10 ITF junior, who won the Southern Cal sectional in June after returning from a long injury layoff.

Girls 16s:
1. Gianna Pielet
2. Valencia Xu
3. Fiona Crawley
4. Allura Zamarripa
5. Madison Sieg
6. India Houghton
7. Rosie Garcia Gross
8. Hibah Shaikh
9. Amber Lee
10. Ava Catanzarite
11. Leyden Games
12. Maryam Ahmad
13. Rachel Arbitman
14. Jenna Thompson
15. Kylie Collins
16. Lauren Anzalotta

The complete list of all 64 seeds can be found here.

Southern Cal once again claimed the USTA's Boys 18s National Team title in Champaign Illinois, with the top seeds defeating No. 3 seed Texas 5-2 in the final. I took a screen shot of the final this afternoon, which obviously isn't complete, with a singles and a doubles match missing, but the results from the final match are currently not available on the Tennis Link site. The Midwest section finished third, beating Eastern 5-2. The draw is available here.

Southern Cal, which also won the title last year, had the advantage of two players, Timothy Sah and Ryan Seggerman, both of whom were on college teams last season, not reaching their 19th birthdays until August. This means, although they cannot play Kalamazoo again, they were age eligible for the July team competition. Siem Woldeab, who is the No. 7 seed in Kalamazoo, played No. 1 for the Southern Cal section.
The weather in central Illinois has not been good for the past few days, with National Team matches played indoors in Champaign and disruptions in the schedule for the $25,000 Futures in Decatur this week.  Usually qualifying for Futures tournaments is completed on Monday, but those extended into Tuesday, not an ideal scenario for the several Kalamazoo participants playing there.  Kalamazoo's No. 4 seed Jenson Brooksby received a wild card and was to play Trent Bryde today, but that match is no longer on the schedule for today.  Govind Nanda, the No. 14 seed in Kalamazoo, won his final round qualifying match tonight to advance to the main draw, while Zane Khan, the No. 4 seed in the 16s, lost his final round qualifying match.

Liam Caruana of Italy is the top seed, with Wake Forest's Petros Chrysochos of Cyprus seeded No. 2.

The $75,000 ATP Challenger in Lexington Kentucky has also been experiencing some rain delays, but three Americans have advanced to the second round.  Wild card Collin Altamirano defeated Hugo Grenier of France 6-7(4), 7-6(2), 6-4 yesterday, with Ronnie Schneider, who got into the main draw as a lucky loser, advancing today with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands.  Ohio State rising junior JJ Wolf, who qualified, picked up his biggest win by ranking in today's first round, beating No. 315 Dan Evans of Great Britain 6-0, 7-6(5). Evans, who was once ranked 41 in the ATP rankings, saw his ranking fall after a year's suspension for recreational drug use.

The women also have two tournaments this week, with qualifying at the $25,000 event in Fort Worth Texas and the $60,000 event in Lexington Kentucky completed today.

Americans qualifying in Fort Worth are Alexa Graham(UNC), Kelly Chen(Duke), Lauren Proctor(Winthrop), McCartney Kessler(Florida), Rhiann Newborn(Baylor) and 16-year-old Alexa Ryngler. Usue Arconada is the top seed, with wild cards going to Lea Ma, Savannah Broadus, Hurricane Tyra Black, and Ellie Douglas, all of whom are playing San Diego this weekend.

There are only four qualifiers in Lexington, with Sanaz Marand(UNC), Kennedy Shaffer(Georgia) and Anastasia Nefadova the Americans advancing to the main draw. Wild cards went to Quinn Gleason(Notre Dame), Ann Li(LSU), Peyton Stearns and Jennifer Elie. Gleason and Li won their first round matches today. Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands is the top seed.

At the WTA Premier tournament this week in San Jose, 2017 USTA National 18s champion Ashley Kratzer, a wild card, picked up her first WTA victory, beating Alison Riske 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.  Danielle Collins and Sonya Kenin have also advanced to the second round.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Kalamazoo Seeds, Draws Posted; USA's ITF World Junior Tennis Teams; USTA National 18s Team Championships Underway

Courts at Kalamazoo College's Stowe Stadium
The seeds and draws are out for the USTA Boys 18s and 16s National Championships in Kalamazoo, which begin with the first round of 18s singles and two rounds of 18s doubles on Friday, August 3rd.

There are a total of 64 seeds in the 256 draws, with the top 32 seeds receiving first round byes.  Below are the Top 16 seeds in each division:

Boys 18s
1. Patrick Kypson
2. DJ Thomas
3. Brandon Nakashima
4. Jenson Brooksby
5. Tristan Boyer
6. Drew Biard
7. Siem Woldeab
8. Cannon Kingsley
9. Kevin Zhu
10. Trey Hilderbrand
11. Andrew Fenty
12. Tyler Zink
13. Emilio Nava
14. Govind Nanda
15. Ryan Goetz
16. Keenan Mayo

Boys 16s
1. Keshav Chopra
2. Maxwell McKennon
3. Alex Lee
4. Zane Khan
5. Logan Zapp
6. Zachery Lim
7. Ryan Fishback
8. Aryan Chaudhary
9. Marcus McDaniel
10. Spencer Brachman
11. Hunter Heck
12. Alex Bernard
13. Andrew Dale
14. David Lins
15. Martin Damm
16. Karl Lee

The complete lists of seeds are available via sorting menu here and the draws are available here. Match times will be posted later in the week.

The top 14-year-olds will not be playing in Kalamazoo or San Diego (or Mobile) next month, due to the annual ITF World Junior Tennis 14U team competition held during the same time in the Czech Republic.  The teams representing the USA in the 16-team competition are below, with the US girls the defending champions.

Girls team:

Reese Brantmeier (13, Whitewater, Wis.)

Robin Montgomery (13, Washington, D.C.)

Katrina Scott (14, Woodland Hills, Calif.)

Captain: USTA National Coach Jean Desdunes

Boys team:

Bruno Kuzuhara (14, Coconut Creek, Fla.)

Victor Lilov (14, Raleigh, N.C.)

Evan Wen (14, Morristown, N.J.)

Captain: USTA National Coach Jon Glover

The week before the USTA Nationals is set aside for the USTA's National 18s Team championships, with the boys event in Champaign Illinois and the girls event in Claremont California.  The boys semifinals are today, with top seed Southern California playing 5-8 seed Eastern and No. 2 seed Midwest playing No. 3 seed Texas.  The draw for the boys tournament can be found here, with results also at the Tennis Link site.  The girls event began yesterday and finishes Wednesday, with a draw not available, but results can be viewed at the Tennis Link site.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Bolton, Brodsky Claim USTA Pro Circuit Titles; Tauson, Forejtek are European Champions; Inoue Captures Grade 3 Title; Danilovic Wins WTA Moscow Event; Isner Makes it Five in Atlanta

UCLA rising freshman Elysia Bolton won her first Pro Circuit title today at the $15,000 USTA Women's event in Evansville Indiana. The 18-year-old from New York, seeded No. 3, defeated 15-year-old Connie Ma, the No. 6 seed, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in the final, which took just over two hours to complete.  Bolton was on her way to her fifth consecutive straight-sets victory, serving at 6-3, 3-0, but Ma won six of the next seven games to force a third set. Although she got her first serve in  only 43% of the time in the final set, Bolton didn't face a break point and she closed out the match with her second break of the set.

At the $60,000 tournament in Ashland Kentucky, Gail Brodsky won the battle of the qualifiers, beating Maegan Manasse 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 to claim the biggest title of her career. The 27-year-old Brodsky, who only returned recently to full-time play after the birth of her second child in 2016, now takes the lead in the USTA's US Open Wild Card Challenge, with two weeks remaining.

The ITF Grade B1 European Championships concluded today in Klosters Switzerland, with top seed Clara Tauson of Denmark claiming the girls singles title and No. 11 seed Jonas Forejtek of the Czech Republic winning the boys singles title.  Tauson, 15, defeated unseeded 16-year-old Maja Chwalinska of Poland 6-3, 6-3 for her second Grade 1 title of the year.  The 17-year-old Forejtek saved a match point in beating top seed Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria 6-7(1), 7-6(6), 6-3 and capturing his first Grade 1 title.

The boys doubles title went to No. 4 seeds Filip Jianu and Stefan Palosi of Romania, who beat No. 11 seeds Erik Grevelius and Gustaf Strom of Sweden 7-6(4), 7-6(5) in the final. Romania was unable to sweep the doubles titles, with Italy's Elisabetta Cocciaretto and Federica Rossi, seeded No. 4,  beating No. 3 seeds Selma Cadar and Andreea Prisacariu of Romania 4-6, 7-5, 10-7 in the girls final.

The European Championships for the 14s division were also completed today, with Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic and Sean Cuenin of France taking the titles. Noskova, the No. 6 seed and a finalist at this year's Les Petits As, defeated top seed Diana Shnaider of Russia 6-0, 6-3 in the girls final, and the unseeded Cuenin beat No. 4 seed Mili Poljicak of Croatia 6-2, 6-3 in the boys final. Complete results are available at the Tennis Europe website.

Aside from the European Championships, there was only one ITF Junior Circuit tournament above the 4 and 5 levels, the Grade 3 in Colombia. Americans picked up two of the four titles, with Hina Inoue, the No. 8 seed winning the girls singles, and Eliot Spizzirri and Spencer Whitaker claiming the boys doubles championship.  The 15-year-old Inoue, who won all six of her matches in straight sets, defeated No. 2 seed Natsumi Kawaguchi of Japan 6-2, 6-1 in the final.  Spizzirri and Whitaker, the No. 3 seeds, defeated unseeded Jesus Fernandez and Amador Salazar of Chile 6-3, 6-2 in the final.  No. 15 seed Murphy Cassone lost to unseeded Gustavo Heide of Brazil 7-5, 6-4 in the boys singles final.

Olga Danilovic won the battle of the 17-year-olds at the WTA International tournament in Moscow. The Serbian defeated wild card Anastasia Potapova of Russia 7-5, 6-7(1), 6-4 to become the first lucky loser to win a WTA title since 1980. For more on Danilovic's win, see this article from the WTA website.

At the BB&T Atlanta Open, top seed John Isner claimed his fifth title at the 250 event, defeating Ryan Harrison in the final for the second year in a row, this time by a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 score. Isner joins Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi as the only American men to win the same tournament five times or more. For more on Isner's victory, see this article from the ATP website.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

My Conversation with Mackenzie McDonald; Ma and Bolton in Evansville $15K Final; Qualifiers Manasse and Brodsky Meet for Title at Ashland $60K; All American Final Again in Atlanta

While I was at Wimbledon earlier this month, I had an opportunity to talk with 2016 NCAA singles and doubles champion Mackenzie McDonald after he reached the second week of his first Wimbledon main draw. Now at a career high of 77 in the ATP rankings, McDonald and I talked about the achievements that gave him the confidence to succeed on the pro tour, what the NCAA titles meant to him, what he's encountered at the top level of pro tennis that he didn't see at the other levels and resetting his goals after reaching two of them already in 2018 in this article for the Tennis Recruiting Network.

At age 15, Connie Ma has reached already reached a USTA Pro Circuit final, with the Californian beating No. 8 seed Pam Montez 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 in Saturday's semifinals of the $15,000 tournament in Evansville Indiana. She will face 18-year-old Elysia Bolton, the No. 3 seed, who will begin her career at UCLA this fall. Bolton defeated Savannah Broadus 6-1 6-4.

Even before Sunday's final, Ma has secured her first pro title, winning the doubles in Evansville with 16-year-old Gianna Pielet. Ma and Pielet defeated Meghan Kelley(Virginia) and Bianca Moldovan(NC State) 6-3, 7-5 in Saturday's championship match.

An American qualifier is guaranteed to take the title at the $60,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Ashland, Kentucky, with Maegan Manasse and Gail Brodsky advancing to the final with wins today. Brodsky defeated Jovana Jaksic of Serbia 6-2, 6-4 for her sixth win in the past six days, while Manasse won her seventh straight match, beating Misaki Doi of Japan 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-2. The winner will take the lead in the USTA's US Open Wild Card Challenge.

The doubles title in Ashland went to No. 3 seeds Jaksic and Mexico's Renata Zarazua of Mexico, who defeated unseeded Sanaz Marand and Whitney Osuigwe 6-3, 5-7, 10-4 in the final.

At the $25,000 Futures in Champaign Illinois, rising Florida State senior Aziz Dougaz of Tunisia won his first Pro Circuit singles title, with the No. 4 seed defeating No. 2 seed and reigning NCAA champion Petros Chrysochos of Cyprus 7-6(3), 6-4.

Sunday's final at the WTA International tournament in Moscow will feature two 17-year-olds, with wild card Anastasia Potapova of Russia taking on lucky loser Olga Danilovic of Serbia.  Potapova defeated Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia 3-6, 6-4, 5-2 ret. to reach her first final, while Danilovic took down No. 5 seed Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-2, 5-7, 7-5.  Danilovic and Potapova met in the final of Les Petits As in 2015 and twice on the ITF Junior Circuit in 2016, with Potapova winning all three contests.  For more on this rare all-teen WTA final, see this WTA article on Potapova and this WTA article on Danilovic.

Sunday's final at the BB&T Atlanta Open will be a repeat of last year's, with John Isner taking on Ryan Harrison in an all-American contest. Isner, the top seed and defending champion, beat No. 4 seed Matthew Ebden of Australia 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-1 in this afternoon's semifinal, with No. 8 seed Harrison defeating former TCU star Cam Norrie of Great Britain 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. It's Harrison fourth consecutive victory from a set down this week. Harrison and partner Rajeev Ram have also advanced to the doubles final, where they'll meet JP Smith of Australia and Nick Monroe.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Clay Court Recaps; 15-year-olds Broadus, Ma Reach Evansville $15K Semis; Qualifiers Manasse, Brodsky Advance at Kentucky $60K; Teens Break Through in Moscow

The Tennis Recruiting Network has completed its series of eight articles this week on the USTA National Clay Court Championships. To read more about each gold ball winner, see these recaps:
Boys 12s champion Rudy Quan
Girls 12s champion Mia Slama
Boys 14s champion Nicolas Heng
Girls 14s champion Clervie Ngounoue
Boys 16s champion Logan Zapp
Girls 16s champion Allura Zamarippa
Boys 18s champion Neel Rajesh
Girls 18s champion Emma Navarro

The semifinals are set at the two USTA Pro Circuit women's events this week, with two 15-year-olds reaching the final four at the $15,000 tournament in Evansville Indiana.  Savannah Broadus, who lost in the first round of qualifying at the $25Ks in Sumter and Baton Rouge earlier this summer, won two qualifying matches to make the main draw in Evansville and has now won three matches after beating Stanford recruit Niluka Madurawe 0-6, 6-2, 6-3 in today's quarterfinals. She will play No. 3 seed Elysia Bolton, the UCLA rising freshman, who reached her first Pro Circuit semifinal with a 6-3, 6-0 win over UNC rising junior Alexa Graham, the No. 5 seed.

The other 15-year-old in the semifinals, Connie Ma, reached the quarterfinals at the $25,000 tournament in Baton Rouge last month, and she also qualified for the $60,000 tournament in Berkeley last week. Today Ma defeated 16-year-old Peyton Stearns 6-4, 6-0 and will face No. 8 seed Pam Montez, the former UCLA star, in the semifinals. Montez defeated former Virginia Tech standout Francesca Fusinato 6-7(2), 6-3, 7-6(4) to reach her second semifinal since returning to pro competition after an absence of eight years.  Ma has also reached the doubles final, with 16-year-old Gianna Pielet.

The quarterfinals at the $60,00 women's tournament in Ashland Kentucky were abbreviated when top seed Caroline Dolehide gave a walkover to Misaki Doi of Japan and No. 2 seed Nao Hibino of Japan retired in the first set trailing qualifier Gail Brodsky 2-1. Doi will face qualifier Maegan Manasse, the former Cal star, who beat Sanaz Marand(UNC) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 in today's quarterfinals. Brodsky's semifinal opponent is unseeded Jovana Jaksic of Serbia.

The singles final at the $25,000 Futures in Champaign Illinois is set, with Florida State rising senior Aziz Dougaz of Tunisia facing NCAA champion and rising Wake Forest senior Petros Chrysochos of Cyprus.  No. 4 seed Dougaz, in his third career Futures final, will be seeking his first title when he meets No. 2 seed Chrysochos, who has already won a $25,000 Futures title since winning the NCAA singles title in May.  Dougaz defeated qualifier Alec Adamson(UC-Davis) 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 in today's semifinals; Chrysochos beat No. 8 seed Sebastian Korda 6-2, 7-6(5) to wrap up play this evening.

Martin Joyce(Ohio State) and Maxime Cressy(UCLA) won the doubles title, beating Alfredo Perez(Florida) and Charlie Emhardt(Valparaiso) 6-3, 6-2 in the contest between two unseeded teams. It is the first pro title for Joyce, the Ohio State rising senior. France's Cressy, also a rising senior, now has three Futures doubles titles.

The WTA International level event in Moscow has produced some stunning results, none bigger than today's win by 17-year-old Olga Danilovic of Serbia. The lucky loser, who had won one match at the WTA level, at a 125 tournament, earned her first Top 10 win, beating Julia Goerges of Germany 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the semifinals. Joining her in the final four is another 17-year-old, wild card Anastasia Potapova of Russia, who beat qualifier  Valentyna Ivakhnenko, also of Russia, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, to reach her first WTA semifinal. Danilovic will face No. 5 seed Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus in the semifinals, while Potapova meets unseeded 20-year-old Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia.
For more on Danilovic's win, see this WTA article. For more on Potapova's come-from-behind victory, see this WTA article.

At the BB&T Atlanta Open, defending champion and top seed John Isner has reached the semifinals, beating Mischa Zverev of Germany 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 and will play No. 4 seed Matthew Ebden of Australia on Saturday.  No. 8 seed Ryan Harrison also advanced to the semifinals, defeating No. 3 seed  Hyeon Chung of Korea 6-7(3), 6-2, 7-6(5).

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Kalamazoo and San Diego Nationals 16s and 18s Wild Cards; McNally, Subhash and Fenty Receive CitiOpen Qualifying Wild Cards; Hamptons Pro Am Set August 25 for Johnny Mac Project

The wild cards have been announced for the USTA Boys 18s and 16s National Championships in Kalamazoo, which begin Friday, August 3rd and run through Sunday August 12th and the USTA Girls 18s and 16s National Championships in San Diego, which begin August 4th and run through August 12th.

Boys 18s:

1. Drew Baird

2. Austen Huang

3. Garrett Johns

4. Ivan Yatsuk

5. Pierce Rollins

6. Adam Neff

7. Boris Kozlov

8. Mark Mandlik

Boys 16s:

1. Zane Khan

2. Martin Damm

3. Niroop Vallabhaneni

4. Alexander Kiefer

5. Spencer Whitaker

6. Daniel Labrador

7. Jonah Braswell

8. Jacob Bickersteth

The complete boys player lists can be found at ustaboys.com.

Girls 18s:

1. Alexandra Yepifanova

2. Marlee Zein

3. Alexa Ryngler

4. Alana Smith

5. Chidimma Okpara

6. Michelle Xu

7. Anessa Lee

8. Najah Dawson

Girls 16s:

1. Rosie Garcia-Gross

2. Sanyukta Gawande

3. Allie Gretkowski

4. Victoria Hu

5. Tyra Richardson

6. Hina Inoue

7. Sophie Williams

8. Maria Drobotova

The complete lists for the girls nationals can be found at the TennisLink site.

Qualifying for the ATP/WTA Citi Open in Washington DC begins this weekend, and three US juniors have received wild cards to compete for a main draw spot: Andrew Fenty and Natasha Subhash, who live and train in the Washington DC area, and Cincinnati's Caty McNally, who is being courted by the sports management company Octagon, the tournament's promoter. Subhash won the Wild Card Challenge event the tournament holds every year. For the current list of wild cards, see this release.

The John McEnroe Tennis Academy, one of my sponsors, has asked me to pass along the details of an annual pre-US Open event, now in its fourth year, that benefits the Johnny Mac Tennis Project.  Pros confirmed for the Saturday August 25th's Pro Am in the Hamptons are John McEnroe, Patrick McEnroe, Lindsay Davenport and Mats Wilander, with others to be added in the next few weeks. Read more about how to support the event, whether as a participant or spectator, here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

ITF No. 1 Juniors Tseng and Gauff Lead US Open Junior Acceptances; European 16s Champions Crowned, Top Seeds Advance in 18s; Thiel and Schmidhauser Win New Balance High School Championships

The acceptance lists for the US Open Junior Championships were posted today, with eight US girls and six US boys receiving direct entry into the year's final junior slam, which begins on September 2nd.

French Open champion Coco Gauff, the ITF's top-ranked junior girl, is joined by Americans Alexa Noel, Caty McNally, Lea Ma, Katie Volynets, Dalayna Hewitt, Gabby Price and Natasha Subhash. US girls currently in qualifying are Elli Mandlik, Peyton Stearns, Hurricane Tyra Black, Kacie Harvey, Chloe Beck and Hailey Baptiste. 

The US boys entered are Tristan Boyer, Brandon Nakashima, Drew Baird, Cannon Kingsley, Trey Hilderbrand and Andrew Fenty.  Boys currently in qualifying are Tyler Zink, Eduardo Nava and Govind Nanda. Australian Open boys champion Sebastian Korda, who told me at Wimbledon he would probably play the US Open Junior tournament to close out his junior career, did not enter, but could request a wild card.

Speaking of that, junior performance-based wild cards will be given to Jenson Brooksby, the ITF Easter Bowl champion, and Sunday's USTA 18s Clay Court champions: Neel Rajesh and Emma Navarro. The 2018 USTA junior wild card designations are available here. Note the specific US Open junior wild cards for the 3rd, 4th and 5th places finishers at the upcoming 18s Nationals.

ITF boys No. 1 Chun Hsin Tseng of Taiwan has entered, and will be going for his fourth straight junior slam final and third straight title. Wimbledon finalist Jack Draper is not entered, while two boys, Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil and Antoine Cornut Chauvinc of France, received main draw entry due to ATP rankings within the Top 750. 

Wimbledon girls champion Iga Swiatek of Poland said she would not be playing the US Open after her title in London and did not enter. Whitney Osuigwe said after Wimbledon that she was done with juniors and did not enter. Leonie Kung of Switzerland said she was unlikely to play due to a Pro Circuit event in Switzerland that week, but she did enter.  Moyuka Uchijima of Japan received main draw entry based on her WTA ranking inside the Top 400.

The 16s European Championships, one of the biggest junior tournaments of the year, was held last week in Moscow, with Spain's Carlos Alcaraz and Latvia's Kamilla Bartone claiming the singles titles. The girls final was an all-Latvia contest, with No. 6 seed Bartone defeating unseeded Patricija Spaka 6-1, 6-3 in the final.  The fifth-seeded Alcaraz, who before his 15th birthday in May had already earned ATP points, defeated unseeded Elmer Moller of Denmark 6-4, 6-3 in the boys singles final.  For more on the tournament, see this article from Tennis Europe.

This week's big tournament in Europe is the ITF Grade B1 European Championships, held annually in Klosters Switzerland. Top seeds Clara Tauson of Denmark and Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria have advanced to Thursday's round of 16, but several other seeds have already been eliminated, including boys No. 2 seed Filip Jianu of Romania, No. 3 seed Dalibor Svrcina of the Czech Republic, girls No. 4 seed Margaryta Bilokin of Ukraine and No. 6 seed Salma Cadar of Romania.  Andreev and No. 8 seed Daniel Michalski of Poland are the only top 8 seeds remaining in the boys fourth round.  No. 8 seed Kung, the Wimbledon girls finalist, is one of three Swiss girls in the final 16.

The New Balance National High School Championships finished on Tuesday at the Weil Academy in Ojai California, with Max Schmidhauser and Makenna Thiel claiming the titles. Schmidhauser, the No. 2 seed, defeated No. 3 seed Bobby Neuner 6-3, 6-4 in the boys final.  Thiel, also the No. 2 seed, defeated top seed Alexis Merrill 7-6(6), 6-2 in the girls final.

For complete results, see the TennisLink site.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Americans Kicking Off US Hard Court Season in Tournaments Throughout North America

The US hard court season never really begins or ends, but with these next six weeks leading up to the US Open, the emphasis on its results naturally take on more significance.

Rain has plagued the start of the $75,000 ATP Binghamton New York Challenger, with only one match complete after two days. Marcos Giron defeated fellow former UCLA Bruin Martin Redlicki, a wild card, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 Monday while the rest of the first round matches have been postponed due to rain.  Australian Jordan Thompson is the top seed, with additional wild cards going to Alex Rybakov(TCU), Alafia Ayeni(Cornell) and Will Blumberg(UNC).

At the $25,000 Futures in Champaign, six of the eight top seeds advanced to the second round, with only No. 5 seed Harrison Adams(Texas A&M) and No. 7 seed Finn Bass of Great Britain going out. Qualifier Alec Adamson(UC Davis) beat Adams 6-1, 6-3 and, on his home courts, Illinois rising junior Zeke Clark beat Bass 7-6(6), 6-3.  Seventeen-year-old wild card Tristan Boyer picked up his first ATP point with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Mousheg Hovhannisyan(Pepperdine) and No. 8 seed Sebastian Korda, back in action after his first round loss at the Wimbledon Junior Championships, defeated qualifier Matic Spec(Minnesota) of Slovenia 6-3, 6-3.

Qualifying is complete at the $60,000 Ashland Kentucky USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament, with all four qualifiers, from the United States: Anastasia Nefedova, Maegan Manasse(Cal), Catherine Harrison(UCLA) and Gail Brodsky.  First round action saw Whitney Osuigwe defeat Emina Bektas(Michigan) 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(3), with Jamie Loeb[6](UNC), Grace Min[7] and Sanaz Marand(UNC) also advancing to the second round. Top seed Caroline Dolehide dropped the opening set of her first round match with Vicky Duval but recovered for a 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory.

The fourth USTA Pro Circuit event this week is a $15,000 Women's tournament in Evansville Indiana, with qualifying completed today. Meghan Kelley(Virginia), Bianca Moldovan(NC State), Kelley Anderson(Arizona St) and 15-year-old Savannah Broadus are the American qualifiers. Former Georgia Bulldog Ayaka Okuno of Japan is the top seed, with wild cards going to Priyanka Shah(Cornell) and juniors Kylie Collins, Kolie Allen and Emma Jackson.

In Granby, Canada, there is a $60,000 ITF Women's Pro Circuit event and a $100,000 ATP Challenger event. The men's Granby tournament, like Ashland and Binghamton, counts toward the USTA's US Open Wild Card race, but the women's event in Granby does not.  Only two US men still remain in the Granby draw however, with none getting through qualifying and only Alex Sarkissian and JC Aragone posting first round wins.

At the women's tournament, Usue Arconada, Francesca Di Lorenzo[4] (who will next play each other), Maria Sanchez[7] and Robin Anderson have advanced to the second round with wins today.  Australian Astra Sharma, who won the $25,000 tournament last week in Canada, also advanced to the second round with a victory this evening.

The ATP 250 BB&T Atlanta Open is also part of the USTA's US Open Wild Card Challenge this week and Noah Rubin is collecting points there, having qualified and won his first round match today. Rubin defeated fellow qualifier Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia 6-3, 6-4 today and will play No. 2 seed and former champion Nick Kyrgios of Australia next.  No. 5 seed Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz, wild card Donald Young and Ryan Harrison are the other Americans who won first round matches today. University of Georgia rising senior Emil Reinberg, who received a main draw wild card, lost to Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 6-2, 6-0 tonight. Defending champion John Isner is the top seed and received a first round bye.  Great Britain's Cameron Norrie(TCU) has also advanced to the second round.

Below are the current standing of the USTA's US Open Wild Card Challenge.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Big Changes Coming to ATP Challenger Circuit in 2019; ITF Transition Tour Update; USTA's Role in Continued Success of American Women

The ATP announced today what it refers to as "wholesale" changes to its Challenger Tour for 2019.

The most noticeable change is in draw sizes of the qualifying and main draw, with the main draw now expanding from 32 to 48 and the qualifying draw shrinking from 16 to 4, with just two qualifiers. Because the qualifying consist of only two matches, the maximum length of any Challenger will be 7 days, from Monday through Sunday.

The ATP believes that providing more opportunities in the main draw, and prize money for all main draw participants, will make an actual pro tennis career viable at that level.  The requirement that Challengers provide hotel accommodations for all main draw players is also expected to assist in that goal, although many Challengers have used private housing, which costs them and the players nothing, but pays off in creating supporters and fans, as a solution to that problem. Introducing another layer of expense and administration could prove unsustainable for some tournaments, depending on the sponsor and federation support they receive.

Certainly the impetus behind these changes comes from the ITF's plans for its Transition Tour, because after 2019, the only way to earn ATP points will be through Challengers and ATP tournaments. ITF Tournaments will instead provide ITF World Ranking points, which will serve as entry into its events. Four spots in Challengers will be reserved for those with ITF World Ranking points, with five wild cards also available.

The ITF has recently produced two videos on the Transition Tour for YouTube, explaining how entries and rankings will be affected in 2019, as well as the long-term plan for 2020.  The men's video, released this month, is here; the women's video, released last month, is here.  A video specific to juniors has not yet been released, although the ITF has said many times in the past months that providing a better pathway from the ITF Junior Circuit to the ITF Transition Tour is a primary goal. Getting into the Top 100 in the ITF Junior rankings is now a important goal for access to Transition Tour events; prior to this Transition Tour, Top 20 and the junior exemptions that come with that have been the only significant perk from rankings (aside from getting into junior slams, of course).  For more on the specifics of the Transition Tour, which will include 32-player main draws and 24-player qualifying draws and is also limited to 7 days, see this Frequently Asked Questions section of the ITF Pro Circuit website.

In all this information and explanations, there is no mention of how US collegiate players might fit into this mix. I know there has been some concern that lower profile collegians, who are not on the USTA radar or are not Americans, may struggle to get opportunities to compete when they finish school, with the qualifying numbers so drastically reduced. I also think these changes will increase pressure on the USTA when it comes to the wild cards it controls; with limited opportunities, a wild card is significantly more important. I don't think anyone is opposed to the goal of making pro tennis a viable career for 750 men and 750 women; but the likelihood of unintended consequences is high when changes this dramatic are introduced.

For more on the ATP's changes, see this article from Stephanie Myles at Tennis Life and this article from Simon Cambers at ESPN.

While at Wimbledon, veteran tennis writer Peter Bodo at ESPN looked into the continued success of American women's tennis.  He spoke to the USTA's longtime head of women's tennis, Ola Malmqvist, about the changes to the federation's philosophy in the past ten years, how the National Campus in Lake Nona has helped, and what USTA support actually entails for this article.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Navarro, Rajesh Win 18s Clay Courts Titles; Kenin, Klahn and Johnson Among Those Collecting Champions Trophies on Busy Summer Sunday

The USTA National Clay Court Championships concluded today, with Emma Navarro sweeping the girls 18s title and Neel Rajesh claiming the boys 18s singles title.

Navarro, the No. 5 seed, defeated No. 6 seed Chelsea Kung this morning in Charleston South Carolina, her hometown.  The 17-year-old, who didn't lose a set all week, dominated the final, beating Kung 6-2, 6-2 in a match broadcast on Tennis Channel. The level of play wasn't great, especially at the beginning, and Navarro, who had taken her semifinal match Saturday by a 6-0, 6-0 score, ran up a 5-0 before Kung made it interesting by winning  three of the next four games. But Navarro never looked pressured, played the big points well and closed out the title with a break of serve.

With the singles title, Navarro earned a main draw wild card into next spring's WTA Volvo Car Open, played every year in Charleston.

Later in the day, Navarro and Chloe Beck, the top seeds, won the doubles title without dropping a game.

At the boys 18s in Delray Beach Florida, Neel Rajesh, a No. 33 seed, surprised defending champion and No. 8 seed Axel Nefve 4-6, 6-3, 7-6.

Below are the results from today's singles finals, except for the girls 12s, which was played Saturday. Only one No. 1 seed ended up capturing a gold ball in singles: Rudy Quan in boys 12s. I will update the doubles champions in the Honor Roll section on Monday.

Girls 12s:
Mia Slama[14] def. Alexia Harmon[4] 6-4, 5-7, 6-2

Girls 14s:
Clervie Ngounoue def. Vivian Ovrootsky[1] 6-4, 4-6, 6-2

Girls 16s:
Allura Zamarippa[8] def. Valencia Xu[1] 6-4, 6-3

Girls 18s:
Emma Navarro[5] def. Chelsea Kung[6] 6-2, 6-2

Boys 12s:
Rudy Quan[1] def. Lucas Coriaty[6] 6-1, 6-1

Nicholas Heng[3] def. John Kim[2] 5-7, 6-4, 6-3

Logan Zapp[4] def. Ryan Fishback[2] 6-0, 6-2

Neel Rajesh[33] def. Axel Nefve[8] 4-6, 6-3, 7-6

At the $60,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Berkeley this afternoon, top seed Sonya Kenin defeated No. 2 seed Nicole Gibbs 6-0, 6-4 in the singles final. Gibbs did get a title, with the two-time NCAA champion joining with Asia Muhammad to earn the doubles championship. The unseeded pair, who didn't drop a set all week, defeated top seeds Sabrina Santamaria(USC) and Australia's Ellen Perez(UGA) 6-4, 6-1 in the final. 

Former Texas Longhorn and 2015 NCAA doubles champion Lloyd Glasspool of Great Britain won the singles title at the $25,000 Iowa City Futures today, ending the 14-match winning streak of Russian Evgeny Karlovskiy. Glasspool, the No. 6 seed, took the title with a 7-6(2), 7-6(1) decision in the championship match. It's Glasspool's first title of 2018 and his fifth career Pro Circuit singles title.

2010 NCAA singles champion Bradley Klahn won his first ATP Challenger title since 2014 at the $75,000 tournament in Gatineau Canada. Klahn, seeded No. 5, defeated France's unseeded Ugo Humbert 6-3, 7-6(5) in the singles final. He also won the doubles title on Saturday, with Wofford's Robert Galloway. The No. 2 seeds defeated No. 4 seeds Darian King of Barbados and Peter Polansky of Canada 7-6(4), 4-6, 10-8 in the final. I spoke to Klahn back in November of 2016 at the Champaign Challenger, when he was very early in his comeback from a second back surgery, for this Tennis Recruiting Network article.

At the women's $25,000 ITF Pro Circuit tournament in Gatineau, recent Vanderbilt graduate Astra Sharma took her second singles title since May, with the unseeded Australian taking out No. 8 seed Victoria Rodrigues of Mexico 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the championship match.

Other former collegians also had big days on the ATP and WTA tours.

Steve Johnson won his fourth ATP title at the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open in Newport Rhode Island. Johnson, the No. 3 seed, defeated unseeded Ramkumar Ramanathan of India 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 in a match moved up to late morning due to rain in the area.  For more on Johnson's victory, and what it means for his ranking, see this ATP article.

In Gstaad Switzerland, former Arizona State standout Desirae Krawczyk and former Alabama star Alexa Guarachi of Chile won their first WTA doubles title. The unseeded pair defeated unseeded veterans Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland and Lara Arruabarrena of Spain 4-6, 6-4, 10-6 in the final. Krawczyk's college coach Sheila McInerney congratulated the pair on twitter:

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Slama Claims Girls 12s Singles at USTA National Clay Courts, Top Seeds Fall in 18s; Gawande Earns Grade 4 Title in Dominican Republic; Sharma, Klahn Reach Finals in Gatineau; All-US Final in Berkeley $60K

The first champion has been crowned at the USTA National Clay Court Championships with Mia Slama capturing the girls 12s title today in Boca Raton Florida. Slama, the No. 14 seed, defeated Alexia Harmon, the No. 4 seed, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 in the championship match.

The finals are set in the other seven divisions, with 2017 boys 18s champion Axel Nefve returning to the final after defeating top seed Siem Woldeab 6-2, 7-6(8).

Due to rain Friday in Charleston SC, the girls 18s had to play two matches today, with Angelica Blake knocking off top seed Abigail Forbes in the quarterfinals, but falling to Chelsea Kung in the semifinals. Kung will play local star Emma Navarro, who has yet to drop a set in her six wins and has won three matches 6-0, 6-0, including today semifinal. Tennis Channel is scheduled to broadcast the final tomorrow at 10:30 a.m., but weather has caused the final at the ATP Dell Hall of Fame Open in Newport Rhode Island to be moved up to 11:00 a.m., so I'm not sure what will happen with that scheduling conflict.

Below are today's Clay Court results, with links to complete draws in the headings.

Girls 12s:
Mia Slama[14] def. Alexia Harmon[4] 6-4, 5-7, 6-2

Girls 14s:
Vivian Ovrootsky[1] def. Tsehay Driscoll 6-2, 6-1
Clervie Ngounoue def. Lan Mi[2] 6-3, 6-4

Girls 16s:
Valenica Xu[1] def. Madison Sieg[4] 6-4, 6-0
Allura Zamarippa[8] def. Elise Wagle[33] 1-6, 6-1, 6-3

Girls 18s:
Chelsea Kung[6] def. Angelica Blake[17] 6-3, 4-6, 7-5
Emma Navarro[5] def. Hibah Shaikh[17] 6-0, 6-0

Boys 12s:
Rudy Quan[1] def. Alexander Razeghi[4] 7-5, 6-2
Lucas Coriaty[6] def. Zhengqing Ji 6-3, 6-1

Boys 14s:
Nicholas Heng[3] def. Lucas Brown[7] 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(4)
John Kim[2] def. Braden Shick[4] 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-2

Boys 16s:
Logan Zapp[4] def. Aidan Mayo 7-6, 6-1
Ryan Fishback[2] def. Daniel Labrador 6-1, 6-4

Boys 18s:
Axel Nefve[8] def. Siem Woldeab[1] 6-2, 7-6(8)
Neel Rajesh[33] def. Marcus Ferreira[17] 7-6, 3-6, 6-3

In ITF Junior Circuit play this week, Sanyukta Gawande won her fourth career singles title at the Grade 4 in the Dominican Republic. The No. 2 seed defeated another 16-year-old American, Jordana Ossa, who was playing in her first ITF Junior Circuit tournament, 6-2, 6-3 in the final.  No. 4 seed Russell Berdusco lost in the boys singles final to top seed Eric Vanshelboim of Ukraine 6-2, 6-3.  The girls doubles champions are top seeds Amy Kaplan and Sasha Wood, who defeated Ossa and Estefania Gonzalez of Venezuela 7-6(2), 1-6, 10-6 in the final.

At the ITF Grade 5 in Colombia, Caroline Cook won the doubles title, with Antonia Samudio of Colombia. The unseeded pair defeated No. 2 seeds Remika Ohashi of Japan and Maria Torres Murcia of Colombia 6-0, 6-4 in the final.

Evgeny Karlovskiy of Russia and Lloyd Glasspool of Great Britain will play for the title at the $25,000 Futures in Iowa City Sunday.  Top seed Karlovskiy defeated No. 3 seed Collin Altamirano 6-4, 6-4 and No. 6 seed Glasspool downed qualifier Alex Brown 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.

At the $75,000 ATP Gatineau Challenger, Bradley Klahn has advanced to the final. The No. 5 seed defeated No. 2 seed Jason Kubler of Australia 6-2, 6-3 and will play unseeded Ugo Humbert of France for his first Challenger singles title since he won three in 2014.  Klahn will also take the lead in the USTA's US Open Wild Card Challenge.

The women also are competing in Gatineau, at a $25,000 ITF Women's Pro Circuit tournament, and Vanderbilt graduate Astra Sharma has advanced to the final.  The unseeded Australian defeated former Northwestern Wildcat Alicia Barnett of Great Britain, a qualifier, 6-1, 6-2 and will face No. 8 seed Victoria Rodriguez of Mexico in Sunday's final. Sharma is seeking her second $25,000 title since graduating from
Vanderbilt this spring.

2017 Australian and French Open girls doubles champions Carson Branstine and Bianca Andreescu of Canada won the Gatineau doubles title today, with the No. 3 seeds beating unseeded Connie Hsu of Taiwan and Marcela Zacarias of Mexico 4-6, 6-2, 10-4.

The top two seeds will face off in the final of the $60,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Berkeley, with No. 1 Sonya Kenin facing No. 2 Nicole Gibbs for the title.  Kenin defeated No. 3 seed Nao Hibino of Japan 7-6(6), 6-2, while Gibbs beat unseeded Ashley Kratzer 6-4, 6-2 in today's semifinals.

Steve Johnson will play Ramkumar Ramanathan of India in the final of the ATP Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open Sunday. The unseeded Ramanathan, 23, defeated Tim Smyczek 6-4, 7-5 to reach his first ATP final, while No. 3 seed Johnson downed Marcel Granollers of Spain 6-3, 6-3 to reach his fifth ATP final; he has won three ATP singles titles.

Friday, July 20, 2018

My Wimbledon Junior Recap; Top Seed Woldeab vs Defending Champion Nefve in B18s Clays Semifinals; Illinois' Brown Reaches Iowa City Futures Semifinals; New Coaches for Notre Dame and Oregon Women

I'm back in Michigan after my fifth straight year of covering the Wimbledon Junior Championships, and if you didn't follow the daily coverage, this Tennis Recruiting Network recap will help you get up to speed quickly. Remarkable weather and two concurrent extra, extra inning matches last Friday will probably what I'll remember about the event years from now.

Unlike Wimbledon, the USTA Clay Court Championships this week have had plenty of rain delays, and the Girls 18s in Charleston South Carolina were not able to play their quarterfinals matches today.  The Boys 18s semifinals are set for Saturday, with the match between top seed Siem Woldeab and defending champion Axel Nefve, the No. 8 seed, an intriguing one.  Below are the semifinal matches in six of the divisions. The girls 12s final is Saturday. Full draws can be viewed by clicking on the heading.

Girls 12s:
Semifinal results:
Alexia Harmon[4] def. Ashton Bowers[9] 6-1, 6-2
Mia Slama[14] def. Blanka DeMicheli 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-1

Girls 14s:
Vivian Ovrootsky[1] v Tsehay Driscoll
Clervie Ngounoue v Lan Mi[2]

Girls 16s:
Valenica Xu[1] v Madison Sieg[4]
Allura Zamarippa[8] v Elise Wagle[33]

Girls 18s:

Boys 12s:
Rudy Quan[1] v Alexander Razeghi[4]
Zhengqing Ji v Lucas Coriaty[6]

Lucas Brown[7] v Nicholas Heng[3]
Braden Shick[4] v John Kim[2]

Aidan Mayo v Logan Zapp[4]
Daniel Labrador v Ryan Fishback[2]

Siem Woldeab[1] v Axel Nefve[8]
Neel Rajesh[33] v Marcus Ferreira[17]

The semifinals are also set for the two USTA Pro Circuit events this week, with Illinois rising sophomore Alex Brown reaching his first Futures quarterfinal yesterday and his first semifinal with a 7-6(3), 4-6, 7-5 win today over No. 2 seed Tom Farquharson of Great Britain at the $25,000 Iowa City tournament. Brown, who was in qualifying even though he is from Iowa, is 4-0 in tiebreakers this week. He will play No. 6 seed Lloyd Glasspool(Texas) of Great Britain in Saturday's semifinals. The other semifinal features top seed Evgeny Karlovskiy of Russia, who is on a 13-match winning streak this month, and No. 3 seed Collin Altamirano(Virginia). 

Alec Adamson(UC-Davis) and Nick Chappell(TCU) won the doubles title in Iowa City. The No. 4 seeds defeated University of Minnesota teammates Felix Corwin and Matic Spec 2-6, 6-2, 10-6 in today's final.

At the $60,000 women's tournament in Berkeley California, top seed Sonya Kenin will face No. 3 seed Nao Hibino of Japan in one semifinal, with No. 2 seed Nicole Gibbs playing unseeded Ashley Kratzer, the 2017 USTA Girls 18s National champion. 

Bradley Klahn reached the semifinals of the $75,000 ATP Challenger in Gatineau Canada and will face No. 2 seed Jason Kubler of Australia in Saturday's semifinals. Klahn defeated Zhe Li of China 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-3, while Kubler downed Ernesto Escobedo 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 6-3.

While I was in Great Britain, Notre Dame announced the hiring of Alison Silverio as their women's head coach. Silverio, who played at Georgia Tech and was head coach at the University of Oregon the past four years, replaces Jay Louderback, who retired this spring.  

Today Oregon announced its replacement for Silverio, with UNC assistant and Oregon alum Courtney Nagle returning to Eugene to take her first head coaching position. Nagle was an assistant at North Carolina for the past four years. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Talking Junior Tennis on Wimbledon Radio; Top Seed Lim Out at Boys 16s Clay Courts; Liu Falls to Martic in Bucharest

As I mentioned on Twitter last week, I was a guest on Wimbledon Radio while I was covering the junior championships there last week, and the producer was kind enough to send me a clip of the 19-minute conversation, which I've uploaded to YouTube. In addition to the host, the others on the air with me were former ATP star Thomas Enqvist and Claire Curran, who won the NCAA doubles title in 2000 while at Cal. The topic of the transition from juniors to pros always proves interesting, and I reveal the player that taught me I am not good at predicting who will go on to a Top 10 pro career.

The USTA Clay Court Championships are at various stages, with weather creating some issues, especially at the Girls 14s, where they have yet to play the round of 16.  Two top seeds have been eliminated, with Brooklyn Olson, the girls 12s No. 1 seed, losing to Ashton Bowers[9] 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the round of 16, and boys 16s No. 1 seed Zachery Lim falling to unseeded Aidan Mayo 6-1, 6-4.

The girls 12s are now in the semifinals; the rest will play their quarterfinals on Friday, with the round of 16 also on the schedule for the girls 14s Friday. The status of the top 8 seeds in each division is updated below.

Girls 12s
1. Brooklyn Olson (out rd of 16)
2. Elisabeth Dunac (out rd of 64)
3. Natalia Perez (out rd of 16)
4. Alexia Harmon
5. Emily Baek (out rd of 16)
6. Amber Yin (out quarterfinals)
7. Emma Roeck (out rd of 32)
8. Thea Latak (out rd of 16)

Ashton Bowers[9] v Alexia Harmon[4]
Mia Slama[14] v Blanka DeMicheli

Girls 14s
1. Vivian Ovrootsky
2. Lan Mi
3. Anushka Khune (out rd of 32)
4. Stephanie Yakoff
5. Alexis Blokhina (out rd of 64)
6. Gracie Epps (out rd of 64)
7. Natalie Block
8. Filippa Bruu-Syversen

Girls 16s
1. Valencia Xu
2. India Houghton (out rd of 128)
3. Nadejda Maslova (out rd of 64)
4. Madison Sieg
5. Leyden Games (out rd of 32)
6. Ava Catanzarite
7. Amber Marie Lee
8. Allura Zamarripa

Girls 18s
1. Abigail Forbes
2. Andrea Cerdan (out rd of 32)
3. Michelle Sorokko (out rd of 64)
4. Fiona Crawley (out rd of 32)
5. Emma Navarro
6. Chelsea Kung
7. Sonia Tartakovsky (out rd of 64)
8. Anna Zhang (out rd of 32)

Boys 12s:
1. Rudy Quan
2. Andrew Salu
3. Alexander Frusina (out rd of 16)
4. Alexander Razeghi
5. Adam Sun
6. Lucas Coriaty
7. Dylan Charlap (out rd of 16)
8. Piotr Andrzejewski (out rd of 32)

Boys 14s:
1. Noelle Andrey Ampong
2. John Kim
3. Nicholas Heng
4. Braden Shick
5. Evan Wen (out rd of 64)
6. Jackson Armistead (out rd of 16)
7. Lucas Brown
8. John-Tomas Bilski (out rd of 64)

Boys 16s:
1. Zachery Lim (out rd of 16)
2. Ryan Fishback
3. JJ Tracy (out rd of 32)
4. Logan Zapp
5. Spencer Brachman (out rd of 32)
6. Jack Anthrop (out rd of 32)
7. Jeremie Casabon (out rd of 128)
8. Jacob Bickersteth

Boys 18s:
1. Siem Woldeab
2. Christian Alshon (out rd of 64)
3. Leighton Allen
4. Bradley Frye (out rd of 32)
5. Marcus McDaniel(out rd of 16)
6. Andres Martin (out rd of 64)
7. Noah Schachter (out rd of 16)
8. Axel Nefve

Eighteen-year-old Claire Liu, who qualified for the WTA Bucharest Open and won her first round match, lost in the second round today to No. 4 seed Petra Martic of Croatia 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-4. Liu should be close to 150 in the WTA rankings with her performance this week.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Twenty-Five Americans Receive Direct Entry into US Open; This Week's USTA Pro Circuit Events in Berkeley and Iowa City; New Oracle Challenger Set for Chicago

The US Open announced its entry lists today, with 11 American men and 14 American women accepted into the main draw of the year's last major, which begins Monday August 27.

The American men receiving direct acceptances, with a cutoff of 101:
John Isner
Jack Sock
Sam Querrey
Frances Tiafoe
Steve Johnson
Ryan Harrison
Tennys Sandgren
Jared Donaldson
Taylor Fritz
Mackenzie McDonald
Denis Kudla

The American women receiving direct acceptances, with a cutoff of 101:
Sloane Stephens
Serena Williams
Venus Williams
Madison Keys
Coco Vandeweghe
Danielle Collins
Taylor Townsend
Sonya Kenin
Alison Riske
Jennifer Brady
Sachia Vickery
Bernarda Pera
Cici Bellis
Christina McHale

Caroline Dolehide is the first alternate, so she is likely to move into the main draw as well.

One of the eight main draw wild cards will go to the winner of the USTA's US Open Wild Card Challenge, which is in week two of the five weeks designated for results that count in the race.  Jessica Pegula and Collin Altamirano are the current leaders, with the US women competing in a $60,000 event this week in Berkeley and the US men in the $75,000 ATP Challenger in Gatineau Canada.

Sonya Kenin, who does not need the USO wild card, is the top seed in Berkeley, Nicole Gibbs(Stanford), who does, is the No. 2 seeds. Both have advanced to the second round, as has former Cal star Maegan Manasse, a wild card, No. 4 seed Kristie Ahn(Stanford), No. 5 seed Jamie Loeb(UNC), Emina Bektas(Michigan), Ashley Kratzer, Maria Sanchez(USC) and Danielle Lao(USC).

American men remaining in Gatineau are Bradley Klahn and Ernesto Escobedo, who advanced to the quarterfinals with wins today.

The women also have an event in Gatineau, a $25,000 ITF Women's Pro Circuit tournament, with Arina Rodionova of Australia the top seed. Robin Anderson(UCLA) has advanced to the second round, and wild card Alicia Barnett, a former Northwestern Wildcat from Great Britain, picked up her best career win as a pro, beating No. 2 seed and WTA No. 153 Olivia Rogowska of Australia 6-0, 6-1 in second round action today.

The USTA Pro Circuit event this week for men is a $25,000 Futures in Iowa City, Iowa, where Evgeny Karlovskiy of Russia is the top seed. Karlovskiy, who plays qualifier Felix Corwin in the second round Thursday, won the Wichita Futures and the Winnetka Challenger in the past two weeks. Other Americans into the second round are Altamirano(UVA), Strong Kirchheimer[8](Northwestern), DJ Thomas, Nick Chappell(TCU), Aron Hiltzik(Illinois) and qualifiers Alfredo Perez(Florida) and Alex Brown(Illinois).

photo credit: Aaron Bean via unsplash

Oracle announced today it would be sponsoring a new tournament in Chicago the second week of the US Open, September 2-9, 2018. Oracle's first foray into these Challenger events was this spring, where two tournaments were held prior to the BNP Paribas Open, with the player with the most points from the two events getting a main draw wild card.  Like those tournaments, this one will feature equal prize money for men and women, $150,000.  Qualifying draws are for 16 players, with the main draws 32 players.  For more on Oracle's new event, see the press release.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

USTA Clay Court Championships Underway; Defending Champion Kypson, US Open Junior Champion Day Entered in USTA 18s Nationals

I'm back from Wimbledon and ready to get some sleep, but I wanted to link to the draws for the USTA National Clay Court Championships, which are underway at various sites across the southern United States.  This year the Girls 18s tournament has moved from Memphis to Charleston South Carolina, with the Girls 16s relocating to Memphis from Virginia Beach.  The Girls 18s winner will receive a main draw wild into next spring's Volvo Car Open, a WTA Premier event in Charleston. The TennisLink website also says that the Tennis Channel will be covering the final on Sunday.

Below are the top eight seeds for all divisions, with links to the full draws in the headings. Although rain delays and late matches mean that all results are not yet posted for the day, I've included a note if a Top 8 seed has been eliminated. All No. 1 seeds remain, but several No. 2 seeds have exited.

Girls 12s (Boca Raton)
1. Brooklyn Olson
2. Elisabeth Dunac (out rd of 64)
3. Natalia Perez
4. Alexia Harmon
5. Emily Baek
6. Amber Yin
7. Emma Roeck (out rd of 32)
8. Thea Latak

Girls 14s (Plantation)
1. Vivian Ovrootsky
2. Lan Mi
3. Anushka Khune
4. Stephanie Yakoff
5. Alexis Blokhina
6. Gracie Epps
7. Natalie Block
8. Filippa Bruu-Syversen

Girls 16s (Memphis)
1. Valencia Xu
2. India Houghton (out rd of 128)
3. Nadejda Maslova (out rd of 64)
4. Madison Sieg
5. Leyden Games
6. Ava Catanzarite
7. Amber Marie Lee
8. Allura Zamarripa

Girls 18s (Charleston SC)
1. Abigail Forbes
2. Andrea Cerdan
3. Michelle Sorokko
4. Fiona Crawley
5. Emma Navarro
6. Chelsea Kung
7. Sonia Tartakovsky (out in rd of 64)
8. Anna Zhang

Boys 12s: (USTA National Campus)
1. Rudy Quan
2. Andrew Salu
3. Alexander Frusina
4. Alexander Razeghi
5. Adam Sun
6. Lucas Coriaty
7. Dylan Charlap
8. Piotr Andrzejewski

Boys 14: (Fort Lauderdale)
1. Noelle Andrey Ampong
2. John Kim
3. Nicholas Heng
4. Braden Shick
5. Evan Wen (out rd of 64)
6. Jackson Armistead
7. Lucas Brown
8. John-Tomas Bilski (out rd of 64)

Boys 16s: (Delray Beach)
1. Zachery Lim
2. Ryan Fishback
3. JJ Tracy
4. Logan Zapp
5. Spencer Brachman
6. Jack Anthrop
7. Jeremie Casabon
8. Jacob Bickersteth

Boys 18s: (Delray Beach)
1. Siem Woldeab
2. Christian Alshon (out rd of 64)
3. Leighton Allen
4. Bradley Frye
5. Marcus McDaniel
6. Andres Martin (out rd of 64)
7. Noah Schachter
8. Axel Nefve

The entry lists for the August USTA National Championships have been posted, and although the wild cards have not yet been announced, there are plenty of notables in the 18s fields, including Kayla Day, who won the 2016 US Open girls title, has been struggling recently and defending champion Patrick Kypson, who spent a semester playing No. 1 at Texas A&M.

Coco Gauff, Whitney Osuigwe, Alexa Noel, Caty McNally and Lea Ma have entered the girls 18s tournament in San Diego.

Other boys of note entered in the Kalamazoo 18s draw are Jenson Brooksby, Tristan Boyer, Brandon Nakashima (2017 16s champion), DJ Thomas, Alexandre Rotsaert and Brian Shi.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Kodat, Vallabhaneni, Bicknell and Wiersholm Win ITF Junior Circuit Titles; Gauff Moves to Top Spot in ITF Junior Rankings; Altamirano, Pegula Take Early Lead in US Open Wild Card Race; Liu, Aragone Qualify for WTA and ATP Events

While the tennis world focused on Wimbledon, and I turned all my attention to the juniors there, Americans juniors continued to win ITF Junior Circuit titles in smaller tournaments around the world.

Fifteen-year-old Toby Kodat, who claimed a Grade 2 title in May, won his second ITF singles title at the Grade 3 in Ukraine last week. Seeded No. 3, Kodat defeated No. 2 seed Bora Sengul of Turkey 6-1, 7-5 in final and made his ITF Junior Top 100 debut today. Kodat is one of only two boys born in 2003 in the Top 100.

Sixteen-year-old Niroop Vallabhaneni also won a Grade 3 last week, in Vancouver Canada, his first ITF junior singles title. Vallabhaneni, the No. 6 seed, defeated No. 2 seed Sebastian Gima of Romania in the semifinals and top seed Taha Baadi of Canada in the final, the latter by a score of 6-3, 6-2.  Vallabhaneni didn't lose more than three games in any set in his run to the title.

No. 4 seed Lauren Anzalotta of Puerto Rico won the girls singles title, beating No. 3 seed Savannah Broadus 6-4, 6-4 in the final.  Broadus and Elaine Chervinsky won the girls doubles title, beating Isaella Barrera Aguirre and Sofia Rojas 7-5, 6-1 in the all-US final.

Another Grade 3 tournament, in Romania, produced another girls doubles championship for the US, with top seeds Kacie Harvey and Vanessa Ong claiming the title with a 3-6, 6-3, 11-9 win over No. 2 seeds Jade Bornay and Mylene Halemai of France. Harvey also reached the semifinals in singles as the No. 4 seed.

Americans won three of the four titles at the Grade 4 in Jamaica, with 16-year-old Blaise Bicknell taking the boys singles, his second ITF singles title of the year and fourth overall.  Unseeded Roger Chou and Joshua Miller won the boys doubles title, beating No. 2 seeds Russell Berdusco and Quinn McLeod 6-2, 6-2 in the final. Top seeds Hina Inoue and Japan's Remika Ohashi won the girls doubles title, beating unseeded Najah Dawson and Maya Pitts 6-3, 6-3 in the championship match.

And at the Grade 5 in Iceland, 14-year-old Katja Wiersholm won her first ITF title, with the No. 5 seed defeating top seed Dakota Fordham 6-2, 6-3 in the all-US girls final.

The ITF junior rankings usually change, often dramatically, in the week following a junior slam and that was true today, when Wimbledon girls champion Iga Swiatek of Poland moved into the Top 10 from her previous ranking in the 70s and French Open champion Coco Gauff took over the No. 1 ranking from Whitney Osuigwe, who had held that position since last October.

Wimbledon boys champion Chun Hsin Tseng of Taiwan padded his lead, and is now more than 1000 points ahead of No. 2 Sebastian Baez of Argentina.

Collin Altamirano and Jessica Pegula have taken the early lead in the USTA US Open Wild Card Challenge, with Pegula making the final of the first women's tournament in the Challenge, the $60,000 event in Honolulu.  Altamirano took the men's lead with a semifinal showing at the $75,000 ATP Challenger in Winnetka.

For the complete list of tournaments included in the Wild Card Challenge, and the current standing, see this usta.com article.

2017 Wimbledon girls champion Claire Liu has advanced to the main draw of the WTA International in Bucharest with three qualifying wins. The 18-year-old Californian, who is up to a career-high WTA ranking of 170 after qualifying and winning a round at Wimbledon, defeated No. 4 seed Paul Badosa Gibert of Spain 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in the final round of qualifying today. She will face wild card Andreea Rosca of Romania in the first round of the main draw Tuesday.

The last tournament of the grass season is this week in Newport Rhode Island, with former Virginia standout JC Aragone getting through qualifying to reach the main draw of the ATP's Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open. Aragone defeated No. 2 seed and ATP No. 163 Matthias Bachinger of Germany 7-6(2), 6-7(6), 6-0 in the final round of qualifying and will play ATP veteran Marcel Granollers of Spain in the opening round Tuesday.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Top Seed Tseng Adds Wimbledon Boys Championship to French Title; Wangs Take Girls Doubles Title; Virtanen and Erel Claim Boys Doubles Championship

©Colette Lewis 2018--

Chun Hsin Tseng of Taiwan now has two junior slam titles, adding the Wimbledon boys championship to his French Open title by holding off local favorite Jack Draper 6-1, 6-7(2), 6-4 in front of a boisterous home crowd on Court One Sunday.

Top seed Tseng, who also reached the Australian Open junior final back in January, was the more experienced player and the 26-minute first set provided few occasions for the near-capacity crowd to applaud the 16-year-old from Sutton, who was coming off a four-hour-plus, 19-17 third set in Friday's semifinal with Nicolas Mejia of Colombia.

Draper managed to get hold of his game and ignite the crowd in the the second game of the second set however, saving two break points to stay on serve, then breaking Tseng in the next game.

"That sort of got me back into the match, I felt, because I felt then I settled down and got used to everything," said Draper, who admitted his performance in the first set wasn't just fatigue.  "It was a bit of everything, also the occasion, getting used to having that many people watching you is a tiny bit of pressure on me. I'm a Brit as well. I learned to embrace that the second set, went from there."

Tseng, for his part, knew that he had missed an opportunity in that second set.

"I think first as I was playing, I was enjoying the tennis and playing relax," said the 16-year-old, who learned his tennis from his father, Yu Te, and has been mentored recently by Patrick Mouratoglou, who was in Tseng's player box. "Second set I have some chance to break his serve, but I didn't make it. I have to hold my serve, so I think I have more pressure on it, yes."

Tseng did get the break back in the second set, but buoyed by the crowd support, Draper dominated the tiebreaker, with his forehand heating up at just the right time to hand Tseng his first loss of a set in the tournament.

The third set began with three long games, with Tseng saving two break points at 0-1, then breaking for a 2-1 lead. That didn't last however, with Draper getting his backhand return going, a door that Tseng left open, with his first serve percentage under 50 throughout the match.  Tseng took a 3-2 lead with a break and then held, while Draper saved a break point in the next game to stay within range at 4-3.

Draper really got the crowd going in Tseng's service game, winning the first three points before getting the break at 30-40, and the left-hander was not shy about asking for their support.  The whistling, clapping and shouts of support could have intimidated Tseng, but they did not.

"I was just trying to get more focus on myself, just keep doing what I can do my best in the tennis, just focus on the court," Tseng said. "Actually at one point, I just can only hear myself breathe."

Draper played a tired-looking game at 4-all, and at 15-40, Tseng won a challenge on a first serve, which was called in but was shown on Hawkeye to be out. Draper then missed his second serve, deflating the crowd and Tseng had a changeover to think about serving for the Wimbledon title.

Tseng started poorly, going down 0-30, but he struck some confident ground strokes in the next three points, getting to match point when Draper netted a makeable backhand.  Tseng missed his first serve, but came up with a second serve ace down the T to become the first player since Gael Monfils in 2004 to win both the French and Wimbledon boys singles titles back-to-back.

Tseng, the first boy from Taiwan to win the Wimbledon title, said he models his game after that of Japan's Kei Nishikori.

"I think he's the best, one of the best Asian players," said Tseng, who is 5'9" and slightly built. "I think I play similar like him, so I want to be the same like him."

Tseng, who has already won two Futures titles in the past three months, is planning to play the US Open Junior Championships and the ITF Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires in October, while Draper, who has yet to earn his first ATP point, is looking to make his mark on the next level after his result this week.

"I'm going to go more into the senior game, for sure," said Draper. "I'm not really sure looking ahead at how many juniors I'm going to play. I'm definitely going to try and transition into the men's game."

Another player put a second slam title on their junior resume, with Xinyu Wang of China, who won the doubles title in Australia with Taiwan's En Shuo Liang, partnering with friend Xiyu Wang to beat 2017 Wimbledon doubles finalists and No. 2 seeds Caty McNally and Whitney Osuigwe 6-2, 6-1.

Wang and Wang, the top seeds, had played together at both Roehampton and Wimbledon last year, but not since.

"It’s great, I have won the Australian Open doubles title this year, this is my second time, but it’s exciting to win the doubles and especially with her," said Xinyu, whose superior English makes her the spokesperson for the team. "Because we both have good serving games, it makes it a lot easier. We’re not scared or we don’t have pressure when we’re returning, we just go for the lines."

Wang and Wang missed very few lines throughout the match, which lasted just 44 minutes.  At 1-1 in the first set, Osuigwe and McNally had Xinyu down 0-40 on her serve, but Wang and Wang won the next five points to take a lead they never relinquished.

"That was definitely an opportunity, it could have changed the whole match around," said McNally, who also lost in the girls doubles final in 2016. "The whole match could have been different because of that game. She served pretty well and hit some good shots, I thought, when they needed to in that game."

Xinyu Wang said they did not take anything for granted after that hold.

"We didn’t think too much," Xinyu said. "When it’s 0-40, we didn’t think about the game or if we lost this serving game or what would happen next. We kept focusing on the next point and the next point."

McNally and Osuigwe will again be attending the Wimbledon Champions Dinner tonight, but were hoping this year to go as champions, not finalists.

"We’ll go, I guess and it’s still nice when they dress up and everything, but it kind of sucks because we didn’t win," said McNally, the French Open girls doubles champion this year with Wimbledon girls champion Iga Swiatek.

McNally may play Citi Open qualifying late this month, but if not, then she will play the $60,000 tournament in Lexington Kentucky.  Osuigwe, who said she is done with juniors, will play USTA Pro Circuit events in the USTA Wild Card Challenge series beginning with Ashland Kentucky July 23.

Otto Virtanen of Finland and Yanki Erel of Turkey had never played doubles together before last week at Roehampton, but they are now Wimbledon champions after a 7-6(5), 6-4 victory in Sunday's final  over No. 6 seeds Nicolas Mejia of Colombia and Ondrej Styler of the Czech Republic.

Virtanen and Erel lost in the first round at the Roehampton Grade 1, so they had no expectations for this week.

"We just went on the court and felt really good here," said Virtanen, 17.  "From the beginning, we played absolutely amazing. It was totally different than last week, [we] both [were] in the game from the start of matches."

The final featured only one break of serve, with Virtanen hitting a winner up the middle on the second break point with Styler serving at 4-4. Erel served out the championship at love, which did not surprise Virtanen.

"We served really good during the whole week, and we did not have the stress on our service games because 99% we win our service games," Virtanen said. "We always start game, like 0-15 but never 0-30 or 0-40 so it’s pretty easy to play, you feel really good on court."

Erel, who is the first boy from Turkey to win a junior slam title, was still trying to process the fact that he's a Wimbledon champion.

"It’s good, but I am still like, how is that possible that we win the doubles?," said the 17-year-old, who plans to partner with Virtanen at the US Open Junior Championships in seven weeks. "I don’t know, but we deserve it and we did it. I’m so happy I don’t know what to say."

Complete draws can be found at the Wimbledon website.

Sunday's Mixed Doubles Final:

Nicole Melichar and Alexander Peya(AUT)[11] def. Victoria Azarenka(BLR) and Jamie Murray(GBR) 7-6(1), 6-3