Thursday, August 30, 2018

US Open Junior Qualifying Draws; Nava Reaches Semifinals at ITF Grade 1 in Canada; Keys Sole US Winner on Day Four of US Open

Qualifying for the US Open Junior Championships begins Friday, and for the first time in my 15 years covering the tournament, it will not be outside the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Queens. This year the junior qualifying will take place at the Cary Leeds Center in the Bronx, with players taking buses to the site from the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan.

The qualifying fields of 32 players have nine US girls and seven US boys, who will need to win two matches to advance to the main draw, which begins Sunday at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Those who received entry based on their rankings are Hurricane Tyra Black[2], Chloe Beck[14], Kacie Harvey[12] and Savannah Broadus. Broadus had originally been given a wild card, but she did not need it; it went to Emma Jackson instead. The other US girls receiving wild cards are Alexandra Yepifanova, Robin Montgomery, Katrina Scott and Reese Brantmeier.

The US boys receiving wild cards are Alexander Bernard, Eric Hahn, Alex Lee, Niroop Vallabhaneni and Axel Nefve. No. 15 seed Eliot Spizzirri, initially listed as a wild card recipient, got in on his own, as did Ronan Jachuck.

The USTA had reserved a wild card for Emilio Nava, who was one out of the main draw, but after he reached the semifinals at the Grade 1 in Canada today, he received a special exemption into the main draw, freeing up that wild card, which was given to Zane Khan. 

The USTA had reserved a girls main draw wild card, which has been awarded to Connie Ma.

Nava, who defeated No. 7 seed Clement Tabur of France 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 today at the Grade 1 in Repentigny, will play No. 14 seed Rinky Hijikata of Australia in Friday's semifinals.  Top seed Hugo Gaston of France will face unseeded Taisei Ichikawa of Japan in the other semifinal, with Ichikawa also likely to have received a special exemption in to the main draw, as he was entered in qualifying.

The girls semifinals are top seed Clara Tauson of Denmark against No. 4 seed Clara Burel of France and No. 5 seed Elisabetta Cocciaretto of Italy against No. 8 seed Viktoriia Dema of Ukraine.

Only one American, No. 14 seed Madison Keys, was able to pick up a second round win in singles, and hers came at the expense of fellow American Bernarda Pera.  Taylor Townsend and qualifier Francesca Di Lorenzo both fell to seeded players; Frances Tiafoe was beaten by Alex de Minaur of Australia and Tennys Sandgren lost to Novak Djokovic on Arthur Ashe Stadium tonight.

NCAA doubles champions Martin Redlicki and Evan Zhu lost 6-4, 6-4 to Divij Sharan of India and Artem Sitak of New Zealand.

Coco Gauff, who dropped from the No. 1 spot in the ITF Junior rankings this week, but will be the top seed at the US Open Junior Championships, received a mixed doubles wild card with Chris Eubanks. The pair surprised No. 3 seeds Henri Kontinen of Finland and Hao-Ching Chan of Taiwan 6-4, 6-4 in first round action today.

Thursday's results featuring Americans:

Novak Djokovic[6](SRB) def. Tennys Sandgren 6-1, 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-2
Alex de Minaur(AUS) def. Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 6-0, 5-7, 6-2

Madison Keys[14] def. Bernarda Pera 6-4, 6-1
Kiki Bertens[13](NED) def. Francesca Di Lorenzo[Q] 6-2, 6-1
Jelana Ostapenko[10](LAT) def. Taylor Townsend 4-6, 6-3, 6-4

Friday's singles matches featuring Americans:

Sloane Stephens[3] vs Victoria Azarenka(BLR)
Serena Williams[17] vs Venus Williams[16]
Sonya Kenin vs Karolina Pliskova[8]

Taylor Fritz vs Dominic Thiem[9](AUT)
John Isner[11] vs Dusan Lajovic(SRB)