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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Sieg Ousts Top Seed Zheng in Mexico Grade 1 First Round; Two Women's, Four Men's USTA Pro Circuit Events This Week

The first round of singles is complete at the ITF Grade 1 in Campeche Mexico, and the No. 1 seed in the girls draw is out.  Fifteen-year-old Madison Sieg, who reached the semifinals at last week's Grade 4 in Boca Raton, took out top seed and ITF Junior No. 16 Qinwen Zheng of China, 7-5, 6-2 today.  Sieg was one of 12 US girls to advance to the second round, but the only one to beat a seed. Seven of the 10 US boys moved into the second round, with Alex Lee beating No. 10 seed Ki Lung Ng of Hong Kong, Adam Neff defeating No. 11 seed Peter Makk of Hungary, and Ronan Jachuck beating No. 16 seed Nini Dica of Romania.

There are four men's tournaments in the United States this week, a crammed week on the calendar not likely to be duplicated in 2019, with the advent of the ITF World Tennis Tour.  The most significant tournament, in terms of points and prize money, is in Houston, with Oracle sponsoring a $150,000+H Challenger.  Weather is generally not a problem there this time of year, but it's been rainy and cold so far this week, unpleasant for players, officials and fans (if any). All four qualifiers are from the college ranks, with current North Carolina State junior Alexis Galarneau and former collegians Harrison Adams(Texas A&M), Michael Redlicki(Arkansas) and Julian Lenz(Baylor) reaching the main draw. All but Lenz won their first round matches too, with Adams taking out No. 7 seed Tim Smyczek.  Adams will face Baylor sophomore Roy Smith, who received a wild card into the main draw and used it to earn his first Challenger-level victory with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(4) win today over Darian King of Barbados.  Top seed Tennys Sandgren lost his opening match to Kamil Majchrzak of Poland 6-2, 7-5. 

The other ATP Challenger this week is a $75,000 tournament in Champaign Illinois. I usually attend this for a couple of days every year, but bad weather led to me to cancel my plans, so I'll be following it mostly by watching the live stream and listening to the Fighting Illini's own Mike Cation doing the commentary. Tommy Paul defeated No. 2 seed Ugo Humbert of France, one of two Top 100 players in the field, yesterday.  Qualifiers were also three former and one current collegians: Mikael Torpegaard(Ohio State), Ryan Shane(Virginia), Ruan Roelofse(Illinois) and Keenan Mayo, a freshman at Illinois.  Shane defeated Mayo tonight, 6-3, 6-4, while Cornell sophomore Alafia Ayeni, who lost to Shane in the last round of the qualifying, got in as a lucky loser and beat Roelofse by the same score earlier today.  Knoxville champion Reilly Opelka[4], Chris Eubanks[7](Georgia Tech), Jared Hiltzik(Illinois), and Sekou Bangoura(Florida) have also advanced to the second round.

Two Futures events are taking place this week, with a $25,000 tournament in Norman Oklahoma and a $15,000 tournament in Pensacola.  The Norman tournament has plenty of representation from the Sooners team, with sophomore Jake Van Emburgh, senior Aleksandre Bakshi, senior Ferran Calvo and senior Spencer Papa getting wild cards, while freshman Mason Beiler made it through qualifying. Gijs Brouwer of the Netherlands is the top seed.

Rain in Pensacola has kept the qualifying from being completed, with those seven matches(one qualifying final was decided by walkover) scheduled to be played on Wednesday as well as all first round matches. Fabrizio Ornago of Italy is the top seed, with Mississippi State senior Nuno Borges is seeded No. 2. 

The two women's tournaments are being held in conjunction with the men's in Houston and Norman.

The Houston tournament is a WTA 125 level event, but the prize money is the same as the men's: $150,000. Top seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, who won the Las Vegas $80,000 tournament title last week, got a scare today from Allie Kiick, but managed to survive by a 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-0 score. 

Qualifier Whitney Osuigwe won her first round match today, beating Naomi Broady of Great Britain 6-4, 6-3, and will face No. 6 seed Varvara Lepchenko in the second round. That match could decide the USTA's Australian Open Wild Card, with Lepchenko and Osuigwe now tied in the standings, but Nicole Gibbs, who is in fourth place currently, won her first round match today and still in contention. Other Americans advancing to the second round are lucky loser Jacqueline Cako(Arizona State) and Lauren Davis.

Juniors Ellie Douglas, Dalayna Hewitt and Katie Volynets qualified into the women's $25,000 tournament in Norman, with Pamela Montez(UCLA), Rasheeda McAdoo(Georgia Tech) and Monica Robinson(Notre Dame) the other American qualifiers. Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu is the top seed, with three wild cards going to Oklahoma Sooners: sophomore Martina Capurro, junior Oleksandra Korashvili and sophomore Camila Romero. Recent OU graduate Lily Miyazaki received the fourth wild card.