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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Lingua Lavallen Upsets Top Seed Mochizuki in Second Round of US Open Junior Championships; 16s USTA Champion Brantmeier Not Ready to Go Home Just Yet

©Colette Lewis 2019--
Flushing Meadows NY--

A day after the top girls seed and the French Open boys champion exited the US Open Junior Championships, top seed and Wimbledon boys champion Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan joined them on the sidelines, with Alejo Lingua Lavallen of Argentina coming from behind to post a 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-2 victory Wednesday.

The 18-year-old Lingua had not won a slam singles match until his first round win on Monday, and all his previous success on the ITF Junior Circuit had come on clay, but he wore world No. 1 Mochizuki down after saving a match point at 5-6 in the second set tiebreaker.

Lingua fell behind 2-0 in the third set, but after he broke Mochizuki in the third game, the 16-year-old requested a medical timeout, with cramping setting in.

"He can't run in the third set, but I play good and I'm happy for this," Lingua said.

Lingua knew he had to keep his focus on the match, despite Mochizuki's physical problems and the fact that they are friends.

"You know that he can't run, so it's like, I have to hit him the ball," Lingua said. "But on the court today, I was like, no thinking about anything but the match, and I'm so happy now. He's No. 1 in the world, it's incredible."

Only two of the top eight seeds remain in the boys draw going into Thursday's round of 16: No. 4 seed Jonas Forejtek of the Czech Republic and No. 8 seed Emilio Nava. No. 6 seed Toby Kodat suffered a 6-2, 7-6(4) defeat today at the hands of qualifier Milan Welte of Germany, who was still on the alternate list for qualifying until early last week.

"I was in the alternates until the Sunday before," said the 18-year-old from Saarbrucken Germany, who is currently ranked outside the Top 100 of the ITF junior rankings. "On Monday, I came into the qualifying and we booked a flight. It was lucky and of course I'm pretty surprised that I'm in the round of 16."

Coached primarily by his father at one of the German federation's 16 national training centers, Welte had to come from 4-1 and 5-3 down in the second set.

"Every service game was close, every time 30-all or deuce," said Welte, who came back from 0-40 serving at 5-6 to force the tiebreaker. "It was a little bit lucky that I won the return game at 5-3 and from this point, I played better again, and I served pretty well."

The only US boys to advance today was No. 11 seed Brandon Nakashima, who defeated Leandro Reidi of Switzerland 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, but three US girls reached the round of 16, including No. 13 seed Abigail Forbes, qualifier Alexandra Yepifanova and wild card Reese Brantmeier.
Brantmeier, who earned her wild card by winning the USTA 16s National title last month in San Diego, might be starting to feel a little homesick if it weren't for all her success here in New York.

"I haven't been home in probably over a month now," said Brantmeier, who lives in Whitewater Wisconsin. "I went down to DC to train with the USTA for a while and then I came back for this tournament."

Brantmeier was given a wild card into the US Open women's qualifying over two weeks ago, and she took a set from former WTA No. 55 Denisa Allertova of the Czech Republic in her first round match, a result that buoyed her confidence for this event.

"It was fantastic to see that level, because I've never played at that high of a level before and it's where I hope to be when I'm older," said Brantmeier, who turns 15 next month. "Now I have a really clear picture of what I want to work on and improve so I can be back there...I was out for a couple of months at the start of the year because I broke my wrist, but since I've been back, I've been improving at an insane level now. I've been playing some of my best tennis, and that's so great to see."

In her 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-4 win over Marta Custic of Spain, Brantmeier had to overcome the frustration of letting two match points slip away serving at 6-5 40-15 in the second set, and carefully nurture an early break in the third.

"I like when it's close and I'm not getting broken a lot," said Brantmeier, who saved the only two break points she faced in the third set serving at 2-1. "But also it's tough, because you know any slip-up, you might lose the set for that. You really have to stay focused every single point."

Brantmeier, who is instantly recognizable on any court with her knee high socks, will face No. 15 seed Polina Kudermetova of Russia, who outlasted Savannah Broadus 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 7-5 in today's second round.

The quarterfinals are set for doubles on Thursday with three US girls and four US boys still in the running for a title. The boys include the team of Tyler Zink and Eliot Spizzirri, Nakashima, who is playing with Valentin Royer of France, and Govind Nanda, who is playing with Liam Draxl of Canada. Nanda and Draxl reached the Wimbledon boys doubles final in July.

Wimbledon champions Broadus and Forbes saved two match points in the match tiebreaker in their 6-3, 3-6, 14-12 win over Robin Montgomery and Kudermetova Wednesday evening. Alexa Noel is playing with Diane Parry of France and the top seeds won in straight sets today.

Doubles draws are available here.

Wednesday's second round junior singles results featuring Americans:

Maria Osorio Serrano[4](COL) d. Katie Volynets 6-4, 6-4
Abigail Forbes[13] d. Zhuoxuan Bai(CHN) 6-3, 6-4
Kamilla Bartone[7](LAT) d. Elvina Kalieva[Q] 6-0, 6-1
Alexandra Yepifanova[Q] d. Linda Fruhvirtova(CZE) 7-5, 6-4
Polina Kudermetova[15](RUS) Savannah Broadus 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 7-5
Reese Brantmeier[WC] d. Marta Custic(ESP) 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-4

Brandon Nakashima[11] d. Leandro Riedi(SUI) 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
Peter Makk[16](HUN) d. Govind Nanda 7-6(2), 6-4
Gauthier Onclin[9](BEL) d. Will Grant[WC] 6-2, 6-3
Milan Welte[Q](GER) d. Toby Kodat[6] 6-2, 7-6(4)

Thursday's third round junior singles matches featuring Americans:

Brandon Nakashima[11] v Tristan Schoolkate(AUS)
Cannon Kingsley v Liam Draxl[10](CAN)
Emilio Nava[8] v Aidan Mayo[Q]
Katrina Scott[WC] v Robin Montgomery
Reese Brantmeier[WC] v Polina Kudermetova[15](RUS)
Alexandra Yepifanova[Q] v Mai Nirundorn(THA)
Alexa Noel[3] v Priska Nugroho(INA)
Abigail Forbes[13] v Maria Osorio Serrano[4](COL)

Thursday's women's semifinals:

Serena Williams[8] v Elina Svitolina[5](UKR)
Belinda Bencic[13](SUI) v Bianca Andreescu[15](CAN)