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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Pielet Beats Top Seed at Lubbock $15K; Three US Boys Reach Semifinals of ITF Grade 2 in Canada; Kalieva into Quarterfinals at Grade A in South Africa

The USTA Pro Circuit is featuring one women's event and three men's event this week.

The women's tournament is a $15,000 event in Lubbock Texas, and 17-year-old qualifier Gianna Pielet made news there today, defeating top seed and Redding $25K finalist Alycia Parks 6-2, 6-4.  University of Florida junior Victoria Emma took out No. 2 seed Anastasia Nefedova 7-6(5), 6-3 today, so the highest seed remaining is No. 3 seed Dasha Ivanova.

Savannah Broadus, Dalayna Hewitt, Katja Wiersholm and Lawrence $15K champion Vanessa Ong are the other US teens to advance to the second round.

The men had their choice of a $25,000 tournament in Houston and a $15,000 tournament in Arkansas, and points and dollars aside, Arkansas looks like the better choice, with Houston experiencing rain for much of the past three days.

North Carolina freshman Rinky Hijikata of Australia and Georgia sophomore Trent Bryde are among those advancing to the second round. Top seeds Takuto Niki of Japan and Nick Chappell(TCU) have also advanced.

In Houston, former Pepperdine star Sebastian Fanselow is the top seed, with 18-year-old Hugo Gaston of France, the 2017 Orange Bowl champion, seeded No. 2. Stanford junior Axel Geller is through to the second round; I spoke to last week's Champaign $15K champion earlier this week and he told me this is his last tournament before school begins next week. He does not have plans to play much this fall, but said he is considering taking the fall of his senior year off to compete professionally.

In addition to the tournaments in Arkansas and Texas, the ATP 90 Challenger in Columbus Ohio is in full swing, with two former Ohio State Buckeyes advancing to the third round: No. 13 seed JJ Wolf, who beat former teammate Kyle Seelig, a wild card; and No. 2 seed Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark, who defeated Alexander Erler of Austria. North Carolina junior Benjamin Sigouin of Canada, who got in as an alternate, defeated No. 11 seed Renzo Olivo of Argentina today 6-1, 6-2 to advance to the third round, where he'll meet No. 5 seed Thai Kwiatkowski(Virginia). Wolf will play No. 3 seed and Cary Challenger finalist Michael Mmoh Thursday.

The semifinals of the ITF Grade 2 in Montreal are set, with three US boys advancing to the final four: top seed Andrew Dale, unseeded JJ Tracy and No. 6 seed Alex Kiefer. Dale and Tracy will play in one semifinal, with Kiefer taking on No. 2 seed Joshua Lapadat of Canada. Only one American girl has made the girls semifinals, unseeded Valencia Xu. She will face 13-year-old qualifier Victoria Mboko of Canada, who was a finalist at last year's Junior Orange Bowl 14s and is playing in her first ITF Junior Circuit event. The other semifinal is all-Canadian, with No. 2 seed Jada Bui taking on unseeded Annabelle Xu.

At the ITF Grade A in South Africa, No. 8 seed Elvina Kalieva has advanced to the quarterfinals, where she will face top seed Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic.