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Sunday, September 1, 2019

Wins by Top Seed Navarro, Wild Cards Scott and Zamarripa Highlight Day One of US Open Junior Championships; Gauff and McNally Beat No. 9 Seeds to Advance in Women's Doubles

©Colette Lewis 2019--
Flushing Meadows, NY--

Due to the chaos caused by an error in the boys draw last night, and the mistake in scheduling Saturday's girls finalists in the Repentigny Grade 1 final for today, the volume of first round singles matches on opening day of the US Open Junior Championships was reduced from the usual 28 to 30 to just 22.

Emilio Nava, who should have been seeded No. 8, was not seeded, so when his seeding was corrected, the previous No. 16 seed, Flavio Cobolli of Italy, was bumped out of the seeding and inserted in Nava's previous place in the draw, which was against top seed Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan. Four other matches were affected, with those boys playing different opponents from those the had been drawn to play in the first draw. Below is the official explanation from the USTA that I requested.

Girls top seed Emma Navarro, the No. 1 seed at a second consecutive junior slam, had a routine looking 6-0, 6-3 win over Hong Yi Cody Wong of Hong Kong, but the second set took 48 minutes, with the sixth and seventh games extending to multiple deuces.

Navarro knew she was at a venue unlike those she is accustomed to playing in juniors during that stretch.

"Usually you don't have a (elapsed time) clock on the court, you can't see it, but here (on Court 5) the clock was basically right behind my opponent," Navarro said. "I saw it at 45 minutes and then I saw it at an hour and one minute and we were in the same game. I thought what's going on here?"

Navarro, who reached the final of the USTA National 18s Championships in San Diego last month, received a wild card into the US Open qualifying, and although she has played WTA competition before, she said she learned a lot from her 6-1, 6-1 loss to top qualifying seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan.

"It was a good experience, obviously a tough first round," said Navarro. "She was tough, but it was definitely a good experience to go there and play a woman like her. It was definitely a different speed than juniors, a different pace. I see it in practice, but not as much as tournaments. It exposed what I need to work on, which is very good for me. I'm always looking for things I can improve."

Navarro had verbally committed to Duke as a sophomore, but the high school senior decided to switch to Virginia last month.

"I really liked the program as a whole at UVA," said Navarro, who is not planning on joining the Cavaliers until January of 2021. "They are very willing to work with me playing pro tournaments and work with my coach (Peter Ayers) that I have now. The coaches are awesome; they're super supportive, willing to do anything they can to help you out. And I really liked the girls on the team. It wasn't anything negative about Duke, it was just when we visited UVA, we were super excited about it."

While Navarro's US Open qualifying match could be described as a learning experience, for 15-year-old wild card Katrina Scott, her performance there nearly two weeks ago was a confidence builder. Scott won her first round match, against Great Britain's Katie Swan, before falling to Anna Kalinskaya of Russia, who went on to qualify and beat former champion Sloane Stephens in the first round of the main draw.

But Scott had already put up some impressive results in the hard court, taking top qualifying seed Timea Babos of Hungary to three sets at the San Jose WTA Premier event in July, and reaching the semifinals of the USTA National 18s in August.

"San Jose was an amazing experience and I played one of the best matches of my life," said the Southern Californian, who lost to Navarro in the Wimbledon Junior Championships third round after qualifying there. "Unfortunately, I lost. But it was great, because it was the first pro tournament where I saw all the big players--Venus, Svitolina--and it was amazing just to be next to them. It helped me build my confidence, because I came out a little nervous, but then I realized to just swing free and I played amazing. It helped me going into San Diego and going into qualifying here. It gave me a lot of confidence."

Today, against No. 10 seed Alina Charaeva of Russia, Scott trailed throughout most of the first set, but she saved a set point serving at 3-5 and went on to take the next four games.

"My game plan was to stay steady and attack the forehand," Scott said. "At first she was hitting very good shots--her backhand is very solid, she moves the ball around very well--and I realized I had to neutralize her. Eventually the errors came. In the second set, I was serving very well, I got a lot of free points on my serve and I was a little more aggressive and able to swing out more and that helped a lot."
While Scott had her success at Wimbledon to help her in New York, Allura Zamarripa was not only playing in her first junior slam, but making her first trip to New York.

None of that proved overwhelming for the 17-year-old left-hander from the Napa Valley area of California, who defeated Antonia Samudio of Colombia 6-0, 6-2.

"It was pretty exciting, but I was really nervous actually," Zamarripa said. "I didn't get nervous until about five minutes before the match, but everything just came over me. I was always aware of it, with the ball boys and everything, but I want to say it was after the first game, I felt pretty comfortable."

Although Zamarripa has not played many ITF Junior Circuit events, she had played Samudio in doubles at the $15K tournament in Bogota where Zamarripa swept the titles last December.

"I think she was kind of inconsistent today, but usually she has hard strokes, plays bang-bang tennis, so I was just trying to find a rhythm," Zamarripa said. "I played her in doubles and that was a really competitive match, lots of ups and downs, so I knew she hit very hard and could move on clay."

Zamarripa, who lost to Navarro in the round of 16 in San Diego, said she found out about the wild card about five days before she had to leave for her first trip to New York.

"I'm from a small town (Saint Helena) of about 5,000 people and there's millions of people here," Zamarripa said. "So many people walking on the streets at like 8:30 at night. But I love it here. So many people, so much to do, it's been a lot of fun. A ton of energy."
Speaking of energy, the wild card doubles team of Caty McNally and Coco Gauff could hardly believe how much of that they were able to take from the near capacity crowd at Louis Armstrong Stadium, where the teens defeated No. 9 seeds Nicole Melichar(USA) and Kveta Petschke(CZE) 6-3, 7-6(9) in the second round of women's doubles Sunday afternoon.

"Last year playing juniors we actually played a couple of matches indoors," McNally said of their run to the title in the US Open Junior Championships. "So there was only about 20 people there maybe. Today we had a packed house on Louis Armstrong, so there's a huge difference. It makes a huge difference, actually, just to have that support,  especially in those big moments in the tiebreakers. When you have so many supporting you, it helps so much."

Although Gauff has been playing her singles matches in front of big crowds since her breakout at Wimbledon, she wasn't anticipating having that same experience today.

"The crowd was unreal today," Gauff said. "I didn't think there would be that many people at the match to be honest....they were so loud and so supportive and I think that helped us, especially when the pressure moments came."

Gauff and McNally first played doubles together last year in the  Maureen Connolly Challenge Trophy junior competition, and with their title at the US Open last year and the WTA Citi Open this year, they have yet to lose a match as a team. And they are enjoying the ride.

"I think in general, whether in singles or in doubles, we're going to come here to compete, come here to win, and that's what both of us prefer," Gauff said. "Both our coaches just tell us to have fun out there on the court and play our game. That kind of shows to you guys and I think it shows in our results as well. We're out there having fun and just enjoying it."

Sunday's first round singles results for American juniors:

Emma Navarro[1] d. Hong Yi Cody Wong(HKG) 6-0, 6-3
Allura Zamarripa[WC] d. Antonia Samudio(COL) 6-0, 6-2
Qinwen Zheng[5](CHN) d. India Houghton[WC] 6-3, 6-4
Jessica Bouzas Maneiro(ESP) d. Natasha Subhash[WC] 6-3, 6-2
Melodie Collard(CAN) d. Chloe Beck 6-1, 6-1
Katrina Scott[WC] d. Alina Charaeva[10](RUS) 7-5, 6-3
Alexa Noel[3] d. Darja Semenistaja(LAT) 6-0, 5-7, 7-5

Harold Mayot[7](FRA) d. Tyler Zink 7-6(3), 6-0
Arthur Cazaux(FRA) d. Alexander Bernard[WC] 6-1, 6-4
Arthur Fery(GBR) d. Dali Blanch[WC] 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
Martin Damm[3] d. Stijn Pel(NED) 6-1, 7-6(4)
Cannon Kingsley d. Wojciech Marek(POL) 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 6-4
Jiri Lechecka[15](CZE) d. Ronald Hohmann[WC]  7-5, 6-1
Matteo Arnaldi(ITA) d. Eliot Spizzirri 6-3, 6-1
Thiago Tirante[5](ARG) d. Ronan Jachuck[WC] 4-6, 6-2 6-3

Sunday’s fourth round singles matches featuring Americans:

Serena Williams[8] d. Petra Martic[22](CRO) 6-3, 6-4
Elina Svitolina[5](UKR) d. Madison Keys[10] 7-5, 6-4

Monday's women’s fourth round singles matches featuring Americans:

Taylor Townsend[Q] v Bianca Andreescu[15](CAN)
Kristie Ahn[WC] v Elise Mertens[25](BEL)

Monday's first round singles matches featuring American juniors:

Katie Volynets v Carole Monnet(FRA) (postponed from Sunday)
Gabriella Price[WC] v Helene Pellicano(MLT) (postponed from Sunday)
Abigail Forbes[13] v Ane Mitegi Del Olmo(ESP)
Ellie Coleman[WC] v Sohyun Park[12](KOR)
Hurricane Tyra Black[8] v Mai Nirundorn(THA)
Reese Brantmeier[WC] v Alexandra Vecic(GER)
Skyler Grishuk[Q] v Priska Nugroho(INA)
Elina Kalieva[Q] v Maria Timofeeva(RUS)
Robin Montgomery v Carol Lee[Q](NMI)
Savannah Broadus v Mell Reasco Gonzalez(ECU)
Alexandra Yepifanova[Q] v Sada Nahimana[9](BDI)
Charlotte Chavatipon[WC] v Ana Geller[Q](ARG)

Emilio Nava[8] v Nicolas Alvarez Varona(ESP)
Zachary Svajda[WC] v Jonas Forejtek[4](CZE)
Brandon Nakashima[11] v Kyrian Jacquet(FRA)
Govind Nanda v Eric Vanshelboim(UKR)
Cash Hanzlik[Q] v Holger Rune[2](DEN)
Will Grant[WC] v Natan Rodrigues[Q](BRA)
Blaise Bicknell[Q] v Alejo Lingua Lavallen(ARG)
Toby Kodat[6] v Olimjon Nabiev(UZB)
Aidan Mayo[Q] v Shunsuke Mitsui[12](JPN)
Leighton Allen[WC] Valentin Royer[14](FRA)