Sunday, October 4, 2020

Americans Struggle, but Top Seeds Advance at French Open Junior Championships; Women's No. 1 Seed Halep Upset by Swiatek; Collegians Win Big in Doubles; Banerjee Sweeps ITF Grade 4 Titles in Macedonia

The opening day of play at the French Open Junior Championships didn't feature any big surprises, with only one Top 8 seed losing. But it was surprising that none of the five Americans in action could manage a win, with Alex Bernard, Bruno Kuzuhara, Madison Sieg, Alexandra Yepifanova and Elvina Kalieva all suffering losses, with Yepifanova the only one of the five to win a set. Kalieva, seeded No. 13, and Yepifanova, No. 12, were among five seeds defeated on the girls side, all of them 9-16 except No. 7 seed Maria Bondarenko of Russia, who lost to Tara Wurth of Croatia 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-5.

Top seeds Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra and Alexandra Eala of the Philippines earned straight-sets victories, although Eala had to come from 4-0 down in the first set to defeat fellow left-hander Natalia Szabanin of Hungary 6-4, 6-1.  It has been reported that two junior girls tested positive for Covid-19 and were removed from the tournament prior to the draw, but names of those players were not released.

France's dynamic duo of Harold Mayot, the No. 1 seed, and Arthur Cazaux, the No. 2 seed, who met in the last boys junior slam final in Australia, also advanced in straight sets, with AO finalist Cazaux getting a serious challenge from Jerome Kym of Switzerland before claiming a 7-6(12), 6-3 victory. Mayot, the AO champion, had no trouble with Bruno Olivera of Brazil, earning a 6-1, 6-1 win.  The ITF Junior website's article has quotes from Mayot and Cazaux on how young French wild cards Clara Burel and Hugo Gaston, who lost in the third and fourth rounds of the women's and men's singles this weekend, have inspired them.

The girls singles draw is here; the boys singles draw is here.

The junior doubles draws were released today, with Weronika Baszak of Poland and Elsa Jacquemot of France the top girls seeds. The only Americans playing together are Ellie Coleman and Madison Sieg, who have been traveling together in Europe for the past several weeks, playing other ITF clay events. Kalieva is playing with Eala, and they are the No. 3 seeds. Yepifanova's partner is Daria Frayman of Russia; Kuzuhara is playing with Max Wiskandt of Germany; Bernard's partner is Lorenzo Claverie of Venezuela; Dali Blanch is playing with Pedro Boscardin Dias of Brazil. Max McKennon is not in the boys doubles draw.

Sunday’s first round junior singles results of Americans:

Mario Mansilla Diez(ESP) d. Bruno Kuzuhara 62, 64 

Alexander Hoogmartens(BEL) d. Alexander Bernard 60, 62

Linda Noskova(CZE) d. Alexandra Yepifanova[12] 63, 46, 64 

Julie Belgraver(FRA) d. Elvina Kalieva[13] 63, 63 

Eva Lys(GER) d. Madison Sieg 64, 61

Monday’s first round junior singles matches featuring Americans:

Ellie Coleman v Giulia Morlet(FRA)

Maxwell McKennon v Martin Breysach[15](FRA)

Dali Blanch v Lilian Marmousez(FRA)

In the women's draw, 2018 Wimbledon girls champion Iga Swiatek of Poland shocked top seed and odds-on favorite in the women's draw Simona Halep 6-1, 6-2, hitting 30 winners and never facing a break point. Last year as an 18-year-old Swiatek had gotten only one game from Halep in their fourth round meeting.

The breakout run by qualifier Sebastian Korda came to an end today, with No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal administering a 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 drubbing to the 20-year-old from Florida. But after three qualifying wins and three main draw wins, Korda, who was outside the Top 200 coming in, should be inside the Top 140 in the ATP rankings.

Six of the eight quarterfinalists are set in women's doubles, with two all-US team advancing: No. 9 seeds Sofia Kenin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands and unseeded Asia Muhammad and Jessica Pegula, who beat No. 16 seeds Caty McNally and Coco Gauff 7-6(5), 6-3 in today's third round match. No. 14 seeds Desirae Kawczyk(Arizona State) and Alexa Guarachi(Alabama) of Chile, defeated No. 1 seeds Su-wei Hsieh of Taiwan and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 7-5.  Nicole Melichar can make it six US women in the doubles quarterfinals if she wins her match on Monday.

Tommy Paul and Nicholas Monroe(North Carolina) continued their unexpected run, advancing to the men's doubles quarterfinals with a 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(7) win over Feliciano Lopez of Spain and Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay. A third American has advanced to the men's doubles quarterfinals, with Rajeev Ram(Illinois) and his partner from Great Britain, Joe Salisbury, aiming for a second slam title of this year, after capturing the Australian Open. Two former Auburn players, Tim Puetz and defending French Open doubles champion Andreas Mies, both of Germany, have reached the quarterfinals. Seven of the 16 men still competing in the doubles quarterfinals are former collegiate players.

Sunday’s fourth round match results for Americans:

Rafael Nadal(ESP[2] d. Sebastian Korda[Q] 61, 61, 62

Monday’s fourth round matches featuring Americans:

Sofia Kenin[4] v Fiona Ferro(FRA)

Danielle Collins v Ons Jabeur(TUN)[30]

Seventeen-year-old Samir Banerjee won two Grade 4 singles titles in Nairobi Kenya early this year, and he added singles and doubles titles at a Grade 4 in Macedonia this week. Banerjee, the top seed, defeated unseeded Nikola Zekic of Serbia 6-1, 6-1 in the singles final, and lost only 14 games in his five wins. Partnering with Ekansh Kumar in doubles, the top seeds beat No. 2 seeds Ioannis Kountourakis and Theodoros Mitsakos of Greece 6-2, 6-3 in the doubles final.

At the Grade 3 in Portugal, top seed Jenna De Falco, who recently committed to LSU, lost to No. 2 seed Amelia Bissett of Great Britain 6-4, 6-2 in today's singles final. 

And at the ITF Women's World Tennis Tour $25,000 tournament in Portugal, Jamie Loeb(North Carolina) won the doubles title. Loeb and Ana Sofia Sanchez of Mexico, the No. 4 seeds, defeated unseeded Jana Fett of Croatia and Erin Routliffe(Alabama) of New Zealand 2-6, 6-3, 10-8 in the final for their second ITF Pro Circuit title as a team.


Tar Heel and Almost Georgia Bulldog said...

Good Luck to Tommy Paul and Nicholas Monroe in the Quarters of the French Open Doubles!