Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Top Seed Blanch Falls in First Round at Bulgaria Grade 1; Quarterfinals Set at Atlanta Grade 4; Volynets Beats Bouchard to Qualify for Macon $80K; ITA Fall Circuit Week Five Winners

The opening day of boys singles at the ITF Grade 1 in Bulgaria saw top seed Dali Blanch exit in the first round, with fellow 17-year-old Jack Pinnington-Jones of Great Britain taking out the American by a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 score. Blanch was coming off a title at the Grade 3 in Romania last week, but Pinnington-Jones has also picked up a title since the restart, claiming the Grade 2 in the Czech Republic last month. 

Blanch was the only seeded boy to fall in the opening round. The other American boy entered, No. 6 seed Bruno Kuzuhara, won his first round match over Szymon Kielan of Poland 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-0. 

The girls qualifying concluded today, with their first round matches scheduled to take place on Wednesday. Qavia Lopez lost to wild card entry Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra 7-5, 6-3, leaving four American girls in the main draw. Australian Open girls champion Jimenez Kasintseva, currently No. 3 in the ITF Junior rankings, is the top seed in the event, after taking a late wild card into qualifying. The American girls in the draw are Jenna De Falco, Isabelle Kouzmanov, Madison Sieg, the  No. 4 seed, and Ellie Coleman, the No. 5 seed.

At the ITF Grade 4 in Atlanta, Princeton recruit Ellis Short defeated top seed Adolfo Daniel Vallejo of Paraguay 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(5) to advance to the quarterfinals. The No. 2, 3 and 4 seeds--Nishesh Basavareddy, Aidan Kim and Azuma Visaya--are among the six Americans still in contention for the boys singles title. 

In the girls draw, the only seed remaining is No. 1 Lan Mi of China, with the other quarterfinalists all from the United States, including qualifiers Salma Farhat and Emma Charney. No. 2 seed Chelsea Fontenel of Switzerland lost yesterday to qualifier Ann Guerry, who was beaten by Georgia Tech freshman Ava Hrastar today. Aubrey Nisbet defeated No. 3 seed Gabriella Proudfoot of South Africa 6-2, 6-4 in today's second round action.

Two Americans advanced to the main draw of the $80,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Macon Georgia, with Varvara Lepchenko defeating Mayo Hibi of Japan 6-2, 6-3 and 18-year-old Katie Volynets prevailing when top qualifying seed Eugenie Bouchard of Canada retired trailing 6-4, 3-0. Bouchard led 3-1 in the first set, but Volynets broke right back, then went on to break at love at 4-all and hold at love for the set, winning 13 straight points at one stage. After a lengthy medical time out after dropping serve for a second time in the second set, Bouchard retired. Volynets will play Caroline Dolehide in the first round Wednesday.

At the WTA Premier event in the Czech Republic, Coco Gauff defeated wild card Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-4 and will play No. 3 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in the second round. Gauff defeated Sabalenka in Lexington back in August 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-4.

The ITA Tour: Fall Circuit by UTR in now at the halfway point after this past weekend's events. Participation seems to be dropping, with draws not filling in most places; some of the tournaments held round robins with their small fields, and if I wasn't able to determine who had won those, I did not include them in the winners below. The ITA has a recap of how the Top 5 UTRs fared in Week Five here.

ITF Fall Circuit Week Five Winners:

Bellevue: Men, Clement Chidekh; Women, Alina Zolotareva

Hilton Head: Men, Connor Thomson; Women, Allie Gretkowski

West Palm Beach: Men, Connor Laymon; Women, Anna Baranovski

Minneapolis: Women, Veronica Rodriguez

Lakeland: Men, Julian Cuartas; Women, Olivia Bryant

Walled Lake: Men, Addison Cazier

Peachtree Corners: Men, Jake Beasley; Women, Maggie Pate

Deerfield: Men, Alex Bancila; Women, Alexandra Benedetto

N Richland Hills: Men, Angel Diaz; Women, Lucia Natal Gomez

Grand Junction: Men, Billy McDermott; Women, Brooklyn Ross

Spring: Men, Gabriel Evans; Women, Rhiann Newborn