Thursday, October 15, 2020

Yepifanova, Montgomery Reach Quarterfinals at ITF Women's Events in Europe; Strong Fields for Women's $80Ks in Georgia and Texas; Opelka Defeats Medvedev in Russia

Seventeen-year-old Alexandra Yepifanova and 16-year-old Robin Montgomery posted victories today to advance to Friday's quarterfinals at the $15K in Portugal and the $25K in France respectively.

Yepifanova, who lost in the first round of the French Open Junior Championships last week, won two qualifying matches to earn a spot in the main draw in Portugal, then beat Ines Murta of Portugal and Emily Appleton of Great Britain, both in straight sets. Yepifanova, who has committed to Stanford for next fall, is up against No. 3 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil in the quarterfinals, who has won three ITF World Tour events since the restart. Yepifanova also reached the quarterfinals of a $15K in Mexico in February, so she should have enough points to enter the WTA rankings after this week. The Netherlands' Arianne Hartono, the 2018 NCAA singles champion at Ole Miss, is the No. 2 seed in this tournament, and also has advanced to the quarterfinals.

Montgomery, who was entered in the French Open Junior Championships but pulled out, used a junior exemption to enter the event in France. These places in the ITF World Tennis Tour draws reserved for juniors are even more important now that opportunities are so limited for everyone, and top players are entering smaller events just to get matches. Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, the top seed in France, is ranked 109 and No. 2 seed Timea Babos of Hungary, who lost in the first round, is ranked 111. Montgomery defeated Robin Anderson, the former UCLA star, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the first round, with the only two Americans in the field drawing each other. Today Montgomery defeated WTA No. 225 Valeria Savinykh 6-1, 6-1 to set up a quarterfinal meeting Friday with No. 6 seed Harriet Dart of Great Britain.

The long-awaited resumption of the USTA Pro Circuit begins next week in with the $80,000 tournament in Macon Georgia, which features four WTA Top 100 players at the time of acceptance: Misaki Doi of Japan[81], Nina Stojanovic[91] of Serbia, Aliona Bolsova[97] of Spain and Monica Puig[98] of Puerto Rico. Among the top Americans in the draw are Kristie Ahn, Ann Li, Caty McNally, Francesca Di Lorenzo and Caroline Dolehide. The ITF's preview of the tournament is here.

The acceptances for the $80,000 tournament in Tyler Texas the week of October 26th are even more impressive, with No. 27 Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan and recent US Open quarterfinalist Shelby Rogers, No. 55, entered. There's a total of eight Top 100 players at the time of acceptances with Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands and Jasmine Paolini of Italy joining the four Top 100 players in Macon. Ahn, Li and McNally are the only Americans other than Rogers to receive direct entry as of now. For more on the tournament, see this article from the tournament website.

The $100,000 tournament in Charleston in November has Putintseva, French Open quarterfinalists Danielle Collins and Germany's Laura Siegemund, along with Rogers, Lauren Davis and Madison Brengle in its field as of today.

Reilly Opelka earned the best ranking win of his career today at the ATP 500 in St. Petersburg Russia, beating top seed and ATP No. 6 Daniil Medvedev of Russia 2-6, 7-5, 6-4. Opelka, who is 6-6 against Top 10 players in his career, only had 11 aces, but he managed to win the only break point either player had in the third set to end the match. Opelka plays Croatia's Borna Coric, the No. 7 seed, in Friday's quarterfinals. For more on Opelka's win, see this article from the ATP website.

There was off-court drama in St. Petersburg with Sam Querrey's positive Covid-19 test eventually leading to a private jet flight for him, his wife and their son to an undisclosed country where they were expected to quarantine. For more on all this intrigue, see this article.

At the ATP 250 in Italy, Germany's Yannick Hanfmann, the former USC All-American, defeated No. 3 seed Casper Ruud of Norway 6-2, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals, where he will play 18-year-old Lorenzo Musetti of Italy. Hanfmann, who has already reached an ATP final since the restart, will now move back into the Top 100, while Musetti is into his first ATP quarterfinal after winning his first Challenger last month.