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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

USTA Winter Nationals Canceled; New ITF Junior Grade A in Colombia Next Month; Khan Defeats Jarry in Dominican Republic $15K; Giron Feature

The USTA announced this afternoon that the Winter Nationals, scheduled for late this month in Arizona and Florida, have been canceled. The USTA statement:


December 2, 2020


Due to the ongoing situation surrounding COVID-19, the USTA has canceled the USTA National Winter Championships, scheduled to take place December 28, 2020 – January 3, 2021 in Arizona and Florida. The decision to cancel was made based upon the guiding principle of ensuring the health and safety of all those involved with the event and with the support of the USTA Medical Advisory Group. In addition, recent CDC recommendations to limit interstate travel as well as the logistical challenges with differing quarantine and health regulations across states and regions were taken into consideration.

This decision caught me by surprise, primarily because the Orange Bowl is set to begin on Friday, in Florida, which is where the USTA 16s and 18s Winter Nationals would have taken place. Given the increase in cases in the United States recently, I understand the decision, but holding an international event three weeks prior seems the outlier to me, given how the USTA has handled all their other events. Speaking of the Orange Bowl, ITF World No. 1 junior Harold Mayot of France, the 2020 Australian Open boys champion, withdrew Monday, nearly a week after the withdrawal deadline. Girls junior No. 1 Elsa Jacquemot of France, the French Open champion, is still expected to compete.

In other ITF Junior Circuit news, the tournament next month in Baranquilla Colombia is going from its traditional level of a Grade 1 to a Grade A. Scheduled for January 25-31, the tournament will kick off the annual South American swing. The Banana Bowl in Brazil, which is usually the only Grade A on that swing, will retain its Grade A designation. The Banana Bowl is scheduled for the end of February. With no Grade A in Mexico in November, and no Australian Open Junior Championships, this upgrade for the Colombia tournament is a one-time attempt to fill that gap.  For more, see this article (in Spanish) from the Colombian Tennis Federation.

I mentioned yesterday that qualifier Zane Khan had his work cut out for himself in the first round of the $15,000 ITF World Tennis Tour event in the Dominican Republic, but the 18-year-old came through with flying colors. Khan defeated wild card Nicolas Jarry of Chile, formerly an ATP Top 40 player, 6-4, 6-4 in today's action. Jarry, who is coming off an 11-month suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, did not earn a single break point opportunity in the 93-minute match. Khan, who reached the Orange Bowl final in 2018, went 2 for 2 in break points opportunities. Khan will face No. 6 seed Nick Hardt of the Dominican Republic in the second round. 

Steve Flink spoke recently with 2014 NCAA champion Marcos Giron about his breakthrough 2020 season for this tennis.com feature. The former UCLA star explains how his confidence grew throughout the year, how he is viewing his rise to the ATP Top 75, how he's dealing with the uncertainty of the upcoming Australian Open, and his next ranking goal.