Friday, January 8, 2021

Grade A in Barranquilla Postponed; Harrison Advances at Delray Beach; Semifinals Set at Women's UTR $25K in Naples; Adelaide to Host WTA 500 in February

Two days ago, I posted the acceptances for the ITF Grade A in Barranquilla Colombia, a tournament that was added last year after so many major fall events on the junior circuit were canceled due to the pandemic. Although it is still on the ITF website calendar as of this evening, players received emails today that it has now been postponed, directing them to this statement, which includes the following:

Due to the advance of the COVID-19 pandemic and the provisions that have been adopted by the Colombian authorities at the national, departmental, district and municipal levels, the Colombian Tennis Federation (FCT) is allowed to inform players, coaches, parents and the general public:

That the Colombian Tennis Federation (FCT) has requested the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to postpone the ITF Grade A Junior Tournament in Barranquilla, scheduled to take place between January 23 and 30, 2021. We are waiting for the answer to the request and the fixing of a possible new date for its realization.
After the Orange Bowl was played last month, I was hoping that it would be possible to resume some normalcy in the international junior schedule, but that is obviously not happening with this announcement. There are four Grade 1s in South America in February, in Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay and Brazil; whether they will happen is impossible to predict right now.

Qualifier Christian Harrison picked up his first ATP tour win since July of 2018 today at the 250 in Delray Beach, beating Tomas Etcheverry of Argentina 6-4, 6-2. The ATP provided this feature on the eight(!) surgeries he's had over the years, with Harrison explaining why he kept at it when it seemed his body would not cooperate. Christian and his older brother Ryan received a wild card into the doubles draw and advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 7-6(2) win today over the Johnson twins, Hunter and Yates. The former SMU standouts were alternates who got in when John Isner and his partner Hubert Hurkacz of Poland withdrew.  Next up for Christian Harrison will be top seed Cristian Garin of Chile, with Tommy Paul vs Sebastian Korda also scheduled for Saturday. Isner, the No. 2 seed, and Querrey, the No. 6 seed, are also on Saturday's schedule.  Bjorn Fratangelo won his match today over qualifier Kevin King, with Frances Tiafoe and qualifier Donald Young still to play in tonight's late match.

At the WTA 500 in Abu Dhabi, top seed Sofia Kenin advanced to the round of 16 with a 5-7, 5-4 ret. win over Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium. Coco Gauff plays her second round match on Saturday against No. 9 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece.

Tennis Australia announced today that the top three ATP and WTA players will quarantine and play a January 29th exhibition in Adelaide prior to next month's Australian Open. Also officially confirmed was the WTA 500 tournament the week after the Australian Open, February 22-27, also in Adelaide. 

The WTA put out its provisional schedule for the first half of the year earlier this week, with few changes from a normal March-June aside from the fact that the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells is not on it.

Vicky Duval, 2018 Oracle Challenger
The semifinals are set for the UTR women's $25K in Naples Florida, and my speculation last night about the four who would advance based on the round robin results posted was not quite right. Maria Mateas, who had the highest UTR coming into the event, was 3-0, but she lost to Vicky Duval 6-3, 7-6. When Duval defeated Sofia Rojas today, she too ended at 3-1, and with her head-to-head win over Mateas finished first in the group. Duval is approaching Christian Harrison-level illness and injury setbacks, and hasn't played since September of 2019, so this is a great sign for her comeback.

Duval will play Ayana Akli, the Maryland sophomore who was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year last year, in one semifinal. Sixteen-year-old Reese Brantmeier, now the top seed, will face Jessica Livianu, a fifth-year graduate student at St. John's, in the other semifinal. 

The men's $25K UTR tournament in Newport Beach will also play its semifinals on Saturday, with top seed Jenson Brooksby taking on Stanford freshman Tristan Boyer and No. 2 seed Brandon Holt facing UCLA junior Govind Nanda.