Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Petr Takes Out Top Seed at Ukraine ITF Grade 1; Razeghi Extends Win Streak, Reaches Grade 5 Semifinals; UTR Announces Pro Series in Europe

Vojtech Petr, photo ©Richard van Loon 2019

The 2019 Les Petits As, 15-year-old Vojtech Petr of the Czech Republic, lost to Maks Kasnikowski of Poland in the first round a Grade 2 in Poland when returning to the ITF Junior Circuit last year in September after the long pandemic layoff. Today, the 2019 European 14s champion avenged that 6-3, 6-2 loss, defeating top seed Kasnikowski 1-6, 7-6(3), 7-5 in the second round of the ITF Grade 1 in Ukraine.

Petr, who is already 134 in the ITF rankings despite the limited opportunities for earning points in 2020, won his first ITF title, a Grade 4, last September. No. 3 seed Max Westphal of France also lost today, so the top half contains just one seed, No. 7 seed Orel Kimhi of Israel.  Boys No. 2 seed Aleksander Orlikowski of Poland did make it through to the quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Derrick Chen of Great Britain. 

Girls No. 2 seed Natalia Szabanin of Hungary also fell in today's second round action, with Ksenia Zaytseva of Russia posting a 6-4, 6-0 win. Top seed Diana Shnaider of Russia again dropped the first set, but earned her place in the quarterfinals with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory over American Isabelle Kouzmanov. Seven of the eight girls quarterfinalists are from Russia, with the eighth a wild card from Ukraine.

At the ITF Grade 5 in New Jersey, the semifinals are set for Thursday, with 14-year-old wild card Alexander Razeghi looking for his ninth consecutive win in the past two weeks. Razeghi, who won the Grade 5 in Connecticut last week, defeated qualifier Hudson Beaudoin 6-0, 6-4 in today's quarterfinals. Razeghi will face another qualifier, Preston Stearns, Peyton's younger brother, on Thursday. Stearns defeated Zane Ford 7-6(5) 6-2 today.  In the bottom half of the boys draw, No. 6 seed Louis Cloud will play lucky loser Kase Schinnerer for a place in the final. Cloud defeated No. 4 seed Kian Vakili 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 and Schinnerer took out qualifier Nicholas Steiglehner 2-6, 7-5, 6-4. Schinnerer is a high school freshman who played his first ITF tournament last week in Connecticut, losing in the final round of qualifying, as he did this week. But he now has his first three wins on the ITF Junior Circuit. 

The girls semifinals feature three seeds, with No. 1 Reese Brantmeier playing No. 7 Olivia Lincer. Brantmeier beat wild card Maddy Zampardo 6-3, 6-2, while Lincer defeated No. 4 seed Emma Charney 6-0, 6-3. In the bottom half, No. 6 seed Elisabeth Jones will play unseeded Maya Joint after Jones beat No. 3 seed Gracie Epps 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 and Joint defeated Kathryn Treiber 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. 

UTR sent out a press release today regarding the European segment of its Pro Tennis Tour, which is currently underway here in the United States and in Australia. 

Beginning next week in Spain, the events are similar to those elsewhere, with a $25,000 financial commitment/$20,000 in prize money and a round robin competition to determine the knockout round. After several weeks of men's and women's events in Spain, the tour moves to Bulgaria in late March, in Romania in April and to the Czech Republic in June. For the list of tournaments in Europe, see this UTR page