Thursday, February 25, 2021

Damm One of Three Americans in Quarterfinals at Naples $25K; Four US Women Advance at Boca Raton $25K; Four Americans Move On at Grade 1 in Brazil; Gauff Makes Semifinals in Adelaide

Although he hasn't played a junior tournament in more than a year, 17-year-old Martin Damm is still, thanks to the rankings freeze, No. 3 in the ITF world junior rankings. Opting to concentrate on the ITF's Men's World Tennis Tour, Damm hasn't had much success since last fall's restart, going 4-8 in $15,000 and $25,000 tournaments until this week. 

But this week Damm has made his first quarterfinal since last November at the Arkansas $15,000, and on the same courts where he made his only final in 2019, at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Naples Florida. Damm defeated qualifier Evan Zhu(UCLA) 6-1, 6-1 today, after taking out No. 5 seed JC Aragone(Virginia) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 on Wednesday. Damm, who is also through to the semifinals in doubles with Govind Nanda(UCLA), will play unseeded Gonzalo Villaneuva of Argentina in Friday's quarterfinals.

The other two Americans in the quarterfinals will play each other with top seed Mitchell Krueger taking on No. 8 seed Christian Harrison. Krueger defeated Strong Kirchheimer(Northwestern) 6-4, 6-4, while Harrison needed three hours to eliminate 19-year-old wild card Zane Khan 6-7(4), 6-3, 7-5.

Four Americans advanced to the quarterfinals of the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Boca Raton, ranging from 19-year-old Hailey Baptiste to 34-year-old Varvara Lepchenko.  Baptiste won the match between teens who learned their tennis skills at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park Maryland, beating Robin Montgomery 6-3, 6-3. Wild card Baptiste will face unseeded Tereza Mrdeza of Croatia, who beat top seed Olgo Govortsova of Belarus 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 today. No. 8 seed Lepchenko, who defeated 16-year-old wild card Ashlyn Krueger 6-3, 6-4 today, will play qualifier Katherine Sebov of Canada in Friday's quarterfinals.

In the bottom half, Claire Liu, the 2017 Wimbledon girls champion, will play 2019 US Open girls champion Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia in one quarterfinal after Liu defeated qualifier Catherine Harrison(UCLA) 6-4, 6-2 and Osorio Serrano took out No. 2 seed Caroline Dolehide 6-3, 7-6(5). No. 3 seed Usue Arconada, the only seed other than Lepchenko remaining, needed three hours and 26 minutes to get past qualifier Katie Volynets 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-4. Arconada will face former Texas Tech star Gabriela Talaba of Romania in the quarterfinals. 

Three US boys and one US girl are through to the singles quarterfinals of this week's ITF Grade 1 in Brazil. No. 3 seed Madison Sieg will play unseeded Solana Sierra of Argentina on Friday and will also contest the doubles final, with partner Ellie Coleman. The top seeds will play the unseeded team of Michaela Laki of Greece and Lola Radivojevic of Serbia for the title Friday. 

Alexander Bernard is also still alive in both singles and doubles. The 17-year-old, seeded No. 4 in singles, will play No. 5 seed Pedro Boscardin Dias of Brazil in the quarterfinals. Bernard and Dali Blanch, the top seeds in doubles, face unseeded Marko Andrejic of Austria and Mili Poljicak of Croatia in the final.

No. 3 seed Bruno Kuzuhara, last week's Grade 1 champion in Paraguay, will play unseeded Alvaro Guillen Meza of Ecuador in the quarterfinals, and No. 7 seed Jack Anthrop takes on No. 2 seed Juncheng Shang of China. 

Qualifier Coco Gauff is through to her third WTA semifinal, but the first at the 500 level after defeating Shelby Rogers 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in Adelaide. Gauff, who turns 17 next month, has won her last four matches in three sets, coming from a set down in three of them. She will take on No. 2 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland in Friday's semifinal. Iga Swiatek, who advanced to the semifinals when Danielle Collins retired trailing 6-2, 3-0, will play unseeded Jil Teichmann of Switzerland in the other semifinal.