Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Roland Garros Junior Acceptances; Change in Wimbledon Schedule for Junior Championships; Cal Women, USC Men Claim Pac-12 Titles; Charlottesville $60K Underway

photo via Armand Khoury at unsplash

The acceptances were posted today for the French Open Junior Championships, scheduled for June 6-12 in Paris, with nine US boys and eight US girls earning main draw entry.

For the second French Open Juniors in a row, there will be no qualifying, so the cutoffs are lower than usual, 62 for both boys and girls.

But the fields are excellent, with 8 of the top 10 entering for the girls and 7 of the top 10 boys entering.  

ITF No. 1 Elsa Jacquemot of France, the reigning French Open girls champion is not among the girls entrants, nor is No. 10 Alexandra Yepifanova. But other than those two, the top 52 girls in the rankings have all entered, including eight American girls: Robin Montgomery, who did not play the French last October, Madison Sieg, Elvina Kalieva, Ellie Coleman, Ashlyn Krueger, Reese Brantmeier, Valencia Xu and Alexis Blokhina.

2020 Australian Open girls champion Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra, No. 2 in the rankings, leads the field. Czech Linda Fruhvirtova, currently No. 13 in the junior rankings, will be one of the favorites, as will Alexandra Eala of the Philippines, current No. 3 in the rankings.

Easter Bowl champion Junchen Shang of China leads the boys field, which includes these nine Americans: Bruno Kuzuhara, Dali Blanch, Alexander Bernard, Jack Anthrop, Ozan Colak, Samir Banerjee, Aidan Mayo, Victor Lilov and Ethan Quinn.

Braden Shick is just two out of the main draw, and Benjamin Kittay is four out, so they will be watching the withdrawals closely in the next few weeks.

Wimbledon had its spring press conference today, with the pandemic restrictions for this year's event one of the main topics, of course. The elimination of the middle Sunday day of rest, beginning in 2022, garnered much of the attention, but of particular interest to me is the start date of the Junior Championships. Ever since I can remember, the juniors started on the first Saturday of the tournament, but this year the juniors are not scheduled to start until Monday, which will make any rain the second week that much more problematic. I assume this is just for 2021, but the fact sheet has not yet been posted on the ITF junior site.

Key dates for this year's Wimbledon are below:

The Pac-12 conference tournament concluded late last night and early this morning, with the Cal women and the USC men earning titles. Cal, the No. 3 seed, defeated top seed UCLA 4-2 to earn its first tournament title (A conference team tournament has been played only since 2016, Stanford winning the previous four). The third-seeded USC men, no strangers to conference tournament titles, won their fifth, defeating No. 5 seed Arizona State 4-1.

Eight conferences will complete their tournaments this week, including the Big Ten. See College Tennis Today for all the Division I conference results for both men and women.

After two straight weeks of the USTA Pro Circuit focusing on the men, the women take center stage this week with the $60,000 ITF World Tennis Tour event in Charlottesville Virginia. Top seed Madison Brengle has already exited in the first round, retiring when trailing Arina Rodionova of Australia 7-5, 4-6, 6-5. Former Pepperdine star Mayar Sherif of Egypt, the No. 2 seed, defeated wild card Emma Navarro(Virginia) 6-4, 6-1. Four Americans qualified for the main draw: Grace Min, Maria Mateas(Duke), Jamie Loeb(North Carolina) and Hanna Chang. In addition to Navarro, wild cards went to Alycia Parks and Katie Volynets. Volynets defeated Danielle Lao(USC) 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 in a nearly three-hour first round match.