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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Six Americans Reach Wimbledon Third Round with Wins Wednesday; Giron Earns First Wimbledon Victory, Olympic Berth; Just Five American Juniors Advance to Second Round at ITF Roehampton J1

The rain that caused more than nine hours of down time Monday and Tuesday at Wimbledon did not make an appearance today, and as a result, the tournament is very close to being back on schedule. There are a couple of second round matches that couldn't finish before dark, but all the first round singles matches were completed, allowing first round doubles play to begin on Thursday.

Qualifier Denis Kudla, Frances Tiafoe and Sebastian Korda are the US men who have reached the third round with wins today, while Madison Key, Madison Brengle and Sloane Stephens are the US women to advance, with all three beating fellow Americans. Shelby Rogers is one of the second round matches that was suspended for darkness, with Rogers leading No. 15 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece 7-5.

With the first round complete, American men went 8-4, with the women's record in opening round matches 13-8.  Former UCLA star Marcos Giron was one of the eight US men to advance, and his 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 win over Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland was his first at Wimbledon, although he has now won at least one match at four of his last five slam appearances.

That success helped Giron remain confident even after failing to win a game in the fourth set.

"It was a weird match," said the 27-year-old from Thousand Oaks California. "The first set, I had no looks on breaks until I broke him out of nowhere. Second set, I didn't have any looks. Third set, I was kind of able to get looks. After losing the fourth set 6-0, I still had a lot of games returning where I had break opportunities or deuce and nothing fell my way. So I still knew, fifth set, I'm in this match. Fourth set, it doesn't matter if you lose 7-6 or 6-0."

At 4-all in the fifth set, Ruusuvuori managed to save three break points, with three winners, but Giron took the fourth break point. The break was gratifying, but he knew serving out the match was not a given.

"I've played a lot of deciding sets in my career, two years ago I played like 45, 46 three-setters, and so I feel like in those moments I have a lot of experience I can tap into," said Giron, who didn't face a break point in the fifth set. "I happy to get the break and of course, one step closer, but I knew that I still needed to finish him off in the end."

Giron went up 40-15 with a good first serve and a third-shot forehand winner, but his first attempt to close out the match ended with a slice backhand sailing long. But he converted the second, with Ruusuvuori sending a forehand wide, setting up a second round meeting on Thursday with No. 14 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland.

Giron's current ranking of 66 would not normally put him in the conversation for the US Olympic team, but the four top-ranked American men--John Isner, Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka and Sebastian Korda--have opted to skip the Olympics and have been announced as committed to the Truist Atlanta Open at the end of July. That leaves Tommy Paul, Frances Tiafoe, Giron and Tennys Sandgren as the next in line, and although Giron understands what might be missing from the experience, he is excited to have the opportunity.

"I'm stoked to go," said Giron. "It's definitely going to be a different Olympics than in years past, it's going to take away from it, but that being said, as an athlete, I have to go, at least once. So when I got the opportunity to go I absolutely jumped on it. Of course I hope this isn't my only experience, that next time around in four years I'm in contention for it and able to play. It is a little bit disruptive to the schedule having to go during the ATP events that are in the States, having to travel all the way to Tokyo. I completely understand [why the others aren't going], but I'm excited and stoked to be able to represent team USA."

Wednesday's second round matches featuring Americans:

Ons Jabeur[21](TUN) d. Venus Williams[WC] 7-5, 6-0
Madison Brengle d. Sofia Kenin[4] 6-2, 6-4
Sloane Stephens d. Kristie Ahn[LL] 7-5, 6-3
Madison Keys[23] d. Lauren Davis 6-1, 6-4
Viktorija Golubic(SUI) d. Danielle Collins 6-2, 6-0
Elena Rybakina[18](KAZ) d. Claire Liu[Q] 6-4, 6-4
Liudmila Samsonova[WC](RUS) d. Jessica Pegula[22] 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
Shelby Rogers leads Maria Sakkari[15](GRE) 7-5 suspended darkness

Denis Kudla[Q] d. Andreas Seppi(ITA) 6-2, 6-4, 6-2
Frances Tiafoe d. Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
Sebastian Korda d. Antoine Hoang[Q](FRA) 7-5, 6-4, 6-4

Wednesday's first round matches featuring Americans:

Yoshihito Nishioka(JPN) d. John Isner[28] 7-6(5), 2-6, 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-4
Marcos Giron d. Emil Ruusuvuori(FIN) 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, 0-6, 6-4
Steve Johnson d. Dennis Novak(AUT) 7-6(7), 6-2, 7-5
Sam Querrey d. Pablo Carreno Busta[11](ESP) 7-6(6), 6-4, 7-5
Taylor Fritz[31] d. Brandon Nakashima[Q] 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5

Magda Linette(POL) d. Amanda Anisimova 2-6, 6-3, 6-1
Coco Vandeweghe d. Olga Govortsova[Q](BLR) 6-4, 6-2
Nao Hibino(JPN) d. Bernarda Pera 6-1, 5-7, 6-3

Thursday's second round matches featuring Americans:

Tennys Sandgren v Alexander Zverev[4](GER)
Sam Querrey v James Duckworth(AUS)
Marcos Giron v Hubert Hurkacz[14](POL)
Taylor Fritz[31] v Steve Johnson

Coco Gauff v Elena Vesnina(RUS)
Coco Vandeweghe v Katerina Siniakova(CZE)
Shelby Rogers leads Maria Sakkari[15](GRE) 7-5

Doubles competition begins on Thursday; the men's draw is here and the women's draw is here. The mixed doubles draw was released today, but no matches are on Thursday's schedule.

While the first few days at Wimbledon have provided good results for Americans, the US juniors playing at Roehampton J1 have not gotten off to promising start of their grass season. Only five of the 17 Americans won their first round matches; Reese Brantmeier, Madison Sieg[9] and Samir Banerjee won on Tuesday, while Ashlyn Krueger and Dali Blanch[11] were the only Americans to post victories today.

The second round of singles will be played Thursday, with the first round of doubles not yet complete. Once those matches are finished the second round of doubles will be played. With the rain on Tuesday causing the first round of singles to spill over into a second day, two rounds of singles will need to be played soon, perhaps as early as Friday for the round of 16 and quarterfinals.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Korda Defeats De Minaur on Soggy Second Day at Wimbledon; Brantmeier Earns First Round Win over French Open Champion at Roehampton J1; Sign Up for Daily Email Updates

It was another day with a four-hour plus rain interruption, leaving the Wimbledon first round behind schedule and delaying the start of the doubles competition.

Sebastian Korda

Sebastian Korda did manage to complete his 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(5) win over No. 15 seed Alex De Minaur, but just barely, with play on all the other outside courts suspended, some for quite some time, while he and the Australian continued on Court 17.

De Minaur was one of the most in-form players on grass, going 8-2 in the last three weeks and winning the ATP 250 title at Eastbourne last week, but Korda, making his Wimbledon debut, outplayed him in the first two sets. The third and fourth sets were toss-ups, but Korda came through with a big forehand and a good second serve, the latter on his third match point, to claim the win, just as heavier rain began to fall.

"He's had some incredible results, two semis and he won last week, so he's been playing some really good tennis," said Korda, who stated that he and De Minaur agreed to the continue despite the rain, and were encountering no problems with slipping.  "I knew he wasn't going to be fresh, but yeah, I was playing some really good tennis, I started off really well, used my tactics and kept coming at him."

Korda said that his sister Nelly's first major championship last week at the LPGA in Atlanta was bound to inspire him this week at Wimbledon.

"I was watching with my dad in his room and it was super nerve-racking," Korda said. "Especially on the 15th hole, when she dumped it in the water. There was definitely some stress there. But she handled herself so well, especially to close it out, how she did with such a long putt, making par, it was super cool. Both me and my dad were super emotional and super happy for her. We always have this competitive edge and we're always inspiring each other, all three of us (Jessica Korda is also a LPGA star). Seeing Nelly achieve what she achieved, how emotional she was, how much hard work and how much passion she puts into it every day, it's super inspiring. Hopefully I can keep playing some good tennis and stay a little longer here."

Korda will face qualifier Antoine Hoang of France in the second round, scheduled for late Wednesday.

Coco Gauff, back on the Wimbledon courts for the first time since her breakout run as a 15-year-old qualifier in 2019, defeated British wild card Francesca Jones 7-5, 6-4. 

"I was really nervous going in, my first time back since everything happened in 2019," said Gauff, who closed out the match with three aces. "Francesca, she came out on the court, she came swinging and playing really well. She played well the whole match. Just a few points here and there that were lucky to go my way. But I think today, like, was a solid first-round performance for me."

Gauff went down often in her match, but she appeared to suffer no ill effects from the many slips. Serena Williams wasn't as fortunate, as she suffered an injury related to the Centre Court grass and retired at 3-3 in the first set against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus.

Claire Liu was one of two US women who had to go into extra innings to secure her first round win over Misaki Doi of Japan. Liu was unable to serve out the match at 5-4 when it resumed after being called for darkness on Monday, but she broke Doi serving at 7-7 and converted her third match point for a 2-6, 6-3, 9-7 victory.  Liu is now in the second round at Wimbledon for the second time in her career.

Christina McHale, who had had multiple match points in the third  set against Madison Brengle before their match was suspended Monday, served for the match again at 8-7 in the third, but it was Brengle who came out on top, winning the last three games for a 3-6, 7-5, 10-8 victory.

Matches are five deep on almost all courts Wednesday, with most of the first round matches going first but the two courts that are certain of matches being played, Centre Court and Court One, are all second round matches.

The tournament announced today that the men's doubles format would be best of three sets for the first two rounds, instead of the usual best of five sets when weather is not a consideration.

Tuesday's first round results of Americans:
Venus Williams[WC] d. Mihaela Buzarnescu(ROU) 7-5, 4-6, 6-3
Jessica Pegula[22] d. Caroline Garcia(FRA) 6-3, 6-1
Nadia Podoroska(ARG) d. Ann Li 6-4, 7-6(1)
Tereza Martincova(CZE) d. Alison Riske[28] 6-2, 4-6, 6-1  
Shelby Rogers d. Samantha Stosur(AUS) 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 
Aliaksandra Sasnovich(BLR) d. Serena Williams[6] 3-3 ret. 
Coco Gauff[20] d. Francesca Jones[WC](GBR) 7-5, 6-4
Bernarda Pera v Nao Hibino(JPN) 1-6, 7-5 suspended

Tennys Sandgren d. Norbert Gombos(SVK) 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-3
Sebastian Korda d. Alex De Minaur[15](AUS) 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(5)

Wednesday's first round matches featuring Americans:
John Isner[28] v Yoshihito Nishioka(JPN)
Marcos Giron v Emil Ruusuvuori(FIN)
Steve Johnson v Dennis Novak(AUT)
Sam Querrey v Pablo Carreno Busta[11](ESP)
Taylor Fritz[31] v Brandon Nakashima[Q]

Amanda Anisimova v Magda Linette(POL)
Coco Vandeweghe v Olga Govortsova[Q](BLR)
Bernarda Pera v Nao Hibino(JPN) 1-6, 7-5

Wednesday's second round matches featuring Americans:
Venus Williams[WC] v Ons Jabeur[21](TUN)
Madison Brengle v Sofia Kenin[4]
Kristie Ahn[LL] v Sloane Stephens
Lauren Davis v Madison Keys[23]
Danielle Collins v Viktorija Golubic(SUI)
Claire Liu[Q] v Elena Rybakina[18](KAZ)
Jessica Pegula[22] v Liudmila Samsonova[WC](RUS)
Shelby Rogers v Maria Sakkari[15](GRE)

Denis Kudla[Q] v Andreas Seppi(ITA)
Frances Tiafoe v Vasek Pospisil
Sebastian Korda v Antoine Hoang[Q](FRA)

The J1 in Roehampton also fell way behind with today's rain, with only 10 of the 32 girls first round matches and 14 of the 32 boys first round matches completed. No second round matches are on the schedule for Wednesday, so two singles matches in one day will be necessary at some point; the first round of doubles is on Wednesday's schedule.

Reese Brantmeier defeated French Open girls champion Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic 7-6(3), 7-5, while No. 9 seed Madison Sieg advanced with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Tijana Sretenovic of Serbia. Samir Banerjee is the only American boy of the four who completed their matches who won, beating Alvaro Guillen Meza of Ecuador 6-1, 6-4. No. 5 seed Bruno Kuzuhara lost to Gonzalo Bueno of Peru 6-4, 6-4. 

This is the last reference I'll make to this change, with my intention to shut off the Feedburner email service Wednesday night, with Google announcing they will no longer provide the service in July. If you are accustomed to getting my daily emails and have not signed up again in the box in the upper left-hand column, you will want to do so right away to continue getting an update, with the new email coming from Mailchimp every morning at 6 a.m. Those of you who have signed up for the new service recently should only get one email, from Mailchimp, beginning Thursday.

Monday, June 28, 2021

My Article on Eubanks' Last-Minute Trip to London; Tiafoe Beats Tsitsipas, Stephens Downs Kvitova on Rainy Opening Day at Wimbledon; 17 US Juniors in Action Tuesday at Roehampton J1

Last week I spoke to former Georgia Tech All-American Chris Eubanks after his Wimbledon qualifying match, curious how he had approached the possible trip to London when he was not in the qualifying draw. After winning the Orlando Challenger, he was nine spots out and not optimistic, but he explained to me how those five days went as he moved up the entry list, facing the prospect of a very last-minute trip. In this article for Tennis Recruiting Network, we also talked about his college days at Georgia Tech and how much simpler his approach to his game was then, and his immediate plans for the summer. 

It was a wet start to the Wimbledon fortnight, with play on the outside courts delayed for more than four hours, which led to cancellations of the matches scheduled third and fourth on the outer courts.

Frances Tiafoe

Sloane Stephens and Frances Tiafoe did not have to worry about any possible delays however, as they were scheduled on the two courts with roofs, with Stephens taking on former Wimbledon champion and No. 10 seed Petra Kvitova on Centre Court and Tiafoe facing No. 3 seed and recent French Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Those conditions obviously suited them, with neither dropping a set in pulling off the upsets. Stephens defeated Kvitova 6-3, 6-4 and Tiafoe beat Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4, 6-3. Tiafoe, who won a Challenger on grass earlier this month, said the surface brings out the best in his game. 

"It just helps my game," Tiafoe said. "It forces me to play the right way. It forces me to play super aggressive. It forces me to be off my front foot on both sides, it forces me to come to the net, because otherwise you're vulnerable."

Tiafoe was able to win big point after big point throughout the match, saving all seven break points he faced, while converting four of eight break points.

Qualifier Denis Kudla, who lost to Tiafoe in that Challenger final, also picked off a seed today, defeating No. 30 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain 5-7, 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-3. 

Several matches were suspended for darkness, including the match between qualifier Claire Liu and Misaki Doi of Japan. Liu had a match point with Doi serving at 3-5 in the final set, but she forced Liu into a backhand error, and when the pair went to their chairs for the changeover, an official came out and told them the match would be suspended due to darkness, with Liu set to serve for the match when it resumes on Tuesday.

Kristie Ahn

The last match of the day, which ended after 10 p.m. local time, saw lucky loser Kristie Ahn save a match point in her 2-6, 7-6(3), 8-6 win over Great Britain's Heather Watson. Originally scheduled for Court 18, the match was moved to Court One and Watson had the crowd on her side, of course, but Ahn said that didn't bother her at all.

"We when got moved to Court One, I was so amped because it's such a prestigious court and the crowd was just going to be awesome there," said the former Stanford All-American. "Regardless of the result, I was just determined to have fun and embrace the moment. I knew the crowd was against me, but it's such an awesome atmosphere, both for her and for me, so that's definitely going to go down as one of my favorite memories."

It was the first Wimbledon main draw win for Ahn, who qualified in 2019, but lost in the first round. It was an opportunity that she was not expecting to get after losing to Monica Niculescu in the final round of qualifying.

"Once I lost, I knew how many players ahead of me ranked to be in that pool of the top four(the group from which the lucky loser chips are drawn)," Ahn said. "I never get lucky loser, I don't win gifts at tournaments....I don't win sneakers on the SNKRS app, I don't win lotteries. But Asia(Muhammad) was like, no, I have a good feeling about this one. And then we went to the office and I was No. 1 and I was like, it's happening. To have a second chance, and not only that, to come to the main site, for qualifiers, that is the dream. It's that much more emotional to go from Roehampton to the Millennium building, so that was pretty cool."

Ahn will play Sloane Stephens in the second round, on of three all-US second matches in the bottom half.

There are first round matches not on Tuesday's schedule, with Amanda Anisimova and John Isner both pushed back to Wednesday for their opening matches.

Monday's first round results for Americans:
Sloane Stephens d. Petra Kvitova[10](CZE) 6-3, 6-4
Madison Keys[23] d. Katie Swan[Q] 6-3, 6-4
Sofia Kenin[4] d. Xinyu Wang[Q](CHN) 6-4, 6-2
Kristie Ahn[LL] d. Heather Watson 2-6, 7-6(3), 8-6
Lauren Davis d. Jodie Burrage[WC](GBR) 6-2, 6-1
Danielle Collins d. Polona Hercog(SLO) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
Irina-Camelia Begu(ROU) d. Katie Volynets[Q] 6-4, 7-5 
Katie Boulter[WC](GBR) d. Danielle Lao[Q] 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-4

Frances Tiafoe d. Stefanos Tsitsipas[3](GRE) 6-4, 6-4, 6-3
Karen Khachanov[25](RUS)  d. Mackenzie McDonald[Q] 3-6. 6-3. 6-4. 7-6(3) 
Denis Kudla[Q] d. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina[30](ESP) 5-7, 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-3
Dominik Koepfer(GER) d. Reilly Opelka[27] 6-4, 7-6(3). 6-2

Tuesday's first round matches featuring Americans:
Venus Williams[WC] v Mihaela Buzarnescu(ROU) (postponed from Monday)
Jessica Pegula[22] v Caroline Garcia(FRA) (postponed from Monday)
Ann Li v Nadia Podoroska(ARG) (postponed from Monday)
Alison Riske[28] v Tereza Martincova(CZE) (postponed from Monday)
Shelby Rogers v Samantha Stosur(AUS) (postponed from Monday)
Serena Williams[6] v Aliaksandra Sasnovich(BLR)
Coco Gauff[20] v Francesca Jones[WC](GBR)
Coco Vandeweghe v Olga Govortsova[Q](BLR)
Bernarda Pera v Nao Hibino(JPN)
Claire Liu[Q] leads Misaki Doi(JPN) 2-6, 6-3, 5-4, (suspended darkness)
Madison Brengle leads Christina McHale, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6, (suspended darkness)

Sebastian Korda v Alex De Minaur[15](AUS) (postponed from Monday)
Sam Querrey v Pablo Carreno Busta[11](ESP)
Steve Johnson v Dennis Novak(AUT)
Tennys Sandgren v Norbert Gombos(SVK)
Marcos Giron v Emil Ruusuvuori(FIN)
Taylor Fritz[31] v Brandon Nakashima[Q]

The final round of qualifying at the ITF Junior Circuit J1 in Roehampton had a weather window that allowed for its completion, with Braden Shick and Benjamin Kittay the two American boys to qualify for the main draw. Clervie Ngounoue lost, but received entry into the girls main draw as a lucky loser.

The nine US boys in the main draw are Kittay, Shick, Bruno Kuzuhara[5], Ethan Quinn, Alexander Bernard[14], Ozan Colak, Dali Blanch[11], Samir Banerjee and Victor Lilov.

The eight US girls in the main draw are Ngounoue, Valencia Xu, Ellie Coleman, Reese Brantmeier, Madison Sieg[9], Alexandra Yepifanova[7], Alexis Blokhina and Ashlyn Krueger.  

Aidan Mayo and Elvina Kalieva were on the acceptance lists, but are not in the draws.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Twenty-one Americans in Action Monday on Wimbledon's Opening Day; How Do Former Wimbledon Junior Champions Fare in the Pros? ITF Junior, Pro Circuit Update

The top half of the men's draw and the bottom half of the women's draw kick off this year's Wimbledon Monday, with 21 Americans in action.

I mentioned when the draws came out Friday how lopsided the women's distribution was for Americans, with 16 of the 21 US women in the bottom half, so it will be much busier Monday than on Tuesday, when the other seven American men and five American women will place their first round matches (Tommy Paul withdrew Saturday).

Monday's first round matches featuring Americans:

Sloane Stephens v Petra Kvitova[10](CZE)
Venus Williams[WC] v Mihaela Buzarnescu(ROU)
Madison Keys[23] v Katie Swan[Q]
Sofia Kenin[4] v Xinyu Wang[Q](CHN)
Kristie Ahn[LL] v Heather Watson
Jessica Pegula[22] v Caroline Garcia(FRA)
Lauren Davis v Jodie Burrage[WC](GBR)
Danielle Collins v Polona Hercog(SLO)
Ann Li v Nadia Podoroska(ARG)
Katie Volynets[Q] v Irina-Camelia Begu(ROU)
Alison Riske[28] v Tereza Martincova(CZE)
Claire Liu[Q] v Misaki Doi(JPN)
Shelby Rogers v Samantha Stosur(AUS)
Madison Brengle v Christina McHale
Danielle Lao[Q] v Katie Boulter[WC](GBR)

Frances Tiafoe v Stefanos Tsitsipas[3](GRE)
Mackenzie McDonald[Q] v Karen Khachanov[25](RUS)
Denis Kudla[Q] v Alejandro Davidovich Fokina[30](ESP)
Reilly Opelka[27] v Dominik Koepfer(GER)
Sebastian Korda v Alex De Minaur[15](AUS)

The New York Times published an article yesterday about the Junior Championships at Wimbledon, centered on the likelihood that the champions there, and at other slams, will go on to have successful pro careers. 

Below are the lists of former Wimbledon junior singles champions in the men's and women's draws this year:

Roger Federer, 1998
Gael Monfils, 2004
Jeremy Chardy, 2005
Grigor Dimitrov, 2008
Marton Fucsovics, 2010
Reilly Opelka, 2015
Denis Shapovalov, 2016
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, 2017

Kristyna Pliskova, 2010
Ashleigh Barty, 2011
Belinda Bencic, 2013
Jelena Ostapenko, 2014
Anastasia Potapova, 2016
Claire Liu, 2017
Iga Swiatek, 2018

At the J1 in Roehampton, four Americans have advanced to Monday's final round of qualifying: Aidan Kim, Braden Shick, Benjamin Kittay and Clervie Ngounoue. The main draw begins on Tuesday.

At the J3 in Kazakhstan, Leanid Boika reached the singles final and won the doubles title. The unseeded 16-year-old from Florida lost 6-3, 6-0 in the singles final to top seed Dinko Dinev of Bulgaria. Partnering with Yunseong Jang of Korea in doubles, the No. 3 seeds defeated No. 4 seeds Karim Ibrahim and Youssef Sadek 6-2, 6-4 in the championship match.

The two USTA Pro Circuit tournaments concluded today with the singles finals. At the $15,000 men's tournament in Champaign Illinois, top seed Jason Kubler of Australia defeated Kentucky sophomore Gabriel Diallo of Canada, a qualifier, 6-2, 6-1.

At the $60,000 women's tournament in Charleston South Carolina, No. 2 seed Despina Papamichail of Greece defeated No. 6 seed Gabriela Ce of Brazil 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.

And at the $15,000 tournament in Tunisia, 19-year-old qualifier Omni Kumar(Duke) won his first ITF World Tennis Tour title, defeating Luciano Darderi of Italy 7-6(6), 6-3.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Eight American Juniors Begin Qualifying at J1 Roehampton Sunday; No US Champions on USTA Pro Circuit This Week; Sectional Closed Updates from Florida, SoCal, Midwest, Texas

Kaja Juvan & Claire Liu at Roehampton J1 trophy ceremony 2017

The grass court season begins for top junior tennis players tomorrow, with the qualifying for the J1 in Roehampton getting underway. I was reminded by 2019 Wimbledon boys champion Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan in his qualifying press conference that a second Grade 1 was introduced in 2019 on grass, in Nottingham. That tournament was not held this year, and it remains to be seen whether it will ever return, but in 2021 it's a two-week grass season, which is normal for recent years. There have been US-Great Britain challenges for teams of top juniors to give them more experience on grass, but those also seem to have been a victim of the pandemic this year.

Because grass opportunities are so limited, the Roehampton field is typically among the best for any J1, and this year the main draw cutoffs are nearly identical to those at Wimbledon. 

Six US boys are in Roehampton qualifying: Aidan Kim, Braden Shick, Benjamin Kittay, Nicholas Godsick, Azuma Visaya and Timothy Phung. The two US girls in qualifying are Clervie Ngounoue and Isabelle Kouzmanov. The main draw begins on Tuesday, with the final scheduled for Sunday, July 4. Sunday's order of play is here.

The last of the Americans in the two USTA Pro Circuit events lost today, with Gage Brymer(UCLA) and Kyle Seelig(Ohio State) going out in the semifinals of the $15,000 tournament in Champaign. Kentucky sophomore Gabriel Diallo of Canada, who won two rounds in qualifying to reach the main draw, defeated Seelig, also a qualifier, 6-4, 6-3. Brymer lost to top seed Jason Kubler of Australia 6-0, 6-3. In the doubles final, Finn Bass(Baylor) and Tom Hands of Great Britain defeated the University of Illinois wild card team of  Kweisi Kenyatte and South Africa's Siphosothando Montsi 7-5, 6-4.

The last Americans in the $60,000 women's tournament in Charleston lost on Friday, with Emma Navarro, Sophie Chang and Alexa Glatch going out. The last collegian lost today, with Vanderbilt alum Fernanda Contreras of Mexico falling to No. 2 seed Despina Papamichail of Greece 6-2, 6-2. Papamichail will play No. 6 seed Gabriela Ce of Brazil for the title Sunday.

Peyton Stearns(Texas) and Rasheeda McAdoo(Georgia Tech) reached the doubles final, but lost to top seeds Fanni Stollar of Hungary and Aldila Sutjiadi(Kentucky) of Indonesia 6-0, 6-4.

In other ITF WTT events outside the US, Omni Kumar is into his first final at the $15,000 tournament in Tunisia. The 19-year-old, who was at Duke for the 2019-20 season but did not return this year, qualified for the tournament with three victories, so now has put together a seven-match winning streak. 

At the women's $15,000 tournament in Italy, 18-year-old Hina Inoue, using the junior reserve method for entry, reached the semifinals, losing to top seed Tatiana Pieri of Italy 6-3, 6-1.

I've found several updates on the Sectional Closed events traditionally held this time of year, which I'm passing along here.

The Southern California sectionals concluded last weekend, with Steve Pratt's recap here. Easter Bowl 14s champion Iva Jovic won the girls 18s, an impressive accomplishment for a 13-year-old, while Learner Tien, the Easter Bowl 16s finalist, won the boys 18s title dethroning the defending champion.

The Bobby Curtis Florida Sectional 16s and 18s winners are here, with photos of all the finalists.

The Midwest Closed 16s and 18s winners are available here.

The Texas Slam results can be found here.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Thirty-year-old Danielle Lao Qualifies for Wimbledon Debut; 34 Americans, Most This Century, Begin Quest for Wimbledon Title Next Week

Danielle Lao

Danielle Lao had come close before, losing in the final round of Wimbledon qualifying two years ago at Roehampton, but after she defeated Urszula Radwanska of Poland 6-3, 6-2 today to reach the main draw, the 30-year-old from Southern California was still searching for a way to describe her emotional state.

"It's hard to find the words," said the former USC All-American. "I fell short the last time I was here, but being here and getting it done this time, it really is a dream come true."

Lao had only one grass court match prior to her run this week, which included a 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 second round win over No. 2 seed and WTA No. 105 Viktoriya Tomova of Bulgaria, a first round loss in last week's Nottingham $100K. 

"I typically enjoy grass," Lao said. "It just seems to suit my game. Given the limited amount of tournaments, I didn't have too many opportunities to have warmup events coming into here and I had a tough first round in qualifying in Nottingham, I played Arina Rodionova. I didn't have any matches before that, much less grass practice. Coming into Wimbledon, it makes you a little apprehensive, how ready are you?, especially not getting the matches you normally get in seasons prior, but I just took it one day at a time, started building on practices, just do my best to improve a little bit, refine my game day by day during the five days I had here."

Lao has twice qualified for the US Open, in 2017 and 2018, but this is her first main draw at a slam outside the United States. As happy as she is to play in the main draw at Wimbledon for the first time, the pandemic protocols in place for the tournament keep her from sharing it with her family.

"The only unfortunate thing is maybe that we have limited people allowed in the bubble," said Lao, who is in London with her boyfriend, as well as former Georgia Tech star and WTA Top 100 player Irina Falconi. "I wish my family was here to see it, my mom and my dad and my sister, but it still feels super sweet to come through in these adverse times."

The 31-year-old Falconi, who played in the Wimbledon main draw five times, has been an important source of information for Lao.

"She's been helping me out, sharing her experience with me," Lao said. "It's been really great to have her on the road."

Lao appreciates what the approximately $66,000 first round prize money will mean for her going forward.

"It definitely relieves a little pressure for the rest of the year, with expenses and such," Lao said. "At the end of the day it's a profession, people make a living doing this and I'm trying to make a living doing this, so it's great to have a payday like this. This is what we train so hard for, to do well at these really big events."

Lao, who plays British wild card Katie Boulter in the first round, is ready to savor the moment of her Wimbledon debut.

"It's not something I always knew would happen, but going little by little, improving here and there, maybe you find yourself in places you didn't expect yourself to be in," Lao said. "It's been a long journey to get to this point, but it's really nice to see the accumulation of many years of work and a deep passion come through in such an important event."

The other former Pac-12 star in qualifying today, Kristie Ahn(Stanford), lost to Monica Niculescu of Romania but received entry into the main draw as a lucky loser, with 2019 champion Simona Halep withdrawing early today with an injury.

Former Georgia star Ellen Perez of Australia qualified for a slam for the first time, with the 25-year-old. defeating Oceane Dodin of France 7-6(4), 7-6(5).

The three former collegians qualifying for the men's main draw are Brandon Nakashima(Virginia), Mackenzie McDonald(UCLA) and Arthur Rinderknech(Texas A&M) of France. 

The draws were released today, with 21 US women and 13 US men in the singles draws, the most Americans in a Wimbledon draw since 35 competed in 1998. Below are the matchups; the order of play is not yet available for Monday, so I'll post these again the day before the matches are played. There is one all-US (all-San Diego) men's match: Nakashima vs Taylor Fritz, and one all-US women's match: Madison Brengle vs Christina McHale. 

The top half of the women's draw has just five Americans, while the bottom half has 16. Given that, it's a miracle there aren't more US vs US first round matches. The headings are links to the draws.

Denis Kudla[Q] v Alejandro Davidovich Fokina[30](ESP)
Frances Tiafoe v Stefanos Tsitsipas[3](GRE)
Mackenzie McDonald[Q] v Karen Khachanov[25](RUS)
Sebastian Korda v Alex Di Minaur[15](AUS)
Reilly Opelka[27] v Dominik Koepfer(GER)

John Isner[28] v Yoshihito Nishioka(JPN)
Taylor Fritz[31] v Brandon Nakashima[Q]
Steve Johnson v Dennis Novak(AUT)
Tennys Sandgren v Norbert Gombos(SVK)
Sam Querrey v Pablo Carreno Busta[11](ESP)
Marcos Giron v Emil Ruusuvuori(FIN)
Tommy Paul v Carlos Alcaraz[WC](ESP)

Coco Vandeweghe v Olga Govortsova[Q](BLR)
Amanda Anisimova v Magda Linette(POL)
Coco Gauff[20] v Francesca Jones[WC](GBR)
Bernarda Pera v Nao Hibino(JPN)
Serena Williams[6] v Aliaksandra Sasnovich(BLR)

Ann Li v Nadia Podoroska(ARG)
Alison Riske[28] v Tereza Martincova(CZE)
Jessica Pegula[22] v Caroline Garcia(FRA)
Kristie Ahn[LL] v Heather Watson
Sloane Stephens v Petra Kvitova[10](CZE)
Lauren Davis v Jodie Burrage[WC](GBR)
Madison Keys[23] v Katie Swan[Q]
Danielle Collins v Polona Hercog(SLO)
Madison Brengle v Christina McHale
Sofia Kenin[4] v Xinyu Wang[Q](CHN)
Katie Volynets[Q] v Irina-Camelia Begu(ROU)
Venus Williams[WC] v Mihaela Buzarnescu(ROU)
Shelby Rogers v Samantha Stosur(AUS)
Claire Liu[Q] v Misaki Doi(JPN)
Danielle Lao[Q] v Katie Boulter[WC](GBR)

The doubles draws were also released today, with the men's doubles draw here and the women's doubles draw here.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Nakashima, McDonald, Kudla, Volynets and Liu Qualify for Wimbledon Main Draw; Navarro Advances to Charleston $60K Quarterfinals; Seelig Defeats Bellucci at Champaign $15K

Two Southern Californians with great memories of the Roehampton courts advanced to the main draw of Wimbledon today, as did three other Americans: Wimbledon veterans Mackenzie McDonald and Denis Kudla and teenager Katie Volynets.

Nineteen-year-old Brandon Nakashima won only one match on grass in the two Challengers in Nottingham that served as a warmup for many in Wimbledon qualifying, but he had only to look back on his 2018 run at the Junior Circuit Grade 1 title in Roehampton to know that he could succeed on these grass courts. Today Nakashima dominated former ATP Top 10 player Ernests Gulbis of Latvia by a 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 score to reach the Wimbledon main draw for the first time.

"When I was at Roehampton, in the juniors, that was the first time I ever played on grass," Nakashima said. "I ended up winning that tournament, so obviously I fell in love with it right away. I knew my game suited well for the grass and was always looking forward to the grass courts this season."

Nakashima said that his serve and his return are especially effective on the surface, and admitted that beating Viktor Troicki in the second round and Gulbis today, both of whom have reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon in the past, was significant.

"They're both great players with great experience behind them, with great results on the grass," the San Diego resident said. "So obviously beating them gives me a lot of confidence in my game."

Claire Liu, who defeated Astra Sharma of Australia 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in today's final round of qualifying, won the Roehampton title in 2017, then went on to claim the girls Wimbledon championship with a win over Ann Li, extending her winning streak on grass to 12 matches. 

The 21-year-old Liu, who also qualified for Wimbledon in 2018, won back-to-back tournaments on the ITF Circuit in May, in Charlottesville and Charleston. The former ITF Junior No. 1 is now at a career-high of 120.

Katie Volynets had her breakthrough in May, winning her first title at the $100,000 tournament in Bonita Springs. That put her into slam qualifying for the first time at Wimbledon, the 19-year-old from Northern California was ready for it. Today she defeated Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 7-5, 6-4, coming back from 2-0 down in both sets to earn a place in the main draw. Volynets, who is known for her tenacity and mental strength, played outstanding tennis today. Her defense against the former WTA No. 58 was excellent, and she also hit big and made the right shot choices in nearly every situation. Volynets, the 2019 USTA National 18s champion, was tested today as she was not in her first two qualifying wins, and she came up with an impressive performance under some of the greatest pressure a professional player can face.

Mackenzie McDonald reached the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2018, but injuries and the pandemic have stalled his progress on tour since then. After holding a two-set to none lead over Cristian Garin of Chile in the second round of the French Open this month but losing, it had to feel especially satisfying for McDonald to come from two sets down to defeat former UCLA teammate Maxime Cressy 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in today's final round of qualifying. Cressy's serve and volley game is not easy to defend, but McDonald held his own on serve, losing serve only once in the final three sets, and that after he had a two-break lead in the fourth set.

Denis Kudla, the fifth American to advance to the main draw with a  6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win over Federico Gaio of Italy today, reached the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2015, and he had already won six matches on grass in the Nottingham Challengers this month, including another win over Gaio. The 28-year-old from Virginia did not drop a set in his three wins this week.

The last ten matches of qualifying, all women's matches, are scheduled for Friday, with two Americans hoping to join the quintet of their compatriots in the main draw. Former Stanford star Kristie Ahn defeated Ekaterine Gorgodze of Georgia 6-2, 6-3 and former USC star Danielle Lao took out No. 2 seed Viktoriya Tomova of Bulgaria 6-1, 2-6, 6-4. 

The men's qualifying draw is here; the women's qualifying draw is here.

Thursday's US women's second round results:

Danielle Lao d. Viktoriya Tomova[2](BUL) 6-1, 2-6, 6-4
Katie Swan[WC](GBR) d. Caty McNally[6] 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-5
Kristie Ahn[13] d. Ekaterine Gorgodze(GEO) 6-2, 6-3
Monica Niculescu(ROU) d. Asia Muhammad 6-3, 6-2
Clara Burel[31](FRA) d. Sachia Vickery 5-7, 6-2, 6-3

Thursday's US men's final round results:

Mackenzie McDonald[2] d. Maxime Cressy[30] 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
Brandon Nakashima[22] d. Ernests Gulbis(LAT) 6-4, 6-2, 6-1
Denis Kudla[6] d. Federico Gaio[25](ITA) 6-2, 7-5, 6-4

Thursday's US women's final round results:

Katie Volynets d. Beatriz Haddad Maia(BRA) 7-5, 6-4
Claire Liu[16] v Astra Sharma[19](AUS) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
Greet Minnen[15](BEL) d. Varvara Lepchenko 6-2, 6-2

Friday's final round of qualifying for US women:

Danielle Lao v Urszula Radwanska(POL)
Kristie Ahn[13] v Monica Niculescu(ROU)

At the women's USTA Pro Circuit $60,000 tournament in Charleston South Carolina, NCAA champion Emma Navarro(Virginia) is one of three Americans to advance to Friday's quarterfinals. Navarro, a wild card, moved on when Fanni Stollar of Hungary retired trailing 5-0 in the first set. Navarro will face former Vanderbilt star Fernanda Contreras of Mexico, who, for the second week in a row, beat Alycia Parks. Parks, the No. 4 seed this week, lost to Contreras 6-3, 6-3. No. 8 seed Alexa Glatch and unseeded Sophie Chang are the other Americans in the quarterfinals.

The men's USTA Pro Circuit $15,000 tournament in Champaign moved indoors today for the second round, with three Americans advancing to the quarterfinals and another assured a late match tonight between Christian Langmo(Miami) and Connor Farren(USC).

Qualifier Kyle Seelig, who just completed his eligibility at Ohio State, defeated No. 2 seed and former ATP No. 21 Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals. Gage Brymer(UCLA) and University of Illinois junior Kweisi Kenyatte, a wild card, also are into the final eight. Kenyatte defeated junior Alexander Bernard 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(4). Bernard is one of three US juniors who were playing the tournament, with Bruno Kuzuhara also losing today, while Victor Lilov qualified but lost in the first round. All three should be heading for London to compete on grass, with the ITF Junior Circuit Roehampton J1 starting on Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Seven Americans Reach Final Round of Wimbledon Qualifying, with Former UCLA Teammates Cressy and McDonald Meeting Thursday; USTA Announces Summer Collegiate Teams; Sign Up to Continue Receiving Daily Emails

Americans won 11 of 13 matches played today at Wimbledon qualifying at the Bank of England Sports Ground in Roehampton, including all seven of the second round matches that were on the schedule.

That's not to imply that it was easy, as three of the four US men in action were extended to three sets, with Denis Kudla's 7-6(1), 6-4 win over Kacper Zuk of Poland the only exception.

Brandon Nakashima sent Serbia's Viktor Troicki into retirement with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 victory over the former ATP No. 12. With the exception of the 11th game of the second set, Nakashima was able to come up with a big serve when he needed it, and once he got the break to go up 3-1 in the third, it was smooth sailing for the former Virginia Cavalier. He didn't face a break point in the final set, reaching the final round of qualifying in a slam for the first time.

Maxime Cressy, who defeated Marc-Andrea Huesler of Switzerland 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-4 today, has a game that is tailor-made for grass, but the former UCLA Bruin hadn't won a match on the surface before this week, although he's played only three. Two of the losses were this month at the Nottingham Challengers, results that he attributed to his own misguided expectations.

"The problem was I expected too much," said the 24-year-old, who grew up admiring the games of Pat Rafter and Pete Sampras and adopted their style of play as a result. "I put too much pressure on myself and didn't play the way I wanted to. My goal for this tournament is to release the pressure, just play my game, focus on me and nothing else, no expectation. And I started to play my tennis again, and I'm very happy about it."

With that adjustment, Cressy regained his perspective.

"My mindset changed. I had more of a mindset of letting go, rather than trying to force results to happen," Cressy added. "It was more appreciating my time here, appreciating the fact that I'm playing my first Wimbledon. I'm incredibly happy to play on grass right now. I'll keep having that mindset until the end of the tournament."

Cressy, who grew up in France, but whose mother is American, maintained his poise in today's match even after failing to serve it out at 6-5 in the second set and 5-3 in the third set.

"I played a very dangerous player with an incredible serve as well," said Cressy, who hit 19 aces to six for Huesler. "It was a battle of serves today and whoever was more consistent was winning the match. As soon as I got the lead, he started to feel more relaxed and played so much more freely, and it was very dangerous, it put a lot more pressure on my serve. But I served very, very well throughout the match, was very focused from the beginning to the end. Serving for it, I got a little nervous, knowing that under pressure he can pull some incredible shots. But I'm proud of myself, because mentally I stayed positive, stayed focused on what I had to do and I got the win thanks to my mindset."

Cressy, who switched from representing France to the United States several years ago, said that decision is permanent, although he has been living in France recently.

"I have been living in France the last couple of months because of the tourneys in Europe, but my home is definitely in the US right now," said Cressy, who received a US Open main draw wild card last year. "But since the clay tourneys in Europe, I stayed at home a lot in Paris, but I'm representing the US until the end of my career, very happy representing the US."

Cressy will see a familiar face standing in his path to the main draw Thursday: Mackenzie McDonald, who was a junior when Cressy was a freshman back in 2016, the year McDonald won the NCAA singles title and turned pro. McDonald won his second consecutive three-setter, beating Illya Marchenko of Ukraine 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 to advance to a meeting with Cressy.

In another notable result from today's men's qualifying, Stanford's Arthur Fery is through to the final round after beating Matt Ebden of Australia 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-5. The 18-year-old from Great Britain, who just completed his freshman year for the Cardinal, is one of two men's wild cards to reach the final round of qualifying, with Anton Matusevich the other.

The three American women advancing to the final round of qualifying are Katie Volynets, Claire Liu and Varvara Lepchenko.

Volynets has been crushing the opposition this week, dropping only four games total in her two victories. Liu, the 2017 girls Wimbledon champion, has posted two routine victories, while Lepchenko, who qualified at the French Open and won a match, is into the final round of qualifying for the third time this year. She lost to Greet Minnen of Belgium, her opponent Thursday, in the final round of qualifying in Melbourne.


US women's first round results:
Danielle Lao d. Alexandra Dulgheru(ROU) 6-3, 6-1
Sachia Vickery d. Chihiro Muramatsu(JPN) 6-3, 4-6, 6-1
Caty McNally[6] d. Olga Danilovic(SRB) 4-6, 6-1, 6-2
Xinyu Wang[30](CHN) d. Robin Anderson 7-5, 7-6(3)
Tsvetana Pironkova[8](BUL) d. Usue Arconada 6-1, 6-0
Asia Muhammad d. Stefanie Voegele[17](SUI) 7-6(8), 6-3

US women's second round results:
Katie Volynets d. Eden Silva[WC](GBR) 6-1, 6-2
Varvara Lepchenko d. Harmony Tan[22](FRA) 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
Claire Liu[16] d. Isabella Shinikova (BUL) 6-4, 6-3

US men's second round results:
Maxime Cressy[30] d. Marc-Andrea Huesler(SUI) 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-4
Denis Kudla[6] d. Kacper Zuk(POL) 7-6(1), 6-4
Mackenzie McDonald[2] d. Illya Marchenko(UKR) 6-1, 3-6, 6-4
Brandon Nakashima[22] d. Viktor Troicki(SRB) 6-2, 5-7, 6-3

US women's second round matches:
Danielle Lao v Viktoriya Tomova[2](BUL)
Caty McNally[6] v Katie Swan[WC](GBR)
Kristie Ahn[13] v Ekaterine Gorgodze(GEO)
Asia Muhammad v Monica Niculescu(ROU)
Sachia Vickery v Clara Burel[31](FRA)

US men's final round matches(best of 5):
Mackenzie McDonald[2] v Maxime Cressy[30]
Brandon Nakashima[22] v Ernests Gulbis(LAT)
Denis Kudla[6] v Federico Gaio[25](ITA)

US women's final round matches:
Katie Volynets v Beatriz Haddad Maia(BRA)
Claire Liu[16] v Astra Sharma[19](AUS)
Varvara Lepchenko v Greet Minnen[15](BEL)

The USTA formally announced the members of its Summer Collegiate teams today. Last week I had posted the men's team, which appeared in a Tulane article about men's head coach Mark Booras's position as a coach on the team. I thought there was probably a second coach, and there is, with NC State's Cris James the other coach for the men. The women's coaches are Texas associate head coach Taylor Fogelman and Minnesota assistant Meghan Kelly. For the full release, which includes the dates and locations of the team's schedule, see usta.com.

William Blumberg, North Carolina (Sr., Greenwich, Conn.)
Cannon Kingsley, Ohio State (Soph., Northport, N.Y.)
Aleks Kovacevic, Illinois (Sr., New York)
John McNally, Ohio State (Sr., Cincinnati)
Sam Riffice, Florida (Jr., Orlando, Fla.)
Sara Daavettila, UNC (Sr., Williamston, Mich.)
Abbey Forbes, UCLA (Soph., Raleigh, N.C.)
Emma Navarro, Virginia (Fr., Charleston, S.C.)
Alexa Noel, Iowa (Fr., Summit, N.J.)
Peyton Stearns, Texas (Fr., Mason, Ohio)

Natasha Subhash of Virginia is eligible, but due to injury cannot compete this summer.

This is a second reminder that I am discontinuing the Feedburner version of the daily Zootennis email on June 30. I have notified via email everyone who is getting that, explaining that it is necessary to sign up again at the top left if you haven't already. So far, about half of those who receive the Feedburner email have not subscribed to get the new Mailchimp email, so I'll post one more time about it before shutting down the Feedburner next Wednesday. If you sign up now, you will get two emails until June 30, the Mailchimp one at 6 a.m. every morning, the Feedburner one, who knows when, as it is now getting more and more erratic. I appreciate your patience as I make this transition.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Eight Americans Pick Up First Round Qualifying Wins at Wimbledon; 2019 Boys Champion Mochizuki, Pinnington Jones Advance; US Open Junior Wild Cards for USTA 18s Clay Court Champions

After a full day of rain Monday for Day One of Wimbledon qualifying, Tuesday's schedule at Roehampton was packed with matches, with nine US men and 11 US women playing their first round matches. Not all women's matches on the schedule finished, but considering the number of matches to get through, everything went according to plan.

The American men went 4-5, with Mackenzie McDonald, Brandon Nakashima, Maxime Cressy and Denis Kudla posting wins, while Mitchell Krueger, Christopher Eubanks, Ernesto Escobedo, Thai Kwiatkowski and Bjorn Fratangelo all lost close matches to end their participation at Wimbledon this year.

I spoke to Eubanks after his match today for an upcoming Tennis Recruiting Network article, which will provide more details on his last-minute trip to London for qualifying, but he didn't blame the lack of preparation for his 6-4, 6-7(6), 7-5 loss to former Top 20 ATP player Viktor Troicki of Serbia.

"I don't think either of us played well," said Eubanks, who described Troicki as almost apologetic at the net after the match.  "It was kind of cold, windy. I prefer warmer, hotter conditions, bouncier, livelier conditions and today was kind of overcast, windy."

Shintaro Mochizuki at Wimbledon Junior Championships 2019

2019 boys champion Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan said he was not expecting the wild card he received, even though it is traditional for AELTC to extend qualifying wild cards to the previous year's junior champions. He made the most of it, defeating ATP No. 160 Hugo Gaston of France 1-6, 6-2, 6-4.

"I didn't think I was going to get a wild card for qualies this year, because it's 2021 and I won in 2019," said the 18-year-old, who is 500 in the ATP rankings. "I was really happy when I heard I got the wild card for qualies and I was super excited about it."

Mochizuki was not familiar with grass when he got to England in 2019 for the junior events, but he took to it immediately, winning a Grade 1 in Nottingham, making the third round at the Grade 1 in Roehampton (played on the same courts as qualifying), and then winning the title at Wimbledon.

"The tournament I played two weeks before Wimbledon, the first day of practice, I was like, horrible," Mochizuki said. "I don't know how to play on grass, I don't know what to do. But I discussed it with my coach, practiced a few days and got used to it and I loved it."

His opportunity to play any matches on grass this year in preparation was limited due to his ATP ranking, but he did compete on grass back in March as a member of the Japanese Davis Cup team competing on the road against Pakistan.

While Kei Nishikori is the obvious role model, with Mochizuki also based at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, there is another player, much closer to his age, who he looks up to: Sebastian Korda.

"I've been practicing with him a lot of times last year, but he moved up really high and I don't get to practice with him anymore," Mochizuki joked. "I've never played him in a real match--I heard he beat Kei Nishikori last week--so I want to play him on the tour."

Another junior wild card, Jack Pinnington Jones, also picked up a qualifying victory, with the 18-year-old, who is No. 11 in the ITF Junior rankings, defeating Joao Menezes of Brazil 6-4, 6-3.  

Stanford freshman Arthur Fery, who turns 19 next month, also received a wild card and also came through with a first round win today, defeating Prajnesh Gunneswaran of India 6-1, 7-6(5). Felix Gill, who turned 19 this year, made it three British teenagers into the second round of qualifying, defeating Danilo Petrovic of Serbia 7-5, 7-6(6). 

The 2019 girls champion, Daria Snigur of Ukraine, did not need a wild card, getting into qualifying on her own ranking, but she lost today to Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. 

Tuesday's first round men's qualifying results for Americans:

Viktor Troicki(SRB) d. Christopher Eubanks 6-4, 6-7(6), 7-5 
Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera(CHI) d. Mitchell Krueger 7-6(2), 7-6(5)
Alex Molcan(SVK) d. Ernesto Escobedo 2-6, 7-5, 8-6
Gregoire Barrere[15](FRA) d. Bjorn Fratangelo 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
Brandon Nakashima[22] d. Aleksandar Vukic(AUS) 6-1, 6-1
Maxime Cressy[30] d. Thanasi Kokkinakis(AUS) 7-6(5), 7-6(3)
Mackenzie McDonald[2] d. Kimmer Coppejans(BEL) 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-2
Denis Kudla[6] d. Andrea Pellegrino(ITA) 6-4, 6-2
Antoine Hoang[31](FRA) d. Thai Kwiatkwoski 3-6, 6-3, 6-4

Kristie Ahn[13] d. Caroline Dolehide 1-6, 7-5, 6-2
Isabella Shinikova(BUL) d. Francesca Di Lorenzo 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 
Priscilla Hon(AUS) d. Grace Min 6-2, 6-4 
Claire Liu[16] d. Jamie Loeb 6-3, 6-2
Varvara Lepchenko d. Anika Raina(IND) 6-3, 7-6(1)
Katie Volynets d. Tereza Mrdeza(CRO) 6-1, 6-0
Mayo Hibi(JPN) d. Whitney Osuigwe 6-2, 6-4 
Ysaline Bonaventure[21](BEL) d. Allie Kiick 6-2, 6-2 

Wednesday's matches featuring Americans:

Women's first round:
Danielle Lao v Alexandra Dulgheru(ROU)
Sachia Vickery v Chihiro Muramatsu(JPN)
Caty McNally[6] v Olga Danilovic(SRB)
Robin Anderson v Xinyu Wang[30](CHN)
Usue Arconada v Tsvetana Pironkova[8](BUL)
Asia Muhammad leads Stefanie Voegele[17](SUI) 7-6(8), 2-1

Women's second round:
Katie Volynets v Eden Silva[WC](GBR)
Varvara Lepchenko v Harmony Tan[22](FRA)
Claire Liu[16] v Isabella Shinikova (BUL)

Men's second round:
Maxime Cressy[30] v Marc-Andrea Huesler(SUI)
Denis Kudla[6] v Kacper Zuk(POL)
Mackenzie McDonald[2] v Illya Marchenko(UKR)
Brandon Nakashima[22] v Viktor Troicki(SRB)

The men's qualifying draw is here; the women's qualifying draw is here.

The selections for next month's USTA National Clay Court Championships have been posted at the Playtennis sites, minus the wild card selections. Links are below. Wild cards to the US Open Junior Championships have been restored (none were formally granted to Easter Bowl winners this year), with the 18s champions getting main draw wild cards. See the G18s website and the B16s/18s website for more on the wild cards, along with other tournament information.

G16s Clays, Huntsville Alabama (entries not yet ordered by acceptance)

Monday, June 21, 2021

ITA Division I National Award Winners Announced; Rain Washes Out Wimbledon Men's Qualifying; Sixteen US Women Set Sights on Wimbledon Main Draw

The ITA announced the Division I national award winners today, which include coach of the year honors for Howard Joffe and Bryan Shelton, who led their teams to NCAA titles last month.

The ITA has put together multimedia presentations for each of the winners. The in-depth look at the women's winners is here; the recognition for the men's winners is here.

Division I Men's ITA National Awards:

Wilson Coach of the Year:
Bryan Shelton, Florida

Assistant Coach of the Year:
Tanner Stump, Florida

Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award
Andrew Ton, Navy

Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award
William Blumberg, North Carolina

Rookie of the Year
Johannus Monday, Tennessee

Most Improved Senior
Nathan Ponwith, Arizona State

Senior Player of the Year
Valentin Vacherot, Texas A&M

National Player of the Year
Liam Draxl, Kentucky

Division I Women's ITA National Awards:

Wilson Coach of the Year:
Howard Joffe, Texas

Assistant Coach of the Year:
Taylor Fogleman, Texas

Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award
Stephanie Dolehide, Army

Cissie Leary Sportsmanship Award
Maya Jacobs, Rutgers

Rookie of the Year
Emma Navarro, Virginia

Most Improved Senior
Anna Rogers, NC State

ITA Senior Player of the Year
National Player of the Year
Estela Perez-Somarriba, Miami

The first round of the Wimbledon men's qualifying was cancelled today at Roehampton, with no points played in any of the 64 matches on the schedule.

That means that the men's first round and 34 matches of the women's first round are on the schedule for Tuesday, including 11 of the 16 American women who are competing for a place in the main draw this week. The women's qualifying draw is here.

Two of the matches are all-US contests, with Claire Liu playing Jamie Loeb(North Carolina) and Kristie Ahn(Stanford) playing Caroline Dolehide. 

Only three US women are seeded: Liu, who is No. 16, Ahn who is No. 13 and Caty McNally, who is No. 6. 

Hailey Baptiste injured herself last week after qualifying for the WTA 500 in Berlin, slipping on the grass in the first set tiebreaker she played with Jessica Pegula in the opening round. She retired from that match and the injury is obviously serious enough to keep her from making her Wimbledon qualifying debut.

Below are Tuesday's matchups for Americans, followed by the first round American women's matches that are not on Tuesday's schedule. The tournament announced that with today's washout, qualifying will now extend through Friday, June 25.

Tuesday's first round qualifying matches featuring Americans:

Christopher Eubanks v Viktor Troicki(SRB)
Mitchell Krueger v Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera(CHI)
Ernesto Escobedo v Alex Molcan(SVK)
Bjorn Fratangelo v Gregoire Barrere[15](FRA)
Brandon Nakashima[22] v Aleksandar Vukic(AUS)
Maxime Cressy[30] v Thanasi Kokkinakis(AUS)
Mackenzie McDonald[2] v Kimmer Coppejans(BEL)
Denis Kudla[6] v Andrea Pellegrino(ITA)
Thai Kwiatkowski v Antoine Hoang[31](FRA)

Kristie Ahn[13] v Caroline Dolehide
Francesca Di Lorenzo v Isabella Shinikova(BUL)
Grace Min v Priscilla Hon(AUS)
Claire Liu[16] v Jamie Loeb
Varvara Lepchenko v Anika Raina(IND)
Katie Volynets v Tereza Mrdeza(CRO)
Whitney Osuigwe v Mayo Hibi(JPN)
Allie Kiick v Ysaline Bonaventure[21](BEL)
Asia Muhammad v Stefanie Voegele[17](SUI)

Wednesday's first round women's matches:

Danielle Lao v Alexandra Dulgheru(ROU)
Sachia Vickery v Chihiro Muramatsu(JPN)
Caty McNally[6] v Olga Danilovic(SRB)
Robin Anderson v Xinyu Wang[30](CHN)
Usue Arconada v Tsvetana Pironkova[8](BUL)

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Nine American Men Begin Wimbledon Qualifying Monday; Kicker Now 24-1 on ITF Men's Circuit This Year with Tulsa Title; Qualifying Begins Monday at Charleston $60K, Champaign $15K

Wimbledon men's qualifying begins Monday morning at the Bank of England Sports Ground in Roehampton, with nine Americans looking for a chance to compete in the main draw at the All England Lawn Tennis Club four miles away.

Four of the Americans are seeded: Mackenzie McDonald[2], Denis Kudla[6], Brandon Nakashima[22] and Maxime Cressy[30]. Both McDonald and Kudla have made the fourth round at Wimbledon in the past, so they are well aware of the difference between the qualifying venue and the most famous courts in tennis, but others--Maxime Cressy, Brandon Nakashima and Thai Kwiatkowski--are playing qualifying for the first time in their careers, although the latter two played the Junior Championships at Wimbledon.

A week ago, after he won the Orlando Challenger, Christopher Eubanks was nine out of qualifying, but he made it in and hopefully with enough notice to overcome any jet lag.

Notably absent from Wimbledon qualifying this year are are JJ Wolf, Jenson Brooksby, Bradley Klahn and Michael Mmoh.

Below are the matchups for American men on Monday; the women's draw will be released tomorrow and they will begin play on Tuesday.

Christopher Eubanks v Viktor Troicki(SRB)
Mitchell Krueger v Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera(CHI)
Ernesto Escobedo v Alex Molcan(SVK)
Bjorn Fratangelo v Gregoire Barrere[15](FRA)
Brandon Nakashima[22] v Aleksandar Vukic(AUS)
Maxime Cressy[30] v Thanasi Kokkinakis(AUS)
Mackenzie McDonald[2] v Kimmer Coppejans(BEL)
Denis Kudla[6] v Andrea Pellegrino(ITA)
Thai Kwiatkwoski v Antoine Hoang[31](FRA)

Australian Alex Bolt, who was in qualifying, received the final men's main draw wild card after he won the Nottingham Challenger today. Bolt, a qualifier, defeated McDonald in the semifinals and Kamil Majchrzak of Poland today in the final.  Majchrzak is the top seed in Wimbledon qualifying, and it's likely that had he or McDonald won the Nottingham Challenger, that wild card would have gone to him.

A few days ago Emma Raducanu of Great Britain had her qualifying wild card upgraded to a main draw wild card, after the 18-year-old beat Storm Sanders and Timea Babos to reach the quarterfinals of the $100K ITF World Tennis Tour tournament in Nottingham.  The last main draw women's wild card went to the surprise winner of the WTA 500 in Berlin, qualifier Liudmila Samsonova of Russia. The list of Wimbledon wild cards is posted here.

Nicolas Kicker of Argentina won his second consecutive $25,000 tournament today at the USTA Men's Pro Circuit event in Tulsa, beating Genaro Olivieri, also of Argentina, 6-4, 6-0. Kicker, who came back from a three-year ban for match fixing early this year, has gone 24-1 on the ITF Men's World Tennis Tour since April, winning a $15,000 tournament and four $25,000 events, while making the final of a fifth. The 28-year-old reached 78 in the ATP rankings back in June of 2017.

While I'll be turning most of my attention to Wimbledon now, there are two USTA Pro Circuit events this week, with the women featuring a $60,000 tournament in Charleston, and the men holding a $15,000 tournament in Champaign

Qualifying begins Monday in both, with wild cards in Charleston qualifying going to Piper Charney, Charlotte Chavatipon, Margaret Navarro, Rachel Gailis and Sara Daavettila. 

Tournaments at the $15,000 level have been nonexistent in the US for both men and women this year, so it's good to see that lowest level back this week in Champaign and then next week, also for men, in Weston Florida

Wild cards for the Champaign qualifying were given to Victor Lilov, Hunter Heck, Michael Zheng, Alexander Petrov, Nicolas Meister and Olivier Stuart

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Stearns Doubles Up to Claim First Pro Circuit Title at Sumter $25K; All-Argentina Final at Tulsa $25K; Banner Day for TCU Men's Tennis on British Grass Courts

Peyton Stearns has had a fantastic four weeks. As a freshman playing No. 1 singles, the 19-year-old from Ohio didn't just help Texas earn its first NCAA Team Championship since 1995, she was named the Team tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

This week, given a wild card into the main draw of the first Pro Circuit tournament since the NCAAs, Stearns won her first title today at the $25,000 tournament in Sumter South Carolina, dealing with the last-minute decision to play both the semifinals and the finals today due to rain in Sunday's forecast. Stearns had played a grueling semifinal against No. 5 seed Marcela Zacarias of Mexico, needing two hours and 20 minutes to complete her 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 victory, avenging a first round qualifying loss to Zacarias at a $25,000 tournament in Florida in February. 

Meanwhile, former Vanderbilt All-American Fernanda Contreras of Mexico need just an hour and 23 minutes to take out No. 2 seed Alycia Parks 6-3, 6-2 in the other semifinal this morning.  This evening, both Contreras and Stearns were playing in their second final at the $25K level, with Contreras winning her first title in October 2019 as a qualifier by defeating Leylah Fernandez of Canada in the Waco final, and Stearns losing her first Pro Circuit that very same week to Claire Liu in Florence. It was all Stearns in the final, which lasted only 65 minutes, with the 13th-ranked player in the ITA final rankings this season posting a 6-1, 6-2 victory. 

Currently 484 in the WTA rankings, Stearns should move up to around 350 when these points are added. Stearns said in her post-NCAA championship press conference that her goal to be a pro tennis player hasn't changed; this result will certainly add to the speculation about whether she'll return to Texas this fall, or at all.

In the doubles final, top seeds Emina Bektas(Michigan) and Catherine Harrison(UCLA) won their second title as a team, but their first since 2016, beating No. 2 seeds Paige Hourigan(Georgia Tech) of New Zealand and Aldila Sutjiadi(Kentucky) of Indonesia 7-5, 6-4. Bektas now has 20 ITF doubles titles, Harrison has eight.

A champion from Argentina is guaranteed at the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Tulsa, with NCAA champion Sam Riffice(Florida) falling in today's semifinals to unseeded Genaro Olivieri of Argentina 7-6(5), 7-6(2).  Riffice, a wild card, led 4-1 in the second set, lost five of the next six games, broke Olivieri serving for the match, but then dropped the last five points of the tiebreaker. Olivieri will face compatriot Nicolas Kicker in Sunday's final, with Kicker defeating qualifier Nicolas Barrientos of Colombia 1-6, 6-2, 6-1. 

In the doubles final tonight, unseeded Strong Kirchheimer(Northwestern) and Michail Pervolarakis(Portland) of Greece defeated No. 2 seeds Barrientos and JC Aragone(Virginia) 6-1, 4-6, 10-7. Kirchheimer now has four ITF doubles titles and Pervolarakis has seven.

Cameron Norrie has had a great year already, on all surfaces, but reaching the final on the grass courts of the ATP 500 at Queen's Club in London will raise his profile even higher going into Wimbledon later this month. The former TCU All-American from Great Britain, who has made two ATP 250 finals since the end of April, is 29-12 this year and now closing in on the Top 30. After beating No. 2 seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada 7-5, 6-3 today, the 25-year-old lefthander is set for a contest against top seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy Sunday. For more from Norrie on his win today, see this article from the ATP website.

Norrie wasn't the only TCU Horned Frog from Great Britain to have a stellar day today. Senior Alastair Gray, who finished the 2020-21 season ranked No. 16 in the ITA singles rankings, received a wild card into the qualifying of the ATP 250 in Eastbourne and promptly defeated top qualifying seed and ATP No. 79 Soonwoo Kwon of Korea 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. Gray, who will  turn 23 on Tuesday, had not beaten a Top 500 player before today, and had lost to Kwon, then ranked 135, in a Challenger on grass in 2019.

Friday, June 18, 2021

College Stars Stearns and Riffice Reach Semifinals at USTA Pro Circuit $25Ks; USTA's Men's Summer Collegiate Team; Florida's Bobby Curtis 12s and 14s Sectional Recap

Texas freshman Peyton Stearns received a wild card into this week's $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Sumter South Carolina, the first event in the US since the NCAA tournament concluded. Stearns, who played No. 1 for the National Champion Longhorns, has made good use of that wild card, advancing to the semifinals.  

The 19-year-old from Ohio defeated No. 7 seed Ana Sofia Sanchez of Mexico 6-2, 6-2 today to reach her second $25K semifinal, where she will play No. 5 seed Marcela Zacarias of Mexico, who beat Vicky Duval 6-1, 6-2. In Saturday's other semifinal, No. 2 seed Alycia Parks will take on former Vanderbilt All-American Fernanda Contreras of Mexico, with Parks beating Paige Hourigan(Georgia Tech) of New Zealand 5-7, 7-6(0), 6-4 in just over three hours. The unseeded Contreras defeated Fanni Stollar of Hungary 6-4, 0-6, 6-4.

The doubles final Saturday will feature top seeds Emina Bektas(Michigan) and Catherine Harrison(UCLA) against No. 2 seeds Hourigan and Aldila Sutjiadi(Kentucky) of Indonesia.

NCAA singles champion Sam Riffice(Florida) reached the semifinals of the ATP Challenger last week in Orlando, and he has continued his impressive play this week at the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Tulsa Oklahoma. A wild card, Riffice defeated No. 2 seed Jason Kubler of Australia in the second round; today he beat lucky loser Gage Brymer(UCLA) 6-0, 7-6(5). Riffice is the only American remaining, with last week's Wichita champion Govind Nanda(UCLA) retiring in today's quarterfinals down 4-0 to Genaro Olivieri of Argentina, who is Riffice's semifinal opponent. In the top half, Nicolas Kicker of Argentina, who received a special exemption into the main draw as the winner of last week's $25K in the Dominican Republic, will face qualifier Nicolas Barrientos of Colombia. Barrientos took out Zeke Clark(Illinois), also a qualifier, 4-6, 6-0, 7-6(7). Clark grew up in Tulsa, so it's a bit of a surprise that he did not receive a main draw wild card, but he did win four matches as he officially begins his professional career.

I haven't received any official notification from the USTA, and there's nothing on the website, but its Summer Collegiate Team is apparently back after being suspended last year due to the pandemic. That information came via this release from Tulane, announcing men's head coach Mark Booras as coach of the team. It's not clear if he's the only coach--often there are two--but this week's Tulsa tournament is the first for the group. 

Members of the team are Riffice, Will Blumberg of North Carolina, Aleks Kovacevic of Illinois and John McNally and Cannon Kingsley of Ohio State. 

This is the month of most of the Sectional Closed events across the country, with Florida's Bobby Curtis 12s and 14s having concluded on Wednesday. The detailed account of the four singles finals is here. You might recognize the name of the 12s finalist Teodor Davidov, who went viral at this year's Easter Bowl for hitting only forehands, with both his left and right hands. Jordan Lee, the No. 2 seed, defeated top seed Davidov 6-1, 6-1 in Wednesday's final, avenging his second round loss to Davidov at the Easter Bowl and his first round loss at the March Level 1 in Rome Georgia.

Play in the Bobby Curtis 16s and 18s Sectional begins Saturday and concludes Wednesday.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

US Open to Welcome Capacity Crowds, Tickets on Sale July 15; A&M Popular Men's Kickoff Weekend Destination, Florida is Not; Six US Quarterfinalists on Grass

Crowds will return this year at the US Open
photo credit: USTA/Nicole Pereira

The USTA announced today that the US Open will be allowed 100 percent capacity for this year's tournament, which runs from August 30th-September 12th. 

"We are extremely excited to be able to welcome our incredible fans back to the US Open this year,” said Mike Dowse, USTA CEO. “While we were proud that we were able to hold the event in 2020, we missed having our fans on-site, because we know that they are a large part of what makes the US Open experience unlike any other. Indeed, the challenges presented by the pandemic were tough on us all, but our sport came together like never before and tackled each challenge head on. Interest in tennis has accelerated, with four million new and returning players taking to the court last year. Our sport surged in the toughest of times, and this year’s US Open promises to be an unforgettable celebration of the game, those who play it, and those who revel in it.”

Tickets, including grounds passes, go on sale to the general public for all sessions on July 15th. American Express cardholders can purchase tickets beginning July 12th. See this article from usopen.org for more details.

The US Open Junior Championships, which I hope to cover in person, are listed on the ITF Junior website for the second week. It is currently showing a 48-player draw, with a 24-player qualifying draw, but I'm hoping that will change to the standard 64-player draw, which is what the last two junior slams (both French Opens) were, and what the upcoming one at Wimbledon is featuring as well.

The ITA Men's Kickoff Weekend draft was held today, with 45 teams selecting from the 15 the host sites to visit in order to earn a place in next February's ITA Team Indoor Championships. The Top 15 teams in the 2021 final rankings will host three teams, who choose where they want to go based on both geography and on which regional may give them the best chance to beat the host and earn a place in the 16-team draw. Washington is host to the Men's Team Indoor Championships in 2022, so they automatically qualify as one of the 16 teams.

Texas A&M was the first host site to fill up, with the eighth-ranked Aggies set to welcome three Top 25 teams to College Station in January: Arizona[16], Texas Tech[24] and UCLA[25]. Mississippi[14] and Georgia[9] were the second and third regionals to fill up. No one wanted any part of NCAA champion Florida, which didn't get its first team until No. 54 Florida State chose Gainesville. Only one men's team passed: BYU. Unranked Columbia, Harvard and Princeton were the last three teams in, using the exception granted this year to teams from the Northeast. The last ranked team to get in was #75 Portland, due to its ranking in the region. No. 59 William and Mary was the last national at-large team to gain entry.

The complete bracket and draft order is available at SLAM tennis.

Six Americans have reached the quarterfinal stage at various ATP and WTA grass tournaments in Europe this week.

At the WTA 250 in Birmingham England, Coco Vandeweghe has advanced to the quarterfinals with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Australian Ajla Tomljanovic, who had beaten top seed Elise Mertens in the first round. Vandeweghe hadn't had a main draw win on the WTA tour since her March return from an injury that kept her out more than a year, so this is a significant result for the former Top 10 player.

At the WTA 500 in Berlin, Jessica Pegula and Madison Keys are through to the quarterfinals. Pegula continued her domination of Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, beating the No. 4 seed for the fourth time this year, with today's score 7-5, 6-2. Keys defeated top seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 on Wednesday. 

Marcos Giron(UCLA) and Sebastian Korda are into the quarterfinals at the ATP 500 in Halle. Giron, a qualifier, defeated Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 6-7(1), 6-3, 6-4 in the second round yesterday. Stuff had taken out top seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia in the first round. Korda beat Kei Nishikori of Japan 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 today, after taking out No. 6 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in the first round. 

Frances Tiafoe, who won the Nottingham Challenger last week, extended his winning streak on grass to seven matches today with a 6-3, 7-6(3) win over Viktor Troicki of Serbia at the ATP 500 in London.

Nineteen-year-old Jack Draper of Great Britain, who reached the Wimbledon boys final in 2018, received a wild card this week in London and the left-hander has pulled off two consecutive upsets. In the first round, Draper, 309 in the ATP rankings, defeated No. 3 seed Jannik Sinner of Italy 7-6(6), 7-6(2). Today, he continued his domination in tiebreakers, defeating Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 7-6(5), 7-6(0). He will face former TCU star Cameron Norrie of Great Britain for a place in the semifinals.

Notable this week on the ITF World Tennis Tour are the results posted by French Open girls champion Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic. Awarded a wild card into the $60,000 tournament in her home country, The 16-year-old Noskova defeated No. 7 seed Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay 7-6(5), 6-4 in the first round, and today took out Anna Bondar of Hungary 6-1, 6-7(2), 7-5.