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Thursday, June 10, 2021

All-French Boys Semifinals at Roland Garros, Three Russian Girls Advance, Lilov Makes Doubles Semis; Krawczyk and Salisbury Win Mixed Doubles Title; Taylor Named Head Coach at Oklahoma State

I mentioned yesterday the chance that existed for an all-French boys slate in the semifinals at the French Open Junior Championships, but I confess I thought the odds of that seemed low. Yet that is exactly what happened after all four won their quarterfinal matches today, including No. 9 seed Sean Cuenin's 6-4, 7-5 win over top seed Juncheng Jerry Shang of China.

Cuenin failed to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second, showing obvious signs of nerves and missing most of his first serves, but he broke right back to get a second opportunity. The final game was not straightforward either, with Cuenin saving two break points and needing three match points to close out the win, but he sent the partisan crowd home happy when he finally converted.

Cuenin's opponent in the semifinals is No. 13 seed Luca Van Assche, who defeated the only unseeded quarterfinalist, Daniel Merida Aguilar of Spain, 7-6(8) 6-4. 

No. 5 seed Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard rolled past No. 16 seed Viacheslav Bielinskyi of Ukraine 6-2, 6-1 to set up a meeting with doubles partner Arthur Fils, the No. 14 seed. Fils defeated No. 8 seed Daniel Rincon of Spain 6-2, 6-3. For more on the Four Musketeers, see this article from the ITF Junior website.

The top seed in the girls draw was also eliminated, with unseeded Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic beating her doubles partner Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra 7-5, 2-6, 6-3. Noskova will play one of the three Russian girls still alive, No. 4 seed Diana Shnaider, who beat an error-prone No. 5 seed Robin Montgomery 6-3, 6-1.

In an all-Russian quarterfinal, unseeded Erika Andreeva defeated No. 3 seed and 2020 semifinalist Polina Kudermetova 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 and will now play in a all-Russian semifinal against No. 9 seed Oksana Selekhmeteva. Selekhmeteva defeated unseeded Mara Guth of Germany 6-3, 6-1.

The sole American junior still competing in Paris is Victor Lilov, who has advanced to the doubles semifinals with partner Peter Privara of Slovakia. Today the unseeded pair defeated Mans Dahlberg of Sweden and Adam Jurajda of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-4. They will play another unseeded team in Friday's semifinals, taking on Martin Katz of Belgium and German Samofalov of Ukraine. 

Selekhmeteva, Noskova, Fils and Mpetshi Perricard are all still alive in doubles as well as singles.

Krawczyk and Salisbury hoist Mixed Doubles trophy
 at Roland Garros

At least one American will return to the United States with a French Open championship trophy, with 2020 women's French Open doubles finalist Desirae Krawczyk capturing the mixed doubles title today with Joe Salisbury of Great Britain. The former collegians--Krawczyk played at Arizona State, Salisbury at Memphis--came from behind to beat another unseeded team, Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev of Russia 2-6, 6-4, 10-5, with Krawczyk winning her first slam title and Salisbury, the 2020 Australian Open men's doubles champion, his second.  The pair will not play together at Wimbledon, with Salisbury partnering with Harriet Dart of Great Britain, but they are likely to team up again after an Australian Open semifinal and a Roland Garros title this year. Salisbury is the first British player to win one of the five major French Open titles since John Lloyd won the mixed in 1982. For more on the final, see this article from the Roland Garros website.

Thursday's quarterfinal junior results of Americans:

Diana Shnaider[4](RUS) d. Robin Montgomery[5] 6-3, 6-1

Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva(AND)/Linda Noskova(CZE)[3] d. Mei Hasegawa(JPN)/Valencia Xu 6-1, 6-0

Arthur Fils(FRA)/Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard(FRA)[4] d. Samir Banerjee/Ozan Colak[7] 1-6, 6-3, 10-4

Peter Privara(SVK)/Victor Lilov d, Mans Dahlberg(SWE)/Adam Jurajda(CZE) 6-2, 6-4

Oklahoma State announced that former USTA National Coach and University of Virginia associate coach Dustin Taylor has been named to its head coaching position, vacated when Jay Udwadia resigned in May. Taylor, who has been working as Business Development Manager for Har-Tru for the past two years, has roots in Oklahoma, having graduated from Tulsa in 2005.