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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)