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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