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Sunday, June 6, 2021

Seven Americans Advance to Second Round of French Open Junior Championships; Sock Claims First Title in Four Years at Little Rock Challenger; Black, Moreno de Alboran Take $15K Titles in Turkey

Seven of the 16 Americans playing their first round matches at the French Open Junior Championships advanced to the second round with wins today in Paris, but three seeded Americans fell at the first hurdle: Alexander Bernard[10], Samir Banerjee[15] and Elivina Kalieva[14].

Into the second round are Robin Montgomery[5], Madison Sieg[13], Ashlyn Krueger, Alexis Blokhina and wild card Clervie Ngounoue in the girls draw, while Dali Blanch[7] and Aidan Mayo were the only two US boys to win today. No. 2 seed Bruno Kuzuhara and Victor Lilov will play their first round matches on Monday. The 16-year-old Blokhina, playing in her first junior slam, defeated Anastasia Gureva of Russia 7-6(1), 6-4. Krueger and Ngounoue also picked up wins in their junior slam debuts.

Junior matches are being streamed on Tennis Channel Plus, so I had an opportunity to watch quite a few hours of coverage, and although I focused mostly on Americans, I did find myself checking in on top seed Jerry Shang's match against Philip Sekulic of Australia. Shang served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, but Sekulic, hitting big and going for the lines, won the last four games of the set to send it to a third. Up 4-2 in the third set, the 16-year-old from China couldn't hold that lead either, but after four straight breaks of serve, Shang held, converting his first match point for a 6-4, 5-7, 7-5, two-hour and 45 minute win. 

Girls top seed Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra, in contrast, needed only an hour and eight minutes to beat Evialina Laskevich of Belarus 6-3, 6-0. 

The only non-American seed to lose today was No. 16 Dana Guzman of Peru, who went out to Sebastianna Scilipoti of Switzerland. There are 16 more first round matches on Monday, with eight seeds yet to play their opening match, including the No. 2, 3, and 4 boys seeds, and No. 2 girls seeds Alexandra Eala of the Philippines.

The doubles draws were released today, with first round matches scheduled for Monday. Eala and Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia are the top girls seeds, with Mark Lajal of Estonia and Jack Pinnington Jones of Great Britain the No. 1 boys seeds. Dali Blanch and Bernard are the No. 2 seeds, with Ozan Colak and Banerjee seeded No. 7. Jack Anthrop is partnering with Shang and they are the No. 3 seeds. No US girls are seeded in doubles.  Qavia Lopez, who did not get into singles, received a wild card into doubles, where she is playing with a French girl.

The only American in women's singles action today at the French Open, Serena Williams, lost to Elina Rybakina of Kazakhstan 6-3, 7-5. Three US women will play Monday for a spot in the quarterfinals.

Sunday's first round singles results of American juniors:

Max Rehberg(GER) d. Samir Banerjee[15] 6-4, 7-5
German Samofalov(UKR) d. Ozan Colak 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-3
Aidan Mayo d. Matthew Donald(CZE) 6-7(0), 6-4, 6-2
Pierre Bailly[11](BEL) d. Jack Anthrop 6-1, 6-3
Dali Blanch[7] d. Mehdi Sadaoui(FRA) 7-6(1), 6-3
Charlelie Cosnet[WC](FRA) d. Alexander Bernard[10] 7-6(5), 7-5
Viacheslav Bielinskyi[16](UKR) d. Ethan Quinn 3-6, 6-3, 6-3

Alexis Blokhina d. Anastasia Gureva(RUS) 7-6(1), 6-4
Maria Bondarenko[10](RUS) d. Ellie Coleman 2-6, 6-4, 6-2
Clervie Ngounoue[WC] d. Petra Marcinko(CRO) 6-4, 6-4
Robin Montgomery[5] d. Sarah Iliev[WC](FRA) 6-0, 3-6, 6-3
Oceane Babel[6](FRA) d. Reese Brantmeier 6-2, 6-1
Erika Andreeva(RUS) d. Valencia Xu 6-0, 6-2
Madison Sieg[13] d. Laura Hietaranta(FIN) 3-6, 6-1, 6-2
Ashlyn Krueger d. Radka Zelnickova(SVK) 7-5, 6-2
Mara Guth(GER) d. Elvina Kalieva[14] 6-3, 6-4

Monday's first round junior singles matches featuring Americans:
Victor Lilov v Antoine Ghibaudo[WC](FRA)
Bruno Kuzuhara[2] v Adam Jurajda(CZE)

Monday's second round junior matches featuring Americans:
Madison Sieg[13] v Annabelle Xu(CAN)
Alexis Blokhina v Sebastianna Scilipoti(SUI)
Aidan Mayo v Luca Van Assche[13](FRA)
Robin Montgomery[5] v Ekaterina Maklakova(RUS)
Dali Blanch[7] v Daniel Merida Aguilar(ESP)

Sunday's fourth round match featuring Americans:
Elena Rybakina[21](KAZ) d. Serena Williams[7] 6-3, 7-5

Monday's fourth round singles matches featuring Americans:
Coco Gauff[24] v Ons Jabeur[25](TUN)
Sloane Stephens v Barbora Krejcikova(CZE)
Sofia Kenin[4] v Maria Sakkari[17](GRE)

Jack Sock won his first singles title since 2017 today in Little Rock Arkansas, defeating No. 3 seed Emilio Gomez(USC) of Ecuador 7-5, 6-4 in the final. Sock, who was unseeded, saved three match points in his second round win over No. 4 seed Ernesto Escobedo and three more in his quarterfinal win over No. 6 seed Thai Kwiatkowski(Virginia), so he certainly earned the right to celebrate that elusive title after today. With the points from an ATP 80 Challenger title, Sock moves up to 224 in the rankings; he is scheduled to play the Orlando Challenger next week, as is Gomez. Wild cards were given to Oliver Crawford, 2021 NCAA singles champion Sam Riffice and Donald Young.

In the doubles final, Ernesto Escobedo and Nicolas Barrientos of Colombia won the title beating Roberto Quiroz(USC) of Ecuador and Christopher Eubanks(Georgia Tech) 4-6, 6-3, 10-5 in a match played indoors due to rain. Neither team was seeded.

Former Georgia star Maria Carle of Argentina won the title at the $25,000 ITF World Tennis Tour women's tournament in the Dominican Republic. The unseeded 21-year-old defeated top seed Conny Perrin of Switzerland 6-4, 6-0 in today's final for her eighth ITF WTT singles title, but first above the $15,000 level. No. 2 seeds Erina Hayashi and Kanako Morisaki of Japan won the doubles title, beating top seeds Emina Bektas(Michigan) and Quinn Gleason(Notre Dame) 6-7(3), 6-1, 10-7 in today's final. The men's singles final at the $25K in Santo Domingo was postponed until Monday due to rain. Top seeds Diego Hidalgo(Florida) of Ecuador and Igor Marcondes of Brazil won the men's doubles title, beating No. 2 seeds Conner Huertas del Pino and Jorge Panta of Peru 7-5, 6-7(10), 10-6.

Two Americans claimed singles titles at ITF WTT $15,000 tournaments in Turkey.  Twenty-year-old Hurricane Tyra Black won her first professional singles title today, with the No. 2 seed defeating unseeded Federica Bilardo of Italy 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the women's Antalya final. 

Former UC-Santa Barbara All-American Nicolas Moreno de Alboran also claimed his first professional singles title today at the men's Antalya final, with the No. 6 seed defeating No. 4 seed Giovanni Fonio of Italy 7-5, 6-4. Moreno de Alboran, who will turn 24 next month, is 25-9 on the ITF WTT circuit this year, playing mostly in Egypt and Turkey.