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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Colby Takes Out No. 5 Seed Blanch on Home Courts, Fruhvirtova Saves Match Point in College Park J1 Second Round Action; Brantmeier Among Seven American Winners on First Day of US Open Qualifying

©Colette Lewis 2021-
College Park MD--

Another scorcher of a day at the ITF J1 in College Park produced upsets, long, competitive matches and a big win by the hometown hero at the Junior Tennis Champions Center.

Ryan Colby, who trains at the JTCC, defeated No. 5 seed Dali Blanch 6-2, 6-4 in front of scores of fans, all of whom have watched him play for years on the same courts. 

Colby said it took him only one game to realize he could win the match against Blanch, who is 16 in the ITF Junior World rankings.

"I knew I had him, it was just whether I could sustain my level," said Colby, who has committed to USC and expects to start there in January. "He's a great player, but I felt that if I stayed with him, put more balls in the court and fight harder, I would have it."

Colby has had a myriad of injuries throughout his junior career, with elbow, shoulder and wrist injuries and surgeries, but he has been healthy for about a year, and had seen his game blossom in the past several months. Colby won the USTA Clay Courts 18s last month in Delray Beach, and with it a US Open Junior Championships main draw wild card.

"Playing Clays, doing well there, that's where I've always gotten my injuries, each one, so winning that and not getting injured, that was big," said Colby, who turns 18 next month. "It's been helpful [for confidence] and I'm excited for the US Open. It's a great opportunity to play, in my last year, so it's going to be fun."

Colby believes that all the injuries he's suffered and the rehabilitation he's done have played a role in how he looks at tennis now.

"It's been a good process; it's changed my perspective on tennis and life," Colby said. "Not having something you take for granted, it's changed me a lot."

Colby will face Braden Shick in the third round Wednesday, with the NC State freshman having beaten Colby in the semifinals of a Grade 3 in Costa Rica this spring 7-6(8), 7-5. That is one of two matches between unseeded players in the boys draw, with the other featuring qualifier Brayden Michna, who beat No. 14 seed Max Westphal 6-4, 6-2 and Michael Zheng, who defeated Benjamin Kittay 5-7, 6-4, 6-1.

Top seed Juncheng Shang of China, the No. 1 player in the iTF Junior rankings, came away with another tough victory in today's second round, advancing when Derrick Chen of Great Britain retired trailing 6-1, 6-7(2), 1-0. Shang will play No. 13 seed Ethan Quinn in a rematch of the Easter Bowl final, after Quinn defeated Leanid Boika 6-3, 6-3.  All four of the matches in the top half are as predicted by the seeding, but in the bottom half, the only seeds remaining are No. 9 Adolfo Vallejo of Paraguay and No. 15 seed Kalin Ivanovski of Macedonia. 

The girls draw also lost the No. 5 seed today, with Gabriella Broadfoot of South Africa beating Laura Hietaranta of Finland 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. Ariana Pursoo defeated No. 12 seed Chelsea Fontenel of Switzerland 6-4, 6-1 and Nevena Carton took out No. 10 seed Annabelle Xu of Canada 7-6(4), 6-1.

No. 13 seed Brenda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic was one point from joining the other seeds on the sidelines, but the 14-year-old saved it to stay alive, beating qualifier Ena Koike of Japan 5-7, 6-1, 7-5. Fruhvirtova trailed 4-0 in the final set, but won four straight games before Koike stopped her run to hold for a 5-4 lead. Down 30-40, Fruhvirtova found the shot she wanted after a tense rally hitting a sharply angled backhand winner to save the match point. Two points later, Fruhvirtova held and after a shaky service game from Koike, Fruhvirtova had a chance to serve out the match. Koike saved a match point at 40-30 with a forehand winner, but Fruhvirtova converted on her second match point to earn her second consecutive three-set victory. She will face unseeded Charlotte Owensby in round of 16 Wednesday.

The first round of doubles was played this afternoon, with the top four seeds in both boys and girls draws advancing to Wednesday's second round.  Draws and the order of play for Wednesday can be found at the ITF Junior Circuit website.

The first day of qualifying at the US Open saw seven of the 13 Americans in action advancing to the second round, including San Diego 18s finalist Reese Brantmeier, who defeated No. 21 seed Olga Govortsova of Belarus 6-2, 6-3. The 27 other Americans in the men's and women's qualifying play their first round Wednesday.

Americans winning first round qualifying matches Tuesday:

JJ Wolf
Maxime Cressy[29]
Ulises Blanch
Zane Khan[WC]
Jamie Loeb
Reese Brantmeier[WC]
Francesca Di Lorenzo

Americans in first round US Open qualifying action Wednesday:

Aleksandar Kovacevic[WC]
Christopher Eubanks
Govind Nanda[WC]
Christian Harrison[WC]
Ben Shelton[WC]
Michael Mmoh
Samir Banerjee[WC]
Mitchell Krueger
Nicolas Moreno de Alboran[WC]
Eliot Spizzirri[WC]
Bjorn Fratangelo

Robin Montgomery[WC]
Whitney Osuigwe
Clervie Ngounoue[WC]
Katrina Scott[WC]
Elvina Kalieva[WC]
Hanna Chang
Gabriella Price[WC]
Asia Muhammad
Robin Anderson
Usue Arconada
Grace Min
Peyton Stearns[WC]
Caroline Dolehide
Victoria Duval[WC]
Danielle Lao
Sachia Vickery

The women's qualifying draw is here; the men's qualifying draw is here, and Wednesday's schedule is here.