Monday, September 6, 2021

Wild Cards Have Great Success in Boys Draw on First Day of US Open Junior Championships; Qualifier Rabman, Nationals 18s Finalist Brantmeier Through to Second Round After Wins Monday; Repentigny J3 Update

©Colette Lewis 2021--
Flushing Meadows NY

With seeds on the sidelines for one more day at the US Open Junior Championships, many of the intriguing Labor Day matches involved players who were wild cards or qualifiers, many of whom were playing in a junior slam for the first time.

The American boys were the most successful of those debutantes, with five of the six wild cards collecting victories on a beautiful day at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. 

The youngest of those was Kalamazoo 16s champion Alexander Razeghi. The 15-year-old Texan came back to defeat North Carolina freshman Christopher Li of Peru 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(5). Razeghi held his nerve in a tense tiebreaker, with Li missing two backhands at 5-all in the breaker.

College Park ITF J1 finalist Ryan Colby, who earned his wild card for winning the USTA 18s Clay Courts, advanced when Alvaro Guillen Meza of Ecuador retired with an injury trailing 7-5, 4-6, 4-0. Colton Smith, who earned his wild card by finishing third in the Kalamazoo 18s last month, defeated ITF No. 25 Edas Butvilas of Lithuania 7-6(4), 6-4 and Aidan Kim took out TCU freshman Lui Maxted of Great Britain 6-2, 6-4.  Aidan Mayo, the only one of the five wild card winners who had played a junior slam before today, and reached the third round here in 2019, defeated qualifier Miguel Gomes of Portugal 6-3, 6-3. Mayo faces top seed and World No. 1 Juncheng Shang of China in Tuesday's second round.

Only one of the six US girls who received wild cards advanced today, with Charlotte Owensby, who got in late when Alexis Blokhina moved in on her own ranking, defeating College Park semifinalist Pimrada Jattavapornvanit of Thailand, a qualifier, 6-1, 7-6(3).

Lucky loser Katja Wiersholm came from 5-3 down in the first set to defeat Linda Klimovicova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-1, and local favorite Theadora Rabman, who won two qualifying matches in third set match tiebreakers, came from 5-1 down in the first set to defeat Laura Hietaranta of Finland 7-5, 6-2. 

Rabman admitted that she came into the tournament low on confidence after falling in the first round of the USTA 16s Nationals in San Diego last month, so getting through qualifying was a huge step in restoring that essential commodity.

"I'm really happy I got the qualifying matches in, because they gave me more experience," said Rabman, who lives in nearby Port Washington and had her high school tennis teammates in the stands cheering her on. "I was so nervous at first, but I was like, you've been on these courts before; USTA tournaments are held here, so I was thinking about that; breathe, stay focused, one point at a time, and I got through it."

Rabman faces top seed and World No. 1 Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva Tuesday.

"I think it's going to be a great experience," said Rabman, who is playing in just her third ITF Junior Circuit event this week. "I'm definitely going to learn something; I'm really excited. I'm going in as the underdog, so I think that's definitely less pressure on me, so I'm going to see if I can do something."

Reese Brantmeier had qualifying experience to draw on as well in her 6-3, 6-1 win today over Radka Zelnickova of Slovakia, but her qualifying success was two weeks ago in the women's qualifying, where she won two rounds before falling to No. 2 seed Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia. Although disappointed in coming that close to the main draw but falling short, the Girls 18s Nationals finalist needed only a few hours to realize how much the experience would help her, not just this week in the juniors, but in building her professional career.

"Obviously I could play really free in qualies," said Brantmeier, who has not yet made a decision about whether she will attend college. "I'm the underdog there, I'm a lot younger and I think that really helped me. Coming to juniors, I do feel there is a little bit of expectations following that tournament. But I also gained a lot of confidence in where my game's at, so I think it kind of evens out."

Brantmeier will face No. 12 seed and doubles partner Elvina Kalieva in the second round Tuesday.

Americans went 13-10 in the first round, with the nine seeded players joining the 13 winners today in the second round.

Half of the unseeded teams in doubles played today, with the other half playing Tuesday. The seeded doubles teams don't play  until Wednesday.

Results of Americans in first round singles matches Monday:

Girls (7-6)
Theadora Rabman[Q] d. Laura Hietaranta(FIN) 7-5, 6-2
Jana Kolodynska(BLR) d. Liv Hovde[WC] 6-2, 1-6, 6-2
Alina Shcherbinina(RUS) d. Amelia Honer[WC] 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4
Solana Sierra(ARG) d. Sarah Hamner[WC] 6-3, 6-1
Lucija Ciric Bagaric[Q](CRO) d. Tatum Evans[WC] 6-2, 6-1
Reese Brantmeier d. Radka Zelnickova(SVK) 6-3, 6-1
Clervie Ngounoue d. Julia Middendorf(GER) 6-3, 6-3
Johanne Svendsen(DEN) d. Valencia Xu[Q] 7-5, 6-2 
Katja Wiersholm[LL] d. Linda Klimovicova(CZE) 7-5, 6-1
Alexis Blokhina d. Julia Garcia(MEX) 7-6(6), 6-0
Sebastianna Scilipoti(SUI) d. Eleana Yu[WC] 6-3, 1-6, 6-4
Ellie Coleman d. Bianca Behulova(SVK) 6-2, 2-6, 6-3
Charlotte Owensby[WC] d. Pimrada Jattavapornvanit(THA) 6-1, 7-6(3)

Boys (6-4)
Aidan Mayo[WC] d. Miquel Gomes[Q](POR) 6-3, 6-3
Pierre Yves Bailly(BEL) d. Jack Anthrop 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-4
Colton Smith[WC] d. Edas Butvilas 7-6(4), 6-4
Ryan Colby[WC] d. Alvaro Guillen Meza(ECU) 7-5, 4-6, 4-0 ret.
Abedallah Shelbayh(JOR) d. Ozan Colak 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(9)
Alexander Razeghi[WC] d. Christopher Li[Q](PER) 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(5)
Aidan Kim[WC] d. Lui Maxted(GBR) 6-2, 6-4
Ignacio Buse(PER) d. Michael Zheng[WC] 7-5, 6-3
Adolfo Vallejo(PAR) d. Kyle Kang[Q] 6-4, 7-5 
Ethan Quinn d. Mili Poljicak(CRO) 2-6, 6-2, 6-1

In my recap yesterday of all the ITF Junior Circuit events with American champions, I neglected to mention the J3 in Canada, which is usually a J1 that attracts most of the US Open participants. This year it didn't, with Canadians making up the majority of the fields, but Americans did take the doubles titles there. Californian Alex Michelsen, the No. 6 seed, reached the boys final, where he lost to No. 4 seed Jaden Weekes of Canada 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Michelsen did win the doubles title, with partner Ekansh Kumar. The top seeds defeated No. 7 seeds John Kim and Canada's Sasha Rozin 6-1, 7-5 in the final. No. 2 seeds Kaitlin Quevedo and Canada's Reece Carter won the girls doubles, beating top seeds Sophie Williams and Canada's Martyna Ostrzygalo 4-6, 7-6(5), 12-10 in the final.


tennisforlife said...

Did Banerjee withdraw as a Columbia recruit. He does show up in TRN, UTR or on the Columbia roster?

SG said...

I believe he's class of 2022

Brent said...

Still shows as a verbal commit to Columbia on TennisRecruiting, no?