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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

A Look Ahead to JA in South Africa; Trio of Canadian Girls Advance at Norman $15K; Fritz, Norrie Reach First ATP Masters 1000 Quarterfinals at Indian Wells

I forgot about the JA in South Africa that is scheduled for later this month, but in my defense, it's only been played once, in 2019, with no tournament held last year. Yesterday was the withdrawal deadline, so now is a good time to look at the fields.

Six Americans, three boys and three girls, are scheduled to make the long trip to Cape Town for the tournament, which begins on October 25th. Two years ago, the tournament was a 64-draw, but it didn't fill, with one boys bye and three girls byes and no qualifying. This year, the draw sizes have been cut in half, so qualifying is likely to take place this year, but there are no Americans on the list of qualifying acceptances.

The US boys on the acceptance list are Benjamin Kittay, Azuma Visaya and Yannik Rahman. The US girls are Clervie Ngounoue, Qavia Lopez and Olivia Lincer. All three of the girls are also on the acceptance list for the J2 in South Africa next week; only Rahman is of the three boys.

The only Top 20 player in either draw (at the time of acceptance) was No. 17 Ksenia Saytseva of Russia. Brenda Fruhvirtova, who won a J1 last week and is now No. 10, is entered and will be the top seed. Poland's Aleksander Orlikowski, 24 at the entry cutoff, was the highest ranked boy.

With no JA in Japan for the second consecutive year (Osaka is hosting a J4 this week, with only Japanese players competing), that leaves just two more JAs on the ITF junior calendar for 2021: Merida Mexico November 22-27 and Orange Bowl in Plantation Florida December 6-12.

The first round of the $15,000 USTA women's Pro Circuit tournament in Norman Oklahoma was completed today, indoors, due to rain throughout the day. The three Canadian girls who qualified yesterday, fresh from their appearances at the ITF JB1 Pan American Closed indoors last week, all won their first round matches today.

Seventeen-year-old Mia Kupres, who reached the quarterfinals last week in Kentucky, defeated Oklahoma State freshman and No. 2 seed Mananchaya Sawangkaew of Thailand 6-4, 7-6(5) in two hours and 47 minutes. Fifteen-year-old Victoria Mboko, who defeated Kupres in last week's Pan Am quarterfinals and lost to Liv Hovde in the semifinals, defeated No. 6 seed Stefania Rogozinska Dzik of Poland 6-4, 6-4. Cadence Brace, 16, who lost to Hovde in the third round, beat Oklahoma State junior Ayumi Miyamoto of Japan 6-1, 7-5. They join 17-year-old Canadian Annabelle Xu, who beat top seed Oona Orpana of Finland, a freshman at Oklahoma State, yesterday.

After the first round, six quailfiers, but just three seeded players, remain.

At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells today, Taylor Fritz advanced to his first ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal, defeating No. 10 seed Jannik Sinner of Italy 6-4, 6-3. This comes a day after the No. 31 seed had taken out No. 5 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy by the same score. Fritz will face the winner of tonight's late match between No. 3 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany and Gael Monfils of France on Friday.

The ATP recently published this interview with one of Fritz's coaches, David Nainkin, who provides a closer look at the goals and the personality of the Californian, who turns 24 later this month.

Tommy Paul lost to former TCU star Cameron Norrie of Great Britain, the No. 21 seed, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. It's also the first ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal for the 26-year-old left-hander, who plays No. 11 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina Thursdsay.

No. 19 seed Jessica Pegula lost to No. 27 seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-4, 6-2 in tonight's quarterfinals. Shelby Rogers and Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia meet later tonight in the other women's quarterfinal.

Links to the draws and the order of play are here.