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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Texas Signs Former ITF Top Ten Junior Bailly; Zheng, Kittay Earn First ATP Points in Vero Beach; Navarro and Smith Advance in Macon; Quarterfinals Set at ITF J4 in Atlanta

The University of Texas picked up one of the best international recruits of the 2021-22 season today, signing Belgium's Pierre Yves Bailly, who turned 18 last Friday. Bailly, who reached the quarterfinals at the US Open Junior Championships, where he lost to finalist Jerry Shang in three sets, has been ranked as high as 7 in the world. He has a J1 title to his credit and is now ranked 21 in the ITF Junior rankings.  For more on Bailly's signing at Texas, see this article.

Two US juniors picked up a first ATP point today at the $15,000 USTA men's Pro Circuit tournament in Vero Beach, with 17-year-old qualifier Michael Zheng and 18-year-old wild card Benjamin Kittay getting victories.  Zheng defeated qualifier Reece Falck(UNC-Wilmington) of New Zealand 7-5, 6-1 and Kittay beat 17-year-old qualifier Credit Chaiyarin of Thailand 7-6(4), 6-4. 

Last week's champion at the Naples $15K, US Open boys finalist and ITF No. 1 Shang, got his second win in as many weeks over Damien Wenger of Switzerland. Seeded No. 2 this week, Wenger lost to the 16-year-old left-hander 6-1, 6-4 today, after losing to him in three sets in the semifinals in Naples.

Florida sophomore Ben Shelton, the No. 4 seed, beat friend and Kalamazoo 18s doubles partner (and champion) Bruno Kuzuhara 7-5, 7-6(9) in two hours and 40 minutes. Shelton will face former Florida teammate Blaise Bicknell, who has transferred to Tennessee for the spring season, in the second round.

Ten Americans won their first round matches today at the $80,000 USTA women's Pro Circuit tournament in Macon Georgia, including University of Virginia sophomore Emma Navarro and North Carolina State senior Alana Smith.  Navarro beat fellow wild card Hailey Baptiste 6-2, 6-4, while Smith defeated fellow qualifier Whitney Osuigwe 6-0, 5-7, 6-4. Smith was one of five qualifiers to win their opening round matches in the main draw today: Robin Anderson(UCLA), Hanna Chang, Vicky Duval and Louisa Chirico. 

Wild card Catherine Harrison(UCLA) advanced when No. 3 seed Kristina Kucova of Slovakia retired trailing 6-4. Top seeds Madison Brengle and Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan both were taken to three sets today, but did advance. 

At this week's ITF Junior Circuit J4 in Atlanta, No. 1 seed Emma Charney and No. 2 seed Cadence Brace of Canada have advanced to Thursday's quarterfinals, but not much else has gone as expected in the girls draw. Charney, a senior who recently committed to Southern California, has rolled through her first three opponents, losing only three games total. She will face qualifier Jo-Yee Chan in the quarterfinals. Qualifier Shannon Lam and unseeded Katie Rolls play in the other top half quarterfinal. No. 10 seed Victoria Osuigwe, Whitney's younger sister, plays Easter Bowl 14s champion Iva Jovic, a wild card. The fourth quarterfinal features Brace, the only non-American, against No. 6 seed Theodora Rabman, the 16s Easter Bowl champion. 

Boys top seed Joseph Phillips is through to the quarterfinals, where he'll play unseeded Andrew Delgado. No. 2 seed Preston Stearns, who recently committed to Ohio State, lost to Duke recruit Teddy Truwit. Truwit plays No. 8 seed Grant Lothringer, who recently committed to Texas A&M. The only quarterfinal between two seeds features No. 3 seed Fnu Nidunjianzan of China, a Princeton recruit, and No. 6 seed Felipe Pinzon Moreno, the 2021 16s Clay Court champion. Unseeded Ari Cotoulas and wild card Robert Bauer, a Georgia Tech recruit, meet in the other boys quarterfinal.