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Thursday, November 11, 2021

Eddie Herr ITF J1 Acceptances; Nakashima and Korda Reach ATP Next Gen Semifinals; Tiafoe and Paul Advance in Stockholm; Pro Circuit Update

The acceptances for the ITF J1 Eddie Herr, which begins on November 29th in Bradenton Florida, were released today, with five US boys and six US girls entered in the main draw. 

With the tournament, hosted by the IMG Academy, sandwiched between the two year-end JAs in Merida Mexico and the Orange Bowl in Plantation Florida, the Eddie Herr ITF fields are not always as strong as those events. This year, Bruno Kuzuhara did not enter the JA in Merida, while Victor Lilov did not enter the Eddie Herr, while both are entered in the Orange Bowl. Wimbledon boys champion Samir Banerjee, the highest ranked American boy, at No. 3, is entered only in the Orange Bowl, which is also the case with Ethan Quinn.

The US boys entered in the Eddie Herr: Bruno Kuzuhara, Ozan Colak, Aidan Kim, Benjamin Kittay and Ryan Colby. 

The US girls entered in the Eddie Herr: Elvina Kalieva, Clervie Ngounoue, Alexis Blokhina, Qavia Lopez, Liv Hovde and Katja Wiersholm. 

The girls field at the Eddie Herr features six Top 10 players (Kuzuhara and Viacheslav Bielynskyi of Ukraine are the only two Top 10 boys), including sisters Linda and Brenda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic. As with the top boys, most are playing two of the three, with No. 1 Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra playing the JAs, but not the Eddie Herr. US Open girls finalist Kristina Dmitruk of Belarus is playing the two Florida tournaments; Alexandra Eala of the Philippines is skipping the Mexican JA, as is Linda Fruhvirtova. Brenda Fruhvirtova is currently entered in all three, as is No. 15 Solana Sierra of Argentina, a semifinalist at the US Open.

The Eddie Herr cutoff was 103 for the boys and 99 for the girls.

The ATP Next Gen Finals semifinals are set, after the completion of round robin play today. Twenty-year-old Brandon Nakashima(Virginia) defeated Holger Rune of Denmark 3-4(3), 4-1, 4-1, 4-3(1), and the 21-year-old Korda beat Lorenzo Musetti of Italy 4-2, 4-3(4), 4-2 to advance, and they will face each other Friday for a place in the final. With Korda getting a late start to his junior career, and in Florida, and Nakashima from Southern California, they did not play each other then, at least that I can see. And they have not met on tour, so it should be interesting to see how they match up. The other semifinal features Spain Carlos Alcaraz and Argentina's Sebastian Baez. Both Korda and Alcaraz went undefeated in their groups.

At the ATP 250 in Stockholm, Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul have advanced to a semifinal meeting, with No. 8 seed Tiafoe taking out No. 4 seed Dan Evans of Great Britain 1-6, 6-1, 6-1 and Paul beating wild card Andy Murray 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Unlike Korda and Nakashima, Tiafoe and Paul have played many times, including at least five times in junior competition. Tiafoe has won four of those matches, including in the semifinal of the Kalamazoo 18s in 2015. Paul's lone win came in the semifinals of the Kalamazoo 16s in 2013. Both went on to win those Kalamazoo finals. 

Paul has reached an ATP semifinal three times now, and twice this year, but has yet to reach a final.

The other semifinal will feature the two young Canadians, who also played often in their junior years: Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov.

Danielle Collins(Virginia) retired in her semifinal match with Alison Riske today at the WTA 250 in Austria after dropping the first set 7-5. Riske will play lucky loser Jaqueline Cristian of Romania in the final, after Cristian received a walkover due to injury from Simona Halep.

Six of the seven quarterfinalists that have been decided at the ATP Challenger 80 in Knoxville are Americans, with wild card Emilio Nava, Bjorn Fratangelo, Christopher Eubanks(Georgia Tech), Christian Harrison, Michael Mmoh and Jack Sock advancing. Stefan Kozlov, last week's winner in Charlottesville, can make it seven of eight if he defeats Aidan McHugh of Great Britain tonight.

Just three US men and two US women remain in the running for the title after two rounds at the $25,000 tournaments in Harlingen Texas and Daytona Beach Florida

The men advancing in Texas are former University of Miami star Christian Langmo[4], Strong Kirchheimer[6](Northwestern) and 18-year-old Toby Kodat[8]. Langmo and Kodat will meet Friday for a place in the semifinals. 

The US women advancing to the quarterfinals in Florida are top seed Alycia Parks and No. 3 seed Hanna Chang.