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Tuesday, November 9, 2021

US Participants for 2022 Les Petits As Decided in Florida; Korda, Nakashima Open Next Gen Finals with Wins; Two $25Ks on USTA Pro Circuit; Talking College and Pro Tennis on Cracked Racquets Podcast

With the 2021 edition of Les Petits As just a few months ago, I wasn't ready for the United States qualifying for the 2022 edition, which will be back at its normal place on the schedule at the end of January.

This week 16 boys and 16 girls have been in Boca Raton, participating in the US Playoffs for next year's tournament in Tarbes France. After three days of round robin play, eight players, two from each group, advanced to the quarterfinals; today those quarterfinals, as well as the semifinals were played. The quarterfinal winners are invited to travel to France, with the top three finishers receiving entry into the main draw and the fourth-place finisher receiving a qualifying wild card.

Kennedy finished 3rd at the 2021 Easter Bowl 12s

The four boys who reached the semifinals are Keaton Hance[1], Ford McCollum, Sebastian Bielen[3] and Jack Kennedy[2]. McCollum, the only unseeded player, boy or girl, to qualify for the trip, defeated top seed Keaton Hance 6-1, 6-3 to reach the final, where he'll play Kennedy, who beat Bielen 6-2, 6-1. Bielen and Hance will play for third place and a spot in the main draw.

Lam won the 2021 Easter Bowl 12s

All four seeds in girls draw advanced to the semifinals and the top two seeds have reached the final. No. 1 Sydney Jara, who defeated No. 4 Julieta Pareja 6-2, 6-4 and Shannon Lam, who beat No. 3 seed Marcella Roversi 6-3, 6-0. Jara, the USTA 14s National champion and Lam, the 12s Easter Bowl champion, have secured their spots in the main draw. Roversi and Pareja, the USTA 12s National champion, will play for the third spot in the main draw.

The round robin results are posted at the tournament website; the results from today are available at the Les Petits As twitter account: @LesPetitsAs.

The ATP's Next Gen Finals have begun in Milan Italy, with Americans Sebastian Korda and Brandon Nakashima both posting wins today in round robin play. (Jenson Brooksby also qualified, but due to injury was not able to compete). Korda saved a match point in his 3-4(2), 3-4(6), 4-0, 4-3(3), 4-0 win over Hugo Gaston of France; Nakashima defeated Juan Manuel Cerundolo of Argentina 4-1, 3-4(3), 4-1, 4-0. Nakashima will face Carlos Alcaraz of Spain on Wednesday, with Korda taking on Sebastian Baez of Argentina. 

Qualifying is complete for the two $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournaments this week, with the men in Harlingen Texas and the women in Daytona Beach Florida

The qualifying in Harlingen did not fill, and only two first round matches were played. Seven of the eight qualifiers needed to win just one match to advance to the main draw. Americans qualifying are: Noah Schachter(Texas A&M), Austin Abbrat(Texas A&M) and Gabriel Evans(Incarnate Word).

The top seed is Great Britain's Paul Jubb, the 2019 NCAA champion at South Carolina, with Kalamazoo 18s champion Zachary Svajda the No. 2 seed. Wild cards were given Ethan Silva, a local junior, junior Bruno Kuzuhara, Keenan Mayo(Illinois) and Toby Boyer(Nebraska). Main draw play in singles begins Wednesday. 

Qualifying was full in Daytona Beach, with two wins required to reach the main draw. Americans qualifying today are: Alexa Graham(North Carolina), Tori Kinard and Kennedy Shaffer(Georgia). 

The top seed is Alycia Parks, with Irina Fetecau of Romania the No. 2 seed. Receiving wild cards are: Elli Mandlik, Ellie Douglas(TCU), Kylie Collins(Texas) and Evgeniya Levashova(Central Florida) of Russia. Two main draw singles matches were played today; 14 are on Wednesday's schedule. 

I was a recent guest on Cracked Racquets' Great Shot Podcast yesterday, with host Alex Gruskin. We talked about the Dow Tennis Classic in Midland, the ITA National Fall Championships and the many young Americans stepping into the spotlight the last few weeks. Alex claims there are just three people who would get the reference I made to a top Canadian junior in the last decade. I have faith that a few more of my readers than that will recall his career.