Zootennis


Explore the Junior Tennis Champions Center's high performance program by clicking on the banner above

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Kuzuhara to Play for Australian Open Boys Title; Collins Reaches AO Women's Final; Hance, Ngounoue Advance to Quarterfinals at Les Petits As; USTA Pro Circuit Update

For the third time in the past four years that it has been held, an American boy is in the final of the Australian Open Junior Championships. Top seed Bruno Kuzuhara defeated No. 3 seed Adolfo Daniel Vallejo of Paraguay 7-6(2), 6-3 on Margaret Court Arena Friday, avenging his loss in last month's Orange Bowl final. Sebastian Korda won the title in 2018, while Emilio Nava lost in the final to Lorenzo Musetti in 2019. There was no junior event last year in Australia.

As he did in the quarterfinals, Kuzuhara started slowly, losing serve twice as he was unable to find any rhythm. But down 4-1, he broke back, held and broke again. After Vallejo had lost four straight games, he managed to hold serve twice to reach the tiebreaker, but Kuzuhara was the steadier of the two in the late stages of that tiebreaker, winning the final four points.

Up a break at 2-1 in the second set, Kuzuhara gave it right back, but Vallejo returned the favor in the fifth game to give Kuzuhara a 3-2 lead. Vallejo took a medical timeout at that changeover, receiving a massage of his left thigh, but Kuzuhara held in the next game and kept that advantage before breaking Vallejo to win the match. 

Kuzuhara will face No. 4 seed Jakub Mensik of the Czech Republic, who defeated No. 11 seed Kilian Feldbausch of Switzerland 6-1, 4-6, 6-2. Kuzuhara will have a second chance for revenge this tournament, with Mensik beating him in the second round of last year's US Open Junior Championships 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

For more on the boys final, with comments from both Kuzuhara and Menski, see this article from the ITF.

Liv Hovde's semifinal match with top seed Petra Marcinko of Croatia was suspended at 3-3 in the first set due to rain. The other girls semifinal between Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz of Australia and No. 8 seed Sofia Costoulas of Belgium is being played in Margaret Court Arena, which has a roof.

Hovde and Marcinko were moved to MCA to resume their match after Costoulas defeated Kempenaers-Pocz 6-4, 6-1, and what it treat it turned out to be for the handful of fans watching.

Marcinko came out with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory, but there was little to separate the two, with both hitting with great pace and depth, moving into the corners and changing direction, coming up with big shots at big moments. The 16-year-old Hovde, playing in just her second junior slam, looked very comfortable on the big stage; Marcinko, who played all three junior slams last year, took care of her serve just a bit better, hitting five aces, while Hovde had none and threw in six double faults to Marcinko's three. 

The doubles finals followed the second girls semifinal on Margaret Court Arena, with Americans taking titles in both the girls and boys championship matches.

No. 2 seeds Kuzuhara and Coleman Wong of Hong Kong defeated the unseeded team of Vallejo and Alex Michelsen 6-3, 7-6(3). Wong now has two consecutive junior slam titles, having won the US Open with Columbia freshman Max Westphal of France in September.

Top seeds Clervie Ngounoue and Russia's Diana Shnaider claimed the doubles title, ending the winning streak of unseeded Kayla Cross and Victoria Mboko of Canada with a 6-4, 6-3 decision. Mboko and Cross had won the title at the J1 in Traralgon last week, while Shnaider and Ngounoue did not play doubles in that event. It's the first junior slam title for the 15-year-old Ngounoue, while Shnaider now has two major girls doubles titles, having won Wimbledon last year with Kristina Dmitruk of Belarus.

Live scoring can be found here.

Danielle Collins defeated Iga Swiatek of Poland 6-4, 6-1 Thursday to advance to the women's singles final at the Australian Open. The 28-year-old from Florida, who won two NCAA singles title while playing for the University of Virginia, is the first NCAA women's singles champion to reach a women's singles final at a slam. Last year Jennifer Brady(UCLA), who is currently out with an injury, was the first former collegian to make a singles final since Kathy Jordan(Stanford) advanced to the final in Australia in 1983. Jordan did win the women's collegiate singles championship, but that was in 1979, before women's tennis was an NCAA-recognized sport. With her run to the final, regardless of the outcome, Collins will break into the WTA Top 10 for the first time.

Collins, the No. 27 seed, will face top seed and World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty in Saturday's final. Barty, as she has done all tournament, cruised in the semifinal, beating Madison Keys 6-1, 6-3. For a preview of the women's final, see this article from the WTA website.

Collins talks about how college tennis prepared her for a pro career in this article from the USTA.

Collins isn't the only former collegian playing for an Australian Open title this weekend. Former University of Florida star Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan will play in the women's doubles final, with partner Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil. The unseeded pair, who won the title at the WTA 500 in Sydney earlier this month, continued their impressive play Thursday with a  6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win over No. 2 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara(UCLA) of Japan. They'll take on top seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic in the final. 

Two Americans boys are among those advancing to the quarterfinals of Les Petits As, with unseeded Keaton Hance defeating No. 13 seed Filip Kosarko of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-0 and No. 10 seed Carel Ngounoue beating No. 6 seed Lenny Petit of France 6-0, 6-2.  

Ngounoue will face No. 2 seed Ivan Ivanov of Bulgaria Friday, after Ivanov defeated unseeded Sebastian Bielen of the United States 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-2. Hance's opponent in the quarterfinals will be unseeded wild card Yanhong Li of China.

No. 8 seed Jack Kennedy lost to unseeded Matei Todoran of Romania 6-4, 6-3. Todoran will face No. 15 seed Tito Chavez of Educador, who surprised top seed Flynn Thomas of Switzerland 6-2, 6-2. 

The unseeded team of Hance and Ford McCollum are into the boys doubles semifinals, where they will play Ngounoue and his partner Thijs Boogaard of the Netherlands, the top seeds.

Both US girls lost in singles, with Sydney Jara, the No. 16 seed, falling to top seed Alena Kovackova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-2, and unseeded wild card Capucine Jauffret losing to No. 5 seed Polina Kuharenko of Belarus 7-5, 6-4. With the loss in the quarterfinals of the doubles team of Jauffret and Julieta Pareja, the US girls are out of the event, although Pareja is still alive in the consolation draw for those losing in the first round.

Live scoring is here and live streaming is here.

I haven't been able to follow the three Pro Circuit events in the United States this week as much as I would like with two of the year's biggest junior tournaments going on this week. Another complication has been all the rain in Florida, where the men are playing a $25K in Weston and the women a $60K in Orlando.

The men's singles did manage to get back on schedule today, with the quarterfinals Friday, although doubles are still behind. The only American advancing to the quarterfinals is No. 6 seed Noah Rubin(Wake Forest), who was a late entry and had to come through qualifying. Sixteen-year-old Nishesh Basavareddy, who is just returning to the ITF Junior Circuit after being out with an injury most of last year, picked up his first ATP point with a win this morning over qualifier Sebastian Sec, a Princeton recruit. Basavareddy, who has verbally committed to Stanford, lost his second round match to top seed Eduard Esteve Lobato of Spain 7-6(5), 6-4, but he must be encouraged by playing the ATP No. 311 that close, with so little match play.

World No. 1 junior Jerry Shang of China, who had beaten No. 2 seed Michael Geerts(Arizona State) of Belgium 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 in the first round, lost to former Tennessee Volunteer Timo Stodder of Germany 6-2, 6-3 today.

In Orlando, a complete washout on Wednesday has put the tournament a full round behind, although they did finish the first round today. Wild card Elvina Kalieva defeated Alycia Parks 6-4, 6-0, while qualifier Robin Montgomery lost to No. 4 seed Xiyu Wang of China 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in a battle of US Open girls champions. Wild card Ashlyn Krueger lost to No. 8 seed Hailey Baptiste 6-3, 6-2. 

Even with today's loss by JJ Wolf, the ATP Challenger 80 in Columbus still has a local favorite as it heads into the quarterfinals Friday, with former Ohio State star Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark advancing today with a 6-1, 6-4 win over No. 8 seed Bjorn Fratangelo. Wolf was beaten by No. 3 seed Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.

Top seed Jenson Brooksby(Baylor), making his first appearance in 2022 after a positive covid test kept him from competing in Australia, will face No. 5 seed Ernesto Escobedo in the only all-US quarterfinal. Jack Sock, the No. 7 seed, was scheduled to play unseeded Dominic Stricker of Switzerland, the 2020 French Open boys champion, but Stricker advanced via a walkover. Stricker defeated No. 2 seed Tennys Sandgren(Tennessee) in the opening round.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Kuzuhara Saves Match Point, Reaches Semifinals of Australian Open Junior Championships; Six Americans Advance to Round of 16 at Les Petits As; Texas Women, Tennessee Men Remain No. 1 in Latest ITA Coaches Poll

Top seed Bruno Kuzuhara knew going into his Australian Open boys quarterfinal match with No. 7 seed Edas Butvilas that he was in for a battle. Butvilas had beaten him last week in the semifinals of the ITF J1 in Traralgon by a score of 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, giving the Lithuanian confidence coming into the match, which was played on the 1573 Arena, one of Melbourne Park's show courts. But Kuzuhara turned the tables, saving a match point in the second set to post a 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 victory.

Butvilas was serving up 4-1 in the first set before Kuzuhara managed to settle in, too late to put any pressure on Butvilas, but in time to dig into the second set. Butvilas saved four break points in his first four service games in the second set, coming up with big serves when he needed them, while Kuzuhara had much simpler holds. But the first break point Kuzuhara faced in the second set couldn't have been more consequential, coming at ad-out serving at 4-5. But he forced an error from Butvilas, held and held again at 5-6 to force the tiebreaker. 

Down a mini-break at 2-1, Kuzuhara won the next two points on Butvilas's serve, and a rattled Butvilas began to make errors, most of the unforced variety.

In the third set, Kuzuhara got the precious service break on a sloppy game by Butvilas to go up 3-1, but Butvilas's next two holds, each taking less than a minute, signaled he was not done. Serving for the match at 5-3 Kuzuhara made two unforced errors to get in a hole and he was unable to get out of it. 

Butvilas lost the first two points serving at 4-5, won the next two, but Kuzuhara earned his first match point at 30-40. Butvilas saved it with a clean backhand winner, and on match point No. 2 forced an error from Kuzuhara on an aggressive forehand approach. But Butvilas's first serve deserted him when he really needed it on match point No. 3 and Kuzuhara hit a backhand return winner on a second serve to close out the match.

Kuzuhara, who has now reached at least the semifinals of his last four junior circuit tournaments, will play No. 3 seed Adolfo Daniel Vallejo of Paraguay in a rematch of last month's Orange Bowl final. Vallejo, who won that match 6-2, 6-3, defeated No. 9 seed Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez of Mexico 7-5, 6-3. 

The other American boy in the quarterfinals, No. 13 seed Ozan Colak, fell just short of a memorable comeback in his 2-6, 7-6(0), 6-4 loss to No. 11 seed Kilian Feldbausch of Switzerland. 

After outplaying an error-prone Feldbausch in the first set, Colak kept pace in the second set as Feldbausch raised his level. With no breaks in the set, the tiebreaker figured to be just as close, but Colak couldn't find his earlier form and Feldbausch gave him nothing.  After dropping serve to open the third set, Colak was facing a tough comeback, and when he was unable to break back in the second game, when he had four chances, it looked bleak. But down 5-0, Feldbausch could not end it, nor was he able to get to match point serving for it at 5-2. With Colak serving at 3-5, Feldbausch had two match points, but Colak saved them both, and four more in the next game, with Feldbausch double faulting on two of them. Colak even had one break point, but on his seventh match point Feldbausch managed to finally end the two and a half hour struggle.

Kuzuhara is also through to the doubles semifinals, later tonight, with Coleman Wong of Hong Kong. Colak and Aidan Kim lost to Vallejo and Alex Michelsen, the other American in the doubles semifinals, 6-4, 6-3 in Wednesday's quarterfinals. 

Clervie Ngounoue, who is partnering with Diana Shnaider of Russia, is through to the girls doubles semifinals after they defeated Liv Hovde and Alexis Blokhina 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 in the quarterfinals.

Hovde is playing her singles quarterfinal against No. 6 seed Michaela Laki of Greece later tonight. I will update that result, as well as the doubles scores, here tomorrow.

Hovde joins Kuzuhara in the semifinals after defeating Laki 6-4, 6-0. After an exchange of breaks to open the match, Hovde jumped out to a 4-1 lead and served for the set at 5-2. She was broken, but was able to close it out on her second opportunity, serving at 5-4. Laki had taken a medical timeout at 4-1, and returned to play with her left thigh heavily taped, but she removed the tape at her next opportunity.  In the second set, the first four games were all close, but Hovde, who was getting great depth on her shots, won the important points, and once up 4-0, cruised to victory.

Hovde will play top seed and ITF junior No. 1 Petra Marcinko of Croatia, who beat unseeded Lola Radivojevic of Serbia 7-5, 6-2. The other girls semifinal will feature No. 8 seed Sofia Costoulas of Belgium and unseeded Australian Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz.

The other boys singles semifinal will be between Feldbausch and No. 4 seed Jakub Mensik.

An American boy will win the Australian Open doubles title, with Kuzuhara and Michelsen opposing each other in the final. Michelsen and Vallejo defeated Tanapatt Nirundorn of Thailand and Jaden Weekes of Canada 6-2, 5-7, 10-5 in the semifinals, while Kuzuhara and Wong beat Feldbausch and Gabriel Debru of France 6-4, 6-4.

Top seeds Ngounoue and Shnaider are through to the girls final after defeating Kempenaers-Pocz and Taylah Preston 7-5, 7-6(5). They will play unseeded Kayla Cross and Victoria Mboko of Canada, who defeated No. 2 seeds Marcinko and Johanne Svendsen of Denmark 7-6(6), 2-6, 10-7.

Six Americans moved into the round of 16 at Les Petits As today, with Keaton Hance, Sebastian Bielen, Jack Kennedy[8] and Carel Ngounoue[10] making up a quarter of those advancing with wins today. No. 16 seed Sydney Jara and wild card Capucine Jauffret are the Americans in the girls draw.

Kennedy came back for a 6-7(1), 6-2, 6-1 victory over qualifier Maximilian Heidlmair of Austria; Ngounoue defeated Ziga Sesko of Slovenia 6-4, 6-2; Bielen outlasted Lucas Bazin of France 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(2) and Hance beat Antonin Witz of France 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. Three of the four American boys remaining are in the bottom half; Ngououe and Bielen will face each other in the quarterfinals if they both win Thursday.

No. 16 seed Ford McCollum lost to Diego Dedura Palomero of Germany 6-0, 6-4 and Marcella Roversi was beaten by No. 10 seed Ada Kumru of Turkey 6-2, 7-5.

Jara defeated Eleejah Inisan of France 6-1, 6-0, and will play top seed Alena Kovackova of the Czech Republic Thursday. Jara has lost only two games in her first two matches. Jauffret defeated qualifier Julie Pastikova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2 and will play No. 5 seed Polina Kuharenko of Belarus in the round of 16.

Jauffrey and Julieta Pareja advanced to the quarterfinals in doubles with a 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 10-5 win over Ophelle Boullay of France and Lilli Tagger of Austria.

Live streaming is here. Live scoring is here.

The latest coaches poll is out, with the Tennessee men and Texas women maintaining their places at the top of the rankings. The big drops were the Pepperdine women, who went from 2 to 7 after a home loss to Cal, and the Texas men, who went from 5 to 9 after a loss to Arizona. The list of the Top 25 can be found by click on the heading.

Men's Division I Top 10 January 26 (previous week's ranking):

1. Tennessee (1)
2. Baylor (2)
3. Florida (T-3)
4. TCU (T-3)
5. Ohio State (6)
6. Virginia (T-7)
7. Georgia (T-7)
8. Southern California (9)
9. Texas (5)
10. Wake Forest (10)

Women's Division I Top 10 January 26 

1. Texas (1)
2. North Carolina (3)
3. Georgia (4)
T4. UCLA (5)
T4. California (9)
6. Duke (6)
7. Pepperdine (2)
8. NC State (8)
9. Virginia (7)
10. Central Florida (11)

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Colak, Kuzuhara and Hovde Reach Quarterfinals at Australian Open Junior Championships; Collins Joins Keys in Women's Semifinals; Three More Americans Advance at Les Petits As

Because all the Americans remaining in the Australian Open junior draws were first on Wednesday in Melbourne, I decided to wait for those results before I posted today. It was definitely a great day for Americans, with three of the five playing in the third round advancing to the quarterfinals.

No. 13 seed Ozan Colak eliminated the highest seed to fall so far, beating No. 2 seed Mili Poljicak of Croatia 3-6, 6-1, 7-5. Colak suffered the only break in the first set, but Poljicak, who was coming off a title at the J1 in Traralgon last week, didn't win a point on serve in his first two service games of second set, and Colak closed it out. The third set was close throughout, with Colak saving the only break point serving at 2-3 until Polijcak went down 15-40 at 5-all. He saved one break, but not the second, it was unforced errors that were the difference in that game. Colak didn't give points away, while Poljicak, who has a big serve, was not able to get himself out of trouble with it.

Colak fell behind 15-30 serving out the match, but he got two first serves in at 30-all and 40-30, and was rewarded with is first appearance in a junior slam quarterfinal.

Liv Hovde, also a No. 13 seed, also reached her first junior slam quarterfinal when No. 3 seed Ksenia Zaytseva of Russia retired trailing 6-3, 3-0. Hovde fell behind 2-0 to start the match, but found her form, while Zaytseva was ailing physically. She took a medical timeout, possibly for heat-related issues, and once Hovde held for 3-0, Zaytseva retired. Hovde will play No. 6 seed Michaela Laki of Greece, who came from 5-1 down in the third set to beat Dominika Salkova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-6(8).

Top seed Bruno Kuzuhara keeps rolling along, taking out No. 16 seed Lautaro Midon of Argentina 6-4, 6-1. Kuzuhara gets a chance for revenge in the next round when he takes on No. 7 seed Edas Butvilas of Lithuania, who beat him 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the semifinals of last week's J1 in Traralgon. 

Yannik Rahman lost to unseeded Yaroslav Demin of Russia 6-3, 6-1 and Qavia Lopez fell to No. 2 seed Diana Shnaider of Russia 6-2, 6-2. Lopez had taken out No. 14 seed Victoria Mboko of Canada 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 in Tuesday's second round.

Colak and Aidan Kim, Hovde and Alexis Blokhina, Alex Michelsen, Leanid Boika, Kuzuhara and Clervie Ngounoue are all through to the quarterfinals in doubles, which are later Wednesday.

No. 27 seed Danielle Collins is through to the semifinals of the Australian Open for the second time in her career, after defeating Alize Cornet of France 7-5, 6-1 Wednesday. The two-time NCAA singles champion at Virginia served for the first set at 5-4, failed on that attempt, but showed no frustration. At 5-6, Cornet saved two set points, but Collins got the third, and ran out to 5-0 lead in the second set before Cornet held.

Madison Keys also reached the Australian Open semifinals for the second time with a 6-3, 6-2 win Tuesday over No. 4 seed Barbora Krejickova of the Czech Republic. Keys will play top seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia, who defeated Jessica Pegula 6-2, 6-0.

The first round of singles concluded at Les Petits As Tuesday, with the three Americans who did not play Monday all getting wins. No. 8 seed Jack Kennedy defeated Jakub Smejcky of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-1, Keaton Hance beat qualifier Liam Channon of Great Britain 6-4, 6-2 and wild card Capucine Jauffret defeated wild card Rose Sueur of France 6-3, 6-0. Those three join Sydney Jara[16], Marcella Roversi, Carel Ngounoue, Ford McCollum and Sebastian Bielen, all of whom won Monday, in the second round.

The boys doubles are already at the quarterfinal stage, with Ngounoue, who is seeded No. 1 with partner Thijs Boogaard of the Netherlands, advancing, along with the unseeded team of Hance and McCollum. There are no boys doubles on Wednesday, with the second round of girls doubles on the schedule. The unseeded Julieta Pareja and Jauffret will play for a spot in the quarterfinals tomorrow.

Live streaming is here; live scoring is here.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Hovde, Colak and Rahman Advance to Third Round at Australian Open Junior Championships; Collins Through to Quarterfinals in Melbourne; Americans Earn Five Wins as Les Petits As Gets Underway

Three Americans have reached the round of 16 at the Australian Open Junior Championships, posting victories on the third day of the tournament.

No. 13 seed Liv Hovde had the easiest time of it, needing just 41 minutes to defeat Georgia Pedone of Italy 6-0, 6-1. No. 12 seed Ozan Colak took just over an hour to defeat Luis Alvarez Valdes of Mexico 6-4, 6-0, while Yannik Rahman earned an upset, taking out a lethargic looking Olaf Pieczkowski of Poland, the No. 8 seed, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. Rahman, a 17-year-old left-hander from Florida, is competing in his first junior slam. 

The heat was intense Monday in Melbourne, so minimizing the amount of time playing tennis in it should be helpful going forward.

Aidan Kim and Clervie Ngounoue were eliminated in their second round matches, although both are still alive in doubles. 

All junior matches are being streamed on ESPN Plus.

Monday's second round junior matches featuring Americans:

Liv Hovde[13] v Georgia Pedone(ITA) 6-0, 6-1
Ekaterina Khayrutdinova(RUS) d. Clervie Ngounoue[5] 6-4, 6-2

Yannik Rahman d. Olaf Pieczkowski[8](POL) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
Jakub Mensik[4](CZE) d. Aidan Kim 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Ozan Colak[12] d. Luis Alvarez Valdes(MEX) 6-4, 6-0

Tuesday's second round junior matches featuring Americans:

Qavia Lopez d. Victoria Mboko[14](CAN) 6-1, 5-7, 6-4
Bruno Kuzuhara[1] v Edward Winter[WC](AUS) 7-5, 6-1

Both US men who reached the fourth round of the Australian Open lost Monday, but Danielle Collins again fought back to advance to the quarterfinals, beating Elise Mertens of Belgium 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 51 minutes. With this run, Collins should reach a new career-high in the rankings, with her previous high of 23 coming back in 2019, when she reached the semifinals of the Australian Open.

Monday's fourth round results of Americans:

Danielle Collins[27] d. Elise Mertens[19](BEL) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
Stefano Tsitsipas[4](GRE) d. Taylor Fritz[20] 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 
Daniil Medvedev[2](RUS) d. Maxime Cressy 6-2, 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 7-5

Tuesday's quarterfinals featuring Americans:

Madison Keys v Barbora Krejcikova[4](CZE) 6-3, 6-2
Ashleigh Barty[1](AUS) d. Jessica Pegula[21] 6-2, 6-0

The top seeds won their first round matches today at Les Petits As, as did five of the six Americans in action.  Girls No. 1 seed Alena Kovackova of the Czech Republic defeated wild card Victoire Lansaman of France 6-2, 6-0 and boys top seed Flynn Thomas had an equally straightforward win, beating Gabriel Jacquemin of France 6-0, 6-2.

Sebastian Bielen of the United States defeated No. 14 seed Marat Salbiev of Russia 6-3, 6-0, with Sabiev one of two seeds eliminated Monday. No. 11 seed Andreas Messis of Greece lost to Matei Todoran of Romania 5-7, 7-6(6), 3-0, ret.
 
Two seeded Americans advanced: No. 10 Carel Ngounoue defeated Arthur Lenglet of France 6-3, 7-5 and No. 16 Ford McCollum beat French wild card Charles De Saint Laumer 6-1, 6-2. Jack Kennedy[8] and Keaton Hance will play their first round matches on Tuesday. 

The only seeded US girl, No. 16 Sydney Jara, cruised past Georgiana Mititelu of Great Britain 6-1, 6-0, while Marcella Roversi advanced with a 7-6(6), 6-1 victory over Thi Lien Mouret of France. Julieta Pareja lost to unseeded Hannah Klugman of Great Britain, a semifinalist last year, 6-2, 6-0.  Capucine Jauffret will play her first round match on Tuesday. 

The only seeded girl to fall Monday was No. 8 Scarlette Hetherington of France, who was beaten by Ekaterina Khodzhaeva of Russia 6-1, 6-0.

Live streaming of three courts is available at the tournament website, as is live scoring via Tennis Ticker.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Kuzuhara, Lopez Advance at Australian Open Junior Championships; Keys and Pegula Reach Quarterfinals in Melbourne; Nine Americans Begin Competition at Les Petits As in Tarbes

Two more Americans advanced to the second round of the Australian Open Junior Championships with victories Sunday, joining the five who had picked up opening round wins on Saturday.

Top seed Bruno Kuzuhara defeated Daniele Minighini of Italy 6-2, 6-2, and Qavia Lopez earned her first win at a junior slam beating Lucie Havlickova of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. The 16-year-old Lopez is playing in her first junior slam main draw, after losing in the qualifying at the US Open last summer. The ITF spoke with Kuzuhara and girls top seed Petra Marcinko of Croatia, who beat American Alexis Blokhina 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 Sunday, for this article.

In doubles action Sunday, unseeded Ozan Colak and Aidan Kim defeated No. 4 seeds Kalin Ivanovski of Macedonia and Konstantin Zhzhenov of Russia 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the second round. The remainder of the first round of doubles will be played Monday.

Sunday's first round junior matches featuring Americans:

Petra Marcinko[1](CRO) d. Alexis Blokhina 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
Qavia Lopez d. Lucie Havlickova(CZE) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1

Bruno Kuzuhara[1] v Daniele Minghini(ITA) 6-2, 6-2
Woobin Shin(KOR) d. Rohan Murali[Q] 6-0, 6-2 
Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez[9](MEX) d. Leanid Boika 6-4, 6-1

Monday's second round junior matches featuring Americans:
Liv Hovde[13] d. Georgia Pedone(ITA) 6-0, 6-1
Ekaterina Khayrutdinova(RUS) d. Clervie Ngounoue[5] 6-4, 6-2

Yannik Rahman d. Olaf Pieczkowski[8](POL) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
Jakub Mensik[4](CZE) d. Aidan Kim 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 
Ozan Colak[12] d. Luis Alvarez Valdes(MEX) 6-4, 6-0

Both Jessica Pegula and Madison Keys advanced to the women's quarterfinals at the Australian Open with wins Sunday over higher ranked opponents. Amanda Anisimova was beaten by top seed Ashleigh Barty.

Sunday's round 4 results for Americans:
Ashleigh Barty[1](AUS) d. Amanda Anisimova 6-4, 6-3
Jessica Pegula[21] d. Maria Sakkari[5](GRE) 7-6(0), 6-3
Madison Keys d. Paula Badosa[8](ESP) 6-3, 6-1


Monday's round 4 matches featuring Americans:
Danielle Collins[27] d. Elise Mertens[19](BEL) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
Stefano Tsitsipas[4](GRE) d. Taylor Fritz[20] 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 
Daniil Medvedev[2](RUS) d. Maxime Cressy 6-2, 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 7-5 

The 40th edition of the Les Petits As 14U tournament begins Monday in Tarbes France, with five US boys and four US girls in the singles draws. 

Junior Orange Bowl 14s finalist Shannon Lam, who won the USA Qualifying Playoffs this fall, is not participating, but the other three semifinalists are in the draw: Sydney Jara, seeded No. 16, Marcella Roversi and Julieta Pareja. Capucine Jauffret, who lost to Jara in the quarterfinals of the playoffs, was given a wild card.

The top girls seed is Alena Kovackova of the Czech Republic, which has three of top four girls seeds. Hannah Klugman of Great Britain, who reached the quarterfinals of the Junior Orange Bowl 14s last month, is in the draw, but not seeded. She reached the semifinals of the 2021 Les Petits As last September, after the tournament was postponed from early in the yearl.

All four semifinalists from the boys playoffs are in the draw: winner Jack Kennedy, seeded No. 8, finalist Ford McCollum, seeded No. 16, Keaton Hance and Sebastian Bielen. Carel Ngounoue, who did not compete in the Playoffs, is the fifth US boy in the draw, seeded No. 10.  

The top seed in the boys draw is Flynn Thomas of Switzerland. Junior Orange Bowl B12s champion Svit Suljic of Slovenia received a wild card.

If you prefer the printable ITF-style draws and order of play, they can be found at the Tennis Europe tournament page.

I covered the ITF Junior Circuit results from Traralgon, the J1 in Colombia, the J4 in Costa Rica and the J5 in New Jersey, but I neglected to note another doubles title for Anya Murthy at the J2 in India. Murthy, who won a J3 doubles title earlier this month, partnered with Russian Vlada Mincheva for a title this week in Kolkata. The No. 4 seeds beat No. 3 seeds Victoria Milovanova and Daria Shadchneva of Russia 1-6, 6-4, 10-6 in the final.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Zheng Wins J1 Title in Colombia; Filin Sweeps Singles and Doubles at J4 in Costa Rica; Five US Juniors Advance to Round 2 at Australian Open; Collins, Fritz and Cressy Reach Round of 16 in Melbourne

The singles finals of the ITF J1 in Barranquilla Colombia were played today, with Michael Zheng taking the boys title and Olivia Lincer falling in the girls championship match.

In last night's semifinals, Zheng avenged his semifinal loss to Cooper Williams at last week's  J1 in Costa Rica, with the No. 5 seed defeating the top seed 6-3, 6-3. In today's final, Zheng beat No. 8 seed Jan Hrazdil of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-1 to earn his first ITF Junior Circuit singles title. Last week's doubles title with Williams in Costa Rica was the 17-year-old Columbia recruit's first title on the circuit. 

Lincer, the No. 9 seed, defeated Madeleine Jessup of Taiwan 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in Friday night's semifinal, but she lost to No. 11 seed Sayaka Ishii of Japan in today's final 6-3, 6-2. 

In the doubles finals Friday, the unseeded Slovakian team of Renata Jamrichova and Nina Vargova defeated No. 2 seeds Krystal Blanch and Ava Krug 7-5, 6-2 and No. 2 seeds Peter Nad of Slovakia and Martin Vergara del Puerto of Paraguay beat the unseeded pairing of John Kim and Canada's Duncan Chan 6-4, 5-7, 10-8. 

Nikita Filin swept the titles at this week's J4 in Costa Rica, as did Puerto Rico's Natalia Perez.  Filin, the No. 2 seed, defeated top seed Jackson Armistead 7-6(4), 6-7(5) 6-1 in the all-US singles final. The 15-year-old from Illinois had won the doubles title Friday with partner Roy Horovitz, with the top seeds defeating unseeded Tygen Goldammer and Kase Schinnerer 6-3, 6-1 in another all-US final.

The 15-year-old Perez, seeded No. 3, beat unseeded Claire An 6-4, 6-2 in the girls singles final. She and Brooklyn Olson won the doubles title Friday, with the No. 3 seeds defeating unseeded An and Kayla Schefke 6-4, 7-6(2). 

It's the second J4 singles title for both Filin and Perez.

Five of the six Americans in action Saturday advanced to the second round of the Australian Open Junior Championships, and the remaining five in the draw are on Sunday's schedule. Rahman, who was playing in Costa Rica last week, was particularly impressive in rebounding for his first junior slam win after making that long trip.

Saturday's first round junior matches featuring Americans:

Yannick Rahman d. Louis Bowden[Q](GBR) 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
Aidan Kim d. Gerard Campana Lee(KOR) 6-3, 6-2
Kilian Feldbausch[11](SUI) d. Quang Duong[Q] 6-0, 6-3
Ozan Colak[13] d. Dinko Dinev(BUL) 6-0, 6-1

Liv Hovde[13] v Talia Gibson[WC](AUS) 6-3, 7-6(8)
Clervie Ngounoue[5] d. Nahia Berecoechea(FRA) 6-3, 6-4

Sunday's first round junior matches featuring Americans:

Petra Marcinko[1](CRO) d. Alexis Blokhina 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 
Qavia Lopez d. Lucie Havlickova(CZE) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1

Bruno Kuzuhara[1] v Daniele Minghini(ITA) 6-2, 6-2
Woobin Shin(KOR) d. Rohan Murali[Q] 6-0, 6-2
Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez[9](MEX) d. Leanid Boika 6-4, 6-1

The doubles draws were released Saturday, with Sunday's schedule featuring eight girls and eight boys doubles matches. The top seeds in the boys draw are the Traralgon J1 champions Mili Poljicak of Croatia and Edas Butvilas of Lithuania. Bruno Kuzuhara and Hong Kong's Coleman Wong are the No. 2 seeds.

Alex Michelsen and Kurt Miller, who lost in the final round of singles qualifying, both were accepted into the doubles draw, easing the disappointment of not reaching the main draw in singles.

The top seeds in the girls draw are Diana Shnaider of Russia and Clervie Ngounoue. The No. 2 seeds are Croatia's Petra Marcinko and Johanne Svendsen of Denmark. Shnaider and Marcinko won the Orange Bowl doubles title last month.

Three more Americans advanced to the Australian Open round of 16 with wins Saturday, two of them former NCAA champions. Danielle Collins(Virginia), who won the singles title in both 2014 and 2016, earned a come-from-behind victory over Danish teenager Clara Tauson, while Maxime Cressy(UCLA), who won the doubles title in 2019, made the fourth round of a major for the first time with a four-set win over Australian wild card Christopher O'Connell.  Taylor Fritz also reached the fourth round of a major for the first time with a five-set win over Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain.

Saturday's third round results of Americans: 

Danielle Collins[27] d. Clara Tauson(DEN) 4-6, 6-4, 7-5
Taylor Fritz[20] d. Roberto Bautista Agut[15](ESP) 6-0. 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
Maxime Cressy d. Christopher O'Connell[WC](AUS) 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-2

Sunday's fourth round matches featuring Americans:

Ashleigh Barty[1](AUS) d. Amanda Anisimova 6-4, 6-3 
Jessica Pegula[21] d. Maria Sakkari[5](GRE) 7-6(0), 6-3
Madison Keys d. Paula Badosa[8](ESP) 6-3, 6-1

Friday, January 21, 2022

Australian Open Junior Championships Begin Saturday, with Kuzuhara No. 1 Seed; Three US Women Advance to AO Fourth Round; Joint, Woestendick Claim ITF J5 Titles in New Jersey; Four Americans in Colombia J1 Semifinals

In less than an hour, the Australian Open Junior Championships begin in Melbourne, with the traditional start to the junior slam calendar returning after the cancellation of last year's event.

Seven US boys and four US girls are in the draw, with six of the 11 in first round action Saturday (tonight in the US). Bruno Kuzuhara is the top seed, with Ozan Colak the other American seeded, at 13. The other American boys are qualifiers Rohan Murali and Quang Duong, Aidan Kim, Leanid Boika and Yannik Rahman. Rahman played the Costa Rica J1 last week, the only AO player to have those two far-flung tournaments on his schedule. 

The US girls in the draw are Alexis Blokhina, No. 13 seed Liv Hovde, No. 5 seed Clervie Ngounoue and Qavia Lopez. 

Neither of Orange Bowl champions played the warmup event in Traralgon, but both Adolfo Daniel Vallejo of Paraguay and Petra Marcinko of Croatia are entered in the Australian Open Junior Championships. Vallejo is the No. 3 seed; Marcinko, who ascended to No. 1 in the ITF junior rankings after sweeping the Orange Bowl titles, is the top seed. She faces Blokhina in a Sunday match.  Kuzuhara is also not on Saturday's schedule.

The ITF has put together a very detailed set of notes for the year's first junior slam; I'm not aware that this has been done before, but it's a welcome addition for media and fans alike.

Saturday's first round junior matches featuring Americans:

Yannick Rahman d. Louis Bowden[Q](GBR) 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
Aidan Kim v Gerard Campana Lee(KOR) 6-3, 6-2
Kilian Feldbausch[11](SUI) d. Quang Duong[Q] 6-0, 6-3 
Ozan Colak[13] d. Dinko Dinev(BUL) 6-0, 6-1

Liv Hovde[13] d. Talia Gibson[WC](AUS) 6-3, 7-6(8)
Clervie Ngounoue[5] d. Nahia Berecoechea(FRA) 6-3, 6-4

Both US men in action at the Australian Open Friday lost, leaving just Taylor Fritz and Maxime Cressy with a chance to reach the round of 16. All three US women did win their third round matches, with Amanda Anisimova particularly impressive in her victory over defending champion Naomi Osaka of Japan.  On Saturday, Danielle Collins will attempt to join Anisimova, Jessica Pegula and Madison Keys in the fourth round when she takes on 2019 Australian Open girls champion Clara Tauson of Denmark.

Friday's third round results for Americans:

Amanda Anisimova d. Naomi Osaka[13](JPN) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5)
Jessica Pegula[21] d. Nuria Parrizas Diaz(ESP) 7-6(3), 6-2
Madison Keys d. Qiang Wang(CHN) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(2)

Pablo Carreno Busta[19](ESP) d. Sebastian Korda 6-4, 7-5, 6-7(6), 6-3
Denis Shapovalov[14](CAN) d. Reilly Opelka[23] 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4

Saturday's third round matches featuring Americans: 

Danielle Collins[27] d. Clara Tauson(DEN) 4-6, 6-4, 7-5
Taylor Fritz[20] d. Roberto Bautista Agut[15](ESP) 6-0, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
Maxime Cressy d. Christopher O'Connell[WC](AUS) 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-2

Maya Joint made it two J5 singles titles in a row today, claiming the championship in Medford New Jersey, while also taking the doubles title. The third-seeded Joint, who won the J5 last Friday in Wisconsin, defeated qualifier Esha Velaga 6-2, 6-3 in the final. She again got the better of Velaga in the doubles final, with Joint and partner Conley Raidt, the No. 4 seeds, beating the unseeded team of Velaga and Erin Ha 7-5, 7-6(12). Joint had lost in the doubles final last week in Eau Claire.

In the boys final, unseeded Cooper Woestendick, who was runner-up in Wisconsin last week, got his first ITF Junior Circuit title with a 6-7(1), 7-5, 6-1 win over No. 5 seed Evan Wen. Wen did collect a title later in the doubles, with partner Payton Young. The top seeds defeated unseeded Maxwell Exsted and Maximus Dussault 6-4, 2-6, 10-3 in the final.

The semifinals are this evening at the J1 in Barranquilla Colombia, with four Americans hoping to advance. One is certain to be eliminated, with top seed Cooper Williams and No. 5 seed Michael Zheng playing in a J1 semifinal for the second week in a row.  The winner of that match will play the winner of the match between unseeded Paul Barbier Gazeu of France and No. 8 seed Jan Hrazdil of the Czech Republic, who recorded quarterfinal wins over No. 3 seed Nicholas Godsick and No. 14 seed Alexander Frusina respectively.

The two US girls in the semifinals are No. 2 seed Krystal Blanch, who is playing No. 11 seed Sayaka Ishii of Japan, and No. 9 seed Olivia Lincer, who is facing No. 13 seed Madeleine Jessup of Taiwan.  Jessup took out No. 5 seed Mia Slama 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the quarterfinals. 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Five US Boys, Three US Girls Reach Quarterfinals at Colombia J1; All-US Finals at New Jersey J5; Anthrop, Bernard Receive Columbus Challenger Wild Cards; Cressy, Fritz, Collins Through to Australian Open Third Round; Michael Center Gives Sports Illustrated His View of Varsity Blues Scandal

There is no order of play posted for today's quarterfinals at the ITF J1 in Barranquilla Colombia, but since I didn't report on it yesterday, it's a good time to catch up on what's happening there. Five of the eight boys quarterfinalists are from the United States, with just one of the quarterfinals between Americans, with top seed Cooper Williams playing No. 12 seed Jonah Braswell. No. 5 seed Michael Zheng faces No. 4 seed Martin Vergara Del Puerto of Paraguay, No. 3 seed Nicholas Godsick plays unseeded Paul Barbier Gazeu of France and No. 14 seed Alexander Frusina takes on No. 8 seed Jan Hrazdil of the Czech Republic.

Three US girls have reached the quarterfinals; No. 9 seed Olivia Lincer, No. 5 seed Mia Slama and No. 2 seed Krystal Blanch. Lincer, who had to qualify, I assume due to a late entry, faces unseeded Ena Koike of Japan; Slama plays No. 13 seed Madeleine Jessup, formerly of the US, but now representing Taiwan, and Blanch takes on unseeded Ellie Daniels of Canada.

The finals are set for the J5 in Medford New Jersey, with Maya Joint going for a second straight title, while Cooper Woestendick is hoping to improve on his appearance in the final last week at the J5 in Wisconsin. 

Joint, the No. 3 seed, defeated qualifier Erin Ha 6-1, 6-3 to run her 2022 winning streak to nine matches. Joint will play qualifier Esha Velaga, who defeated 13-year-old wild card Shannon Lam 6-3, 7-5. The 17-year-old Velaga is playing in just her second ITF Junior Circuit tournament, after qualifying for the J1 in College Park Maryland last summer.

The 15-year-old Woestendick defeated No. 3 seed Shrikeshav Murugesan 7-5, 6-2 for his fourth consecutive straight-sets win. He will play No. 5 seed Evan Wen, who came back to defeat No. 4 seed Eric Lin 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-2. The 18-year-old Wen will be playing in his first ITF Junior Circuit final.

Bernard has signed with Ohio State and will join the Buckeyes this fall 

The ATP 80 Challenger in Columbus, the first men's pro event in the United States in 2022, announced the wild cards for next week's tournament. 

Jenson Brooksby, who tested positive for Covid-19 prior to leaving for Australia, has received a wild card, as has Ohio State freshman Jack Anthrop and recruit Alex Bernard. The qualifying wild cards were given to Keegan Smith, Preston Stearns, Chad Miller, Alexander Cozbinov. Obviously most of the wild cards have ties to the Ohio State men's program. I'm surprised that no current players were among the wild card recipients. 

The full release from yesterday:

Columbus, OH. (January 19th, 2022) - Professional tennis returns to Columbus next week, as the Tennis Ohio Championships are set to take place January 24th-January 30th. Hosted at Tennis Ohio, Columbus will welcome world-class players, as they compete for a $54,000 purse and valuable ATP ranking points. The tournament, which has become a staple on the USTA Pro Circuit over the last several years, is excited to host one of its strongest player fields to date. 

Headlining the 2022 player field is USTA Wildcard recipient, Jenson Brooksby (USA). Brooksby is currently ranked 58th in the world and represents to top ranked player to ever play the event. Tennys Sandgren (USA), currently ranked 94 in the ATP World Tour rankings, represents the 2nd highest ranked player. Other top players in the field include Sam Querrey (USA), Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN), Jack Sock (USA) and Andreas Seppi (ITA). 

The field also features numerous players with Ohio ties. Former Ohio State standout, JJ Wolf (USA) (who trains at Tennis Ohio), will look to capture his third Tennis Ohio Championships. Wolf looks to build off a strong fall on the ATP Challenger Tour, which featured a title (Las Vegas) and three other semi-final appearances. Mikael Torpegaard (DEN), who also trains at Tennis Ohio, has won the Tennis Ohio Championships two times himself, and will look to build momentum. Future and current Ohio State Buckeyes will also compete, as Jack Anthrop (current Ohio State freshman), Alexander Bernard (Ohio State commit) and Preston Stearns (Ohio State commit) will all make their ATP Challenger Tour debut. Cincinnati native and Northwestern commit, Chad Miller, will compete in the qualifying singles. 

Main Draw Singles Wildcards: Jenson Brooksby (USTA), Jack Anthrop, Alexander Bernard
Qualifying Singles Wildcards: Keegan Smith (USTA), Preston Stearns, Chad Miller, Alexander Cozbinov

Held since 2015, this is the 10th edition of the Columbus ATP Challenger Tour event. Entry is free to the public and matches can be livestreamed on the ATP Challenger Tour website. Due to ATP Challenger Tour requirements, all fans must wear a mask when at the facility. 

About Tennis Ohio:
The mission of Tennis Ohio is to improve the junior tennis experience for kids and their families. Tennis Ohio works to create a space where local individuals, groups, and tennis interact and engage with each other to improve the quality of our greater community. Based at Tennis Ohio, Kass Tennis Academy is a high-performance training base for juniors and professional players with on and off-court programming orient ed to maximize each player's long-term potential.

Three more Americans have reached the third round of the Australian Open, with Danielle Collins, Taylor Fritz and Maxime Cressy advancing with wins Thursday. I was able to watch the Collins win over Ana Konjuh of Croatia, but it was extremely frustrating that ESPN+ was unable to provide a feed of the Fritz-Tiafoe match. I did see games here and there when ESPN 2 would check in on the match, but "technical issues" made watching two of the best young Americans all but impossible. Here's an article on the problems, with a response from the network.

Cressy, the former UCLA Bruin, is through to the third round of a major for the first time. Here is an ATP article on Cressy's improbable rise from the bottom of the UCLA depth chart to the ATP Top 100, with insights from his former teammate Austin Rapp, now the volunteer assistant at Texas (and part-time coach of Catherine Harrison).

Thursday's second round results:
Jannik Sinner[11](ITA) d. Steve Johnson 6-2, 6-4, 6-3
Taylor Fritz[20] d. Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(5)
Maxime Cressy d. Tomas Machac[Q](CZE) 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5)

Danielle Collins[27] d. Ana Konjuh(CRO) 6-4, 6-3
Maddison Inglis[WC](AUS) d. Hailey Baptiste[Q] 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-2 

Friday's third round matches featuring Americans:

Amanda Anisimova d. Naomi Osaka[13](JPN) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5)
Jessica Pegula[21] d. Nuria Parrizas Diaz(ESP) 7-6(3), 6-2
Madison Keys d. Qiang Wang(CHN) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(2)

Pablo Carreno Busta[19](ESP) d. Sebastian Korda 6-4, 7-5, 6-7(6), 6-3
Denis Shapovalov[14](CAN) d. Reilly Opelka[23] 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4

Former University of Texas men's head coach Michael Center was the most prominent tennis coach charged in the Varsity Blues scandal and he spent six months in jail for his role in admitting a student as a tennis recruit who had no credentials nor any interest in playing on the men's team. Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated spoke to Center about how Center became involved with Rick Singer, the central figure in the scandal and how Center managed to navigate through the process at Texas. Center accepts responsibility for his actions, but doesn't understand how he could be the only person at the University who paid any price for what happened. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Murali and Duong Qualify for Australian Open Junior Championships; Poljicak Sweeps Traralgon J1 Titles; Tennessee Men Move to Number 1 in Latest Coaches Poll; Bellis Announces Retirement

Qualifying for the Australian Open Junior Championships is going on now, and with live scoring available, I'm able to report on the boys results, the only draw with Americans competing. All four US boys in the qualifying won their first round matches Wednesday, with Quang Duong[13] needing nearly three hours to secure a 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 win over Jeremy Zhang of Australia and Rohan Murali playing over four hours before getting past No. 5 seed Patrick Brady of Great Britain 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(7). Kurt Miller[1] beat Michael Caspanello of Australia 6-4, 6-2 and Alex Michelsen[3] defeated Nicholas Di Vivo of Australia 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

Murali surely needed a less arduous final round qualifying match Thursday and he got it, beating Kenta Miyoshi[12] of Japan 6-0, 6-1 in just over an hour to reach the main draw, his first at a junior slam. Miller lost to No. 14 seed Jack Loutit of New Zealand, a Kentucky recruit, 6-4, 6-4 and Alex Michelsen[3] lost to Asahi Harazaki[16] of Japan 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-1. Duong's court wasn't available on live scoring, but he will join his fellow Southern Californian in a first main draw of a junior slam after defeating Adam Kresina of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-3.

The ITF J1 Traralgon warmup event for the Australian Open Junior Championships is complete, with Sofia Costoulas of Belgium winning her first J1 title and Mili Poljicak of Croatia sweeping the singles and doubles championships.

Costoulas, the No. 7 seed, defeated No. 16 seed Kayla Cross of Canada 6-4, 6-2, and Poljicak, the No. 2 seed beat No. 6 seed Edas Butvilas of Lithuania 5-7, 6-3, 6-3. Cross did leave Traralgon with a winner's trophy however, claiming the doubles title with Victoria Mboko. The No. 4 seeds defeated No. 8 seeds Mia Kupres of Canada 6-3, 4-6, 10-6. It's the fifth ITF junior circuit doubles title for the pair, who won four last year, including November's JA in Merida.

Butvilas also managed to get a title in Traralgon, partnering with Poljicak to earn the doubles title. The top seeds defeated No. 2 seeds Bruno Kuzuhara and Hong Kong's Coleman Wong 5-7, 6-2, 10-4 in the final. 

The latest ITA Division I team coaches poll was released today, with the only changes in the top 10 on the men's side. With TCU beating Florida, Florida beating Texas and Tennessee beating TCU, there was some shuffling at the top with the Volunteers taking over the top ranking. It's the first time since 2011 that Tennessee has been No. 1 in the rankings, according to this article from the school's website. The top 10 women haven't had any head-to-head matches, so their rankings did not change from two weeks ago. Top 25 rankings can be found by clicking the heading.

Men's Division I Top 10 January 19 coaches poll (previous ranking)

1. Tennessee (4)
2. Baylor (2)
T3. Florida (1)
T3. TCU (5)
5. Texas (3)
6. Ohio State (6)
T7. Virginia (7)
T7. Georgia (8)
9. Southern Cal (9)
10. Wake Forest (10)

Women's Division I Top 10 January 19 coaches poll (previous ranking)

1. Texas (1)
2. Pepperdine (2)
3. North Carolina (3)
4. Georgia (4)
5. UCLA (5)
6. Duke (6)
7. Virginia (7)
8. NC State (8)
9. California (9)
10. Ohio State (10)

Five Americans advanced to the third round of the Australian Open Wednesday, with six more in second round action Thursday.

Thursday's second round matches featuring Americans:

Jannik Sinner[11](ITA) d. Steve Johnson 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 
Taylor Fritz[20] d. Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(5)
Maxime Cressy d. Tomas Machac[Q](CZE) 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5)

Danielle Collins[27] d. Ana Konjuh(CRO) 6-4, 6-3
Maddison Inglis[WC](AUS) d. Hailey Baptiste[Q] 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-2v

Wednesday's second round results:

Amanda Anisimova d. Belinda Bencic[22](SUI) 6-2, 7-5
Naomi Osaka[13](JPN) d. Madison Brengle 6-0, 6-4
Jessica Pegula[21] d. Bernarda Pera 6-4, 6-4
Jelena Ostapenko[26](LAT) d. Alison Riske 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
Madison Keys d. Jaqueline Cristian(ROU) 6-2, 7-5

Miomir Kecmanovic(SRB) d. Tommy Paul 7-6(7), 7-5, 7-6(8)
Sebastian Korda d. Corentin Moutet(FRA) 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-5, 7-6(6)
Matteo Berrettini[7](ITA) d. Stefan Kozlov[WC] 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
Reilly Opelka[23] d. Dominik Koepfer(GER) 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(4)
Aslan Karatsev[18](RUS) d. Mackenzie McDonald 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3

Cici Bellis, still just 22 years old, announced today that she has retired from tennis. Bellis, who has not played in over a year and did commentary for the NCAA championships last spring, said that her arm injury and all the surgeries and rehab she has done in the past three years, to no avail, prompted the decision. She is near college graduation and is planning to get her MBA. For more on her career plans, see this tweet. I've been following Cici's career since I first saw her at the Junior Orange Bowl in 2011, where she made the 12s final, and I'm sure that although we'll miss seeing her on a tennis court, she'll take that same tenacity and competitive spirit to her business career.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Australian Open Junior Qualifying Begins Wednesday, with Four American Boys Vying for Main Draw; Williams Leads Large US Contingent at Colombia J1; Top Seeds Out at J5 in New Jersey; Six More Americans Advance in Melbourne

Qualifying for the Australian Open Junior Championships begin Wednesday, which is tonight in the United States. Four American boys are in the qualifying draw: top seed Kurt Miller, No. 3 seed Alex Michelsen, Rohan Murali and No. 13 seed Quang Duong. Murali, who did not play Traralgon, made the trip from San Diego for what could turn out to be just one match. Murali, a blue chip junior, has played mostly UTR Pro Tour events in Newport Beach, but he did take ITF No. 1 junior Jerry Shang to three sets in the third round of the Easter Bowl ITF this year as a wild card entry.

There are no US girls in the AO junior qualifying, with 26 of the 32 girls competing from Australia. In contrast, the boys qualifying features just 12 Australians.

Top seed Bruno Kuzuhara lost in the semifinals of the J1 in Traralgon, with No. 6 seed Edas Butvilas of Lithuania earning a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 victory for a spot in his first J1 final. Butvilas will play No. 2 seed and doubles partner Mili Poljicak of Croatia, who defeated No. 5 seed Gabriel Debru of France 7-6(2), 7-6(4). Kuzuhara is still in the running for a title in the doubles, however, after he and Coleman Wong of Hong Kong, the No. 2 seeds, defeated unseeded Ozan Colak and Aidan Kim 6-4, 7-6(8) in the semifinals. They will face top seeds Butvilas and Poljicak in the championship match.

No. 7 seed Sofia Costoulas of Belgium and No. 16 seed Kayla Cross of Canada will meet for the girls title, after Costoulas defeated Australian wild card Taylah Preston 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 and Cross beat No. 8 seed Celine Naef of Switzerland 7-6(5), 6-2. It's the first J1 final for Cross, the third for Costoulas, who is 0-2 so far at that level.  Cross and Victoria Mboko will also play for the doubles title, with the No. 4 seeds facing No. 8 seeds Mia Kupres of Canada and Ranah Stoiber of Great Britain.

While the J1 in Australia is concluding, the J1 in Barranquilla Colombia is beginning, with 15 US boys and 12 US girls in the draw. Unlike Tralagon, which features a normal 64-player draw, Barranquilla is reduced to 48, with the 16 seeds not playing until today's second round.  Seven of the 16 boys seeds are from the United States: Cooper Williams[1], Nico Godsick[3], Michael Zheng[5], Joseph Phillips[10], Alex Razeghi[11], Jonah Braswell[12] and Alexander Frusina[14].  Seven of the 16 girls seeds are also from the United States: Krystal Blanch[2], Mia Slama[5], Ava Krug[7], Olivia Lincer[9], Kaitlin Quevedo[10], Sonya Macavei[12] and Tatum Evans[14].

Coffee Bowl champion Sebastian Gorzny and semifinalist Learner Tien are not playing this week in Colombia.

Fourteen-year-old Katie Rolls qualified and defeated last week's finalist Naomi Xu of Canada 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 in the first round.  Junior Orange Bowl 14s champion Alejandro Arcila did get the wild card he was hoping for, but he lost to Ye Hongyu of China 6-4, 6-4.

The J5 in Medford New Jersey has reached the quarterfinal stage, with neither of the top seeds in either the boys or girls draws still alive.

Qualifier Erin Ha defeated top seed Vladislava Andreevskaya of Kyrgyzstan 6-0, 6-0 in the second round today, while lucky loser Claire Hill beat No. 2 seed Sophie Williams 6-2, 6-1 in Monday's first round.

In the boys draw, Payton Young defeated top seed Rohan Belday 6-0, 6-2 in today's second round, with wild card Maximus Dussault taking out No. 2 seed Joseph Oyebog Jr. 7-5, 6-2, also today.

The first round of singles is complete at the Australian Open, with Americans winning 17 and losing 17. It was a tough Day Two for US women, with just two wins and seven losses, but qualifier Hailey Baptiste did come from 6-4, 5-3 down to beat Caroline Garcia of France 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3.  Maxime Cressy continued his stellar play of the past three months, defeating No. 22 seed John Isner 7-6(2), 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-7(4), 6-4.

Wednesday's second round singles matches featuring Americans:

Amanda Anisimova d. Belinda Bencic[22](SUI) 6-2, 7-5
Naomi Osaka[13](JPN) d. Madison Brengle 6-0, 6-4
Jessica Pegula[21] d. Bernarda Pera 6-4, 6-4
Jelena Ostapenko[26](LAT) d. Alison Riske 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
Madison Keys d. Jaqueline Cristian(ROU) 6-2, 7-5

Miomir Kecmanovic(SRB) d. Tommy Paul 7-6(7), 7-5, 7-6(8)
Sebastian Korda d. Corentin Moutet(FRA) 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-5, 7-6(6)
Matteo Berrettini[7](ITA) d. Stefan Kozlov[WC] 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
Reilly Opelka[23] d. Dominik Koepfer(GER) 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(4)
Aslan Karatsev[18](RUS) d. Mackenzie McDonald 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3


Tuesday's first round results featuring Americans:

Ana Konjuh(CRO) d. Shelby Rogers 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
Danielle Collins[27] d. Caroline Dolehide[Q] 6-1, 6-3
Beatriz Haddad Maia(BRA) d. Katie Volynets[Q] 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
Emma Raducanu[17](GBR) d. Sloane Stephens 6-0, 2-6, 6-1 
Samantha Stosur[WC](AUS) d. Robin Anderson[WC] 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3 
Hailey Baptiste[Q] d. Caroline Garcia(FRA) 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3
Liudmila Samsonova(RUS) d. Emina Bektas[Q] 7-5, 6-4 
Xinyu Wang(CHN) d. Ann Li 7-6(5), 6-3

Steve Johnson d. Jordan Thompson(AUS) 7-6(5), 6-7(6), 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
Frances Tiafoe d. Marco Trungelliti[Q](ARG) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Taylor Fritz[20] d. Maximilian Marterer[Q](GER) 7-6(8), 6-3, 6-2
Maxime Cressy d. John Isner[22] 7-6(2), 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-7(4), 6-4

Monday, January 17, 2022

Kuzuhara Through to Semifinals at Traralgon J1; Australian Open Junior Wild Cards; Eleven Americans Advance in Melbourne; Chang Sweeps Titles at Vero Beach $25K, Black Wins $15K

Top seed Bruno Kuzuhara has moved into the semifinals of the ITF J1 in Traralgon Australia, with the other three Americans in the quarterfinals failing to advance.

Kuzuhara defeated No. 7 seed Olaf Pieczkowski of Poland 6-2, 6-2 and will play No. 6 seed Edas Butvilas of Lithuania in the semifinals. Butvilas ended the run of qualifier Alex Michelsen 6-3, 7-6(4).  The other boys semifinal features No. 5 seed Gabriel Debru and No. 2 seed Mili Polijcak of Croatia.

Top seed Diana Shnaider of Russia lost to No. 7 seed Sofia Costoulas of Belgium 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 and will face Australian wild card Taylah Preston. Preston defeated No. 11 seed Liv Hovde 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. Clervie Ngounoue, the No. 4 seed, retired trailing No. 8 seed Celine Naef of Switzerland 6-4, 0-1. Naef's semifinal opponent is No. 16 seed Kayla Cross of Canada, who defeated unseeded Dominika Salkova of the Czech Republic 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Kuzuhara and his partner Coleman Wong of Hong Kong, the No. 2 seeds, will play the unseeded team of Ozan Colak and Aidan Kim in the doubles semifinals, assuring at least one American in the final. No US girls remain in doubles.

The main wild cards for the Australian Open Junior Championships have been announced, with all but two from the host country. The six Australian boys below all received Traralgon wild cards as well, with Winter, who beat Gilles Simon in the first round of men's qualifying, getting one win and Jin two before falling to seeds Debru and Kuzuhara respectively. Of the girls AO wild cards, seven of the eight also received wild cards into Tralagon. Preston is still going, of course, with Gibson and Saito reaching the third round.

Boys:
Edward Winter (AUS)
Jeremy Jin (AUS)
Charlie Camus (AUS)
Hayden Jones (AUS)
Alec Braund (AUS)
Amor Jasika (AUS)
Maxim Batyutenko (KAZ)
TBA

Girls:
Taylah Preston (AUS)
Talia Gibson (AUS)
Catherine Aulia (AUS)
Lily Taylor (AUS)
Roisin Gilheany (AUS)
Lily Fairclough (AUS)
Yuilin Yan (AUS)
Sara Saito (JPN)

Americans went 11-9 in first round play Monday at the Australian Open. Sebastian Korda, who tested positive on his arrival in Australia and did not get to play any warmup events, defeated No. 12 seed Cameron Norrie of Great Britain 6-3, 6-0, 6-4 in the biggest men's upset of the first day. The only two seeded women to lose Monday were both Americans: Coco Gauff, the No. 18 seed, fell to Qiang Wang of China 6-4, 6-2 and Sofia Kenin, the 2020 champion and No. 11 seed this year, lost to Madison Keys 7-6(2), 7-5.

Fourteen more Americans are in action Tuesday (Monday night in the US):

Ana Konjuh(CRO) d. Shelby Rogers 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
Danielle Collins[27] d. Caroline Dolehide[Q] 6-1, 6-3
Beatriz Haddad Maia(BRA) d. Katie Volynets[Q] 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
Emma Raducanu[17](GBR) d. Sloane Stephens 6-0, 2-6, 6-1 
Samantha Stosur[WC](AUS) d. Robin Anderson[WC] 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3 
Hailey Baptiste[Q] d. Caroline Garcia(FRA) 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3
Liudmila Samsonova(RUS) d. Emina Bektas[Q] 7-5, 6-4 
Xinyu Wang(CHN) d. Ann Li 7-6(5), 6-3

Steve Johnson d. Jordan Thompson(AUS) 7-6(5), 6-7(6), 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
Frances Tiafoe d. Marco Trungelliti[Q](ARG) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Taylor Fritz[20] v Maximilian Marterer[Q](GER) 7-6(8), 6-3, 6-2
Maxime Cressy d. John Isner[22] 7-6(2), 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-7(4), 6-4

Monday's first round results:

Tereza Martincova(CZE) d. Lauren Davis 7-5, 6-2 
Amanda Anisimova d. Arianne Hartono[Q](NED) 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
Madison Brengle d. Dayana Yastremska(UKR) 6-1, 0-6, 5-0 ret.
Bernarda Pera d. Ekaterina Alexandrova(RUS) 7-5, 6-3
Jessica Pegula[21] d. Anhelina Kalinina(UKR) 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-5
Veronika Kudermetova[28](RUS) d. Claire Liu 6-4, 6-4
Alison Riske d. Donna Vekic(CRO) 6-2, 6-2
Madison Keys d. Sofia Kenin[11] 7-6(2), 7-5
Qiang Wang(CHN) d. Coco Gauff[18] 6-4, 6-2 


Tommy Paul d. Mikhail Kukushkin[Q](KAZ) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
Lorenzo Sonego[25](ITA) d. Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-3, 6-3
Alexander Bublik(KAZ) d. Ernesto Escobedo[LL] 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-3
Sebastian Korda d. Cameron Norrie[12](GBR) 6-3, 6-0, 6-4
Stefan Kozlov[WC] d. Jiri Vesely(CZE) 7-5, 6-3, 6-4
Matteo Berrettini[7](ITA) d. Brandon Nakashima 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(5), 6-3
Reilly Opelka[23] d. Kevin Anderson(RSA) 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3)
Mackenzie McDonald d. Nikola Milojevic[Q](SRB) 5-7, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2
Karen Khachanov[28](RUS) d. Denis Kudla 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(2) 
Rafael Nadal[6](ESP) d. Marcos Giron 6-1, 6-4, 6-2


Rain interrupted the finals of the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Vero Beach, but they did manage to complete it last night, with Sophie Chang claiming both the singles and doubles titles. The 24-year-old Chang, the No. 7 seed, defeated No. 4 seed Vera Lapko of Belarus 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 to earn her second singles title on the Pro Circuit and her first since 2018. Chang and partner Allie Kiick, the No. 3 seeds, then won the doubles title, beating No. 4 seeds Anna Rogers(NC State) and Christina Rosca(Vanderbilt) 6-3, 6-3. Chang now has won 11 titles on the ITF World Tennis Tour.

Hurricane Tyra Black ended her year in November with the title at a $15,000 ITF World Tennis Tour women's tournament in Guatemala and she picked up right where she left off last week in Turkey, running her winning streak to 20 sets and 10 matches at the $15,000 tournament in Antalya. The No. 1 seed, Black defeated Czech junior Barbora Palicova, seeded No. 7, 6-0, 6-4 in the final.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Orange Bowl Videos; Four Americans Advance to Traralgon J1 Quarterfinals; Twenty Americans in Action as Australian Open Begins

I've processed my videos of last month's finals from the Orange Bowl, with those of the champions embedded below. For videos of the finalists, click on their names to watch on YouTube.

Bruno Kuzuhara

Diana Shnaider

Alexander Frusina

Stephanie Yakoff






Four of the six Americans competing in Sunday's round of 16 at the J1 in Traralgon Australia advanced to Monday's quarterfinals. Top seed Bruno Kuzuhara defeated wild card Jeremy Jin of Australia 6-3, 6-3 and will play No. 7 seed Olaf Pieczkowski of Poland. Qualifier Alex Michelsen defeated No. 3 seed Jakub Mensik of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-1 and faces No. 6 seed Edas Butvilas of Lithuania next. If both Kuzuhara and Michelsen win, they will meet in the semifinals. No. 12 seed Ozan Colak lost to No. 5 seed Gabriel Debru of France. 
Qavia Lopez, the No. 15 seed, lost to top seed Diana Shnaider of Russia 1-6, 6-3, 6-3. Liv Hovde, seeded No. 11, beat No. 5 seed Michaela Laki of Greece 7-5, 6-0. Hovde will play wild card Taylah Preston of Australia in the quarterfinals. No. 4 seed Clervie Ngounoue came back to defeat Sara Saito of Japan 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 and will take on No. 8 seed Celine Naef of Switzerland. No. 16 seed Kayla Cross of Canada took out No. 2 seed Ksenia Zaytseva of Russia 6-4, 6-2.

Twenty Americans will begin play at the Australian Open Monday (tonight in the United States), with the top half of both the men's and women's draws in action. Below are the matchups; I will update this post first thing Monday morning with the results. All matches should be available for streaming via ESPN+.

Monday's first round singles matches featuring Americans:

Tereza Martincova(CZE) d. Lauren Davis 7-5, 6-2 
Amanda Anisimova d. Arianne Hartono[Q](NED) 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
Madison Brengle d. Dayana Yastremska(UKR) 6-1, 0-6, 5-0 ret.
Bernarda Pera d. Ekaterina Alexandrova(RUS) 7-5, 6-3
Jessica Pegula[21] d. Anhelina Kalinina(UKR) 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-5
Veronika Kudermetova[28](RUS) d. Claire Liu 6-4, 6-4
Alison Riske d. Donna Vekic(CRO) 6-2, 6-2
Madison Keys d. Sofia Kenin[11] 7-6(2), 7-5
Qiang Wang(CHN) d. Coco Gauff[18] 6-4, 6-2 

Tommy Paul d. Mikhail Kukushkin[Q](KAZ) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
Lorenzo Sonego[25](ITA) d. Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-3, 6-3
Alexander Bublik(KAZ) d. Ernesto Escobedo[LL] 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-3
Sebastian Korda d. Cameron Norrie[12](GBR) 6-3, 6-0, 6-4
Stefan Kozlov[WC] d. Jiri Vesely(CZE) 7-5, 6-3, 6-4
Matteo Berrettini[7](ITA) d. Brandon Nakashima 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(5), 6-3
Reilly Opelka[23] d. Kevin Anderson(RSA) 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3)
Mackenzie McDonald d. Nikola Milojevic[Q](SRB) 5-7, 7-4, 6-3, 6-2
Karen Khachanov[28](RUS) d. Denis Kudla 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(2) 
Rafael Nadal[6](ESP) d. Marcos Giron 6-1, 6-4, 6-2

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Macavei and Gorzny Claim ITF J1 Coffee Bowl Titles; Six Americans Advance at J1 in Traralgon; Bhat Reaches Singles Final, Wins Doubles Title at J2 in India; Keys Captures Adelaide Title

The ITF J1 Coffee Bowl concluded tonight in Costa Rica, with Americans claiming three of the four finals contested today.

Unlike most junior tournaments, the doubles are often played before the singles tournaments and so it was today, with the boys doubles final first on the schedule. Top seeds Cooper Williams and Michael Zheng defeated No. 2 seeds Nicholas Godsick and Sebastian Gorzny 6-3, 6-1 to win the first of two finals featuring Williams and Gorzny.

Gorzny got his revenge in the singles final which closed the evening, with the No. 7 seed defeating top seed Williams 6-3, 7-6(7). Gorzny, who turns 18 later this month, has won four ITF junior circuit doubles titles, but this is his first singles title at any level on the ITF junior circuit. He did reach the final of the J4 in Boca Raton last November, but it was abandoned due to rain. Gorzny has committed to TCU for this fall.

In the girls doubles final, No. 2 seeds Nikola Daubnerova of Slovakia and Luca Udvardy of Hungary defeated unseeded Gabriella Broadfoot of South Africa and Elisabeth Jones 2-6, 6-1, 11-9.

In the girls singles final, No. 8 seed Sonya Macavei took on unseeded 15-year-old Naomi Xu of Canada. Macavei, who has signed with Vanderbilt for this fall, earned her second ITF junior circuit singles title with a 7-5, 2-6, 6-0 victory. The 17-year-old left-hander, who had won just one match at a J1 before this week, also reached the semifinals in doubles with Mia Slama.

Photos from the Coffee Bowl can be found at the tournament website.

At the J1 in Traralgon, three US girls and three US boys advanced to the round of 16. Top seed Bruno Kuzuhara, No. 12 seed Ozan Colak and qualifier Alex Michelsen are the boys, with No. 4 seed Clervie Ngounoue, No. 11 seed Liv Hovde and No. 15 seed Qavia Lopez the girls advancing out of the second round. Wild card Taylah Preston, the 16-year-old Australian who won a round in the women's qualifying, defeated No. 3 seed Solana Sierra of Argentina 6-3, 6-3 in the first round. No. 4 seed Ignacio Buse of Peru lost to Jakub Nicod of the Czech Republic 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(4) in the second round.

At this week's J2 in India, 17-year-old Aayush Bhat won his fifth ITF Junior Circuit doubles title, while also advancing to the final in singles. Bhat and India's Rushil Khosla, the No. 2 seeds, defeated the unseeded team of Fadi Bidan of Lebanon and Thanaphat Boosarawongse of Thailand 6-3, 6-2 in the final. Bhat, the No. 7 seed, lost to 14-year-old qualifier Manas Dhamne of India 7-5, 6-1 in the singles final. It's the first ITF junior circuit title for Dhamne, who won the Eddie Herr 12s title in 2019.

In Australia, Madison Keys won her first title since 2019 at the WTA 250 in Adelaide, defeating Alison Riske 6-1, 6-2. At the ATP 250 in Adelaide, former Texas A&M star Arthur Rinderknech of France lost in the final to Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia 6-7(6), 7-5(5), 6-3. Rinderknech will move into the ATP Top 50 for the first time with his results this week.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Banerjee Practices with ATP Top Players; Macavei Reaches Costa Rica J1 Final; Joint and Mesarovic Win J5 Titles in Wisconsin; Volynets, Dolehide, Baptiste and Bektas Qualify for Australian Open; Kalieva Advances at Vero Beach $25K

I had an opportunity to talk with Wimbledon boys champion Samir Banerjee last month at the Orange Bowl, his last ITF junior tournament (he is eligible to compete in Kalamazoo this year), about his two weeks in Italy as a practice partner at the ATP Tour Finals. It was fascinating to hear how he interacted with the very best of the best, hitting with Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and many others. He admitted it wasn't the best preparation for the Orange Bowl, but he doesn't regret it for a second. The article for the Tennis Recruiting Network is available here.

The boys semifinals at the ITF J1 Coffee Bowl in Costa Rica are being played tonight, but the girls final is set, with Sonya Macavei, the No. 8 seed, set to take on 15-year-old Canadian Naomi Xu Saturday. Macavei, the 17-year-old Vanderbilt signee, defeated No. 7 seed Sayaka Ishii of Japan 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the semifinals; the unseeded Xu beat No. 6 seed Luca Udvardy 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. Tonight's boys semifinals feature top seed Cooper Williams and No. 5 seed Michael Zheng and qualifier Learner Tien and No. 7 seed Sebastian Gorzny. Tien defeated No. 3 seed Nico Godsick 6-1, 6-3 last night.

Williams and Zheng, the No. 1 seeds in doubles, will face No. 2 seeds Gorzny and Godsick for the title Saturday. 

The ITF J5 in Eau Claire Wisconsin concluded today, with top seed Marko Mesarovic and No. 2 seed Maya Joint taking the titles. It was the first ITF Junior Circuit title for Mesarovic, who defeated his doubles partner, unseeded 15-year-old Cooper Woestendick 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the final. Mesarovic got his second title in a hurry, with he and Woestendick, the top seeds, taking the doubles with a 2-6, 6-4, 10-5 win over unseeded Maxwell Exsted and Matisse Farzam. The 15-year-old Joint defeated unseeded Selah Stibbins 6-0, 6-0 to claim her second ITF Junior Circuit singles title to go with her three doubles titles. Joint wasn't able to add another doubles title to her total; she and partner Natalie Stasny, the No. 3 seeds, lost to the unseeded team of Susanna Maltby and Amber Yin 7-6(5), 6-2 in today's final. 

The first round of the J1 in Traralgon was not completed as planned Friday, with many of the girls first round matches unfinished. In the boys draw, qualifier Alex Michelsen defeated No. 13 seed Dino Prizmic of Croatia 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 to join Bruno Kuzuhara[1], Ozan Colak[12] and Aidan Kim in the second round. 

The final round of qualifying at the Australian Open saw four American women advancing to the main draw, as well as the only man competing Friday, Ernesto Escobedo. Escobedo lost to Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan, but received entry into the main draw as a lucky loser. Escobedo will face another player from Kazakhstan Alexander Bublik, in the main draw. Katie Volynets has drawn Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil, who she defeated in the final round of qualifying at Wimbledon last summer; Caroline Dolehide plays Danielle Collins[27], Hailey Baptiste faces Caroline Garcia of France and Emina Bektas plays Liudmila Samsonova of Russia.

Friday's final round of qualifying results for Americans:

Mikhail Kukushkin(KAZ) d. Ernesto Escobedo 6-4, 5-7, 7-5

Katie Volynets d. Mirjam Bjorklund(SWE) 7-5, 6-2
Caroline Dolehide d. Julia Grabher(AUT) 7-6(5), 6-2
Hailey Baptiste d. Yue Yuan(CHN) 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3
Emina Bektas d. Christina McHale 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(7)

Madison Keys and Alison Riske will play for the WTA 250 title in Adelaide Saturday.

At the USTA Pro Circuit women's $25,000 tournament in Vero Beach, 18-year-old Elvina Kalieva is through to the semifinals. The No. 6 seed defeated No. 3 seed Louisa Chirico 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) and will face No. 7 seed Sophie Chang, who beat qualifier Reese Brantmeier 1-6, 7-6(7), 6-0. Unseeded Chanelle Van Nguyen(UCLA) and No. 4 seed Vera Lapko of Belarus will meet in the other semifinal.