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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