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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.

3 comments:

Boca Tennis Mom said...

All the best to Ci Ci Bellis. We first saw her at Evert's as a little one, she was having some wrist issues at times even back then. I am sure she will do a great job in her next career.

Alex Ho said...

Bellis was definitely smart to shut it down, she made $2 million in prize money and had some nice endorsements. She was also smart to take advantage of WTA college program and take classes while she was on tour and injured.

I am shocked at how many players keep playing on challenger tour for so long. We see in this blog many of the same names year after year players doing well at challengers and unable to break through and get any consistent results on tour. You see the vast majority of players on WTA and ATP tour who stay in the top 50 moved through futures and challengers pretty quickly. If a players doesn't get inside top 100 in a few years it mostly will not happen, and life on futures and challenger tour is truly miserable experience.

Karla Merkins said...

Not all players who keep trying in challengers have the same situation as Ci Ci has had. For many if they do not make it in tennis they have to start at the bottom of a new career.

Ci Ci was always going to be fine if tennis did not work out. Her father is a private equity investor in silicon valley and built her a tennis court when she was 5 years old in the back yard. She has been working behind the scenes for IeAD in Lake Nona for about a year now. Her father is an investor in the sports investing equity group and has collaborated before with Christoph Sonnen, the founder of IeAD. Sorry her tennis did not work out but she always had a very solid back up available that most players do not have.