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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Qualifying Complete at Pelham $60K and Naples $25K; Sandgren's Comeback Highlights Roland Garros Qualifying; RG Junior Wild Cards; Hovde and Quinn Reach Milan Grade A Third Round, Five Other Americans Win in First Round Action

With many players heading to Europe for the clay season, the fields of the two USTA women's Pro Circuit tournaments this week are left to those outside the Top WTA 250. Usually a $60,000 tournament like the one this week in Pelham Alabama is loaded with that level of players, but the qualifying draw didn't even fill this week. 

Former Georgia star Maria Carle of Argentina was the top seed at the $25,000 tournament last week in Sarasota; this week she is No. 1 in Pelham, with such a leap in level while retaining the No. 1 spot is nothing I can recall ever happening previously. But the WTA points awarded aren't based on the strength of the field, so it's a great opportunity for younger players who often don't get opportunities at that level.

Several players are taking advantage of the week between the end of their team's collegiate season and the NCAA individual championships next week, including Cal's No. 1 Hailey Giavara, who beat Maria Jose Portillo Ramirez of Mexico 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 in one of the three first round matches played today.

Auburn's Ariana Arsenault of Canada, who is in the NCAA women's doubles field, qualified for the main draw today with a 6-2, 6-1 win over teammate Adeline Flach, with her teammate Carolyn Ansari also making the main draw with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Zoe Hitt. 

In addition to Ansari, the Americans who qualified in Pelham are Joelle Kissell(NC State) and Rhiann Newborn(Baylor). Seventeen-year-old Cadence Brace of Canada also earned her place in the main draw today, beating Safiya Carrington(LSU) 6-4, 6-2. 

The wild cards in the main draw were given to Clemson sophomore Jenna Thompson, South Carolina recruit McKenna Schaefbauer, Tatum Evans, and former North Carolina All-American Alex Graham.

Eighteen-year-old Elvina Kalieva is the No. 2 seed, with Whitney Osuigwe seeded No. 3. Osuigwe defeated Reese Brantmeier today 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in first round action. Kalieva and Brantmeier are the No. 3 seeds in doubles.

The other tournament this week is a $25,000 event in Naples Florida, which did fill its qualifying draw, and four teenagers advanced to the main draw with wins today.

Fifteen-year-old Akasha Urhobo, who qualified and reached the quarterfinals of the $15K in Naples in March, defeated Ayaka Okuno (Georgia) of Japan 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the main draw.

Sixteen-year-old Sophia Webster, daughter of UCLA women's head coach Stella Sampras Webster, will make her main draw Pro Circuit debut after defeating Jamilah Snells 1-6, 6-4, 10-5. Webster and her twin sister Savannah also won their first round doubles match today, beating Sofia Beltran Arratia of Chile and Bianca Vitale of Italy 6-2, 6-2. 

Florida recruit Anastasia Sysoeva of Russia, who is 19, defeated Fenni Lian of China 6-0, 6-0 to qualify, and Harvard recruit Charlotte Owensby, also 19, advanced to the main draw with a 6-2, 4-6, 10-2 win over 16-year-old Kate Kim, also a Harvard recruit.

Wild cards were given to Stanford recruit Alexis Blokhina, who won her first round match today against Dartmouth alum Taylor Ng 7-5, 7-6(4); Anna Rogers(NC State), Vanderbilt recruit Sonya Macavei and 16-year-old Kelly Marie Richter of Germany. Blokhina and Macavei are playing doubles together and picked up a first round win today over No. 3 seeds Connie Hsu(Penn) of Taiwan and Ellie Halbauer 6-4, 6-1.

The top seed in Naples is Ana Sofia Sanchez of Mexico, with Sofia Shapatava of Georgia the No. 2 seed. Halbauer, the champion at Sarasota last week, is the No. 8 seed.

The first round of qualifying is complete at Roland Garros, with only eight of the 24 Americans in the draw advancing to the second round.

The highlight of today's action was Tennys Sandgren's 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(8) comeback over the No. 1 seed in qualifying, Thiago Monteiro of Brazil. The former Tennessee star trailed 6-3, 5-1 and needed to save a match point serving at 1-5, but worked his way back, ultimately converting his first match point in the new 10-point tiebreaker after three hours and three minutes of competition.

Ernesto Escobedo, the No. 21 seed, defeated Evgeny Donskoy of Russia 6-3, 7-5 and Bjorn Fratangelo beat Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. Those three are the only US men advancing of the nine who were in qualifying. 

The only American woman to advance to the second round today was Christina McHale, who defeated Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-2. McHale is one of five US women in the second round, with the other four getting their wins on Monday: Hailey Baptiste[17], Louisa Chirico, Grace Min and Caroline Dolehide. Five of the 15 US women who began qualifying remain alive for a place in the main draw.

Draws can be found at the Roland Garros website.

The wild cards for the Roland Garros Junior Championships, which begin May 29, were released today, with seven of the eight main draw wild cards for both boys and girls going to players from France. The two others are from Brazil, as part of the Road to Roland Garros. 

Fourteen-year-old Mathilde Ngijol Carre of France, who won last September's Les Petits As tournament, is already up to 134 in the ITF Junior rankings, so she is definitely one to watch. Sixteen-year-old Paul Barbier-Gazeu has risen to 43 in the current ITF junior rankings after winning the Grade 2 in Austria last week, so there's no argument against his receiving one.

Of the six qualifying wild cards announced, five went to French players. The sixth girls qualifying wild card went to a Spanish junior, while the sixth boys wild card was given to an Australian.

For the complete list, see this article from the Roland Garros website.

At the ITF Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan Italy, four US boys and one US girl advanced to the second round, while Liv Hovde and Ethan Quinn moved into the round of 16 with victories today.

Hovde, the No. 5 seed, defeated Aysegul Mert of Turkey 6-1, 6-3 and the unseeded Quinn beat Italian wild card Giacomo Nossei 6-0, 6-2.

Qavia Lopez, the No. 11 seed, lost to Aya El Aouni of Morocco 6-3, 6-3. She and Hovde are the top seeds in doubles this week and have reached the second round.

In first round matches, qualifier Alexander Razeghi won his match with Branko Djuric of Serbia by a 6-1, 6-4 score. Jonah Braswell defeated qualifier Hayato Matsuoka of Japan 7-5, 6-0; Learner Tien beat wild card Alessandro Versteegh of Italy 6-2, 6-1, and No. 10 seed Nishesh Basavareddy defeated Michal Krajci of Slovakia 6-4, 6-1.

The sole US girl to advance today was qualifier Iva Jovic, with the 14-year-old Californian and Hovde, the only two American girls left in the singles draw, set to meet in the third round if Jovic wins on Wednesday. Tommy Hemp doesn't like her chances to advance to that all-American third round, as he explains in his Tennis Underworld post from today. Jovic defeated Nina Vargova of Slovakia 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 in the first round today.

So far there haven't been any notable upsets in the singles draw. Basavareddy and Aidan Kim beat No. 2 seeds Coleman Wong of Hong Kong and Yaroslav Demin of Russia 6-1, 6-3 in the first round, and Quinn and Nicholas Godsick defeated No. 4 seeds Jaden Weekes of Canada and Edas Butvilas of Lithuania 4-6, 6-0, 11-9. 


Go Gamecocks said...

Colette, a little surprised you didn’t mention that Chris Eubanks lost to former NCAA singles champ, Paul Jubb who has worked his way up the rankings and now reached the second round of Roland Garros qualifying. Yes. Jubb is not American, but he’s a great example of the benefits of going to college to develop just like Kevin Anderson mentioned in his recent interview. Jubb could have turned pro after his Junior year, but came back only to have his senior year cut short by the COVID disruption. It’s taken a while for him get going. He’s a great story.