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Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Razeghi Defeats No. 2 Seed Sakamoto to Join Kim and Brockett in College Park J1 Quarterfinals; Five US Girls Advance, Four in Top Half; Fifteen Americans Through to Second Round of US Open Qualifying

©Colette Lewis 2022--
College Park MD--

The top seeds in the boys draw of the ITF Grade 1 in College Park were challenged today, with top seed Lautaro Midon of Argentina barely surviving in a third set tiebreaker, and No. 4 seed Hayato Matsuoka of Japan needing three hours to advance to Thursday's quarterfinals.

There wasn't much drama however in the third round encounter between No. 2 seed Rei Sakamoto of Japan and Alex Razeghi, with No. 16 seed Razeghi playing a near perfect match to defeat the ITF's 26th-ranked boy 6-2, 6-3.

"My forehand was basically on the whole match," said the 16-year-old left-hander from Texas. "I was making a high first serve percentage, playing with big margins, just playing well really."

Razeghi had faced Sakamoto, also 16 years old, at a Grade 2 this summer, and had won that match after dropping the first set.

"I played him two months ago in Germany on clay and I won 6-4 in the third, but I definitely played better today," Razeghi said. "I feel like I like hard court better, so that was a really solid match for me."

Razeghi was down a break early in the second set, but Sakamoto was already showing signs of frustration, receiving a racquet abuse warning and never settling into a rhythm.

"His serve is really big and his ground strokes are really solid, he finds his forehand and his backhand is really consistent," Razeghi said. "But I kind of wore him out today, made more shots than he did and won more of the important points, so it was a good match."

Razeghi faces No. 9 seed Aidan Kim in the only all-American quarterfinal Thursday, after Kim defeated Quang Duong 6-4, 6-1. Both players have reached a J1 quarterfinal for the first time this week.

"I'm really good friends with Aidan," Razeghi said. "We train a lot together in Orlando and we've played a lot of practice matches in Orlando. But the only time I played him was when I was 12 and he was 14. We didn't really know each other back then, but now we're really cool, so it should be good."

The other boys quarterfinal in the bottom half will feature No. 5 seed Joao Fonseca of Brazil and No. 3 seed Danil Panarin of Russia. Both had routine wins today, with the 16-year-old Brazilian defeating Adhithya Ganesan 6-0, 6-1 and the 17-year-old Russian beating qualifier Ian Mayhew 6-3, 6-1.

In the top half, the only unseeded player remaining in the boys draw is JTCC student Stiles Brockett, who used the power of the local support to beat unseeded Rudy Quan 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, his third three-set victory in as many days. He'll play top seed Midon in Thursday's quarterfinal.

Midon, an 18-year-old from Argentina, was on the ropes against unseeded Marko Mesarovic, with Mesarovic serving at 5-4 in the third set. But Mesarovic, who has committed to Clemson for 2023, proceeded to lose eight straight points and found himself serving for a tiebreaker a short time later. In that 5-6 game, Mesarovic served much better and held, then took a 3-1 lead in the tiebreaker, but lost five points in succession to go down 6-3. He saved two match points on his serve, but Midon forced a backhand error on the third match point to survive.

Matsuoka won a three-hour battle with unseeded Ohio State freshman Preston Stearns, taking a 6-7(6), 6-2, 6-4 decision and will play No. 11 seed Luis Alvarez Valdes of Mexico. Alvarez Valdes defeated unseeded Atakan Karahan of Turkey 7-6(2), 6-4.

All four girls in the top half of the draw are Americans, guaranteeing a US finalist, but only one is seeded, No. 14 Kaitlin Quevedo. Quevedo defeated Ahmani Guichard 6-2, 6-4 and will play 14-year-old wild card Capucine Jauffret, who took out No. 7 seed and ITF junior No. 38 Carolina Kuhl 6-4, 7-6(4). Jauffret, who was on the USA's ITF World Junior Tennis team that finished third in the competition in the Czech Republic earlier this month, is playing in her first ITF Junior Circuit event this week.

Unseeded Ava Krug, who beat No. 3 seed Taylah Preston of Australia in the first round, got past qualifier Jessica Bernales 7-6(5), 2-6, 6-3 in three-plus hours Wednesday afternoon. Krug faces unseeded Iva Jovic who defeated Dana Baidaulet of Kazakhstan 6-0, 6-0. Baidaulet played nearly five hours in her second round singles match Tuesday and also competed in doubles later in the day and was obviously feeling the effects of that against Jovic.

Only one American advanced in the bottom half, with unseeded Thea Rabman defeating Maya Joint 6-4, 6-0. Rabman, a North Carolina recruit, will face no. 2 seed Mira Andreeva of Russia, who beat Valeria Ray 6-1, 6-2.  The other quarterfinal features No. 5 seed Sara Saito of Japan and Gabriella Broadfoot of South Africa. Saito took out Katie Rolls 6-1, 6-1 and Broadfoot beat Taylor Goetz 6-4, 6-1.

Quarterfinals in both singles and doubles are scheduled for Thursday, with play beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Junior Tennis Champions Center.

The first round of qualifying at the US Open concluded today, with seven more Americans advancing to Thursday's second round.

Reigning Australian Open boys champion Bruno Kuzuhara defeated Ramkumar Ramanathan of India 6-3, 7-5 today and will face Flavio Cobolli of Italy in the second round. Govind Nanda(UCLA) beat Andrea Arnaboldi of Italy 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 and will play No. 7 seed Nuno Borges(Mississippi State) of Portugal. Tuesday's first round men's winners on the schedule for Thursday are Ethan Quinn(Georgia), Christopher Eubanks(Georgia Tech), Zachary Svajda, Brandon Holt(USC) and Bjorn Fratangelo.

American women advancing today are Kayla Day, Caty McNally, Whitney Osuigwe, Catherine Harrison(UCLA) and Ashlyn Krueger. Wimbledon girls champion Liv Hovde, who hadn't played since winning that title last month, lost to Qiang Wang of China 6-2, 6-1 in her first round qualifying match today.

The other US women on the schedule for Thursday are Sachia Vickery, Katrina Scott and Valerie Glozman.

Americans went 15-21 overall in the first round of qualifying, with the men 7-9 and the women 8-12.