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Thursday, January 19, 2023

Fourteen Americans Reach Australian Open Third Round, Including Volynets and Mmoh; Two Americans Advance to Bolton Finals; Division III Team Preseason Rankings; Michigan Men Defeat Tennessee in Top Ten Battle

Upsets were everywhere at the Australian Open Thursday, with Americans responsible for many notable ones as the second round concluded after 4 a.m. in Melbourne with fourteen Americans--8 men and 6 women--through to the third round. That's the most since 1996, when 15 advanced.

USTA National champions Jenson Brooksby, qualifier Katie Volynets (both coached by Joe Gilbert in Sacramento) and lucky loser Michael Mmoh earned three of the biggest upsets. Brooksby, the 2018 Kalamazoo 18s champion, defeated No. 2 seed Casper Ruud of Norway 6-3, 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-2 in just shy of four hours; 2016 Kalamazoo 18s champion Mmoh, the fourth and last man to receive entry as a lucky loser, took out No. 12 seed Alexander Zverev 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 and Volynets, the 2019 San Diego 18s champion, ousted No. 9 seed Veronika Kudermetova of Russia 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

The upset bug hit Americans as well, with No. 8 seed Taylor Fritz losing early for the second consecutive slam, with Australian wild card Alexei Popyrin beating him 6-7(4), 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-2.

With five American men in the bottom half, there's no surprise that there will be two all-US third rounders Saturday, with Brooksby playing Tommy Paul and Mmoh taking on JJ Wolf.

Thursday's second round matches featuring Americans:
Katie Volynets[Q] d. Veronika Kudermetova[9](RUS) 6-4, 2-6, 6-2
Ekaterina Alexandrova[19](RUS) d. Taylor Townsend[WC] 1-6, 6-2, 6-3
Aryna Sabalenka[5](BLR) d. Shelby Rogers 6-3, 6-1
Elise Mertens[26](BEL) d. Lauren Davis 6-4, 6-3
Belinda Bencic[12](SUI) d. Claire Liu 7-6(3), 6-3

Ugo Humbert(FRA) d. Denis Kudla[LL] 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-4 
Holger Rune[9](DEN) d. Maxime Cressy 7-5, 6-4, 6-4
Alexei Popyrin[WC](AUS) d. Taylor Fritz[8] 6-7(4), 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-2
Ben Shelton d. Nicolas Jarry[Q](CHI) 7-6(3), 7-6(3), 7-5
JJ Wolf d. Diego Schwartzman[23](ARG) 6-1, 6-4, 6-4
Michael Mmoh[LL] d. Alexander Zverev[12](GER) 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-3, 6-2
Roberto Bautista Agut[24](ESP) d. Brandon Holt[Q] 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
Tommy Paul d. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina[30](ESP) 6-2, 2-6, 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4
Jenson Brooksby d. Casper Ruud[2](NOR) 6-3, 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-2

Friday's third round matches featuring Americans:
Danielle Collins[13] v Elena Rybakina[22](KAZ)
Coco Gauff[7] v Bernarda Pera 
Jessica Pegula[3] v Marta Kostyuk(UKR)
Madison Keys[10] v Victoria Azarenka[24](BLR)

Mackenzie McDonald v Yoshihito Nishioka[31](JPN)
Frances Tiafoe[16] v Karen Khachanov[18](RUS)
Sebastian Korda[28] v Daniil Medvedev[7](RUS)

Qualifying for the Australian Open Junior Championships finished Thursday, with none of the four Americans advancing to the main draw. Adhithya Ganesan and Aayush Bhat lost in the final round of qualifying; Taylor Goetz and Martina Marica lost in the first round.

Main draw play begins Saturday (Friday night in the US). Draws are up now, with Kilian Feldbausch of Switzerland and Sara Saito of Japan the top seeds.

Two Americans have advanced at the Tennis Europe Category 1 tournament in Bolton England, where they will take on the top seeds in Friday's singles championship matches.

No. 5 seed Annika Penickova defeated twin sister Kristina Penickova, the No. 13 seed, 7-6(6), 6-1 in the semifinals and will face No. 1 seed Giulia Popa of Romania for the title. Popa defeated No. 4 seed Julieta Pareja 6-1, 6-1 to prevent an all-US final.

No. 9 seed Marcel Latak earned his spot in the final by defeating Michael Antonius, the No. 8 seed, 6-3, 6-1. Latak, who is a year older than the other three US boys on this trip, also beat Antonius in the semifinals of the USA Les Petits As Playoffs last fall. Latak will face top seed Mark Ceban of Great Britain, who beat No. 12 seed Jules Rimbaud of France 6-1, 7-6(5).

The Penickovas won the doubles title today, with the sisters, seeded No. 5, beating top seeds Popa and Sofie Hettlerova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2. 

Live scoring for tomorrow's finals is available at TennisTicker.

Division III preseason team rankings were released Tuesday, with Chicago No. 1 in the men's rankings and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps No. 1 in the women's rankings. As with Division I, these rankings are done by coaches voting this early in the season. The list of all 40 nationally ranked teams can be found by clicking on the heading.

1. Chicago
2. Case Western
3. Middlebury
4. Tufts
5. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
6. Williams
7. Washington-St Louis
8. North Carolina Wesleyan
9. Pomona-Pitzer
10. Emory

1. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
2. Chicago
3. Wesleyan
4. Pomona-Pitzer
5. Middlebury
6. MIT
7. Amherst
8. Tufts
9. Emory
10. University of the South

The only Top 10 clash this week in Division I took place tonight in Ann Arbor, with No. 5 Michigan defeating No. 6 Tennessee 4-1. The Wolverines took the doubles point and got singles wins from Patrick Maloney at line 1, Ondrej Styler at line 3 and Gavin Young at line 4. Johannes Monday earned the only point for Tennessee at line 2.

The rest of the ITA's Matches of Week can be found here.