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Friday, January 20, 2023

My Eight Intriguing Questions for 2023; Thirteen Americans Ready for Australian Open Junior Championships; Korda, Gauff and Pegula Make Second Week at AO; Annika Penickova Wins a Second Bolton 14U Title

After a long stretch of live tennis coverage in Florida in November and December, I always look forward to getting home in January and spending a few weeks thinking about many of the issues in junior and college tennis that come up in the conversations I have during that stretch. That turns into this annual column for the Tennis Recruiting Network, which again features eight questions I'm eager to get the answers to in 2023.

The Australian Open Junior Championships begin in the next hour, with six US boys and seven US girls competing for the year's first junior slam. The American boys are: Cooper Williams, the only seed of the 13 US players, Learner Tien, Alexander Frusina, Kyle Kang, Kaylan Bigun and Meecah Bigun. The American girls are Tatum Evans, Ariana Pursso, Theadora Rabman, Ashton Bowers, Ava Krug, Ahmani Guichard and Anya Murthy.  Below are the seeds, and Saturday's first round matches, with nine of the 13 Americans in action on opening day.

1.Kilian Feldbausch(SUI)
2. Iliyan Radulov(BUL)
3. Alexander Blockx(BEL)
4. Arthur Gea(FRA)
5. Mihai Alexandru Coman(ROU)
6. Rei Sakamoto(JPN)
7. Hayato Matsuoka(JPN)
8. Cooper Williams(USA)
9. Maxim Mrva(CZE)
10. Joao Fonseca(BRA)
11. Yi Zhou(CHN)
12. Hayden Jones(AUS)
13. Danil Panarin(RUS)
14. Kevin Edengren(SWE)
15. Adriano Dzhenev(BUL)
16. Abel Forger(NED)

1. Sara Saito(JPN)
2. Tereza Valentova(CZE)
3. Ella McDonald(GBR)
4. Nikola Daubnerova(SVK)
5. Luciana Moyano(ARG)
6. Mayu Crossley(JPN)
7. Mirra Andreeva(RUS)
8. Nina Vargova(SVK)
9. Alina Korneeva(RUS)
10. Luca Udvardy(HUN)
11. Ena Koike(JPN)
12. Sayaka Ishii(JPN)
13. Ranah Stoiber(GBR)
14. Yaroslava Bartashevich(FRA)
15. Renata Jamrichova(SVK)
16. Hayu Kinoshita(JPN)

Saturday's first round junior matches featuring Americans:

Zara Larke[WC](AUS) d. Ashton Bowers 7-5, 2-6, 7-5
Sayaka Ishii(JPN)[12] d. Ahmani Guichard 6-3, 6-3
Theadora Rabman v Malwina Rowinska(POL)
Ariana Pursoo v Tereza Valentova[2](CZE)
Ava Krug v Vivian Yang[Q](AUS)

Kyle Kang d. Jan Hrazdil(CZE) 6-1, 6-0
Cooper Williams[8] d. Keegan Rice(CAN) 6-4, 6-3
Adriano Dzhenev[15](BUL) d. Kaylan Bigun 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(7)
Meecah Bigun v Abel Forger[16](NED)

The ITF's preview of the Junior Championships can be found here.

Live scoring is available on the Australian Open website, with ESPN+ providing live streaming in the US.

Sebastian Korda, Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff are into the second week of the Australian Open after wins Friday. Korda, the 2018 Australian Open boys champion, took out 2022 finalist and No. 7 seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia in straight sets 7-6(7), 6-3, 7-6(4). It's the fourth Top 10 win for the 22-year-old from Florida, who also has a victory over ATP No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz last spring, when the Spaniard was No. 11 in the ATP rankings.

Friday's third round matches featuring Americans:

Elena Rybakina[22](KAZ) d. Danielle Collins[13] 6-2, 5-7, 6-2
Coco Gauff[7] d. Bernarda Pera 6-3, 6-2
Jessica Pegula[3] d. Marta Kostyuk(UKR) 6-0, 6-2
Victoria Azarenka[24](BLR) d. Madison Keys[10] 1-6, 6-2, 6-1

Yoshihito Nishioka[31](JPN) d. Mackenzie McDonald  7-6(6), 6-3, 6-2
Karen Khachanov[18](RUS) d. Frances Tiafoe[16] 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(9)
Sebastian Korda[29] d. Daniil Medvedev[7](RUS) 7-6(7), 6-3, 7-6(4)

Saturday's third round matches featuring Americans:

JJ Wolf v Michael Mmoh[LL]
Jenson Brooksby v Tommy Paul
Ben Shelton v Alexei Popyrin[WC](AUS)

Katie Volynets[Q] v Shuai Zhang[23](CHN)

Annika Penickova added the Tennis Europe Category 1 singles title in Bolton England to the doubles title she won with her twin sister Kristina yesterday. The 13-year-old from Northern California, seeded No. 5, defeated top seed Giulia Popa of Romania 6-1, 6-1 in today's final.  Top seed Mark Ceban of Great Britain defeated No. 9 seed Marcel Latak of Illinois 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 to earn the boys singles title.

Les Petits As tournament begins Monday in Tarbes France, with qualifying beginning on Saturday.