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Saturday, January 14, 2023

Navarro and Stearns Meet Sunday for Naples $25K Title; Four US Boys Advance to Traralgon J300 Quarterfinals; Thirty-One Americans Set for Australian Open Start; Davis Wins Hobart Title

The two most recent women's NCAA singles champions will meet, as expected, in the final of the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Naples Florida Sunday after both won their semifinal matches today in straight sets. 2021 champion Emma Navarro(Virginia), the top seed this week, defeated qualifier Emiliana Arango of Colombia 6-3, 6-1, while 2022 champion Peyton Stearns(Texas), seeded No. 2, beat No. 6 seed Whitney Osuigwe 7-5, 6-0. 

The two 21-year-olds last met at the No. 1 position in the quarterfinals of the NCAA team championships, with Navarro, No. 1 in the individual rankings at the time, cruising to a 6-1, 6-0 win over Stearns, No. 2 in the individual rankings then. Stearns went on to get some measure of revenge in the singles draw, with Navarro unable to earn a second straight title, losing to Abigail Rencheli of North Carolina State in the round of 16, while Stearns added the singles title to her second team title.

Navarro won a previous meeting between the two in 2018 at the Orange Bowl round of 16 6-2, 6-4 but Stearns defeated Navarro in 2019 at a $25K in South Carolina 7-6(5), 1-6, 6-3. 

North Carolina freshman Reese Brantmeier and former Tar Heel Makenna Jones won the doubles title in Naples, with the No. 4 seeds beating No. 2 seeds Quinn Gleason(Notre Dame) and Great Britain's Emily Appleton 6-4, 6-2 in today's final.

At the ITF J300 in Traralgon Australia, Learner Tien, Kaylan Bigun Kyle Kang have all advanced to the quarterfinals, despite none of them being seeded, while No. 5 seed Cooper Williams also advanced. 

Tien defeated 15-year-old Maxim Mrva of the Czech Republic, the No. 9 seed, 6-2, 6-4, while Bigun, who had beaten No. 11 seed Hayden Jones of Australia in the second round, defeated unseeded Emilien Demanet of Belgium 6-3, 6-1. Kang, who beat No. 2 seed Alexander Blockx of Belgium in the second round 4-6, 6-3, 4-1 retired, defeated wild card Pavle Marincov of Australia 6-4, 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals. Williams defeated No. 10 seed Joao Fonseca of Brazil, one of the top players in the 2006 birth year, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.  Each American is in a different quarter, so there is a chance for all-US semifinals. 

All six of the US girls, none of them seeded, lost in the first or second round. Top seed Sara Saito of Japan lost in the first round to Melissa Ercan of Turkey 6-3, 6-4. Boys top seed Ilyan Radulov of Bulgaria was beaten in the third round by qualifier Tianhui Wang of China 7-6(0), 7-5.

Live scoring is available through this site, which will also be providing live scoring for the Australian Open Junior qualifying.

The Australian Open schedules are out for Monday and Tuesday, with 31* Americans in the draws. Fifteen are in action Monday(Sunday night in the United States) and 16 Tuesday; there are two all-US contests, with Brandon Nakashima(Virginia) facing Mackenzie McDonald(UCLA) and Claire Liu facing Madison Brengle.

Monday's first round matches featuring Americans:

Coco Gauff[7] v Katerina Siniakova(CZE)
Jessica Pegula[3] v Jaqueline Cristian(ROU)
Sofia Kenin v Victoria Azarenka[24](BLR)
Madison Keys[10] v Anna Blinkova(RUS)
Danielle Collins[13] v Anna Kalinskaya(RUS)
Caty McNally v Laura Pigossi[LL](BRA)
CoCo Vandeweghe[Q] v Anhelina Kalinina(UKR)
Amanda Anisimova[28] v Marta Kostyuk(UKR)
Bernarda Pera v Moyuka Uchijima[WC](JPN)

Marcos Giron v Daniil Medvedev[7](RUS)
Frances Tiafoe[16] v Daniel Altmaier(GER)
Sebastian Korda[29] v Cristian Garin(CHI)
Christopher Eubanks[WC] v Soonwoo Kwon(KOR)
Brandon Nakashima v Mackenzie McDonald

Tuesday’s first round matches featuring Americans:

Taylor Fritz[8] v Nikoloz Basilashvili(GEO)
JJ Wolf v Jordan Thompson(AUS)
Tommy Paul v Jan-Lennard Struff[Q](GER)
Jenson Brooksby v Christopher O’Connell(AUS)
Brandon Holt[Q] v Aleks Vukic[Q]
Maxime Cressy v Albert Ramos-Vinolas(ESP)
Ben Shelton v Zhizhen Zhang(CHN)
John Isner v Adrian Mannarino(FRA)

Shelby Rogers v Arianne Hartono[Q](NED)
Katie Volynets[Q] v Evgeniya Rodina(RUS)
Alison Riske-Amritraj v Marketa Vondrousova(CZE)
Sloane Stephens v Anastasia Potapova(RUS)
Claire Liu v Madison Brengle
Taylor Townsend[WC] v Diane Parry[WC](FRA)
Lauren Davis v Danka Kovinic(MNE)

*Elli Mandlik[LL] v Irina-Camelia Begu[27](ROU)

Mandlik makes it 32 Americans with the withdrawal of Saisai Zheng(CHN).

ESPN will have its usual extensive coverage, while ESPN+ will stream all matches, as they did for qualifying.

Lauren Davis won her second career WTA title Saturday at the 250 in Hobart, winning a total of seven matches, two in qualifying, all in straight sets. Davis defeated unseeded 
Elisabetta Cocciaretto of Italy 7-6(0), 6-2 in the final.