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Monday, March 6, 2023

Nguyen, Friedman Claim ITF J60 Singles Titles; US ITF Junior Hard Court Swing Begins at Las Vegas J60; Thirty-four Americans in BNP Paribas Open Main Draws, Qualifying Underway

In addition to the singles and doubles titles for American boys at the J300 in Porto Alegre Brazil last week, two US girls took singles championships at J60s in France and Vietnam, while a US boy took the doubles title at a J100 in the Netherlands.

Fifteen-year-old Kenzie Nguyen, the reigning 16s Orange Bowl doubles champion, won her first singles title on the ITF Junior Circuit last week at the J60 in Vietnam. The eighth-seeded Nguyen, who didn't drop a set all week, beat qualifier Xiaotong Wang of China 6-2, 6-3 in the final.

Lena Friedman, also 15, won her second ITF Junior Circuit singles title last week at the J60 in France. The unseeded Friedman, who won the 16s Winter Nationals title in January, defeated qualifier Fabiola Marino of Italy 6-0, 6-4 in the final. 

Nguyen wasn't the only current Orange Bowl 16s doubles champion to win a title last week on the ITF Junior Circuit, with Jacob Olar taking the J100 doubles title in the Netherlands. Olar, partnering with Matteo Covato of Italy, won his fifth boys doubles title on the ITF Junior Circuit, with the unseeded pair defeating No. 3 seed Jules Leroux and Igor Mandou Berranger of France 6-1, 3-6, 10-4 in the final. 

At the J200 in Thailand, No. 3 seed Alexander Frusina made the final, falling to top seed and Australian Open boys semifinalist Yi Zhou of China 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(6).  Frusina is the No. 5 seed in this week's J300 in Thailand, with Quang Duong the No. 10 seed. Ria Bhakta is the only US girl competing in Thailand.

The first of three ITF hard court events in the United States is the J60 in Las Vegas, which began today. Wild card Tyra Grant in the top girls seed, while Jagger Leach is the top boys seed. Both won their first round matches today in straight sets.

Practice courts 1 and 2 at Indian Wells
photo credit: BNP Paribas Open 

The draws for the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells were posted tonight, with twenty US women and 14 US men among the 96 competitors in each draw, with the 32 seeds receiving first round byes.

In a bit of bad draw luck, four first round women's matches are between Americans, with the list below showing those. Two men's first round matches are all-American contests. 

Claire Liu
Peyton Stearns[WC]
Bernarda Pera
Madison Keys[19]
Emma Navarro[WC] v Caty McNally[WC]
Danielle Collins
Lauren Davis
Madison Brengle
Sloane Stephens v Sofia Kenin[WC]
Katie Volynets[WC] v Shelby Rogers
Alycia Parks
Ann Li[WC]
Elli Mandlik[WC] v Alison Riske-Amritraj
Jessica Pegula[3]
Coco Gauff[6]
Amanda Anisimova[31]

Brandon Holt[WC]
Michael Mmoh
Tommy Paul[17]
Jack Sock[WC]
Taylor Fritz[4]
Ben Shelton
JJ Wolf
Mackenzie McDonald
John Isner v Brandon Nakashima
Frances Tiafoe[14]
Marcos Giron v Aleks Kovacevic[WC]
Maxime Cressy[32]

Qualifying began today with 12 men and 12 women advancing to the main draw after wins today and Tuesday. Ashlyn Krueger has won her first round qualifying match, as has Caroline Dolehide; both are wild cards. The only American man to reach the second/final round of qualifying so far is Emilio Nava. Kalamazoo 18s champion Learner Tien, who received a wild card into qualifying, lost to ATP No. 97 Cristian Garin of Chile 7-5, 7-6(7).

North Carolina State freshman Diana Shnaider, seeded No. 6 in the women's qualifying, plays later tonight.

Ken Thomas is providing coverage of one court of BNP Paribas Open qualifying matches at RadioTennis.com.