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Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Quevedo Advances at Bonita Springs $100K; Tien Among 13 Americans Accepted to Roland Garros Junior Championships; World Tennis Number Still Work in Progress

Seventeen-year-old Kaitlin Quevedo, who qualified for the women's $100,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Bonita Springs Florida yesterday, has advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 win over wild card Grace Min, who had reached the semifinals of last week's $60K in Charlottesville. Although the Naples Florida resident has captured three $15,000 women's World Tennis Tour titles, all last fall, she has only two match wins above that level until today.

Quevedo will play another qualifier in Thursday's second round, with former Princeton star Victoria Hu beating No. 8 seed Lily Miyazaki(Oklahoma) of Great Britain 6-4, 6-4 today.

Quevedo is among five US girls who received direct acceptances into the Roland Garros Junior Championships, which run from June 4 - June 10 in Paris. The other four are Clervie Ngounoue, Iva Jovic, Ariana Pursoo and Tatum Evans. The US girls in the qualifying draw are Valeria Ray, who is next in to the main draw, Mia Slama, Thea Rabman, Ashton Bowers, Alexia Harmon and Alanis Hamilton. Anya Murthy and Maya Joint are next into qualifying.  

The girls main draw cutoff was 49; Isabella Kruger of South Africa, 363 in the WTA rankings, and Sara Bejlek of the Czech Republic, 157 in the WTA rankings, received main draw entries based on being in the WTA Top 400.

Eight US boys received direct entry, led by 2023 Australian Open boys finalist Learner Tien. Tien, who only recently was cleared to play at the University of Southern California, did not qualify for NCAA individual tournament, so he should have plenty of team after the team event to prepare for the clay. Tien reached the semifinals of the J500 in Milan last year, but became ill and did not stay in Europe for junior qualifying at Roland Garros.

The other American boys receiving main draw entry are: Cooper Williams, Roy Horovitz, Kaylan Bigun, Darwin Blanch, Alex Razeghi, Alex Frusina and Kyle Kang. The boys cutoff was 47, with Kang and Dino Prizmic of Croatia receiving entry based on their ATP Top 750 rankings of 639 and 329 respectively. 

The US boys in qualifying are Nishesh Basavareddy, Cooper Woestendick and Max Exsted.

Both 2023 Australian Open champions, who took over the No. 1 spots in the junior rankings this week, are going for a second straight junior slam in Paris: Alina Korneeva and Alexander Blockx. 2022 Roland Garros and US Open finalist Gilles Bailly has also entered; US Open boys champion Martin Landaluce, now No. 2 in the ITF junior rankings, is the only boy in the ITF Top 25 not on the acceptance list.  Girls in the ITF Top 25 missing from the list are last year's champion Lucie Havlickova of the Czech Republic[2], Mirra Andreeva[3], Liv Hovde[20] and Teodora Kostovic[21] of Serbia.

When posting the acceptance lists, the ITF provides its World Tennis Number along with the ITF ranking, which is used to select the participants. (The acceptances were removed at some point today, but I managed to capture them before they disappeared). This is admirable transparency, but the message that keeps getting sent is that the WTN is a long way from being the reliable gauge of proficiency that would allow it to be used for these selections.

I have posted the full entry list sorted by WTN; I did not go as deep as the qualifying, but I will point out that Basavareddy has one of the best WTN's among the all the main draw boys, but is still in qualifying.

Here's a sample of the top 16 girls (full document is here):

And the top 16 boys (full list here):

I would love to know if the ITF has an actual target date for true implementation of this system or if they are waiting to see better alignment between it and their rankings.