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Friday, September 15, 2023

My US Open Junior Championships Recap; Qualifier Ekstrand Wins First ITF Junior Circuit TItle at Montreal J200; Svajda vs Michelsen Part III in Cary Challenger Semifinals; Krueger Reaches WTA 250 Semifinal in Japan

My recap of last week's hot and delay-filled US Open Junior Championships is up today at the Tennis Recruiting Network, so if you weren't able to follow my daily onsite coverage, often late into the night, this is an opportunity to get an overview of the titles for 17-year-old Joao Fonseca of Brazil and Stanford freshman Katherine Hui, who received a wild card into the event. I've read that she's the first wild card to win the US Open girls title, and it very well might be true, but I'm not sure where that information came from, as neither the ITF or the USTA (who has access all past draws) produced any notes for the US Open Junior Championships again this year.  Look for my photo gallery from the US Open later this month at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

The ITF J200 in Montreal Canada concluded today with 16-year-old Monika Ekstrand claiming her first title on the Junior Circuit. Ekstrand, who is now working with former USTA National Coach Stanford Boster, qualified for the main draw, then won five matches, four against fellow Americans, to earn her first title. She defeated No. 5 seed Claire An, the reigning Easter Bowl 16s champion, 6-1, 6-0 in today's final.  A semifinalist at last year's Orange Bowl 16s, Ekstrand will move into the ITF Top 200 for the first time with the title.

Top seed Abel Forger of the Netherlands won the boys title, beating No. 5 seed Nikita Filin 6-4, 6-1 in the final. No. 2  seeds Cooper Woestendick and Andrew Delgado won the boys doubles title, beating unseeded Kase Schinnerer and Mexico's Santiago Padilla Cote 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 in the final. No. 4 seeds Riley Crowder and Maya Dutta won the girls doubles championship, defeated No. 2 seeds An and Shannon Lam 6-3, 3-6, 10-2 in the final.

Three of the four semifinalists at the Atlantic Tire Championships ATP Challenger in Cary North Carolina have been decided, and three will be Americans, joining top seed Rinky Hijikata of Australia, the former All-American at North Carolina. Hijikata, who beat TCU junior Pedro Vives of Spain, a qualifier, 6-1, 7-5 in today's quarterfinals, broke into the ATP Top 100 for this first time this week, after reaching the fourth round of the US Open as the recipient of Australia's reciprocal wild card. Hijikata will play the winner of the night match between No. 6 seed Tennys Sandgren(Tennessee) and Patrick Kypson(Texas A&M).

It the bottom half, it will be Part Three of the 2023 USTA Pro Circuit battles between two-time Kalamazoo 18s champion Zachary Svajda, the No. 8 seed, and No. 2 seed Alex Michelsen. Michelsen, who turned 19 late last month, defeated 32-year-old Guido Andreozzi of Argentina, the No. 7 seed, 6-1, 7-6(3), while Svajda got by Toby Samuel(South Carolina) of Great Britain 7-5, 5-7, 6-1. 

Michelsen won the first meeting this year with Zvajda at January's rain-plagued USTA Pro Circuit men's $25,000 tournament in Malibu, taking that semifinal contest 6-4, 1-6, 6-1. A few weeks later, Svajda beat Michelsen 7-5, 6-3 in the second round of the ATP Challenger 75 in Cleveland; their paths have not crossed since then. 

2021 USTA National 18s champion Ashlyn Krueger has advanced to her first WTA semifinal at this week's 250 tournament in Osaka Japan. Krueger, 19, defeated Anna Kalinskaya of Russia 6-3, 6-1 in the quarterfinals and will face unseeded Mai Hontama of Japan for a spot in the final. Krueger is currently 100 in the WTA live rankings, a new career high for her.

There will be an American in the final of the WTA 500 in San Diego, with qualifier Emma Navarro(Virginia) facing Sofia Kenin in tonight's semifinal. The winner of that match will play No. 4 seed Barbora Krejickova of the Czech Republic in Saturday's final; she defeated Danielle Collins(Virginia) 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 this afternoon. Navarro earned her first WTA Top 10 win last night, beating No. 9 Maria Sakkari of Greece, the No. 3 seed, 6-4, 0-6, 7-6(4).