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Tuesday, November 7, 2023

US Girls Blank Algeria on Day Two of Junior BJK Cup Round Robin Play; Five Pro Events This Week in United States, with Top Seeds Already Out at Knoxville Challenger; Navarro Top Seed at Charleston $100K; USTA's AO Wild Card Challenge Final Standings for Women

The second-seeded US girls again had no trouble with their opponents on the second day of round robin competition at the Junior Billie Jean King Cup in Cordoba Spain. Facing Algeria, the US won No. 2 singles to start, with Alanis Hamilton defeating Melissa Ben Amar Kerfah 6-0, 6-1. Iva Jovic defeated Maria Badache 6-3, 6-4 at No. 1 singles, and the US completed the sweep with Hamilton and Jovic defeating Bacache and Wissal Boudjemaoui 6-4, 6-1 in doubles.

The US will face No. 5 seed Sweden to determine the winner of Group D, although both are assured of advancing to the quarterfinals. Sweden defeated Serbia 3-0 today to also go 2-0 in group play.

In Group A, the Czech Republic[1] and Australia[7] are both 2-0 and will advance to the quarterfinals, with their meeting Wednesday deciding who finishes in the top spot.

In Group C, Great Britain[3] is in good position to advance, but Argentina[8], at 0-2, is not. Great Britain plays 1-1 Kazakhstan, while Brazil, also 1-1 plays Argentina. If Great Britain beats Kazakhstan and Argentina beats Brazil, all three teams would be 1-2 and need tiebreakers to decide the second place finisher.

In Group B, Japan[4] lost today to Egypt, so they will probably need to beat 2-0 Spain[6] to advance, as 1-1 Egypt faces winless Colombia. 

Live scoring is here; live streaming is here.

Although the WTA season is now over, with just a few 125s remaining on the calendar, five pro events are underway this week in the United States, including the ATP 75 Challenger in Knoxville and the Charleston $100,000 tournament for women.

Knoxville's top two seeds played on Monday, and they both lost, with Martin Damm defeating No. 1 Michael Mmoh 6-4, 6-3 and Brandon Holt(USC) beating No. 2 Aleks Kovacevic(Illinois) 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(1). The 20-year-old Damm hit 13 aces in the first set and 20 total to record his best victory by ranking. 

2022 Roland Garros boys champion Gabriel Debru of France, 17, defeated University of Tennessee senior Johannes Monday 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 and will face No. 3 seed Alex Michelsen, who beat Bernard Tomic of Australia 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.  Stanford sophomore Nishesh Basavareddy, playing in his first tournament since reaching the final of the Fairfield Challenger last month, defeated qualifier Mats Rosenkranz of Germany 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 to advance to the second round.

The rest of the first round matches are scheduled for today, and will be going late into the evening, with live streaming available at the Challenger TV page. Mike Cation is again providing commentary.

In Charleston, the qualifying concluded today, with six Americans advancing to the main draw: Ashley Lahey[1](Pepperdine); Alexis Blokhina[12](Stanford), Rasheeda McAdoo[9](Georgia Tech); DJ Bennett[14](Auburn), Victoria Hu[4](Princeton) and Varvara Lepchenko[2].

The bottom quarter played their first round matches today, with both seeds, No. 8 Ann Li and No. 2 Alycia Parks, winning in straight sets. Emma Navarro(Virginia) is the top seed in her hometown. Chloe Beck(Duke), Ellie Douglas(TCU), Elli Mandlik[5] and Allie Kiick received main draw wild cards.

While the above two tournaments are listed on the USTA Pro Circuit calendar, the men's $25,000 event this week in Austin Texas is not, but is rather being sanctioned as an ITF World Tennis Tour tournament, not a USTA Pro Circuit tournament. 

Qualifying was a 48 draw(although it did not fill), not 32 as most USTA Pro Circuit tournaments, which meant qualifying began Sunday and finished today. Two current and one future Texas Longhorns advanced to the main draw, with Cleeve Harper of Canada and Siem Woldeab posting victories, as well as recruit Evan Burnett. Stefan Menichella(Pepperdine) and Clemson freshman Marko Mesarovic were the other two Americans to reach the main draw via qualifying.

Federico Agustin Gomez(Louisville) is the top seed and he played his first round match today, beating TCU sophomore Sebastian Gorzny 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. Blaise Bicknell(Florida/Tennessee) of Jamaica is the No. 2 seed and he also won his first round match today. Texas fifth year Eliot Spizzirri also advanced to the second round with a victory today.

Wild cards were given to Texas junior Pierre-Yves Bailly of Belgium, Texas Tech junior Tyler Stewart, UCF fifth year Lleyton Kronje of South Africa and Kalamazoo 18s finalist Trevor Sjvada.

The other two events this week are $15,000 tournaments on college campuses, with the women at the University of Illinois and the men at Wake Forest.

Duke's Pedro Rodenas of Spain is the top seed in Winston-Salem, with teammate Garrett Johns, who won last week's title at the $15K in Fayetteville Arkansas, the No. 2 seed.

American qualifiers are Connor Krug(Duke), Ishaan Ravichandar(Columbia), Henry Lieberman(Charlotte/UNC) and Brian Cernoch(UNC).

Wild cards were given to four Wake Forest players: Holden Koons, DK Suresh of India, Franco Capalbo of Argentina and Matthew Thomson.

In Champaign, qualifying ended Monday, with main draw first round matches all completed today. 

Rhiann Newborn(Baylor) is the top seed and advanced to the second round with a three-set victory today. Australian Stefani Webb, a sophomore at Central Florida, is the No. 2 seed and is also safely through to the second round.

Auburn recruit Ashton Bowers, a finalist last week at the Norman Oklahoma $15K, received a junior reserved entry again this week, and she defeated Oklahoma State fifth year Ayumi Miyamoto of Japan, the champion two weeks ago at the $15K in Jackson Tennessee, by the intriguing scoreline of 6-0, 0-6, 6-1 today.

Fourteen-year-old qualifier Annika Penickova picked up her first Pro Circuit victory today, defeating Anita Sahdiieva(Baylor/LSU) of Ukraine 6-4, 7-5. UCF junior Sophia Biolay of France prevented a second round matchup between Annika and her twin sister Kristina, posting a 6-4, 6-1 win over the wild card.

The USTA published the final wild card standings for its women's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge, but without declaring a winner. With entries closing for Australia in a few weeks, the three players in the top positions in the race are all ranked high enough to get into the main draw. But on the chance one does not make the main draw, she will get the wild card, although McCartney Kessler, who is in fourth place, is poised to receive it once the main draw acceptances are announced.

Below is from today's release; as Cody Yeagley pointed out to me on twitter, the points for Aidan Mayo appear to be incorrect, as he earned 8 points at a $25K two weeks ago in additon to the 54 points he earned last week at the Charlottesville Challenger. Mayo, Quinn and Kypson all lost in the first round this week in Knoxville.

ORLANDO, Fla., November 7, 2023 – This week's women's and men's leaders in the Australian Open Wild Card Challenge are below. The women's challenge standings below are final, while the men's challenge enters the third week of its four-week window. Players' current rankings are in parenthesis. 


Women's Standings -- Final


1. Emina Bektas (82) -- 299

2. Kayla Day (87) -- 112

3. Claire Liu (94) -- 110

4. McCartney Kessler (231) -- 100

5. Katie Volynets (109) -- 72


Men's Standings


1. Aidan Mayo (296) -- 54

2. Brandon Nakashima (139) -- 39

3. Ethan Quinn (374) -- 34

4. Patrick Kypson (241) -- 30