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Friday, June 7, 2024

Bigun Reaches Roland Garros Boys Final; Jovic and Grant Aim for Second Straight Junior Slam Doubles Title; ATP Confirms Second Year of Collegiate Accelerator Program; Chicago Tops Final D-III Rankings; Tien, Iyengar and Schuman Advance at San Diego $15K

Until today, Kaylan Bigun hadn't been pushed in his run to the semifinals of the Roland Garros Junior Championships.

Unsurprisingly, that changed in his match with No. 2 seed Joel Schwaerzler of Austria, who won an ATP Challenger last month. The UCLA rising freshman dropped the first set--the only one he's lost all week--but stayed calm, leading him to a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over his fellow left-hander. Bigun got an early break in the final set and made it stand up; the 18-year-old didn't face a break point in the final two sets. After Schwaerzler saved a match point serving at 3-5 and held, Bigun faced the biggest game of his junior career, and he got every first serve in, including a 126 mph one at 40-30, which Schwaerzler returned, but Bigun hit a forehand winner off it to reach his first junior slam final.

His opponent Saturday will be Tomasz Berkieta of Poland, who saved three match points in his dramatic 7-6(3), 4-6, 7-6(4) win over Lorenzo Carboni of Italy. Serving at 5-6 in the third, Berkieta had to come with winners at 30-40, and two ad-outs, and the 17-year-old might have hit two lines during the last match point he saved. Once he got to the tiebreaker, his first serve, which reached 136 mph on one occasion and averaged 121 mph, proved too much for Carboni.

Berkieta is the first Polish boy since Jerzy Janowicz in 2008 to reach the Roland Garros final; Bigun is the first US boys to reach the final since Toby Kodat in 2019. Tomorrow's final will be their first meeting.

Both US girls lost to their Czech opponents Friday, with No. 4 seed Tyra Grant falling to No. 12 seed Tereza Valentova 6-3, 7-6(1), and Kristinia Penickova seeing her run end at the hands of No. 3 seed Laura Samson 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. Both Americans mounted impressive comebacks; Grant trailed 4-0 in the second set, but won the next five games to serve for the set, only to drop her serve at love, and Valentova returned to her previous level in the tiebreaker to reach her second junior slam final.

Penickova trailed 6-3, 5-2 to Samson before winning five straight games, and was briefly up a break in the third set, before Samson recovered, breaking the 14-year-old Penickova at 4-5 after she had been  unable to serve out the match at 5-3. 

Despite all the success of the Czech girls, who will have won three of the last four Roland Garros titles after tomorrow, this is the first junior slam final between two Czech girls. 

Valentova will also play for the doubles title Saturday, with Renata Jamrichova of Slovakia. The No. 3 seeds defeated No. 5 seeds Emerson Jones of Australia and Vittoria Paganetti of Italy 7-5, 6-2 in today's semifinal, posting their fourth consecutive straight-sets win.

The will face Grant and Iva Jovic, the No. 4 seeds, for the title, after the Australian Open girls champions defeated top seeds Samson and Alena Kovackova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-4. Grant, who won the Roland Garros doubles title last year with Clervie Ngounoue, and Jovic have also not lost a set this week; in fact, they haven't lost a set in junior slam competition this year, winning the Australian Open girls doubles final without losing a set.

The boys doubles final will feature the top two seeds, with No. 1 seeds Schwaerzler and Nicolai Budkov Kjaer of Norway saving a match point in their 4-6, 6-2, 11-9 victory over unseeded Timofei Derepasko of Russia and Amir Omarkhanov of Kazakhstan.

No. 2 seeds Federico Cina of Italy and Rei Sakamoto of Japan were also forced to a tiebreaker by the unseeded team of Alexander Razeghi and Germany's Max Schoenhaus, but escaped with a 7-5, 2-6, 10-7 victory.

The ATP website published an article today on its collegiate accelerator program for the ITA top 20, which will begin its second year on July 1. It provides details on players who have used the program to maximum effect, and provides a list of the 21 players who have qualified for this year's edition(The ITA Top 20, plus Jack Anthrop of Ohio State, who made the quarterfinals of the NCAAs to qualify). It also has a quote from ITA No. 1 Eliot Spizzirri of Texas.

The final rankings for Division III were released this week, with the team champions from the University of Chicago topping both 
the men's and women's rankings. For the full final rankings, click on the headings.


Team Top 10
1. Chicago
2. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
3. Bowdoin
4. Case Western
5. Middlebury
6. Emory
7. Tufts
8. Denison
9. Williams
10. Swarthmore

Singles Top 10
1. Tristan Bradley, Bowdoin
2. Matthew Kandel, Williams
3. Advik Mareedu, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
4. Vuk Vuksanovic, Tufts
5. Jordan Theron, Sewanee
6. Julian Wu, Middlebury
7. Kael Shalin Shah, Denison
8. Emil Grantcharov, Chicago
9. Derek Hsieh, Chicago
10. Ajay Mahenthiran, Case Western

Doubles Top 5
1. Gae Gohl and Tyler Haddorff, Gustavus Adolphus
2. Tristan Bradley and Reid Staples, Bowdoin
3. Matthew Kandel and Nicholas Chen, Williams
4. Adrei Leonov and Pat Otero, Chicago
5. Diego Maza and Vishway Aduru, Case Western

Top 10 Team
1. Chicago
2. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
3. Pomona-Pitzer
4. Wesleyan
5. Emory
6. Johns Hopkins
7. Washington St. Louis
8. Middlebury
9. Amherst
10. Washington and Lee

Singles Top 10
1. Angie Zhou, Pomona-Pitzer
2. Matia Cristiani, Babson
3. Sylwia Mikos, Chicago
4. Rena Lin, Chicago
5. Emily Kantrovitz, Emory
6. Audrey Yoon, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
7. Olivia Soffer, Babson
8. Lindsay Eisenman, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
9. Ana Cristian Perez, Emory
10. Erica Ekstrand, Williams

Doubles Top 5
1. Nikolina Batoshvili and Alisha Chulani, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
2. Olivia Soffer and Matia Cristiani, Babson
3. Rena Lin and Oliwia Mikos, Chicago
4. Lily McCloskey and Hannah Kassaie, Case Western
5. Caitlyn Ferrante and Sarah Youngberg, Wesleyan

Three teens eligible to compete at the USTA Nationals this summer are through to the semifinals at the SoCal Pro Series $15,000 San Diego II tournament after wins today.  Sixteen-year-old Aspen Schuman, who reached the final of this tournament last year, advanced to the all-USA women's semifinals with a 3-6, 6-3 6-2 win over Pepperdine's Anna Campana; 16-year-old Maya Iyengar, who is playing just her second Pro Circuit tournament, with last week her first, defeated 15-year-old qualifier Julieta Pereja 6-7(0), 6-2, 7-5 and will face unseeded Carolyn Campana(Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Pepperdine) for a place in the final. Campana took out top seed Dasha Ivanova 7-5, 6-3.  Schuman will play former North Carolina All-American Sarah Daavettila, the No. 3 seed, who beat qualifier Katie Codd(Duke) 6-4, 6-1.

Two-time Kalamazoo champion Learner Tien, who at this time last year was reaching the semifinals of the Roland Garros junior championships, advanced to the men's semifinals with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Isaac Becroft(Oklahoma State) of New Zealand. Last week's champion in San Diego, the 18-year-old top seed will look to extend his winning streak to nine when he takes on No. 7 seed Noah Schachter(Texas A&M), who beat No. 4 seed Alex Knaff(Florida State) of Luxembourg 3-6, 6-2, 6-0. In the other semifinal, Alan Rubio(Central Florida) of Mexico will take on No. 2 seed Alafia Ayeni(Cornell, Kentucky) after Rubio defeated 2013 Kalamazoo 18s champion Collin Altamirano(Virginia) 6-1, 6-1 and Ayeni downed Joshua Charlton(Oregon) of Australia 7-6(6), 6-3.