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Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Grant, Jovic, Rolls, Penickova and Bigun Advance to Third Round at Roland Garros Juniors; NCAA Champion Noel Receives Sumter W75 WC; ATP Challenger Underway in Tyler; Jackson Named Head Coach at Arizona State

The four Americans seeded at this year's Roland Garros Junior Championships have avoided the upset bug that has bitten 15 seeds from other countries in the first two rounds, and 14-year-old Kristina Penickova was responsible for one of those upsets today, beating No. 11 seed Iva Ivanova of Bulgaria 6-4, 6-3.
No. 10 seed Iva Jovic started the day with 6-1, 7-5 win over Yelyzaveta Kotliar of Ukraine, who was forced to qualify despite being 28 now in the ITF junior rankings. Kotliar won the J300 in Santa Croce and made the semifinals at the Milan 500 last month, but those results didn't help her avoid qualifying, as the cutoff was at the end of April. Jovic had beaten Kotliar 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the J300 in Traralgon prior to the Australian Open Junior Championships.

No. 4 seed Tyra Grant, after struggling with consistency at the start of her three-set first round win, looked more comfortable today in her 6-2, 6-2 win over Rositsa Dencheva of Bulgaria.

No. 15 seed Katie Rolls defeated Malak El Allami of Morocco, a rising freshman at Columbia 6-2, 4-6, 6-3; if she and Penickova win against their unseeded opponents Wednesday, they will play each other in the quarterfinals.

No. 5 seed Kaylan Bigun made quick work of French wild card Timeo Trufelli 6-1, 6-2, extending his ITF junior winning streak to eight matches after claiming the J500 title in Milan two weeks ago. Bigun is the featured player in today's ITF coverage of the Roland Garros Junior Championships, revealing the same method of relaxation as WTA No. 1 Iga Swiatek, and what the future UCLA Bruin talks about with former stars Mackenzie McDonald and Marcos Giron.

Tuesday's second round singles results of Americans:

Theo Papamalamis[16](FRA) d. Cooper Woestendick 7-6(7), 6-2
Kaylan Bigun[5] d. Timeo Trufelli[WC](FRA) 6-1, 6-2
Federico Cina[7](ITA) d. Maxwell Exsted 6-0, 6-2
Charlie Robertson[Q](GBR) d. Alexander Razeghi 6-2, 7-6(4)

Iva Jovic[10] d. Yelyzaveta Kotliar[Q](UKR) 6-1, 7-5
Kristina Penickova d. Iva Ivanova[11](BUL) 6-4, 6-3
Kaitlyn Rolls[15] d. Malak El Allami(MAR) 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
Tyra Grant[4] d. Rositsa Dencheva(BUL) 6-2, 6-2

The first round of doubles was completed today, with seven US boys advancing to tomorrow's second round: Exsted and Woestendick[7], Bigun and Jagger Leach[4], Jack Kennedy and Ian Mayew, and Razeghi, with German partner Max Schoenhaus.

Three US girls remain in doubles: No. 4 seeds Jovic and Grant, and Kate Fakih, who is playing with Emily Sartz-Lunde of Norway.

Wednesday's third round matches featuring Americans:
Tyra Grant[4] v Yufei Ren[Q](CHN) 
Kristina Penickova v Mia Pohankova[Q](SVK)
Kaitlyn Rolls[15] v Rose Marie Nijkamp(NED)
Iva Jovic[10] v Eliska Tichackova(CZE)

Kaylan Bigun[5] v Miguel Tobon[12](COL)

Emma Navarro(Virginia) and Diana Shnaider(NC State) of Russia are through to the quarterfinals of women's doubles, as is Coco Gauff, who is playing with Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, with Jessica Pegula out with an injury. Gauff will play Swiatek in the singles semifinals on Thursday.

The two big USTA Pro Circuit events this week are the ATP Challenger 75 in Tyler Texas and the W75 in Sumter South Carolina

Qualifying concluded in Tyler yesterday, with three Americans advancing to the main draw: Ethan Quinn(Georgia), Strong Kirchheimer(Northwestern) and Christian Langmo(Miami). Quinn was scheduled to face Bernard Tomic of Australia, the No. 5 seed, but Tomic tested positive for covid late last week in Little Rock, and Quinn instead played lucky loser Leo Borg of Sweden, the son of Bjorn Borg, who had lost to Kirchheimer. Quinn won their first round match today 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. 

Wild cards went to SMU rising sophomore Trevor Svajda, UCLA rising freshman Rudy Quan and Bruno Kuzuhara. Svajda lost to former Ohio State Buckeye standout James Trotter of Japan 6-4, 7-6(5) yesterday in the first round.

The top seed this week in Tyler is Alexis Galarneau(NC State) of Canada, who defeated Quan 6-2, 7-5 this evening, with matches still going due to rain early in the day.

2024 NCAA singles champion Alexa Noel had her week off in Miami and is back competing with a wild card into Sumter. She faces Usue Arconada, another wild card, in the first round Wednesday.  ITA Player of the Year Mary Stoiana of Texas A&M also received a wild card; she played teammate Carson Branstine of Canada in the first round today, with Branstine posting a 6-3, 6-1 victory. The fourth wild card went to Jaeda Daniel(Auburn, NC State), who lost to No. 4 seed Allie Kiick 6-1, 6-2 today. 

Americans who advanced to the main draw via qualifying: Savannah Broadus(Pepperdine), Charlotte Chavatipon(Texas), Lea Ma(Georgia), Ashton Bowers(Texas), Anna Rogers(NC State) and Ema Burgic(Baylor).

Maria Mateas(Duke) is the top seed in Sumter, Katarina Kozarov(Furman) of Serbia is the No. 2 seed. Seventeen-year-old Akasha Urhobo, who has taken the last two weeks off, is the No. 6 seed this week. 

The second week of the SoCal Pro Series is again at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego, with all qualifying and some first round matches completed today.

In the women's W15 tournament, all eight qualifiers were from the United States: Julieta Pareja, Isabella Chhiv(Princeton), Jessica Bernales(Michigan), Klara Kosan(Pacific), Katie Codd(Duke), Olivia Center(UCLA), Taylor Cataldi(Wisconsin) and
Tianmei Wang.

Wild cards were awarded to Emily Deming, Kayla Chung and Julia Ronney.

The top seed is Dasha Ivanova, with USC graduate Eryn Cayetano the No. 2 seed. Sixteen-year-old Anna Frey defeated No. 5 seed Basak Eraydin of Turkey 7-6(4), 6-3 in a first round match; Maya Iyengar, receiving entry via the Junior Reserved program, also won her first round match. Aspen Schuman, the other JR entry, plays her first round on Wednesday.

In the men's $15K tournament in San Diego, American qualifiers today were: Alexander Petrov(Illinois), Sebastian Gorzny(TCU, Texas), Ryan Dickerson(Duke, Baylor), Maxwell McKennon(Arizona State), Noah Zamora(UC-Irvine) and Bryce Nakashima(Ohio State).

Wild cards were given to Alexander Chang(Cal), Rohan Murali(Harvard), Zhengqing Ji(Yale) and William Kleege.

Last week's champion Learner Tien(USC) is the top seed, with Alafia Ayeni(Cornell, Kentucky) the No. 2 seed.

Jamea Jackson, a former Oklahoma State assistant, a former USTA National Coach and, most recently, the head coach for the women's program at Princeton, has been named head coach at Arizona State, succeeding Shelia McInerney, who led the program for 40 years. Although  McInerney's retirement announcement a few weeks ago was low-key, in keeping with her wishes, the search for a successor was obviously pursued with a sense of urgency. Jackson led Princeton to two Ivy League titles in her two seasons at the helm, but will have another learning curve in her second head coaching job, with Arizona State's transition to the Big-12, not to mention all the changes swirling around college tennis right now.