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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Australian Open Junior Qualifying Begins, Wild Cards Announced; Twenty Americans Reach AO Second Round; US Claims Half of Quarterfinal Berths in Bolton

The wild cards for the Australian Open Junior Championships, which begin on Saturday, have been distributed.  Note that a wild card, Oliver Anderson of Australia, won the boys title in 2016, a result not particularly rare in the ITF Junior ranks. I believe the two Chinese wild card are a results of playoffs for Asian juniors, similar to the competition Tennis Australia holds for a men's and women's main draw wild card.

Matthew Dellavedova (AUS)
Kody Pearson (AUS)
Chase Ferguson (AUS)
Alexander Crnokrak (AUS)
Lucas Vuradin (AUS)
Dane Sweeny (AUS)
Thomas Bosancic (AUS)
Tao Mu (CHN)

Lisa Mays (AUS)
Alexandra Bozovic (AUS)
Aleksa Cveticanin (AUS)
Ivana Popovic (AUS)
Michaela Haet (AUS)
Selina Turulja (AUS)
Zoe Kruger (RSA)
Chengyiyi Yuan (CHN)

Special exempts went to Traralgon doubles semifinalists Francesco Forti of Italy in the boys draw and Gabriella Da Silva-Fick of Australia in the girls draw.  The special exempt spots not used allowed Lisa Piccinetti of Italy and Siphosothando Montsi of South Africa to move into the main draw.

The qualifying draw cannot be posted on the ITF junior website until after the Freeze deadline, but qualifying does begin on Wednesday in Traralgon (tonight here in the US), so the draw has been made.  There is a bye in the girls draw, and no wild cards were necessary, which is unusual for a junior slam, and it means that top seed Ali Collins of Great Britain has to win only one match to advance to the main draw. American girls in qualifying are Jazmin Walle, Alana Smith[5] and Jimena Rodriguez-Benito[10].  The boys qualifying draw does have six wild cards, all from Australia.  American boys in qualifying are Tristan Boyer[15] and Zachary Garner.

All Americans are out of both singles and doubles at the ITF Grade 1 in Traralgon, with Hurricane Tyra Black losing to No. 5 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.  Black also lost in the quarterfinals of doubles, as did No. 3 seeds Caty McNally and Natasha Subhash.

American success was much greater for the older players in Melbourne, where 20 competitors from the US advanced to the second round of the Australian Open. Americans who played college tennis went 6-0 in the first round, with qualifier Jennifer Brady, Nicole Gibbs and Irina Falconi joining John Isner, Steve Johnson and Noah Rubin, who won on Monday.  Gibbs and Falconi will play each other Thursday for a chance to play, most likely, Serena Williams.  The young Americans had mixed results yesterday, with both National 18s champions Michael Mmoh and Kayla Day dropping their matches in straight sets.  Qualifier Reilly Opelka lost the last 10 points of his match with No. 11 seed David Goffin, Taylor Fritz is still looking for his first win at a major after a loss to Gilles Muller and Jared Donaldson won the first two sets from Brazil's Rogerio Dutra Silva before falling in five sets.  Frances Tiafoe earned his first slam win, and Ernesto Escobedo claimed his second after making the second round last year at the US Open.  For more on the young Americans, see this article from ESPN.com.

Tuesday's first round results for Americans:

Serena Williams[2] def. Belinda Bencic(SUI) 6-4, 6-3
David Goffin(BEL)[11] def. Reilly Opelka 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4
Rogerio Dutra Silva(BRA) d. Jared Donaldson 3-6, 0-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4
Jennifer Brady def. Maryna Zanevska(BEL) 6-3, 6-2
Andrea Petkovic(GER) def. Kayla Day 6-3, 6-2
Donald Young def. Thomas Fabbiano(ITA) 6-4, 7-6(1), 6-4
Gilles Muller(LUX) def. Taylor Fritz 7-6(6), 7-6(5), 6-3
Irina Falconi def. Xinyun Han(CHN) 6-1, 7-5
Frances Tiafoe def. Mikhail Kukushkin(KAZ) 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-2
Gilles Simon[25](FRA) def. Michael Mmoh 6-1, 6-3, 6-3
Nicole Gibbs def. Timea Babos[25](HUN) 7-6(3), 6-4
Ernesto Escobedo def. Daniil Medvedev(RUS) 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-1

Wednesday's second round matches involving Americans:

Stefanie Voegele(SUI) vs. Venus Williams[13]
Noah Rubin vs. Roger Federer[17](SUI)
Samantha Crawford vs. Garbine Muguruza[7](ESP)
Elina Svitolina[11](UKR) vs. Julia Boserup
Stan Wawrinka[4](SUI) vs. Steve Johnson
Shelby Rogers vs. Ashleigh Barty(AUS)
Alex De Minaur(AUS) vs. Sam Querrey[31]
Alison Riske vs. Shuai Zhang[20](CHN)
Tomas Berdych[10](CZE) vs. Ryan Harrison
Varvara Lepchenko vs. Ying-Ying Duan)CHN)
John Isner[19] vs. Mischa Zverev(GER)
Karen Khachanov(RUS) vs. Jack Sock[23]
Pauline Parmentier(FRA) vs. CoCo Vandeweghe

The quarterfinals are set for the Nike International 14U tournament in Bolton, with Americans occupying four of the eight spots in both the boys and girls draws.  Unseeded Alexandra Yepifanova has lost only seven games in her three victories and today she defeated No. 3 seed Elsa Jacquemot of France 6-1, 6-2. Elvina Kalieva, top seed Cori Gauff and No. 8 seed Charlotte Owensby also won in straight sets.

Only three seeds advanced to the boys quarterfinals and two of them are Americans: No. 7 seed Martin Damm and No. 4 seed Toby Kodat, both of whom won in straight sets. Aidan Mayo and Alex Bernard also took out their opponents in straight sets.  Complete draws are available at the Tennis Europe tournament site.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Junior Orange Bowl Slideshow, Videos; Thirteen Americans Advance on First Day of Australian Open; All Eight US Juniors Through to Third Round at Nike International

Wrapping up last month's major junior tournaments in Florida with a slideshow of the top six finishers in the Junior Orange Bowl, the international tournament for the 12s and 14s divisions.  Also below are YouTube videos of the finals, one for each final, due to the ability to shoot from behind the courts.  The boys 12s video is courtesy of Tennis Analytics.

Please note that names on the photographs, but full captions can be found by toggling the Closed Caption box or changing your settings via the gear symbol.

Before the second day of play at the Australian Open gets underway tonight, I wanted to posted the Americans results of the first day, with 13 of the 20 on the schedule advancing to the third round. Shelby Rogers had the biggest win, taking out No. 4 seed Simona Halep of Romania, while Bjorn Fratangelo and Noah Rubin went three sets before the 20-year-old former Wake Forest star prevailed. He will play Roger Federer in the second round. Twelve Americans are on the schedule for Tuesday, including both reigning USTA 18s champions, Michael Mmoh and Kayla Day. Coverage is available on ESPN 2 and WatchESPN.

Two young Australians, both still eligible for junior play in 2017, advanced to the second round.  Alex De Minaur defeated Gerald Melzer of Austria 5-7, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(2), 6-1 and Jaimee Fourlis defeated Anna Tatishvili, who is just returning from injury, 6-4, 6-3 to claim their first pro slam wins.

Monday’s 1st round results for Americans:

Shelby Rogers def. Simona Halep[4](ROU) 6-3, 6-1
Venus Williams[13] def. Kateryna Kozlova(UKR) 7-6(5), 7-5
CoCo Vandeweghe def. Roberta Vinci[15](ITA) 6-1, 7-6(3)
Eugenie Bouchard(CAN) def. Louisa Chirico 6-0, 6-4
Sam Querrey[31](USA) def. Quentin Halys(FRA) 6-7(10), 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-4
Jack Sock[23] def. Pierre-Hugues Herbert(FRA) 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-3
Samantha Crawford def. Lauren Davis 4-6, 6-3, 6-0
Kristina Kucova(SVK) def. Christina McHale 6-4, 6-0
Noah Rubin def. Bjorn Fratangelo 6-7(4), 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2
Alison Riske def. Madison Brengle 7-5, 6-3
Varvara Lepchenko def. Kiki Bertens[19](NED) 7-5, 7-6(5)
Jaimee Fourlis(AUS) def. Anna Tatishvili 6-4, 6-3
Ryan Harrison def. Nicolas Mahut(FRA) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
John Isner[19] def. Konstantin Kravchuk(RUS) 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-1
Julia Boserup def. Francesca Schiavone(ITA) 6-2, 6-4
Steve Johnson def. Federico Delbonis(ARG) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
Natalia Vikhlyantseva(RUS) def. Vania King 6-3, 6-2

Tuesday's first round matches involving Americans:

Belinda Bencic(SUI) vs. Serena Williams[2]
Reilly Opelka vs. David Goffin(BEL)[11]
Jared Donaldson vs. Rogerio Dutra Silva(BRA)
Jennifer Brady vs. Johanna Larsson(SWE)
Kayla Day vs. Andrea Petkovic(GER)
Thomas Fabbiano(ITA) vs. Donald Young
Gilles Muller(LUX) vs. Taylor Fritz
Irina Falconi vs. Xinyun Han(CHN)
Frances Tiafoe vs. Mikhail Kukushkin(KAZ)
Gilles Simon[25](FRA) vs. Michael Mmoh
Timea Babos[25](HUN) vs. Nicole Gibbs
Daniil Medvedev(RUS) vs. Ernesto Escobedo

The second round of the Nike International in Bolton saw all eight Americans advance to the third round, with the four seeded Americans: Cori Gauff[1], Charlotte Owensby[8], Martin Damm[7] and Toby Kodat[4] won their opening matches (they had byes in the first round) in straight sets, as did unseeded Aidan Mayo, Alexander Bernard, Elvina Kalieva and Alexandra Yepifanova.  Top boys seed Derrick Chen of Great Britain was beaten by Pedro Boscardin Dias of Brazil.

Complete draws are at the Tennis Europe tournament website.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Giron Wins Long Beach Futures; Black Reaches Quarterfinals at ITF G1 Traralgon; Nike International Underway with Gauff Top Girls Seed

Marcos Giron won his fifth Futures title today at the $25,000 tournament in Long Beach California, defeating University of Virginia junior Collin Altamirano 7-6(3), 6-1 in the final.  The 2014 NCAA champion while a junior at UCLA, Giron was recovering from surgery on both his hips at this time last year. Since returning to the Pro Circuit last fall, he has won two Futures titles, both in California and both by defeating current college players, with Cal's Andre Goransson of Sweden his opponent in the final of the Berkeley Futures.  Austin Krajicek and Jackson Withrow, the No. 2 seeds, won the doubles title earlier today. The two former Texas A&M Aggies defeated top seeds Luke Bambridge and Joe Salisbury(Memphis) of Great Britain 6-3, 3-6, 10-8.

For comments from Giron on his comeback, and from Withrow on his, see this article from press aide Steve Pratt.

At the $15,000 Futures in Plantation Florida, Roberto Cid of the Dominican Republic won his second career Pro Circuit title, defeating 16-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 6-0. There were 17 service breaks in the match, with the US Open boys champion broken 10 times.  Auger-Aliassime, who had been playing qualifying in next week's Futures in nearby Sunrise, gave a walkover to his third round qualifying opponent today.  The doubles title in Plantation went to unseeded Tomaslav Brkic of Bosnia and Nikola Cacic of Serbia, who beat unseeded Jaume Pla Malfeito and Miguel Semmler of Spain 4-6, 6-1, 10-3.

Qualifier Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine capped her week at the $25,000 Daytona Beach tournament with a second title, beating Ellie Halbauer 6-1, 6-2. It's her first title since she won the $50,000 tournament in Sacramento in the summer of 2015. The 2014 US Open girls finalist, who was out most of last year due to injury, won the doubles title yesterday with former UCLA star Robin Anderson.

American interest, at least in singles, is down to Hurricane Tyra Black at the ITF Grade 1 Loy Yang Traralgon tournament in Australia.  Black advanced to the quarterfinals this evening, beating unseeded Lisa Piccinetti of Italy 6-2, 6-4, but the other 11 Americans, even seeded players Trent Bryde, Taylor Johnson, Caty McNally and Natasha Subhash, were unable to advance past the second round.

The first round of the Tennis Europe 14-and-under Nike International in Bolton Great Britain was completed today, with the unseeded US players going 4-0. Aidan Mayo defeated British wild card Lui Maxted 6-1, 6-2 and Alexander Bernard beat British wild card Jack Batchelor by the same score.  All seeds had first round byes in the 64 draw, with the US seeds No. 7 Martin Damm and No. 4 Toby Kodat. The top seed in the boys draw is Derrick Chen of Great Britain.

In the girls draw, Junior Orange Bowl 12s champion Cori Gauff is the top seed, with Charlotte Owensby the No. 8 seed.  Elvina Kalieva defeated British qualifier Olivia Rook 7-5, 6-3 and Alexandra Yepifanova beat British wild card Leah Gonzales Edwards 6-1, 6-1.

Complete draws can be found at the TE tournament site.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Seven Americans Qualify for Australian Open; Sock Wins Second ATP Title; Black Ousts Top Seed Masarova in G1 Traralgon; Pro Circuit Update

Five US men and two US women advanced to the main draw of the Australian Open, which begins Monday (Sunday night in the US) in Melbourne.  Noah Rubin and Frances Tiafoe, who won the Kalamazoo 18s titles in 2014 and 2015, joined 2016 champion Michael Mmoh, a wild card, in the main draw.  2015 Wimbledon boys champion Reilly Opelka advanced, as did 20-year-old Ernesto Escobedo.  Bjorn Fratangelo, the 2011 French Open boys champion, is the veteran of the group, at age 23, and he will play Rubin in the first round. Jennifer Brady, who left UCLA after her sophomore season in 2015, will be make her main draw slam debut after her comeback win over Taylor Townsend.  Townsend had beaten Brady in the final round of qualifying at the US Open last August. Results of the US players' final round of qualifying are below.

Julia Boserup[6] def. Olivia Rogowska(AUS) 6-2, 6-1
Jennifer Brady[4] def. Taylor Townsend[14] 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
Reilly Opelka def. Casper Ruud(NOR) 7-6(2), 6-3
Lukas Lacko[10](SVK) def. Denis Kudla[18] 6-2, 6-2
Bjorn Fratangelo[6] def. Hiroki Moriya(JPN) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
Jurgen Melzer(AUT) def. Rajeev Ram[20] 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Frances Tiafoe[2] def. Tim Smyczek[25] 3-6, 6-0, 7-5
Ernesto Escobedo[21] def. Yuki Bhambri(IND) 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-4
Noah Rubin def. Evgeny Donskoy[11](RUS) 6-2, 6-4
Elizaveta Kulichkova[24](RUS) def. Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-2, 6-3

With the seven qualifiers, a total of 32 Americans, 18 women and 14 men, will compete in the main draw, the most of any country.  Twenty are on Monday's schedule, which features the top half of both singles draw. Monday matches featuring Americans:

Simona Halep[4](ROU) vs. Shelby Rogers
Kateryna Kozlova(UKR) vs. Venus Williams[13]
CoCo Vandeweghe vs. Roberta Vinci[15](ITA)
Louisa Chirico vs. Eugenie Bouchard(CAN)
Quentin Halys(FRA) vs. Sam Querrey[31]
Pierre-Hugues Herbert(FRA) vs. Jack Sock[23]
Samantha Crawford vs. Lauren Davis
Kristina Kucova(SVK) vs. Christina McHale
Bjorn Fratangelo vs. Noah Rubin
Alison Riske vs. Madison Brengle
Kiki Bertens[19](NED) vs. Varvara Lepchenko
Anna Tatishvili vs. Jaimee Fourlis(AUS)
Ryan Harrison vs. Nicolas Mahut(FRA)
John Isner[19] vs. Konstantin Kravchuk(RUS)
Francesca Schiavone(ITA) vs. Julia Boserup
Federico Delbonis(ARG) vs. Steve Johnson
Vania King vs. Natalia Vikhlyantseva(RUS)

Jack Sock has only one day of rest, Sunday, between his title Saturday in Auckland and his first round match in Melbourne.  Sock won his second ATP tour singles title, defeating Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in the final. Sock, the No. 4 seed, had lost his previous four finals after winning his first ATP title in Houston in 2015. With the title, the 24-year-old two-time Kalamazoo 18s champion moves into the ATP Top 20 for the first time. For more, see the ATP website.

At the ITF Grade 1 in Traralgon Australia, Hurricane Tyra Black earned the biggest win of her career, defeating top seed and 2016 French Open girls champion Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland 6-3, 6-3.  The 15-year-old from Florida joins Nicole Mossmer and Taylor Johnson in the second round.  The top seed in the boys draw, Yibing Wu of China, also lost. He was beaten 6-0, 6-2 in the second round by Mikhail Sokolovskiy of Russia.  Live scoring for the event can be found here.

The finals are set for the three USTA Pro Circuit events this week, but first congratulations are in order to former USC star Giuliana Olmos of Mexico, who swept both titles at the $15,000 ITF Women's Pro Circuit event in Martinique. The unseeded 23-year-old didn't drop a set in her five singles wins, defeating 17-year-old qualifier Monika Kilnarova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-1 in the final. Olmos teamed with former Arizona State standout Desirae Krawczyk for the doubles title, beating another unseeded pair, Sara Cakarevic and Emmanuelle Salas of France, 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

At the $25,000 Women's Pro Circuit event in Daytona Beach, 19-yaer-old Ellie Halbauer will play in her second career final at the $25,000 level after recording a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(6) win over wild card Caroline Dolehide.  Her opponent will be qualifier Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine, who also came from behind, beating Sofya Zhuk of Russia 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3. Kalinina won the doubles title today, playing with former UCLA star Robin Anderson.  The unseeded pair, who didn't drop a set all week, beat top seeds Paula Kania and Katarzyna Piter of Poland 6-4, 6-1.

At the $15,000 Futures in Plantation, 16-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada has reached the final, beating No. 3 seed Peter Nagy of Hungary 4-6, 6-1, 6-0.  The unseeded Auger-Aliassime has had a busy couple of days, because he is in qualifying for next week's Futures in nearby Sunrise, and he has played a qualifying and a main draw match in each location the past two days, winning all four. He is scheduled to do that on Sunday too.  Auger-Aliassime will face unseeded Roberto Cid of the Dominican Republic, who beat Miguel Semmler of Spain 6-2, 6-1.

The $25,000 Long Beach Futures finals are set for Sunday, with Marcos Giron facing University of Virginia junior Colin Altamirano.  Giron defeated former Pepperdine star Sebastian Fanselow of Germany 6-7(1), 7-6(6), 6-2 in today's semifinal, while Altamirano avenged his quarterfinal loss to teammate Carl Soderlund of Sweden last week in the Los Angeles Futures, beating him 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 today.  It's the first Futures final for Altamirano, the 2013 Kalamazoo 18s champion.

Friday, January 13, 2017

My Eight Intriguing Questions for 2017; 12 Americans in Final Round of Australian Open Qualifying; Grade 1 Traralgon Draws; Dolehide, Auger-Aliassime Reach Pro Circuit Semis

Every January I write an article for the Tennis Recruiting Network with questions I hope to have answered in the next 12 months. Some will definitely be decided by this time next year, others are more open ended, but have a look at what I'm interested in learning in 2017.

The final round of the Australian Open qualifying is Saturday (tonight in the United States) with a dozen Americans, eight men and four women, needing just one more win to reach the main draw of 2017's first major.  Second round US qualifying results from Friday, which saw a 5-hour rain delay in the afternoon, are below:

Men’s Round 2:(THURS)
Frances Tiafoe[2] def. Yannik Reuter(BEL) 6-4, 6-0
Dennis Kudla[18] def. Darian King(BAR) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
Bjorn Frantangelo[6] def. Stefanos Tsitsipas(GRE) 4-6, 6-1, 6-3
Tim Smyczek[25] def. Mohamed Safwat(EGY) 6-4, 6-3
Ernesto Escobedo[21] def. Tatsuma Ito(JPN) 6-1, 6-3

Men’s Round 2: (FRI)
Luca Vanni(ITA) def. Alex Sarkissian 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
Noah Rubin def. Roberto Carballes Baena[32](ESP)  6-4, 3-6, 6-2
Rajeev Ram[20] def. Marcelo Arevalo(ESA) 6-1, 4-6, 8-6
Reilly Opelka def. Mitchell Krueger 6-3, 7-6(2)

Women’s Round 2: (FRI)
Jennifer Brady[4] def. Barbora Stefkova(CZE) 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-1
Taylor Townsend[14] def. Francoise Abanda(CAN) 6-4, 6-4
Julia Boserup[6] def. Julia Glushko(ISR) 6-2, 3-6, 6-2
Rebecca Sramkova[7](SVK) def. Jamie Loeb 4-6, 7-5, 6-2
Bethanie Mattek-Sands def. Amandine Hesse(FRA) 6-1, 5-7, 10-8
Lin Zhu[12](CHN) def. Jennifer Elie 7-6(2), 6-2

The US had been fortunate to have few of its players competing against each other, but by this stage, it's almost inevitable, and today's final round has two all-American encounters.

Saturday's final round of qualifying:
Jennifer Brady[4] vs. Taylor Townsend[14]
Reilly Opelka vs. Casper Ruud(NOR)
Lukas Lacko[10](SVK) vs. Denis Kudla[18]
Julia Boserup[6] vs. Olivia Rogowska(AUS)
Hiroki Moriya(JPN) vs. Bjorn Fratangelo[6]
Jurgen Melzer(AUT) vs. Rajeev Ram[20]
Frances Tiafoe[2] vs. Tim Smyczek[25]
Yuki Bhambri(IND) vs. Ernesto Escobedo[21]
Evgeny Donskoy[11](RUS) vs. Noah Rubin
Bethanie Mattek-Sands vs. Elizaveta Kulichkova[24](RUS)

Order of play and live streaming are available at ausopen.com.

The draws for the ITF Grade 1 in Traralgon Australia have been posted, although the rain kept the final round of qualifying from being completed.  The girls qualifying draw was not full, with just 24 players signing up, two of them Americans. The boys qualifying had two byes in the 32-draw, with one American competing.

The main draw features seven US girls and three US boys. The girls are: Hurricane Tyra Black, Caty McNally[11], Natasha Subhash[14], Alana Smith, Carson Branstine[12] (still USA as of now), Nicole Mossmer and Taylor Johnson[2].  The boys are: Trent Bryde[12], Alafia Ayeni and Alexsandre Rotsaert.

The top seeds are French Open champion Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland and Orange Bowl finalist Yibing Wu of China.

More rain in California has required that both the second round and the quarterfinals be completed today at the $25,000 Futures event there. USC freshmen Brandon Holt and Riley Smith both earned their first ATP points with victories in the first round on Wednesday.

In Florida, the semifinals are set for the $15,000 men's Futures in Plantation and the $25,000 women's event in Daytona Beach.

US Open boys champion Felix Auger-Aliassime has advanced to the final four with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Ricardo Rodriguez of Venezuela after beating top seed Peter Torebko of Germany 6-4, 6-4 yesterday.  The 16-year-old Canadian will play No. 3 seed Peter Nagy of Hungary, a former standout at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Recent South Florida star Roberto Cid of the Dominican Republic will play Miguel Semmler of Spain in a semifinal between two unseeded players.

In Daytona Beach, 18-year-old wild card Caroline Dolehide has reached her fourth semifinal at the $25,000 level, beating qualifier Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway 7-5, 6-4 today. Dolehide will play unseeded 19-year-old Ellie Halbauer, playing in her third $25K semifinal after a 7-5, 6-3 win over Polina Leykina of Russia.  The other semifinal features 2015 Wimbledon girls champion Sofya Zhuk of Russia against 2014 US Open girls finalist Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine, a qualifier, who spent most of 2016 sidelined by injuries.  Zhuk defeated 2016 US Open girls finalist and No. 3 seed Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, avenging a loss last fall in the $25K in Lubbock Texas.  Kalinina beat Danielle Collins 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 in today's quarterfinal, her sixth straight win.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Australian Open Draws; Six American Men Reach Final Round of Qualifying at AO, US Women Go 6-2 in First Round; Sad News in College Tennis

The main draw was revealed for the Australian Open this evening (Friday morning in Melbourne) with 16 US women and nine US men.

The US women are: Serena Williams[2], Venus Williams[13], Vania King, Alison Riske, Madison Brengle, Shelby Rogers, Nicole Gibbs, Louisa Chirico, Lauren Davis, Samantha Crawford, Christina McHale, Varvara Lepchenko, Anna Tatishvili, CoCo Vandeweghe, Irina Falconi and Kayla Day.  US Open girls champion Day, who won the USTA's reciprocal wild card last fall, will play Andrea Petkovic of Germany in the first round.

Two of the first round matches are between Americans, with Davis and Crawford and Riske and Brengle meeting in their openers.

Complete women's draw is here.

The US men are: John Isner[19], Jack Sock[23], Sam Querrey[31], Donald Young, Taylor Fritz, Ryan Harrison, Steve Johnson, Jared Donaldson and Michael Mmoh.  Kalamazoo champion Mmoh, who won the USTA's reciprocal wild card last fall, will play No. 25 seed Gilles Simon of France. Taylor Fritz has drawn Gilles Muller of Luxembourg.

Complete men's draw is here.

The women's second round of qualifying is underway at the Australian Open and the second round of the men's qualifying will be completed, with both final rounds set for Saturday (Friday night in the United States.)

Five of the ten US men remaining played their matches Thursday and all won.

Frances Tiafoe[2] def. Yannik Reuter(BEL) 6-4, 6-0
Dennis Kudla[18] def. Darian King(BAR) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
Bjorn Frantangelo[6] def. Stefanos Tsitsipas(GRE) 4-6, 6-1, 6-3
Tim Smyczek[25] def. Mohamed Safwat(EGY) 6-4, 6-3
Ernesto Escobedo[21] def. Tatsuma Ito(JPN) 6-1, 6-3

Smyczek and Tiafoe will play Saturday for a place in the main draw, with Fratangelo facing Hiroki Moriya of Japan, Escobedo meeting Yuki Bhambri of India and Kudla playing No. 10 seed Lukas Lacko of Slovakia.

Friday's men's second round matches for Americans, with Rubin an early winner:

Luca Vanni(ITA) def. Alex Sarkissian 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
Noah Rubin def. Roberto Carballes Baena[32](ESP)  6-4, 3-6, 6-2
Marcelo Arevalo(ESA) v. Rajeev Ram[20]
Mitchell Krueger v. Reilly Opelka

US women went 6-2 in Thursday's first round matches in Melbourne.

Lina Gjorcheska(MKD) def. Sachia Vickery[18] 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Jennifer Brady[4] def. Victoria Kamenskaya(RUS) 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-3
Taylor Townsend[14] def. Tereza Smitkova(CZE) 6-0, 7-6(2)
Julia Boserup[6] def. Ayumi Morita(JPN) 6-1, 6-2
Jamie Loeb def. Shuko Aoyama(JPN) 6-4, 6-4
Bethanie Mattek-Sands def. Silvia Soler-Espinosa[10](ESP) 6-3, 6-0
Barbora Krejcikova(CZE) def. Asia Muhammad 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
Jennifer Elie def. Catalina Pella(ARG) 6-1, 7-5

Friday's second round matches for American women, three of which were completed early Friday in Melbourne:

Jennifer Brady[4] def. Barbora Stefkova(CZE) 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-1
Taylor Townsend[14] def. Francoise Abanda(CAN) 6-4, 6-4
Julia Boserup[6] def. Julia Glushko(ISR) 6-2, 3-6, 6-2
Rebecca Sramkova[7](SVK) v. Jamie Loeb
Bethanie Mattek-Sands v. Amandine Hesse(FRA)
Lin Zhu[12](CHN) v. Jennifer Elie 

Qualifying draws can be found at ausopen.com.

Sad news from the University of Miami(Ohio), which announced yesterday that Erin Rodriguez, a junior on the women's tennis team, had passed away on Tuesday.  Rodriguez is survived by her younger brother Matthew, also an outstanding junior tennis player, who has verbally committed to Oklahoma.  All of us in the junior and college tennis community extend our condolences to Erin's family, friends and teammates.