Tuesday, July 28, 2015

All Top 10 ITF Boys and Girls Entered in US Open Juniors; Southern Cal Wins USTA Boys 18 Team Championship; Donaldson, Kudla Advance in Atlanta

The acceptances for the US Open Junior Championships were released today, and all players in the ITF top 10, and all but one of the top 15, girls No. 15 Julieta Estable, have entered.

Nine US girls have received direct entry: Usue Arconada, Sonya Kenin, Michaela Gordon, Raveena Kingsley, Francesca Di Lorenzo, Ingrid Neel, Claire Liu, CiCi Bellis and Katerina Stewart.  Kayla Day is the first alternate, with an ITF ranking of 56.  Alexandra Sanford and Tornado Alicia Black, the 2013 US girls finalist, are in qualifying Stewart, a semifinalist in New York last year, received entry based on her WTA ranking, currently 158.  Magdalena Frech of Poland, 378 in the WTA rankings, also received her entry by that method.

Caroline Dolhide, ranked No. 16 and a semifinalist last year after advancing through qualifying, has not entered and is not playing the G18s Nationals in San Diego either. She played earlier this month at Wimbledon and reached the third round there.

Seven US boys have received direct entry: Taylor Fritz, Michael Mmoh, Reilly Opelka, William Blumberg, Tommy Paul, Nathan Ponwith and Ulises Blanch.  Sam Riffice has already assured himself of a wild card into the main draw by winning the 18s Clay Courts.

The cutoff for the boys is 45, extremely high for the US Open, but not unusual for the French.  Five players received entry via their ATP rankings, with South Africa's Lloyd Harris (609), Argentina's Juan Pablo Fichovich(706) and two Spanish 18-year-olds: European Championships finalist Bernabe Zapata Miralles(708) and Pedro Martinez Portero(691).  The fifth is 14-year-old Canadian Felix Auger Aliassime, who became the youngest player ever to reach the quarterfinals of an ATP Challenger last week in Granby. Those results moved his ATP ranking up to 749, which is one spot better than necessary for main draw acceptance.  It will be his first junior slam

The USTA Boys 18 Team Championships finals were today in Champaign-Urbana, with the Southern California section defeating the Eastern section 5-2.  Eastern's No. 1 player William Blumberg won all his matches during the tournament, including today's over Austin Rapp, but it wasn't enough to counter the depth of coach Barry Horowitz's team.  The results of today's final are below:

The girls 18 final Wednesday gives Southern Cal an opportunity for a sweep of the USTA Team championships. They will play defending champion Southern for the title. The TennisLink site for the girls competition has all the results.

At the ATP event in Atlanta, Jared Donaldson defeated fellow qualifier Somdev Devvarman 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 to reach the second round, where he will play No. 7 seed Gilles Muller of Luxembourg.  Another US qualifier, Denis Kudla, outlasted wild card Ryan Harrison 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) to set up a second round metting with No. 3 seed Jack Sock. Sock and Kudla have played five times, including, of course, in the US Open boys final in 2010, with Sock winning three, but Kudla has won their last two meetings, though those were in 2012.

No. 6 seed Steve Johnson advanced with a 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-2 win over Lukas Lacko of Slovakia. Qualifier Austin Krajicek fell to No. 5 seed Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, and Frances Tiafoe saw his attempt at a first ATP-level win thwarted by Australia's Sam Groth 7-6(3), 6-4.   Mardy Fish and Donald Young both suffered straight-set losses.

Georgia Tech rising sophomore Christopher Eubanks, who received a wild card, plays his first round match against Czech Radek Stepanek on Wednesday.  For more on Eubanks, and his friendship with Donald Young, see this article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Kalamazoo Seeds

Boys 18s:

1 Frances Tiafoe
2 Taylor Fritz
3 Stefan Kozlov

4 Tommy Paul
5 Michael Mmoh
6 Reilly Opelka
7 Alex Rybakov
8 William Blumberg

9 Sam Riffice
10 Nathan Ponwith
11 Oliver Crawford
12 Eduardo Nava
13 Dennis Uspensky

14 William Genesen
15 Eric Rutledge
16 Zeke Clark
17 Nick Stachowiak

18 Spencer Furman
19 Gianni Ross
20 John McNally
21 Connor Hance

22 Brandon Holt
23 Emil Reinberg

24 Martin Joyce
25 Liam Caruana

26 Kalman Boyd
Andrew Heller
28 Vasil Kirkov
29 Sameer Kumar

30 Nathan Perrone
31 Jacob Brumm
32 Matthew Gamble

Top seeds awaiting introductions at 2014 Nats opening night ceremonies

Boys 16s:
1 Jeffery Wolf
2 Jake Van Emburgh

3 Patrick Kypson
4 Alexandre Rotsaert
5 Sean Sculley
6 Austen Huang

7 Danny Thomas
8 Kyrylo Tsugura
9 Carson Haskins
10 Mac Kiger
11 Brian Cernoch
12 Alexander Brown
13 Andrew Fenty
14 Christian Alshon
15 William Howells
16 Jason Lui
17 Kevin Ma
18 Robert Maciag
19 Abhijeet Joshi
20 William Peters
21 Jaycer Lyeons
22 Kevin Zhu
23 Jeff Zucker
24 Ryan Goetz
25 Trent Bryde
26 Trey Hildebrand
27 Eric Yoo
28 Chambers Easterling
29 John Speicher
30 Ajai Shekhera
31 A. Trice Pickens
32 Cotter Wilson

Monday, July 27, 2015

Talking with ITF Junior No. 1 Taylor Fritz; Ayeni Sweeps ITF Grade 4 Titles in Dominican Republic; Donaldson Qualifies for BB&T Open in Atlanta

As the No. 1 ranked ITF junior boy, Taylor Fritz was a popular interview subject at Wimbledon this year, and I spoke with him several times during the junior tournament.  Although many of his peers have turned pro this spring and summer, Fritz has not yet made that decision officially. But from this article I put together for The Tennis Recruiting Network based on those interviews, it appears unlikely that he will attend college.

All the major sports management agencies are interested in Fritz, so his choice will be a story this summer (he says by the end of the US Open). But it's not as if it is a lifetime commitment.  Jack Sock, who signed with CAA initially, has moved to IMG, it was announced today.

Olukayode Alafia Ayeni, who turns 16 next month, won his first two ITF titles last week at the Grade 4 Copa Merengue in the Dominican Republic. Ayeni, seeded No. 11, beat the No. 7, No. 4 and No. 1 seeds to reach the final, where he defeated No. 2 seed Salvador Mijares of Venezuela 6-2, 6-1.  Ayeni and Robert Loeb won the doubles title, with the No. 3 seeds taking a 7-6(8), 7-5 decision from No. 4 seeds Valentino Caratini and Camilo Ugo Carabelli of Argentina.

At the $50,000 Sacramento women's Pro Circuit tournament, which finished late last night, 2014 US Open girls finalist Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine, the No. 8 seed, beat top seed An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. It's the third Pro Circuit title for the 18-year-old, but the first at the $50,000 level.

Ashley Weinhold and Caitlin Whoriskey(Tennessee) won the doubles title, beating another unseeded pair, Nao Hibino of Japan and Rosie Johanson of Canada, 6-4, 3-6, 14-12 in the final. It's Whoriskey's ninth pro doubles title, but her first at a $50,000 tournament and her first with Weinhold as a partner.

The third and final tournament in the USTA's Women's US Open Wild Card Challenge is this week in Lexington.  As you can see from the standings chart, it's still anyone's wild card, although Brooke Austin lost in the first round of Lexington qualifying to Jamie Loeb, so she can't accumulate any more points. Loeb is one of five Americans in Tuesday's final round of qualifying.

The men's Lexington Challenger is just the second of their three tournaments, and next week at Aptos is a $100,000 event, so there is a very long way to go in that race. Noah Rubin qualified for Lexington with three wins, including a win over No. 2 seed Frederik Nielsen of Denmark and today's victory over Dimitar Kutrovsky(7) of Bulgaria. Alex Kuznetsov also qualified, putting a total of eight Americans in the main draw.

Rain has stopped play at the BB&T Atlanta Open today, but Jared Donaldson, Austin Krajicek and Denis Kudla won their final qualifying matches to join nine Americans already in the main draw. Donaldson, who was unseeded in the qualifying, beat Gastao Elias of Portugal in the first round, No. 5 seed JP Smith of Australia in the second round and No. 2 seed Guido Pella of Argentina in today's final round of qualifying. Kudla, the No. 1 seed, won both his qualifying matches in straight sets, as did No. 3 seed Krajicek.

The lower level Pro Circuit events this week are a $15,000 Futures for the men in Edwardsville, Illinois, and a $10,000 tournament for women in Austin, Texas.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Mmoh, Herring, Dome and Jones Win Pro Circuit Titles; Bondar and Ymer Claim European Championships; USTA Girls 18 Team Event Underway

Four Americans collected singles titles today, three in North America and the fourth in Egypt.

Julia Jones, a recent Ole Miss graduate, won her first pro title at an $10,000 ITF Pro Circuit event in Egypt, after reaching the finals in singles and doubles the previous week as a qualifier. The unseeded 21-year-old, who received a special exemption into this week's tournament, defeated the No. 1 and No. 4 seeds en route to the final, where she beat unseeded Giada Clerici of Italy 6-3, 6-4.  Jones talks about her victory and her decision to play pro tennis after graduation in this article from the Ole Miss website. Jones, who was not initially named to compete in the American Collegiate Invitational, may be receiving the remaining wild card, although I'm not certain if that's the competition the article is referring to.

Another No. 1 player in the SEC last season, Georgia's Lauren Herring, claimed her first Pro Circuit title since 2010 at the $10,000 tournament in Evansville, Indiana. Herring, a qualifier, defeated Alabama incoming freshman Andie Daniell 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 in today's final.  Herring, who had reached the finals in singles and doubles at the $10,000 tournament in Charlotte last month, won eight singles matches to take the title in Evansville, while also reaching the doubles final.

At the Godfrey, Illinois $15,000 Futures, No. 6 seed Michael Mmoh won his second career title at that level with a tough 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win over Illinois rising senior Jared Hiltzik, the No. 8 seed. Mmoh, who also won a $15,000 Futures in Texas last fall, will now break into the ATP Top 500 when the points are added in two weeks.  Bobby Knight of College Tennis Today was at the final, and he has promised a report on the final, which featured (according to Knight's twitter feed) a rain delay, a medical timeout, a conceded point by Hiltzik, and a shirt-tossing celebration by Mmoh when it was all over.

At the $15,000 Futures in British Columbia, former Cal Poly All-American Andre Dome has also assured himself a place in the ATP Top 500, winning the title with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 decision over top seed Matt Reid of Australia.  The 24-year-old No. 2 seed also captured the doubles title with former Pepperdine star Finn Tearney of New Zealand. Those two titles now give Dome the fourth and fifth of his career, three singles and two doubles, all earned this year.

The European Championships ended today, and at the ITF Grade B1 in Switzerland the boys champion was no surprise, while the girls champion was unexpected.

Wimbledon finalist Mikael Ymer, who won the European 14s title in 2012 and was runnerup last in the 16s, added the 18s title to his resume. The 16-year-old, seeded No. 2, beat unseeded Bernabe Zapata Miralles of Spain 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

The girls title went to Anna Bondar of Hungary, an 18-year-old playing in her first junior event of the year.  The unseeded Bondar defeated No. 12 seed Jil Teichmann of Switzerland 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the final. Teichmann had taken out top seed Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic in the semifinals.

Vondrousova and her partner Miriam Kolodziejova won the doubles title, avenging their Wimbledon semifinal loss to Hungary's Dalma Galfi and Fanni Stollar, a loss that ended the Czech pair's quest for a Grand Slam.  Vondrousova and Kolodziejova, the No. 2 seeds, beat Galfi and Stollar, the No. 3 seeds, 6-4, 7-5 in the final.

The boys doubles title went to the German team of Tim Sandkaulen and Louis Wessels, with the No. 3 seeds beating unseeded Alexander Erler and Matthias Haim of Austria 7-6(4), 6-1 in the final.

The 16s titles both went to Czech players. Top seed Patrik Rikl defeated No. 8 seed Artem Dubrivnyy of Russia 6-4, 6-1 in the boys final, and unseeded Anna Slovakova beat No. 2 seed Elena Rybakina of Russia 6-0, 2-6, 6-3 in the girls final.

Unseeded Iga Swiatek of Poland, a 2014 Junior Orange Bowl 14s semifinalist, won the girls 14s title, beating top seed Taisya Pachkaleva of Russia 6-2, 6-1 in the final. No. 8 seed Duje Ajdukovic of Croatia won the boys 14s title, beat No. 4 seed Filip Jianu of Romania 6-4, 2-6, 6-2. 

Complete draws can be found at the Tennis Europe tournament page.

I mentioned the USTA Boys 18 Team Championships in yesterday's post. The USTA Girls 18 Team Championships began today in Claremont, California, with the TennisLink site here.  Results can be found by selecting Flight (there's only one), Round (1 was today) and match.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Mmoh vs Hiltzik, Daniell vs Herring in Pro Circuit Finals; Bryde and Paul Win Qualifying Matches at BB&T Atlanta Open; USTA Boys 18 Team Event Underway

Michael Mmoh has reached his second career Futures final at the $15,000 Pro Circuit event and will face Jared Hiltzik in Sunday's final in Godfrey, Illinois.  Mmoh, the No. 6 seed, beat No. 7 seed Evan King 6-4, 6-3 in Saturday's semifinals, while No. 8 seed Hiltzik, a rising senior at Illinois, defeated Clay Thompson 6-2, 6-3 to reach the first Pro Circuit final of his career.

At the $10,000 women's event in Evansville, Andie Daniell reached her first Pro Circuit final, with the 17-year-old incoming Alabama freshman winning a grueling 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 decision from No. 7 seed Alexa Graham in Saturday's semifinals.  Daniell will play qualifier Lauren Herring, the Georgia All-American who is in her second $10,000 final since graduating in May.  Herring defeated Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the other semifinal Saturday.

Herring and teammate Kennedy Shaffer lost in the doubles final Saturday, with the unseeded pair falling to top seeds Nicha Lertpitaksinchai and Peangtarn Plipuech of Thailand 6-2, 6-3.

Wild card Brooke Austin defeated Robin Anderson in Friday night's quarterfinal at the $50,000 Sacramento tournament, but lost to No. 8 seed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine 7-5, 6-1 in the semifinals.  Kalinina will play top seed An Sophie Mestach of Belgium in Sunday's final. By advancing to the semifinals, Austin now ties Sanaz Marand for the top spot in the USTA US Open Wild Card Challenge with one more tournament this coming week in Lexington, left to decide it.

At the Binghamton Challenger, top seed Kyle Edmund of Great Britain will take on No. 2 seed Bjorn Fratangelo in the final after Edmund defeated qualifier Sekou Bangoura 6-3, 7-6(4) and Fratangelo downed Brydan Klein of Great Britain 6-4, 6-2.

In the first round of qualifying for the BB&T Atlanta Open, 15-year-old Trent Bryde and Tommy Paul picked up victories.  Bryde defeated Catalin-Ionut Gard 7-6(4), 6-2 to advance to a second round match against top qualifying seed Denis Kudla.  Paul defeated fellow wild card Walker Duncan 6-3, 7-6(9) and will play No. 8 seed Sugita of Japan in the second round.  The fourth wild card, Reilly Opelka, lost to unseeded Shuichi Sekiguchi of Japan 6-4, 6-4.  Jared Donaldson also reached the second round of qualifying with a win today.

The Atlanta main draw has been posted, with wild card Frances Tiafoe drawing Sam Groth of Australia and wild card Christopher Eubanks, a rising sophomore at Georgia Tech, playing Czech veteran Radek Stepanek.

The USTA's Boys 18s Team Championships got underway today at the University of Illinois.  The draw is here, and the rosters for each section are here. Live streaming is available at a cost of $19.99 for the event.

Friday, July 24, 2015

USA's World Junior Tennis Teams Named; Mmoh Reaches Godfrey Futures Semifinals; Daniell, Graham Advance in Evansville

The teams that will represent the USA in the ITF's World Junior Tennis 14-and-under team competition have been announced, with no changes in the teams that represented the USA in North American qualifying in Boca Raton several months ago.

Caty McNally, Hurricane Tyra Black and Amanda Anisimova will travel to Prostejov, Czech Republic for the girls competition among 16 nations, which begins August 3rd and ends August 8th.  Adam Neff, Brandon Nakashima and Govind Nanda will be one of 16 boys teams in Prostejov.  Both teams went undefeated in North American qualifying, and I anticipate the girls will be among the top seeds when the draw is made. Kathy Rinaldi will coach the girls team and Eric Nunez the boys team.

At the $15,000 Godfrey Futures, Michael Mmoh has reached the semifinals, the fourth time in his career that the 17-year-old has gotten that far (he has one Futures title). Mmoh, the No. 6 seed, beat Ben McLachlan of New Zealand 6-3, 6-1 today, and will play No. 7 seed Evan King, who took out wild card Nick Chappell by the same score.  The top half of the draw will be a rematch of the 2013 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate men's final, with Clay Thompson facing No. 8 seed Jared Hiltzik. Thompson, who beat Hiltzik 6-4, 7-5 in New York, defeated qualifier Kyle Koch 7-6(2), 7-6(4), while Hiltzik came back to beat qualifier Gonzales Austin 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.  King and Thompson have both won Futures titles this year. Hiltzik is hoping to reach his first Futures final with a win Saturday.

Jordi Arconada of Argentina and Dominic Cotrone, the No. 4 seeds, won the doubles title in Godfrey, beating unseeded Fred Saba and John Lamble 6-4, 6-4 in the final.

At the women's $10,000 Pro Circuit event in Evansville, 17-year-old Alexa Graham and 18-year-old Andie Daniell have advanced to the semifinals, where they will play each other. Graham, the No. 7 seed, defeated qualifier Frances Altick 6-1, 6-1 and Daniell ousted No. 4 seed Francesca Segarelli of the Dominican Republic 6-3, 7-6(4).  Daniell, who will be starting at Alabama this fall, is through to her first Pro Circuit semifinal in singles. Graham has reached two finals at $10,000 events this year.

The other semifinal will feature qualifier Lauren Herring, the recent Georgia graduate, against Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway.

The Binghamton Challenger will feature two Americans, with qualifier Sekou Bangoura meeting top seed Kyle Edmund of Great Britain in one semifinal and No. 2 seed Bjorn Fratangelo facing No. 6 seed Brydan Klein, also of Great Britain, in the other.

The qualifying draw of the BB&T Open in Atlanta is out, with Tommy Paul, Reilly Opelka, Walker Duncan and Trent Bryde receiving wild cards.  Paul and Duncan, who were to be teammates at Georgia before Paul turned pro this summer, meet in the first round.