Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Smith, Baptiste and Mossmer Unseeded Quarterfinalists at ITF Grade 1 International Hard Courts, Crawford Ousts Fourth Seed Popyrin; Arconada Among 21 Americans Advancing to Second Round of US Open Qualifying

©Colette Lewis 2016--
College Park, MD--

Hailey Baptiste knows and likes the fast hard courts at the Junior Tennis Champions Center, having grown up on them. That level of comfort has led to a breakout tournament this week at the Grade 1 International Hard Court Championships, with the 14-year-old reaching the quarterfinals in both singles and doubles.

After defeating No. 14 seed Federica Bilardo of Italy in Tuesday's second round, Baptiste continued to impress, downing unseeded Maria Portillo Ramirez of Mexico 7-5, 6-3 in Wednesday's round of 16.

Baptiste confirmed she is not interested in long rallies from the baseline.

"I attack with my forehand, move my way into the net," Baptiste said. "A lot of first strikes, getting myself to move forward and put the point away at the net."

Baptiste's first ITF tournament was last year's tournament here, where she lost in the opening round as a wild card.

"I just came out here to have fun and I didn't expect to do anything great, because I wasn't very experienced playing international players," Baptiste said. "But the next ITFs I played, lower grades, I started doing better, getting more points and more experience and I feel over the year, I've improved my game by a lot."

Baptiste's results in the two major USTA 16s events this summer--third place at the Clay Courts and fourth place in San Diego--are a testimony to that improvement.

"Winning a lot of matches in a tournament gives you a lot of confidence," Baptiste said. "I had a lot of momentum coming into this tournament and I think was prepared. I knew how I was going to have to play to win matches."

Baptiste's opponent in the quarterfinals is the girl who won the 16s in San Diego, unseeded Nicole Mossmer, who beat unseeded Vlada Koval of Russia 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(1) in two hours and 48 minutes.

The girls bottom half of the draw features four Americans and yet another unseeded player, 16-year-old Alana Smith, who needed three hours to get by No. 11 seed Morgan Coppoc 7-6(5), 1-6, 6-4.

Smith admitted she downed a Red Bull to keep her energy up, but after beating No. 6 seed Malene Helgo of Norway in the first round and 2015 USTA 16s champion Abigail Desiatnikov in the second round, she believed she would find a way to finish on top.

"I went into the match with a lot of confidence, a lot more confidence," said Smith, who moved from Maryland to Florida to train with Bill Adams at the beginning of the year. "I didn't let myself get in my head. Usually I get in my head a lot and end up not closing out matches. But this is the best run I've ever had."

Smith will play No. 2 seed Claire Liu, who had a bit of trouble closing out No. 16 seed Siqi Cao of China up 6-1, 5-1, but took her third straight win with by a 6-1, 6-4 score.

The top half is all seeded players, with No. 1 Anastasia Potapova of Russia facing No. 10 seed Caty McNally, who beat, by 6-2, 6-1 scores, McCartney Kessler and Elysia Bolton respectively.  Potapova and McNally haven't met in ITF junior play, but two years ago they played in the Eddie Herr 14s final and the Junior Orange Bowl quarterfinals, with Potapova winning both matches in three sets.

The other girls quarterfinal features No. 4 seed Maria Mateas and No. 7 seed Xiyu Wang of China.  Wang defeated unseeded Sabina Dadaciu 7-5, 6-4 and Mateas took out Layne Sleeth of Canada 6-4, 6-4.

The boys quarterfinals feature three Americans, with No. 7 seed Sam Riffice, No. 12 seed Gianni Ross and No. 16 seed Oliver Crawford advancing with victories today.  Riffice beat unseeded Alexandre Rotsaert 6-3, 6-2 and Ross defeated unseeded Nicolas Mejia of Colombia 7-5, 6-1.  Ross will play top seed Genaro Olivieri of Argentina, who took out unseeded Adam Neff 6-2, 6-2.

Crawford advanced with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory over No. 4 seed Alexei Popyrin of Australia, avenging a loss to Popyrin on clay at the Grade 1 in Italy back in May.

Crawford likes playing big servers and the 6-foot-4 Popyrin certainly qualifies.

"He played really well break point down," said Crawford. "He saved four break points in his second service game (in the third set) and three of those were aces. But I felt if I kept in it, a few more break points would come my way and it did in the 2-3 game, and I was able to consolidate. I definitely enjoy playing big servers; I feel it's more fun to return big serves and you do get a few free points when you have some lucky returns."

With his win, Crawford will likely receive the US Open Junior Championships wild card that is being awarded after the results from this week's tournament, as he is the only US player in the quarterfinals who is not in the main draw in New York.

"I saw on your post that the best player here gets the wild card and I'm the only one who got this far, but it's not guaranteed," Crawford said. "I'm told I have a good chance of getting it, but I'm going to keep playing tennis, not to worry too much about it."

Crawford recently announced he has verbally committed to Florida, although he has yet to visit the Gainesville campus.

"People have said it's kind of a funny decision, but I know that Florida's the school," said the 17-year-old from South Carolina, who is a rising senior. "I really like the coaching staff. I don't think you can get a better coaching staff in college tennis, and I like the guys on the team. The location's very good, and I'll also be near Orlando. There's a lot of plusses going to Florida."

Crawford's quarterfinal opponent is No. 10 seed Yshai Oliel of Israel, who defeated No. 6 seed Chien Hsun Lo of Taiwan 6-2, 6-4.  Crawford and Oliel met in the final round of qualifying at this year's French Open, with Oliel winning in three sets.

Riffice will play No. 3 seed Youssef Hossam of Egypt, who beat unseeded Patrick Kypson 7-5, 6-2. The fourth boys quarterfinal has No. 2 seed Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia against No. 9 seed Khumoyun Sultonov of Uzbekistan.  Kecmanovic defeated No. 14 seed Trent Bryde 6-2, 7-6(4) and Sultonov outlasted No. 8 seed Juan Carolos Aguilar of Bolivia 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.  Sultonov beat Kecmanovic at the Grade 1 in Roehampton earlier this summer.

In doubles, Baptiste ended her banner day by teaming with Lea Ma to beat top seeds Potapova and Koval 7-6(1), 7-5.  Only three seeded teams remain in the girls quarterfinals, with No. 4 seeds McNally and Natasha Subhash the highest seeds left.

No. 2 boys seeds Olivieri and Aguilar also were eliminated, losing to Oliel and Andrew Fenty 6-3, 6-1.

Complete results and Thursday's order of play can be found at the tournament web page.

The first round of men's and women's US Open qualifying was completed today, with 12 US players joining the nine that advanced with wins on Tuesday.

Usue Arconada, who received a last-minute wild card, earned her first slam victory with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 decision over Ya-Hsuan Lee of Taiwan. Another 17-year-old, CiCi Bellis, advanced with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Lina Gjorcheska of Macedonia. Grace Min beat Julia Boserup 6-4, 6-2; Taylor Townsend downed Elizaveta Kulichkova of Russia 6-4, 6-4; Jennifer Brady overcame Anastasia Pivovarova of Russia 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) and Melanie Oudin beat Caroline Dolehide 6-4, 6-3 in an all-US wild card battle.

US men who advanced to the second round included four wild cards: Ryan Shane, a 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 winner over Kimmer Coppejans of Belgium; Reilly Opelka, who beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France 3-6, 6-4, 6-3; Sekou Bangoura, who defeated Gonzalo Lama of Chile 6-2, 6-1 and Christian Harrison who got by Luke Saville of Australia 4-6, 6-0, 7-5.

Noah Rubin won when Yan Bai of China retired trailing 3-0, and Jared Donaldson advanced with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Eduardo Struvay of Colombia.

All 21 Americans will play their second round matches on Thursday. The men's draw is here, the women's draw is here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Mejia Ousts No. 5 Seed Molleker, Portillo Ramirez Defeats No. 3 Seed Minca at Grade 1 International Hard Courts; Anisimova Among Americans Advancing at US Open Qualifying

©Colette Lewis 2016--
College Park, MD--

The perfect weather conditions continued for Tuesday's second round of the ITF Grade 1 International Hard Court Championships, and so did the exit of seeds in the girls draw, with four more losing after five had been eliminated in Monday's first round.

The highest seed to fall, No. 3 seed Ioana Minca of Romania, couldn't hold off the charge of Maria Portillo Ramirez of Mexico, who took the match 4-6, 6-0, 6-2.

"The first set was tough and I had many opportunities to maybe get that set, but I just kept fighting and believing," said the 17-year-old, who trains with her coach Michael Castillo in San Antonio, Texas  "She's really consistent and can move the ball really well, so you have to be really active and really explosive with your footwork, especially. She's really aggressive so it's important to take control of the point as much as you can."

Portillo Ramirez said the hard work she's been putting into her fitness and footwork the past two months is starting to show in her results. And the strength she's gained is adding another facet to her game.

"My serve really helped me today," said Portillo Ramirez, who is also playing the Grade 1 in Canada next week and the US Open junior qualifying. "I got a lot of free points from it, plus my footwork was a key."

Portillo Ramirez will face another unseeded player, 14-year-old Junior Tennis Champions Center student Hailey Baptiste, who defeated No. 14 seed Federica Bilardo of Italy 6-1, 7-6(3).

USTA National 16s champion Nicole Mossmer took out No. 5 seed Wushuang Zheng of China 6-3, 6-1 at the University of Maryland site and Canadian Layne Sleeth defeated No. 13 seed I-Hsuan Cho of Taiwan 6-7(5), 7-6(6) 1-0 retired, with Cho suffering from cramps and unable to continue.

Only one seed lost in boys action on Tuesday, with No. 5 Rudolf Molleker of Germany falling to Nicolas Mejia of Colombia 6-4, 6-4.

Mejia was prepared for a difficult match, remembering his 1-6, 7-6(0), 6-4 win over Molleker in the Junior Orange Bowl 12s quarterfinals back in 2012.

"We've known each other since we were really young," said Mejia, who is now training at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. "We had a really long match in the Orange Bowl, and I knew it was going to be a really tough match today, but I was able to handle it the correct way. That's one of the matches I remember my whole life, because it was so long and it was a really good match."

Mejia, whose older sister Gabriela played for the University of Miami from 2008-2012, credited his serve as a key to his win.

"I think I served well on the break points, and in the second set I was hitting really good first serves," said Mejia, who won two Grade 4s in Florida back in May and a Grade 4 in Colombia earlier this month. "I was going through the court really well, changing the direction of the ball really well, so I think I played one of my best matches, yesterday and today.  Those are the two best matches I've played in a really long time."

Mejia will face No. 4 seed Alexi Popyrin of Australia on Wednesday.

The comeback of the day goes to No. 7 seed Sam Riffice, who trailed Alexander Donski of Bulgaria 4-1 in the third set, with Donski serving, but came back to post a 6-7(9), 6-3, 7-5 victory in three hours and 10 minutes.  Riffice will play unseeded Alexandre Rotsaert next, after Rotsaert advanced when Austen Huang retired trailing 6-2, 3-0.

Top seeds Genaro Olivieri of Argentina and Anastasia Potapova of Russia had their hands full today, but both escaped with two-set victories.  Olivieri needed over two hours to get past Karl Friberg of Sweden 6-4, 7-5 and Potapova took out unseeded 13-year-old wild card Alexa Noel 7-6(4), 6-4. Noel, who trains at the JTCC, kept the world's top junior guessing with her slicing and variety, but Potapova's habit of winning, even when not playing her best, surfaced when she needed it.  She will play qualifier McCartney Kessler, who beat Malkia Menguene 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.

The No. 2 seeds had much less difficulty advancing with Claire Liu beating Katya Townsend 6-0, 6-0 and Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia taking out Kyrylo Tsygura 6-1, 6-1.

The first round of doubles saw one major upset, with No. 2 seeds Maria Carle of Argentina and Zheng losing to Victoria Flores and Kate Paulus 6-4, 7-6(5).

For complete draws and Wednesday's order of play, see the tournament webpage.

Sixteen Americans were in action on the first day of US Open qualifying, with five men and four women advancing to the second round.  Kristie Ahn defeated wild card Francesca Di Lorenzo 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the only all-US battle Tuesday.  Asia Muhammad defeated Sofia Shapatava of Georgia 6-4, 6-4, No. 28 seed Jessica Pegula downed Nigina Abduraimova of Uzbekistan 6-1, 7-6(6) and 14-year-old wild card Amanda Anisimova eliminated No. 17 seed Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay 6-3, 6-4.  The US men advancing to the second round are No. 13 seed Dennis Novikov, who beat Federico Gaio of Italy 7-6(8), 5-7, 6-2; No. 10 seed Tim Smyczek who defeated Alexander Kudryavtsev of Russia 6-3, 6-4; No. 11 seed Ryan Harrison who got by Cedrik-Marcel Stebe of Germany 7-6(1), 6-3; Alexander Sarkissian, who beat Gregoire Barrere of France 6-4, 6-2 and Mitchell Krueger, who outlasted Nikola Milojevic of Serbia 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

The following 22 US players take the courts for their first round matches Wednesday:

Christian Harrison (wild card)
Austin Krajicek(23)
Noah Rubin
Stefan Kozlov
Tommy Paul
Daniel Nguyen
Ryan Shane (wild card)
Jared Donaldson(14)
Reilly Opelka (wild card)
Sekou Bangoura (wild card)

Sachia Vickery
Usue Arconada (wild card)
Jamie Loeb
CiCi Bellis
Grace Min
Julia Boserup(21)
Taylor Townsend
Jennifer Brady(18)
Caroline Dolehide (wild card)
Melanie Oudin (wild card)
Nicole Frenkel (wild card)
Sophie Chang (wild card)

The women's draws are here, the men's draws are here.

US Open Junior Championships Wild Cards

I received this list of the US Open Junior Championships wild cards today from the USTA, although with late withdrawals, some may not be needed and go to other candidates. The tournament begins on Sunday, September 4, 2016.

Main Draw:
Trent Bryde
Zeke Clark
Lukas Greif
Vasil Kirkov
Sebastian Korda
Gianni Ross
(One reserved following College Park)
French reciprocal – Corentin Moutet

Alafia Ayeni
Jenson Brooksby
Patrick Kypson
Alexandre Rotsaert
(One reserved following College Park)
Japanese HS champion Yuta Kikuchi

Main Draw:
Carson Branstine
Nicole Frenkel
Ann Li
Nicole Mossmer
Whitney Osuigwe
Caroline Dolehide
(2 reserved following Int’l Hard Courts)

Vanessa Ong
Alexa Noel
Katie Volynets
(2 reserved following Int’l Hard Courts)

Japanese HS champion Eri Shimizu

Monday, August 22, 2016

Wimbledon Girls Champion Potapova Returns to Competition with Win at Grade 1 International Hard Courts, Eight Seeds Fall in Opening Round; 38 Americans in US Open Qualifying; Fritz Tops Tiafoe at ATP Winston-Salem

©Colette Lewis 2016--
College Park, MD--

The top four seeds in the boys and girls draws at the International Hard Court Championships posted straight-sets victories Monday in the opening round of the Grade 1 tournament at the Junior Tennis Champions Center and the University of Maryland.

Ideal weather, with low humidity, partly cloudy skies and a light breeze, provided a perfect backdrop for the competition, which ended Monday evening with five seeded girls and three seeded boys eliminated.

No. 1 girls seed Anastasia Potapova of Russia was tested by 14-year-old Whitney Osuigwe before claiming a 7-6(5), 6-2 victory.

Potapova served for the first set at 5-3, but could not convert, with Osuigwe handling the pace and depth of Potapova's shots, staying in the points long enough to benefit from errors.   Osuigwe saved two set points serving at 4-5 and 5-6, with Potapova failing to get second serves back in play.

In the tiebreaker, Potapova went up 5-1, only to lose three straight points, putting Osuigwe back on serve, but Potapova earned two more set points with a backhand winner.  Osuigwe saved one with a sharply angled forehand crosscourt winner, but her backhand went long on the next point to give Potapova the set.

Potapova began to find her form midway in the second set, breaking and holding for a 4-2 lead and closing out the match with another break of serve.

The 15-year-old Russian had not played since winning the Wimbledon girls championship last month, taking a week off after Wimbledon, then spending the next few weeks training in Moscow.

"The first round is always so tough," Potapova said. "I just got here two days ago. I was trying to play my game, but I just can't do it, and my opponent today was so good, I just tried not to do mistakes."

Potapova agreed that she had played "a little bit" better in the second set, but was glad to finish in straight sets.

"Now I want to sleep so much," said Potapova, who is playing the US Open Juniors, but not the Grade 1 in Canada next week. "Because in Russia now, it's middle of the night."

In Tuesday's second round, Potapova faces another player younger than she it, in 13-year-old wild card Alexa Noel, who beat Jia Qi Ren of China 6-3, 6-2.

No. 2 seed Claire Liu advanced with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Victoria Emma, No. 3 seed Ioana Minca of Romania defeated wild card Gabriella Price 6-2, 6-0 and No. 4 seed Maria Mateas topped wild card Ayana Akli 6-1, 6-0.

No. 6 seed Malene Helgo of Norway was beaten by Alana Smith 6-0, 6-3; No. 8 seed Zhima Du of China fell to Victoria Hu 3-6, 6-1, 6-1; No. 15 seed Natasha Subhash was beaten by Malkia Menguene 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-3 and No. 12 seed Maria Carle of Argentina lost to wild card Sophia Hatton 6-3, 6-2.

The fifth girls seed to fall was No. 9 Taylor Johnson, who lost to Carson Branstine 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.  The two had played in the first round of the International Spring Championships in Carson back in March, with Branstine again taking a three-set victory, with Johnson seeded eighth then.

Monday's match was again a long, tense struggle, with Branstine unable to consolidate her breaks at 2-1 and 3-2 in the third set, but serving out the match at love after getting a break at 4-all.

"I think the beginning of the match was higher quality from both of us," said the 15-year-old from Orange, California. "It was a little bit ugly from both of us, a lot of errors, doubles faults. But both of us were kind of figuring out ways to correct things we were doing wrong and today, I guess I solved the problems a little bit better."

Branstine had little reaction when Johnson's backhand went wide on the first match point.

"When it's against one of your closest friends, you don't want to celebrate too much, because of course you want the best for them," said Branstine, who finished third at the USTA 18s Nationals in San Diego. "But you want to win at the same time. So I just keep to myself how happy I was."

Boys top seed Genaro Olivieri of Argentina cruised past Nathan Perrone 6-1, 6-0 and No. 2 seed Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia defeated Sangeet Sridhar 6-3, 6-0.  No. 3 seed Youssef Hossam of Egypt got by Andrew Fenty 6-3, 6-2 and No. 4 seed Alexei Popyrin of Australia eased past Sebastian Korda 6-3, 6-3.

Three boys seeds fell, with No. 13 seed Lingxi Zhao of China defeated by qualifier Adam Neff 6-1, 6-1, No. 11 seed Duarte Vale of Portugal lost to Alexandre Rotsaert 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 and No. 15 seed Jonas Eriksson Ziverts of Sweden was beaten by Brian Cernoch 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

The second round of singles and first round of doubles is set for Tuesday.  See the tournament page for complete draws and the order of play.

Qualifying for the US Open begins tomorrow in New York, with 16 Americans on Tuesday's schedule, which features half of the first round matches.  In total 38 US players are competing for a place in the main draw, 19 men and 19 women.  Below are all those in the draws, and you'll notice a few changes from the initial wild card announcement, with junior Usue Arconada and Caroline Dolehide added in place of Jamie Loeb, who got in on her own ranking, and Raveena Kingsley, who withdrew.  Christopher Eubanks, the Georgia Tech junior, received a wild card when Mitchell Krueger moved into the qualifying on his own ranking.

Christian Harrison (wild card)
Austin Krajicek(23)
Noah Rubin
Stefan Kozlov
*Tennys Sandgren (wild card)
*Christopher Eubanks (wild card)
Tommy Paul
*Vasil Kirkov (wild card)
Daniel Nguyen
*Tim Smyczek(10)
*Alexander Sarkissian
*Ryan Harrison(11)
*Thai Kwiatkowski (wild card)
Ryan Shane (wild card)
* Dennis Novikov(13)
* Mitchell Krueger
Jared Donaldson(14)
Reilly Opelka (wild card)
Sekou Bangoura (wild card)

Sachia Vickery
Usue Arconada (wild card)
Jamie Loeb
*Robin Anderson
*Francesca Di Lorenzo (wild card)
*Kristie Ahn
*Amanda Anisimova
CiCi Bellis
Grace Min
Julia Boserup(21)
Taylor Townsend
*Jessica Pegula(28)
Jennifer Brady(18)
*Ellie Halbauer (wild card)
*Asia Muhammad
Caroline Dolehide (wild card)
Melanie Oudin (wild card)
Nicole Frenkel (wild card)
Sophie Chang (won US Open National Playoffs today)

*on Tuesday's schedule

It's somewhat surprising that none of the 19 US men have drawn another American as a first round qualifying opponent, while three all-US women matches are slated for the first round: Dolehide v. Oudin, Di Lorenzo v. Ahn and Min v. Boserup.

Women's draw is here.  Men's draw is here.

All three remaining US women lost at the WTA Connecticut Open, with qualifiers Louisa Chirico and Nicole Gibbs and lucky loser Kayla Day falling in today's first round matches.

At the ATP Winston-Salem Open, Taylor Fritz earned his first win over Frances Tiafoe, with Fritz taking a 6-1, 6-4 decision in their first round match.  Tiafoe had beaten Fritz in their previous junior meetings and in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 this March.  Bjorn Fratangelo and Donald Young have also picked up first round wins, with Steve Johnson(4) and Sam Querrey(6) getting first round byes.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Georgia's Perez Earns US Open Main Draw Wild Card; Draws for ITF Grade 1 in Maryland; Finals Set at USO National Playoffs; Day Makes WTA Debut as Lucky Loser

University of Georgia junior Ellen Perez won the US Open main draw wild card that Tennis Australia receives in trade with the USTA at a tournament held this weekend at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.  Perez defeated Naiktha Bains 6-2, 6-2 in the first round, top seed Arina Rodionova, also by a 6-2, 6-2 score, in the semifinals, and today claimed the wild card with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Ashleigh Barty.  Perez has been playing $10,000 tournaments in Europe this summer (she was a July Ace for winning one singles and three doubles titles last month), so the US Open will be a huge step up for her, but the 20-year-old has previous experience at a slam, having played the main draw in women's doubles at the Australian Open this year.  Perez finished her sophomore year No. 5 in singles and No. 10 in doubles in the ITA Division I national rankings. For more on Perez, see this article from georgiadogs.com.

I'll begin my coverage of the ITF Grade 1 Prince Georges County International Hard Court Championships Monday, with the main draw getting underway at 9 a.m. at the Junior Tennis Champions Center and the University of Maryland Tennis Courts in College Park.   Wimbledon champion Anastasia Potapova of Russia is the top seed in the tournament; last year she lost here in the first round to Amanda Anisimova, who is playing US Open qualifying this week.   Potapova has another intriguing first round match this year with 14-year-old Whitney Osuigwe, who led the USA's 14-and-under team to a runner-up finish at the ITF World Junior Tennis competition in the Czech Republic earlier this month.  No. 2 seed Claire Liu plays Victoria Emma in the first round. Other US girls seeds are Maria Mateas(4), Taylor Johnson(9), Caty McNally(10), Morgan Coppoc(11) and Natasha Subhash(15).  Johnson has a tough first rounder with friend and occasional doubles partner Carson Branstine, who finished third at the recent USTA 18s Nationals in San Diego.

The top six seeds in the boys draw are international players, led by No. 1 seed Genaro Olivieri of Argentina. Sam Riffice(7), Gianni Ross(12), Trenty Bryde(14) and Oliver Crawford(16) are the US boys seeded.

Qualifying was completed today. The boys qualifiers are Zummy Bauer, Jordan Nickerson, Jaycer Lyeons, Adam Neff, Vasyl Kiselyov(UKR), Austen Huang, Boris Kozlov and Drew Baird.  The girls qualifiers are Victoria Hu, Jada Robinson, Mackenzie Clark, Abigail Forbes, Victoria Flores, Rachel Lim, Allison Bojczuk and Mccartney Kessler.

For the order of play and the draws, see the tournament website.

The singles finals are set at the US Open National Playoffs, with No. 1 seed Nick Meister taking on No. 4 seed Jose Statham of New Zealand.  Meister defeated UCLA senior Gage Brymer 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, while Statham beat No. 2 seed Evan King 6-3, 6-2.  The women's singles final will feature unseeded Sophie Chang against No. 2 seed Sanaz Marand.  Chang defeated Nika Kukharchuk 7-5, 6-2 in the semifinals, while Marand eliminated Julia Elbaba 6-4, 6-4.   The men's and women's doubles competitions are also underway, with draws here.

Kayla Day lost her final round qualifying match to Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 6-1, 6-7(4), 6-2 but with all the late withdrawals at the WTA Connecticut Open, she received a spot in the main draw as a lucky loser. She will play qualifier Ana Konjuh of Croatia.  Nicole Gibbs and Louisa Chirico advanced through qualifying, with Chirico drawing No. 6 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, and Gibbs playing Sevastova.  The fourth American in the draw, wild card Shelby Rogers, won her opening round match today, beating Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-1, 6-1.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Semifinals Set in US Open National Playoffs; Day Posts Another WTA Top 100 Win in Connecticut; Qualifying Ends Sunday at Grade 1 in College Park

Two rounds are complete in the US Open National Playoffs, with just four players in both the men's and women's events still alive in the quest for the US Open qualifying wild card that goes to the champion.

The women's draw has just one seed remaining, No. 2 Sanaz Marand, who will play Julia Elbaba, last year's finalist, in the semifinals.  In the top half of the draw, Nika Kukharchuk will play Sophie Chang for the other place in the final.

Three of the four top seeds in the men's draw are through to the semifinals, with No. 1 Nick Meister taking on Gage Brymer in a match between a former and current UCLA star. No. 2 seed Evan King will face No. 4 seed Jose Statham of New Zealand, who eliminated last year's winner Jesse Witten 7-6(3), 3-6, 7-6(6).

The women's doubles competition, with a main draw wild card on the line, started today, with the men's doubles beginning on Sunday.

Also in Connecticut, last week's USTA 18s National champion Kayla Day won her second qualifying match at the WTA Connecticut Open, beating No. 10 seed and WTA No. 60 Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. In order to qualify, Day will need a third straight Top 100 win, as she faces No. 5 seed and WTA No. 52 Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia Sunday.   Nicole Gibbs and Louisa Chirico have also advanced to the final round of qualifying.  NCAA champion Danielle Collins fell to No. 2 seed Annika Beck of Germany 7-5, 7-5.

In the Winston-Salem ATP event, Kalamazoo 18s champion Michael Mmoh lost his first round qualifying match 6-3, 6-4 to No. 4 seed James Duckworth of Australia. Mackenzie McDonald, Wil Spencer and Dennis Uspensky also lost. The only players with college ties still in qualifying are Wake Forest sophomore Petros Chrysochos, who advanced when Alejandro Falla of Colombia retired after losing the first set 6-4, and North Carolina State alum James McGee, who beat McDonald.

Sunday I'm on my way to College Park, Maryland for the ITF Grade 1 Prince Georges County International Hard Court Championships, with the main draw beginning on Monday.  The final round of qualifying is set for Sunday, with the order of play available here.

The main draw wild cards for the tournament:

Christian Alshon
Michael Heller
Josh Keitelman
Trey Hilderbrand
Alexander Stater
Arvan Dhingra
William Woodall
Ian Witmer

Alexa Noel
Lea Ma
Gabriella Price
Sophia Hatton
Nicole Hammond
Ayana Akli
Maria Adiaconitei