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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Australian Open Wild Card Race Heats Up in Waco; Crawford, Kypson Reach Futures Quarterfinals; Five Americans Advance at Charlottesville Challenger; Cheong in Tokyo $100K Quarterfinals

The final three days of the $80,000 Pro Circuit event in Waco Texas will decide USTA Women's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge with several women still in a position to pass Kristie Ahn, the current leader.
Due to illness, Ahn had to retire up 5-0 in her match yesterday with An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium, so her point total is set at 116.

Four Americans have advanced to Friday's quarterfinals, with top seed Taylor Townsend, No. 3 seed Sonya Kenin, Kayla Day and Danielle Lao still in the running.  By my calculations, all have to win the title to pass Ahn, and Lao and Kenin play each other Friday, so one of them will be eliminated.  Complicating all this is possibility that Ahn, Townsend and Kenin could receive direct acceptance into the Australian Open, with their current live rankings all between 104 and 111.  The ranking deadline is December 4th for the main draw.

The best Lao can do is tie Ahn, and Ahn would win the tiebreaker with a higher WTA ranking, but if Ahn gets in on her own, Lao would then earn the wild card. Danielle Collins, who is tied for second and not playing Waco, and Vicky Duval, who lost in the first round this week and is tied with Collins, are not mathematically eliminated until someone passes them or it turns out Ahn doesn't need the wild card.  Day will face Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia, who beat No. 2 seed Nicole Gibbs today.  Townsend, who has lost one game in two matches, will play No. 5 seed Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia next.

At the $15,000 Futures in Niceville Florida, teenagers Oliver Crawford and Patrick Kypson have advanced to the quarterfinals.  Crawford, the University of Florida freshman who received a wild card, defeated No. 7 seed Alexios Halebian 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3. Kypson, who received entry by virtue of his ATP ranking, took out last week's Futures champion Roberto Cid of the Dominican Republic 7-5, 5-7 6-4 in 2 hours and 55 minutes.  Crawford will face top seed Sekou Bangoura and Kypson will play unseeded Wil Spencer, who defeated No. 2 seed Matias Zukas of Argentina 3-6, 6-0, 7-5 in another nearly three-hour match.  Wild card Christopher Haworth, who played at Oklahoma State, is the fifth American reaching the quarterfinals.

The $75,000 ATP Challenger in Knoxville Tennessee also has five American in the quarterfinals, with just two of them seeded.  No. 3 seed Taylor Fritz defeated Noah Rubin tonight 7-6(5), 6-1 and No. 5 seed Bjorn Fratangelo beat qualifier Mats Moraing of Germany 6-4, 5-7, 6-2.  Bradley Klahn, Denis Kudla and Charlottesville champion Tim Smyczek are the other Americans advancing, with Kudla and Fratangelo meeting on Friday.


Fifteen-year-old Naomi Cheong, who has played only two junior events this year while concentrating on her WTA ranking, has reached the quarterfinals of the $100,000 ITF Women's Circuit event in Tokyo.  After not dropping a set in qualifying, Cheong beat a wild card in the first round, then took out Mayo Hibi of Japan 2-6, 7-5, 6-2.  Cheong, who was a finalist at the Girls 14s Junior Orange Bowl in 2015, now plays No. 6 seed Dalma Galfi of Hungary, who won the US Open girls title in 2015.

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