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Mmoh Heads 18s Field, Greif Tops 16s Draw at Kalamazoo

After one of the best fields in its 74-year history last year, the 18s draw at Kalamazoo this year has returned to a more typical level. Although still age eligible, 2015 champion Frances Tiafoe and finalist Stefan Kozlov have moved into the ATP Top 200, earning an opportunity to play in US Open qualifying, and have elected to play professional events this August instead of returning to Kalamazoo. Taylor Fritz, also still age eligible for Kalamazoo, has no need of the US Open main draw wild card given to the 18s champion, as he earned entry based on his ATP ranking, now at 60.

Michael Mmoh leads the 18s field
© Zoo Tennis
One member of the promising 18-year-old quartet is returning however, with Michael Mmoh entering with his eye on that US Open wild card. Mmoh reached the 18s quarterfinals the past two years, losing to champion Noah Rubin in 2014 and Fritz last year.

Mmoh's ATP ranking of 377 puts him in a class by himself using that metric, with no other player in the field inside 1000. He has qualified for an ATP event and won a Futures title this year, his fourth, but has found victories hard to come by recently. The Bradenton resident has dropped his last five matches in Challengers and ATP qualifying, so competition against the less experienced players in the Kalamazoo draw will be a welcome change.

Seeded second in the 18s is 2014 16s champion John McNally, the only player in the draw with an ITF junior ranking in the Top 20. The 17-year-old from Cincinnati reached the Easter Bowl final this year and had success on both European clay and grass on the ITF Junior Circuit this summer. McNally is looking to become the first player since Alex Bogomolov in 2001 to add the 18s title to his 16s crown.

Mmoh and McNally met in the fifth round last year in Kalamazoo, with Mmoh coming from behind for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory.

Another Cincinnati resident and, like McNally, a future Ohio State Buckeye, JJ Wolf is seeded No. 3. Wolf, who won the ITF Grade 1 in Costa Rica back in January, has an ITF ranking of 25. This is the 17-year-old Wolf's first time playing the 18s; he finished third last year in the 16s while also collecting the Bobby Kaplan Sportsmanship trophy in that division.

Sam Riffice, a finalist at the ITF Grade 1 in Carson this spring, and Gianni Ross, the ITF Grade B1 Easter Bowl champion, are the fourth and fifth seeds. Zeke Clark, No. 1 in the USTA rankings, is the sixth seed, with ITF No. 52 Vasil Kirkov and ITF No. 61 Trent Bryde rounding out the top 8.

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Page updated on Monday, March 13, 2023
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