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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Braswell's Junior Swan Song, Irwanto's Comeback Highlight Wednesday's Second Round at Eddie Herr ITF J1; Quarterfinals Set for 12s, 14s and 16s Divisions

©Colette Lewis 2022--
Bradenton FL--

It was a five-shirt afternoon for Jonah Braswell, with the heat and humidity on the HarTru courts at the IMG Academy requiring plenty of clothing changes during the third round of the ITF J1 Eddie Herr.

The University of Florida freshman wasn't even on the court for an extended period, with his 6-3, 6-0 victory over fellow IMG Academy student Atakan Karahan of Turkey one of the shorter boys matches played Wednesday.

"I great played tennis today," said Braswell, who reached the final of the Eddie Herr boys 12s in 2016. "Atakan is a good friend of mine and we've trained together a lot here. I'm really comfortable on the clay, and I knew if I played my game and did it well, I thought I could win."

Braswell, who won the Orange Bowl 16s in 2020, will not be able to play that event next week due to final exams, so he is looking to end his junior career on a high note this week. 

"I'm definitely really motivated for this tournament, because it's my last junior tournament, this is where I'm from, so I have the home crowd around," said the 18-year-old from Sarasota.

Braswell's transition from juniors to college has gone well, with his run through the prequalifying and qualifying at the ITA All-American Championships in Tulsa, and a win in the first round of the main draw, an impressive feat for anyone, not just a freshman.

"It was a super long week, but I got a couple of good wins at the beginning and I just kind of got on a role," said Braswell, who debuted at 93 in the ITA collegiate rankings earlier this month. "It was great week and it really gave me confidence going forward that I can compete with some of the best guys in college tennis."

Although he has yet to play a dual match, Braswell is looking to continue to improve his game, and feels the team atmosphere will accelerate that process.

"My transition from juniors has gone really well," said Braswell. "I think I really thrive in the college environment, I love being on a team, it motivates me to play really well. I think the team aspect of college tennis has already helped me adapt and grow my game."

Braswell's opponent in the Thursday's third round is unseeded Patrick Schoen of Switzerland.

Another IMG student, Jonathan Irwanto, doesn't have the same history of success at the Eddie Herr as Braswell, but the 18-year-old from Miami has credited his move to Bradenton this semester with helping him reach new heights in juniors.

After defeating No. 6 seed Paul Inchauspe of France from a set down in the first round Monday, Irwanto won another tough one Wednesday, coming from 4-1 down in the third set to defeat David Fix of Germany 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.

"I was trying to take as much time as possible, then take away time from my opponent, but I wasn't in the best shape," said Irwanto, who showed signs of cramping and ended up needing IVs later, although he left the court under his own power. "But once I was able to get the rallies going, I was able to win most of the points."

Irwanto said these kinds of comebacks are not ideal, "I've got to start strong next time, and be physically better in the next match."

Irwanto got on the radar of many college coaches when he reached the final of the ITF Grade A in Osaka Japan last month. 

"It really changed the way I looked at tennis as a sport," Irwanto said. "I gained a lot of confidence, not just in my shots, but how I play. A lot of different coaches have approached me and I'm really happy about that."

Irwanto played on the Florida junior circuit, but was never considered himself among the elite.

"I was never that great as a junior," said Irwanto. "I think I had the game, but I wasn't mentally there yet. I would always lose first, or even qualies at the Eddie Herr, Orange Bowl. But recently, I've been playing really well, I think I can match up with a lot of different players and IMG has really helped me grow my mind a little bit."

Irwanto's opponent in the third round will be No. 13 seed Alejandro Melero Kretzer of Spain, who beat Adhithya Ganesan 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

In addition to Braswell and Irwanto, three other US boys have advanced to the round of 16. Kaylan Bigun defeated the last boys qualifier still alive, Albert Pedrico Kravtsov of Spain, 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 and will play wild card Cooper Woestendick, who beat Tomasz Berkieta of Poland 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. No. 8 seed Cooper Williams beat Phoenix Wier of Great Britain 6-2, 6-3 and will face No. 10 seed Arthur Gea, who defeated Quang Duong 6-3, 6-0.

With today's loss of No. 4 seed Paul Barbier Gazeu of France, the highest boys seed remaining is No. 5 Danil Panarin of Russoa.

The top nine seeds in the girls draw have advanced to the round of 16, but No. 10 seed Mingge Xu of Great Britain lost to qualifier Piper Charney 6-4, 6-4. Charney, who has signed with Michigan for 2024, saved break points in the final game, but managed to convert her seventh match point to earn the win. She will face No. 8 seed Sonja Zhiyenbayeva of Germany, who defeated wild card Victoria Osuigwe 6-4, 6-0.

The other US girl to reach the third round is No. 9 seed Tatum Evans, who eliminated qualifier Taly Licht 6-2, 2-6, 6-2. Evans will face No. 7 seed Ranah Stoiber of Great Britain next.

2021 Eddie Herr 14s champion Rositsa Dencheva of Bulgaria has reached the third round, beating Anya Murthy 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. Dencheva will face NC State recruit Gabriella Broadfoot of South Africa, who beat No. 13 seed Mia Slama 6-4, 6-2.

In second round doubles action, top boys seeds Cooper Williams and Russia's Yaroslav Demin again advanced in straight sets beating David Fix of Germany and Jan Hrazdil of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-3. The unseeded American team of Cooper Woestendick and Matthew Forbes, who received a wild card into the tournament, advanced to Thursday's quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Duncan Chan and Keegan Rice of Canada.

Jessica Bernales and Alanis Hamilton, who defeated the No. 2 seeds in the first round Tuesday, advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 7-6(3) win over Rositsa Dencheva and Anya Murthy. Ava Krug and Theadora Rabman, the No. 8 seeds, are through to the quarterfinals, as are Americans Ahmani Guichard(with Gabriella Broadfoot), Mia Slama(with Canadian Ellie Daniels), and Victoria Osuigwe(with Wakana Sonobe of Japan). Osuigwe and Sonobe defeated No. 4 seed Ranah Stoiber and Mingge Xu of Great Britain 6-3, 5-7, 10-8. Top seeds Sayaka Ishii of Japan and Tereza Valentova defeated wild cards Kayla Chung and Shannon Lam 6-4, 6-1.

The first No. 1 seed fell in the Eddie Herr's younger divisions in today's round of 16, with Ece Gencer defeating Girls 16s No. 1 Claire Zhang 7-5, 6-4. In the Girls 14s, No. 13 seed Anita Tu defeated No. 2 seed Ksenia Efremova of France 6-4, 6-0. In the Boys 12s, No. 2 seed Taiki Takizawa of Australia lost to unseeded Takashiro Kawaguchi of Japan 3-6, 7-5, 10-8. The quarterfinal matchups for Thursday are below:

B12s Quarterfinals:
Michael Antonius[1](USA) vs Tavish Pahwa[7](IND)
Jason Eigbedion[9](USA) vs Lucas Han[8](AUS)
Tomas Laukys[6](USA) vs Tabb Tuck[4](USA)
Simon Velez(COL) vs Takashiro Kawaguchi(JPN)

G12s Quarterfinals:
Yeri Hong[1](KOR) vs Hannay Ayrault[7](USA)
Haniya Minhas[3](PAK) vs Sakino Miyazawa(JPN)
Sun Xiran[8](USA) vs Clarice Ouvarova(USA)
Yui Komada[5](JPN) vs Andreea Olariu[2](ROU)

B14s Quarterfinals:
Ivan Ivanov[1](BUL) vs Keaton Hance[5](USA)
Jake Dembo[13](USA) vs Ford McCollum[7](USA)
Hyu Kawanishi(JPN) vs Kuan-Shou Chen(TPE)
Weiyi Kong[6](USA) vs Se Hyuk Cho[2](KOR)

G14s Quarterfinals:
Emerson Jones[1](AUS) vs Nicole Okhtenberg[7](USA)
Kimiko Cooper(CAN) vs Adelina Lachinova[9](LAT)
Polina Kuharenko[5](BLR) vs Renee Alame(CAN)
Yihan Qu(CHN) vs Anita Tu[13]

B16s Quarterfinals:
Maxwell Exsted[1](USA) vs Noah Johnston[8](USA)
Abhishek Thorat[3](USA) vs Joseph Oyebog[16](USA)
Jagger Leach[6](USA) vs Naoya Honda[4](JPN)
Boxiong Zhang[7](CHN) vs Calvin Baierl[2](USA)

G16s Quarterfinals:
Ece Gencer[14](TUR) vs Amelie Hejtmanek[6](GER)
Monika Ekstrand[3](USA) vs Amy Lee[10](USA)
Rachael Smith(USA) vs Tess Bucher(USA)
Allie Bittner[8](USA) vs Hyunyee Lee[2](KOR)

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Australia's Camus Dashes From Davis Cup to Eddie Herr ITF, Pursoo Fights Fatigue After Reaching Merida Final; Top Three Seeds in Eddie Herr 12s, 14s, 16s Still in Hunt for Titles

©Colette Lewis 2022--
Bradenton FL--

Charlie Camus made it to Bradenton in the nick of time, with his flight from Spain landing in Florida at 1:30 a.m. The 16-year-old Australian was in Malaga last week with his country's Davis Cup team, and when they advanced Sunday's final, he knew it might be a challenge to get here for his first round match Tuesday morning.

"I was hemming and hawing about this tournament for a very long time, whether it was worthwhile coming or whether I should just go back to Australia and train for the Australian summer of tennis and prepare for the Australian Open," said Camus, who has never been in the United States before. "But I sort of ended with my coach and there was no one to train with back home. So this week, it was just sort of have a swing and see how it goes."

Camus won his first round match today, beating qualifier Thomas Faurel of France 6-2, 6-4, with Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt checking in occasionally while also watching his son Cruz compete in the 14s division.

"I actually felt pretty good, to be honest," Camus said. "I've got doubles this afternoon, so I think tonight I might hit a bit of a wall, but hopefully I'll be all right again tomorrow."

Camus has been what they call an Orange boy for the Australian Davis Cup team all year, beginning in February.

"I've done the whole journey this year," said the left-hander from Canberra. "I was in the qualifying tie back in February in Australia, then I went to the group stage in Hamburg, and then the finals in Malago, so I did all three. I am very grateful to Lleyton and all the coaches for inviting me there. You do anything to help them, whatever they need."

Although Australia didn't prevail in the final, losing both singles matches to Canada, Camus could hardly have imagined he would be part of such a run.

"It was really great, especially the day we beat Croatia (in the semifinals), that doubles point was insane," Camus said. "The final, we fell short, but it was one of greatest experiences ever and to be a part of it was something special."

Camus will face No. 12 seed Kevin Edengren of Sweden in Wednesday's second round.

After the No. 2, 3, and 6 seeds lost Monday, the boys matches went more to form Tuesday, when the first round was completed. 
One qualifier, Albert Pedrico Kravtsov of Spain, advanced, taking out No. 14 seed Max Batyutenko of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-2. Three wild cards are through to the second round: Roy Horovitz, Cooper Woestendick and Thanaphat Boosarawongse of Thailand.

No. 7 seed Cooper Williams won today, beating Yannik Rahman 6-3, 6-0. Americans into the second round are Adhithya Ganesan, Jonathan Irwanto, Jonah Braswell, Aayush Bhat, Horovitz, Quang Duong, Kaylan Bigun and Woestendick. 

Only one seed lost in the girls draw in the entire first round, with No. 14 seed Madeleine Jessup of Taiwan beaten by Rebecca Munk Mortensen of Denmark 6-4, 6-1. No. 4 seed Ella Mcdonald of Great Britain withdrew from singles after winning the doubles title in Merida, but she is playing doubles this week.

Ariana Pursoo reached the singles final Sunday in Merida, so, like Camus, she had limited time to adjust but still managed to advance to the second round with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Sandugash Kenzhibayeva of Kazakhstan.

"I was traveling pretty much all day yesterday, got in at 12:30 last night," said the 16-year-old from New York. "Got a couple of hours of sleep then got up and got ready to play, no warm up, so it was a rough start. I was stiff from sitting the day before, and it's a different type of clay than in Merida, but I think I adjust pretty well and was able to stay focused and not worry about all the things could have messed me up."

Pursoo wasn't happy with her level in today's match, giving herself a 5 or 6 on a 10-point scale.

"That was a pretty rough match out there," Pursoo said. "But I'm just happy I was able to get through it, figure it out in the end. That's what the best players do, they just find a way to win on their worst days."

Pursoo, who one of the subjects of a junior tennis documentary in production now, will face No. 6 seed Lucciana Perez Alarcon of Peru Wednesday and will again be scheduled for Stadium court, as she was today.

Two girls qualifiers advanced to the second round, both Americans, with Piper Charney defeating Wakana Sonobe of Japan 7-6(3), 2-6, 7-5 and Taly Licht beating Dana Baidaulet of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-2. Girls wild cards through to the second round are Victoria Osuigwe, Maelie Monfils of France, Yujin Kim of Korea and Akasha Urhobo. 

The first round of doubles was played today, with boys top seeds Cooper Williams and Yaroslav Demin of Russia advancing in straight sets, but No. 2 seeds Arthur Gea and Tiago Pires of France were beaten by Kaylan and Meecah Bigun 6-3, 2-6, 10-4. No. 3 seeds Adriano Dzhenev and Iliyan Radulov of Bulgaria, who won the Grade A in Merida, lost to Duncan Chan and Keegan Rice of Canada 6-0, 1-6, 10-4.

Top girls seeds Sayaka Ishii of Japan and Tereza Valentova of the Czech Republic won in straight sets, but No. 2 seeds Luciana Moyano of Argentina and Lucciana Perez Alarcon of Peru lost to wild cards Alanis Hamilton 7-6(2), 6-2. No. 3 seeds Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz of Australia and Ena Koike of Japan lost to the Ellie Daniels of Canada and Mia Slama 6-1, 7-5.

Major upsets continue to be rare in the 12s, 14s and 16s divisions, with all Top 3 seeds in each of those divisions advancing to Wednesday's round of 16.

Two No. 4 seeds lost today, with Hadley Appling defeating Claire Shao 6-1, 6-3 in the Girls 16s and Clarice Ouverova beating Korea's Sim Siyoen of Korea 6-2, 6-4.

A list of the top 8 seeds in each division can be found here.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Upsets Abound in Boys First Round Action at Eddie Herr ITF; Pacheco Mendez Wins ITF JA in Merida; USTA National Indoor Final Results

©Colette Lewis 2022--
Bradenton FL--

The first day of main draw for the Eddie Herr ITF J1 went according to plan for the girls, but three of the top six boys seeds lost, while top seed Gerard Campana Lee of Korea withdrew prior to the start of play.

Due to more rain for the final of the ITF JA in Merida on Sunday evening, the boys singles final was played this morning, with No. 2 seed Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez of Mexico claiming his first Grade A title on home soil. The 17-year-old left-hander, who didn't lose a set, ended the 22-match winning streak of Campana Lee with a 6-3, 6-2 victory. Pacheco Mendez, who breaks into the ITF Top 10 for the first time with the title, is not entered in the Eddie Herr, but is expected to play the Orange Bowl.

Eddie Herr No. 2 seed Yaroslav Demin of Russia won the J1 in Quadalajara two weeks ago and reached the quarterfinals in Merida last week, but was unable to add to his string of good results here in the United States, falling to Tomasz Berkieta of Poland 6-2, 7-5. The Academy Park courts had excessive water issues throughout the morning, and Demin's was one of the few matches actually scheduled and played there today.

No. 3 seed Rei Sakamoto of Japan, who trains at the IMG Academy, was assigned to the new Stadium court, but that proved no advantage, as he dropped a 7-5, 7-5 decision to fellow 16-year-old IMG student Atakan Karahan of Turkey, who is also his doubles partner this week. Sakamoto certainly didn't play his best, but Karahan stayed committed to his aggressive strategy, shrugged off the errors that missed their targets, and landed enough of them to pressure Sakamoto when it mattered.

No. 6 seed Paul Inchauspe of France made the semifinals of both the J1 in Guadalajara and last week's JA in Merida, and looked to be in control of his match with Jonathan Irwanto, but the 18-year-old American fought back for a 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 win. 

No. 15 seed Alexander Frusina, one of just two Americans seeded this week, lost to Patrick Schoen of Switzerland 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

In addition to Irwanto, four American boys posted victories today: University of Florida freshman Jonah Braswell, who defeated Reiya Hattori of Japan 6-4, 6-0; Kaylan Bigun, who beat Hoyoung Roh of Korea 6-3, 6-4, Adhithya Ganesan who beat wild card Michael Kouame of France 6-4, 6-4, and wild card Roy Horovitz, who defeated Segundo Goity Zapico of Argentina 6-2, 6-1.

The girls draw lost no seeds, although No. 4 seed Ella Mcdonald of Great Britain withdrew prior to the start of play. Top seed Terza Valentova of the Czech Republic defeated Ahmani Guichard 6-0, 6-1, while No. 2 seed Luciana Moyano of Argentina beat Valeria Ray 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, both on the Academy Park courts. No. 3 seed Sayaka Ishii of Japan fought back to beat wild card Tyra Grant 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Three American girls advanced to the second round with wins today: No. 16 seed Theadora Rabman, who beat Barbora Michalkova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 3-6, 6-2; Anya Murthy, who defeated lucky loser Cleo Hutchinson 6-3, 7-5 and wild card Akasha Urhobo, who defeated Imogen Haddad of Great Britain 6-4, 6-3.

With damp hard courts this morning due to rain Sunday night, the first round of the Eddie Herr 12s, 14s and 16s divisions was pushed back, and matches are still going the boys 16s division as of 8 p.m.  All top seeds in the other divisions have advanced to Tuesday's second round.

The finals of the USTA National Indoor Championships were held today, with the results below. Full draws can be found by clicking on the division headers.

USTA National Indoors Finals Results:

Priscilla Sirichantho[4] d. Grace Hong[7] 6-2, 6-3
Camilla Olga Castracani and Priscilla Sirichantho[3] d. Teaghan Jou An Keys and Scarlett Fagan[4] 8-4

Antanas Daugis[1] d. Dylan Meineke[4] 4-6, 7-6(2), 10-8
Diego Custodio and Kahven Singh[1] d. Aayush Vartak and Antanas Daugis[3] 8-6

Christina Lyutova[1] d. Isabelle DeLuccia[2] 6-1, 6-2
Addison Cassidy and Gabriella Sadowski[6] d. Alyson Shannon and Kori Montoya[1] 8-3

Jack Secord[1] d. Liam Alvarez[2] 6-2, 6-2
Zen Uehling and Omar Rhazali[6] d. Yashwin Krishnakumar and Joseph Nau 8-6

Julia Werdiger[9] d. Elena Daskalova[10] 6-3, 6-2
Leena Friedman and Summer Chandler[2] d. Linda Ziets-Segura and Kady Tannenbaum[1] 8-4

Dominick Mosejczuk[4] d. Ian Mayew[7] 7-6(3), 6-3
Evan Burnett and Krish Gupta[2] d. Cyrus Zia and Braeden Gelletich[3] 8-3

Maddy Zampardo[6] d. Valerie Glozman[1] 6-1, 3-6, 7-5
Susanna Maltby and Maddy Zampardo[1] d. Erin Ha and Stephanie Yakoff[3] 8-5

Hank Trondson[14] d. Emon van Loben Sels 6-4, 6-3
Alex Fuchs and Emon van Loben Sels d. Caden Hasler and Dylan Tsoi[2] 8-3

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Eddie Herr Seeds with Main Draw Beginning Monday; Ngounoue Captures JA Merida Title; Shnaider Wins WTA 125 in Uruguay; Canada Claims First Davis Cup Title

©Colette Lewis 2022--
Bradenton FL--

The rain in the forecast held off until the evening, so all the Eddie Herr International qualifying matches were completed today, with main draw matches in all divisions set to begin Monday at the IMG Academy.

The Eddie Herr ITF J1, played on the HarTru courts, will begin with 42 first round singles matches, with those who played two qualifying matches today getting a welcome day off Monday. With temperatures in the low 80s and the humidity high, four sets of tennis (plus match tiebreakers for third sets) was no easy task, and neither of the top seeds in qualifying made it through to the main draw.

Girls No. 1 seed Antonia Vergara Rivera of Chile lost in the final round of qualifying to Anastasiia Firman of Ukraine 6-4, 4-6, 10-3, and boys No. 1 qualifying seed Gonzalo Zeitune of Argentina lost to Daniel Phillips of Bermuda 6-4, 6-3 in the second round. Phillips went on to qualify, saving a match point against No. 13 seed Simon Myslivec of the Czech Republic in a 6-1, 1-6, 12-10 victory.

"I was down 9-8 or 10-9 or something," said the 17-year-old, who trained at the Rafael Nadal Academy for three years and is now at Axis Tennis Academy in Delray Beach Florida. "I came with a different energy in that tiebreaker, left everything I had on the court, and I couldn't be happier with my performance."

Although Phillips has trained away from Bermuda for many years, it is still home for him, and he wants to represent it well.

"I love bringing my little island out," said Phillips, who has won three ITF Junior Circuit singles titles this year, including the J4 in Boca Raton earlier this month. "The people there all support and care for me, the community there is just amazing. It's a different atmosphere. I wouldn't trade Bermuda for anywhere else."

Phillips counts his competitive attitude as one of the keys facets of his game, which revolves around his serve.

"It's my ability to compete, to bring it every game every day," said Phillips. "My neutral balls, my forehand especially. I was injured a bit in my shoulder, but I've strengthened that. My serve and my forehand that's really the strength of my game."

The American boys who qualified are Jose Murariu and No. 9 seed Evan Wen. Girls qualifiers from the US are No. 2 seed Katie Rolls, Brianna Baldi, Taly Licht and No. 8 seed Piper Charney.

Charney and No. 16 seed Taylor Goetz closed out the qualifying on the new Stadium Court, after moving from court 3 due to darkness. Goetz had won the first set 6-4, Charney led the second set 4-2, but lost three straight games to give Goetz a chance to serve for the match. Goetz could get no closer than deuce however, and it was Charney who won the last three games of the set to force the tiebreaker under the lights. After a five-point stretch of the server being broken, Charney held for an 8-5 lead and closed it out 10-6 to reach the main draw.

The seeds for the Eddie Herr ITF J1:
1.Tereza Valentova(CZE) 
2. Lucian Moyano(ARG)
3. Sayaka Ishii(JPN)
4. Ella Mcdonald(GBR)
5. Ena Koike(JPN)
6. Lucciana Perez Alarcon(PER)
7. Ranah Stoiber(GBR)
8. Sonja Zhiyenbayeva(GER)
9. Tatum Evans(USA)
10. Mingge Xu(GBR)
11. Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz(AUS)
12. Darja Suvirdjonkova(SRB)
13. Mia Slama(USA)
14. Madeleine Jessup(TPE)
15. Amelia Waligora(BEL)
16. Theadora Rabman(USA)

1. Gerard Campana Lee(KOR)
2. Yaroslav Demin(RUS)
3. Rei Sakamoto(JPN)
4. Paul Barbier Gazeu(FRA)
5. Danil Panarin(RUS)
6. Paul Inchauspe(FRA)
7. Iliyan Radulov(BUL)
8. Cooper Williams(USA)
9. Juan Carlos Prado Angelo(BOL)
10. Arthur Gea(FRA)
11. Hayden Jones(AUS)
12. Kevin Edengren(SWE)
13. Alejandro Melero Kretzer(ESP)
14. Max Batyutenko(KAZ)
15. Alexander Frusina(USA)
16. Tiago Pires(FRA)

Campana Lee is still in Merida for the final, so he will not play until Tuesday.

Clervie Ngounoue, who led the United States to a Junior Billie Jean King Cup title early this month, closed out her banner month with the girls singles title at ITF Grade A in Merida Mexico tonight. Ngounoue, the No. 5 seed, defeated Ariana Pursoo 6-3, 6-2 in the battle of American 16-year-olds. Ngounoue is not playing Eddie Herr, but is expected to compete in the Orange Bowl. Pursoo is in the Eddie Herr ITF draw, unseeded, and will play Tuesday. 

North Carolina State freshman Diana Shnaider continued her march to the WTA Top 100 with the biggest title of her young career. The 18-year-old from Russia, who has yet to play a college match for the Wolfpack after enrolling this fall, won the WTA 125 in Montevideo Uruguay today, beating Leolie Jeanjean(Baylor/Arkansas/Lynn) of France 6-4, 6-4. Shnaider, who didn't drop a set this week, is now up to 109 in the WTA rankings, after being at 246 when she reached the semifinals of the US Open Junior Championships in September. 

Canada defeated Australia 2-0 in the Davis Cup final today in Spain, to win the prestigious team competition for the first time in the country's history. Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime delivered the singles victories for Canada, and they were the same two stars who won the Junior Davis Cup for Canada back in 2015. The ITF posted this tweet on that extremely rare double here.

The 12s, 14s, and 16s divisions of the Eddie Herr are scheduled to begin tomorrow at 8 a.m. on the IMG Academy hard courts. Below are the Top 8 seeds in those divisions. Some of the international players who train at IMG are listed as USA, rather than their home countries.

1. Yeri Hong(KOR)
2. Andreea Olariu(ROU)
3. Haniya Minhas(PAK)
4. Sim Siyoen(KOR)
5. Yui Komada(JPN) 
6. Siah Kim(KOR)
7. Hannah Ayrault(USA)
8. Sun Xinran(USA)

1. Emerson Jones(AUS)
2. Ksenia Efremova(FRA)
3. Victoria Barros(BRA)
4. Luna Maria Cinalli(ARG)
5. Polina Kuharenko(ESP)
6. Thea Frodin(USA)
7. Nicole Okhtenberg(USA)
8. Maria Aytoyan(USA)

1. Claire Zhang(USA)
2. Hyunyee Lee(KOR)
3. Monika Ekstrand(USA)
4. Claire Shao(USA)
5. Katerina Shabashkevich(USA)
6. Amelie Hejtmanek(GER)
7. Katie Spencer(USA)
8. Allie Bittner(USA)

1. Michael Antonius(USA)
2. Taiki Takizawa(AUS)
3. Jae Jun Shin(KOR)
4. Tabb Tuck(USA)
5. Elliott Awomoyi(USA)
6. Tomas Laukys(USA)
7. Tavish Pahwa(IND)
8. Lucas Han(AUS)

1. Ivan Ivanov(BUL)
2. Sehyuk Cho(KOR)
3. Carel Ngounoue(USA)(withdrawn due to playing in ITF qualifying)
4. Jack Kennedy(USA)
5. Keaton Hance(USA)
6. Weiyi Kong(USA)
7. Ford McCollum(USA)
8. Pedro Henrique Chabalgoity(BRA)

1. Maxwell Exsted(USA)
2. Calvin Baierl(USA)
3. Abhishek Thorat(USA)
4. Naoya Honda (ESP)
5. Kase Schinnerer(USA)
6. Jagger Leach(USA)
7. Boxiong Zhang(CHN)
8. Noah Johnston(USA)

Saturday, November 26, 2022

First Round of ITF J1 Eddie Herr Qualifying Complete, Two Rounds Set for Sunday; Rain Disrupts Semifinals in JA Merida; Shnaider Reaches WTA 125 Final; Canada and Australia Meet for Davis Cup Title Sunday

©Colette Lewis 2022--
Bradenton FL--

Effects from the rain at the Grade A this week in Merida Mexico spilled over into the first day of ITF J1 Eddie Herr qualifying, with both walkovers and alternates featured in round 1.

The tradition of playing late matches in Mexico and difficulty of getting to Bradenton from there is always challenging when it comes to the first few days of the Eddie Herr ITF. This year, with rain delaying the boys doubles semifinals from Friday to today, and more rain today, there were a lot of special exemption requests that ultimately proved moot, because the players simply couldn't get to the IMG Academy in time.

Nahum Gloriana of Morocco, who lost in Friday's quarterfinals in Merida and was the No. 9 seed in qualifying, tried to get here, but was unable to do so, despite getting a match time of not before 3 p.m. With just one lighted HarTru court, which is new this year, the Eddie Herr ITF is definitely a daylight tournament, so 3 p.m. is about as late as match can be scheduled.

Three players moved into the main draw due to last minute withdrawals: Americans Alexis Harmon and Maya Iyengar, the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, and No. 4 seed Luca Pow of Great Britain. Because no boys alternates signed in, Pow's opponent Piotr Andrzejewski of the United States received a walkover, one of three on the day in the boys draw. Three girls alternates got in, but none advanced to the second round.

Top girls seeds Antonia Vergara Rivera of Chile and Katie Rolls got through in straight sets, but No. 6 seed Sage Loudon and No. 7 seed Arina Oreschenkova lost in match tiebreakers.  

Top boys seeds Gonzalo Zeitune of Argentina and Jules Leroux of France are through, although Zeitune barely survived, beating Adam Duda of the Czech Republic 3-6, 6-2, 11-9. No. 3 seed Marko Mesarovic lost to Zachary Vaiiala of Australia 7-6(5), 4-6, 10-3. 

Two boys who have made early 2024 commitments ousted seeds today, with Thomas Faurel of France, who has given a verbal to Kentucky, defeating No. 8 seed Hady El Korde of Egypt 6-3, 6-2 and Matthew Forbes, who recently announced his intention to play for North Carolina, beating No. 10 seed Junghee You of Canada 4-6, 6-3, 10-8. At 8-all in the match tiebreaker, You had a chance to put an overhead away, but Forbes tracked it down, reset the point and eventually won it, then served it out with a sharp angled winner ending it.

Two rounds of qualifying matches are scheduled for Sunday, but there is a chance of rain in the afternoon, and the high humidity has made for some lengthy matches with towel use more prevalent.

The final round of qualifying for the 12s, 14s and 16s divisions is set for Sunday, with main draw matches beginning Monday.

As for the JA in Merida, the singles semifinals, scheduled for today, but so far not played, are:

No. 4 seed Ella Mcdonald of Great Britain vs. Ariana Pursoo 
No. 5 seed Clervie Ngounoue vs. qualifier Yujin Kim of Korea

No. 1 seed Gerard Campana Lee of Korea vs. No. 8 seed Paul Inchauspe of France
No. 6 seed Juan Carlos Prado Angelo of Bolivia vs. No. 2 seed Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez of Mexico.

Campana Lee has now won 21 consecutive ITF Junior Circuit matches since losing to ITF No. 1 Daniel Vallejo of Paraguay in the third round of the US Open. 

NC State freshman Diana Shnaider of Russia has advanced to her first WTA final at the 125 in Montevideo Uruguay. The unseeded 18-year-old left-hander, who reached the Orange Bowl final last year, defeated No. 6 seed Kateryna Baindl of Ukraine 6-3, 6-2 in this evening's semifinals, her fourth straight-sets victory of the week. Shnaider, up to 121 in the live WTA rankings, will face No. 10 seed Leolia Jeanjean(Baylor/Arkansas/Lynn) of France in Sunday's final. 

The Davis Cup final is set for Sunday in Spain, after Australia defeated Croatia 2-1 Friday and Canada defeated Italy 2-1 today. Italy had beaten the United States in the quarterfinals 2-1. With the new format featuring just two singles and a deciding doubles match, if necessary, all three of the matches above came down to the doubles, as did Canada's win over Germany in the quarterfinals. 

Friday, November 25, 2022

ITF J1 Eddie Herr Qualifying Begins Saturday; Ngounoue Advances to Semifinals at JA in Merida; Seeds Struggle at USTA National Indoor Championships

©Colette Lewis 2022--
Bradenton FL--

Last year's Eddie Herr International Junior Championships were held in the midst of construction on the IMG Academy's new tennis and basketball facility, but this year all the inconveniences are in the rearview mirror. Two stadium courts, one hard and one Har-Tru, will be in use throughout the tournament, and five indoor courts were being used for qualifying today in the 12s, 14s, and 16s division. There are also four new red clay courts, which won't be used this week, with the ITF J1 held on the same Har-Tru courts as before, with the addition of the stadium court.

Due to rain and wet courts earlier in the week, the second round of qualifying for the younger divisions was still going on after dark this evening; the third round will be Saturday and the fourth and final round will take place Sunday.

Both qualifying draws for the ITF J1 are full, with play beginning at 8:30 on Saturday. Top seed in the boys qualifying, with an ITF junior ranking of 153, is Gonzalo Zeitune of Argentina. Marko Mesarovic is the top seed among Americans, at No. 3. The top seed in the girls qualifying is Antonia Vergara Rivera of Chile, ranked 168. Three Americans follow her in the seedings, Kaitlyn Rolls, Alexia Harmon and Maya Iyengar.

The singles quarterfinals are still in progress at the JA in Merida Mexico. Cooper Williams, the No. 7 seed, is the only American boy still in contention for a title, having reached the singles quarterfinals and the doubles semifinals, with partner Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez of Mexico.

Three US girls advanced to the quarterfinals: No. 5 seed Clervie Ngounoue, No. 9 seed Mia Slama and unseeded Ariana Pursoo. Ngounoue advanced to the singles semifinals with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-0 win over No. 16 seed Mingge Xu of Great Britain. Slama and Pursoo are playing each other in the quarterfinals later tonight in the bottom half, so another American semifinalist is assured. Ngounoue is also competing in the doubles semifinals tonight, with partner Amelie Smejkalova of the Czech Republic. 

The USTA National Indoor Championships began today and will run through Monday. Most age divisions had two rounds of singles today, so not all the draws are updated for those second round matches. Below are the top 8 seeds in each division, along with notations on those who have already lost. Click on age division to go to each draw.

B18s Overland Park Kansas

1. Dylan Tsoi (lost 1st rd)
2. Tygen Goldammer (lost 2nd rd)
3. Connor Smillie (lost 1st rd)
4. Alex Fuchs
5. Stephan Gershfeld
6. Sanjeev Chundu (lost 1st rd)
7. Caden Hasler
8. Greyson Casey (lost 1st rd)

G18s Indianapolis Indiana

1. Valerie Glozman
2. Stephanie Yakoff
3. Esha Velaga
4. Natasha Rajaram (lost 2nd rd)
5. Kaitlyn Carnicella 
6. Maddy Zampardo
7. Audrey Spencer (lost 2nd rd)
8. Amber Yin (lost 1st rd)

B16s Chicago Illinois

1. Brody Nejedly Krall (lost 1st rd)
2. Krish Gupta 
3. Nolan Balthazor (lost 1st rd)
4. Dominick Mosejczuk
5. Nicolas Patrick
6. Troy Kudrjavtsev
7. Ian Mayew
8. Evan Burnett (lost 1st rd)

G16s Minneapolis Minnesota

1. Kristina Penickova
2. Catherine Shen
3. Rachel Lee
4. Leena Friedman
5. Grace Li
6. Kaede Usui
7. Sophia Holod
8. Annika Penickova

B14s Chicago Illinois

1. Jack Secord
2. Liam Alvarez
3. Colin McPeek (lost 2nd rd)
4. Ilias Bouzoubaa
5. Shaan Patel
6. Abraham Rosett (withdrew, illness)
7. Roshan Santhosh (lost 2nd rd)
8. James Quattro

G14s Toledo Ohio 

1. Christina Lyutova
2. Isabelle DeLuccia
3. Alyson Shannon
4. Kaia Giribalan
5. Brooke Kwon
6. Kori Montoya
7. Victoria Mann (lost 1st rd)
8. Carrie-Anne Hoo

B12s Indianapolis, Indiana

1. Antanas Daugis
2. Diego Custodio
3. Zesen Wang
4. Dylan Meineke
5. Advay Singh
6. Karan Shanker
7. Aryan Ponugoti (lost 1st rd)
8. Aayush Vartak

G12s Manchester, Massachusetts

1. Lani Chang
2. withdrew
3. Aarini Bhattacharya
4. Priscilla Sirichantho
5. Kathryn Cragg
6. Michelle Lee (lost 1st rd)
7. Grace Hong
8. Camilla Olga Castracani