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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Crossley Defeats Top Seed Valentova for First J1 Title at Eddie Herr ITF, Gea Claims Boys Crown over Braswell; Orange Bowl ITF JA Begins Monday with Campana Lee and McDonald Top Seeds

©Colette Lewis 2022--
Bradenton FL--


The unseeded finalists at the ITF J1 Eddie Herr International Championships batted .500 on a brilliant day at the IMG Academy, with Mayu Crossley of Japan defeating top seed Tereza Valentova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4, while home crowd favorite Jonah Braswell of the United States fell short, with No. 10 seed Arthur Gea of France taking the title 7-6(7), 6-2.

The first set of the boys match took an astounding 95 minutes to complete, with Gea taking it on his fifth set point. Braswell had saved three set points serving at 4-5 in the first, and was up 4-1 with two serves coming in the tiebreaker, but the 18-year-old from Sarasota lost both points to give the momentum back to Gea. Braswell did have a set point of his own with Gea serving at 5-6 in the tiebreaker, but couldn't convert it, and although Gea missed his fourth chance at 6-7, he earned a fifth on his own serve and finished the job.

After coming through in such a long and physical set, Gea felt more relaxed, and it showed, as he raised his level each game.

"The first set was so much pressure for me," said Gea, who had been ill prior to and during his semifinal win over No. 7 seed Iliyan Radulova of Bulgaria Saturday. "I didn't feel good with the ball, but I just handled the pressure, the hard moments, just go aggressive. After the first, I feel comfortable on the court, and it was more easy for me."

Although Gea admitted he was tight to start, and still recovering his strength after his illness, he picked up his serving in the second set, and Braswell was not able to find any way to counter it after going down an early break.

"I made a few mistakes on some points I shouldn't have," said Braswell, a freshman at the University of Florida playing his last junior tournament at the IMB  Academy, where he has trained for several years. "He started playing a little more aggressive in the second, with a little less pressure, I think, and yeah, he played well."

Braswell appreciated the encouragement he received from the crowd, cheering him on from the stands on the shady side of the new IMG Stadium Court.

"I could for sure feel that support," said Braswell, who was playing in his first J1 final. "I had a lot of friends and family here to support me, and it felt great playing in front of a home crowd on my home courts. It was a great experience."

While Braswell had the support of the American crowd, Gea's fans numbered just three: fellow juniors Paul Barbier Gazeu and Tiago Pires, whom Braswell beat in the semifinals, and coach Tarik Benhabiles. That trio was well aware how significant the title was to Gea, who retired from his third round US Open match with a tear in his ab and was out of competition until this week.

"I needed to stop two and a half months playing tennis," said Gea, who is the first French boy to win the Eddie Herr title since Jeremy Chardy in 2004. "One month without tennis, one month just playing back, no serve, two and a half months without playing points or serving normally. This is my first tournament since then, and that's why it's a beautiful title for me and a beautiful present to come back on the circuit."

Gea closed out the match serving and volleying on the final point, a choice he made to counter the nerves he was feeling.

"I was under pressure, that's why," Gea said. "I can serve, and make just one volley and it's finished, so I say, ok, I do that."


While Braswell, the 2020 Orange Bowl 16s champion, will be taking final exams next week instead of competing in the Orange Bowl, Gea will make the trip to Plantation, where he will begin his quest for his first Grade A title, again as the No. 10 seed. 

Crossley wasn't sure she could do it, but the 16-year-old from Japan held her nerve to defeat Valentova, who was still suffering the effects of her four-hour and 23 minute semifinal win over No. 3 seed Sayaka Ishii of Japan.

Valentova, who was 92 spots ahead of Crossley in the ITF junior rankings when the tournament began, could not outsteady Crossley, who often just needed to hit a series of deep balls to eventually draw an error. 

Valentova said she did not have the legs to get back in the match, and nerves also contributed to her slow start.

"For sure I was nervous," said the 15-year-old, who is No. 11 in the ITF rankings. "But I played yesterday four and a half hours, so I think today, I wasn't ready."

Crossley knew that Valentova had been on the court more than three hours longer than she had been on Saturday and had been unable to play in the doubles final. Yet she didn't detect any problems initially.

"She played well in the first few games and then she got tired, and I realized that," said the 16-year-old, who trains at the Evert Academy in Boca Raton. "I tried to rally more than."

Although Valentova did begin to show some signs of life after falling behind 5-1 in the final set, staying in the rallies longer, breaking Crossley serving for the match at 5-2 and holding to make Crossley serve for it a second time, it wasn't enough, as Crossley navigated a tense final game to earn the victory.


It was Valentova's status as one of the top players in the game that helped Crossley keep her nerves at bay.

"I played pretty good today," said Crossley, who admitted she wasn't confident she would win, even when up 5-1 in the final set. "In the first set and the beginning of the second, I could play like having fun. I knew she's so good a player, I could just relax. But then, I thought, oh, it's going to be tiebreak, or 5-all. I'm so bad at that."

Crossley, the first girl from Japan to win the Eddie Herr ITF girls title, said her lack of confidence stemmed from her record in finals. 

"I always lose in finals," said Crossley, who was 1-4 in finals this year, including a loss in the championships match of the J1 in San Diego this spring. "So now I am so happy."

Crossley, unseeded in the Orange Bowl, takes on No. 11 seed Tatum Evans in the first round on Tuesday. Valentova is the No. 2 seed in Plantation, and will face Sage Loudon in her opening match Tuesday.

The Orange Bowl Grade A begins Monday at the Veltri Tennis Center, with the first round played over two days. The field is mostly the same as the Eddie Herr; Gerard Campana Lee of Korea, who pulled out of the Eddie Herr after reaching the Grade A Merida final, is a new addition, as are Merida girls doubles champion Ella McDonald of Great Britain(who played only doubles at Eddie Herr), Merida singles champion Clervie Ngounoue, and Guadalajara J1 champion Kaitlin Quevedo.

Live scoring should be available here.

ITF JA Orange Bowl Seeds:

Boys:

1. Gerard Campana Lee(KOR)
2. Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez(ESP)
3. Yaroslav Demin(RUS)
4. Juan Carlos Pardo Angelo(BOL)
5. Paul Inchauspe(FRA)
6. Cooper Williams(USA)
7. Iliyan Radulov(BUL)
8. Rei Sakamoto(JPN)
9. Danil Panarin(RUS)
10. Arthur Gea(FRA)
11. Hayden Jones(AUS)
12. Alejandro Melero Kretzer(ESP)
13. Kevin Edengren(SWE)
14. Adriano Dzhenev(BUL)
15. Alexander Frusina(USA)
16. Tomasz Berkieta(POL)

Girls:

1. Ella McDonald(GBR)
2. Tereza Valentova(CZE)
3. Luciana Moyano(ARG)
4. Sayaka Ishii(JPN)
5. Clervie Ngounoue(USA)
6. Ena Koike(JPN)
7. Lucciana Perez Alarcon(PER)
8. Kaitlin Quevedo(USA)
9. Ranah Stoiber(GBR)
10. Mingge Xu(GBR)
11. Tatum Evans(USA)
12. Sonja Zhiyenbayeva(GER)
13. Ariana Pursoo(USA)
14. Mia Slama(USA)
15. Madeleine Jessup(TPE)
16. Theadora Rabman(USA)

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Braswell's Last Junior Match is Eddie Herr ITF J1 Final, Top Seed Valentova Survives Four Hours, Three Tiebreakers to Advance to Girls Final; Third Time a Charm for Exsted in B16s; Antonius Breezes to B12s Eddie Herr Title

©Colette Lewis 2022--
Bradenton Florida--

Jonah Braswell was 12 years old when he made his first Eddie Herr final back in 2016. On Sunday, the unseeded 18-year-old from Sarasota will play for the ITF J1 title in the final match of his junior career against No. 10 seed Arthur Gea of France.

Braswell was on the court for less than an hour Saturday afternoon, with No. 16 seed Tiago Pires of France retiring trailing 6-1, 2-0. Pires, who appeared to have a back injury, was not moving well and made way too many unforced errors to stay with Braswell.

After Braswell held for 1-0 in the second set, Pires went down 0-40, but fought his way back to deuce, with two aces helping his cause. But once Braswell got the break, on his fifth opportunity, Pires walked to the net to shake hands.

"I'm excited, because I think I'm playing my best tennis at the end of the tournament," said the University of Florida freshman, who is not competing at the Orange Bowl due to final exams next week. "It's my home courts, I've practiced a lot here these past few years and I've always played well on these courts because I'm used to them. They're really slow, and I think that suits my game well, because I can really play aggressive and play free."

Although pleased with his performance in his first J1 semifinal, Braswell is not satisfied with reaching the final. 

"I'm excited, and I'm proud of myself, but my goal was to win the tournament, so I'm not too happy yet," Braswell said. "I'll be happy once I win the tournament. Just one more match, one more match in my junior career."

Gea had a contrasting experience in his semifinal with No. 7 seed Iliyan Radulov of Bulgaria, with the 17-year-old from Paris the one who was not feeling well, although he managed to prevail 6-2, 5-7, 6-4. Leading by a set and 5-2, Gea left the court for a long bathroom break, which was obviously related to the physical discomfort he was feeling, and it certainly didn't help him. He did have two match points on Radulov's serve at 3-5, but ended up losing the set. 

"I was sick before the match and during the match," Gea said. "I was very mad during the match, saying I can't lose leading 5-2."

Gea, who had lost to Radulov in three sets in the European Championships this past summer, was determined to change his game style, and thought his illness actually helped him in that regard.

"I was very aggressive today, and before [in Klosters] I was a bit defensive," said Gea, who won the Belgium J1 in May. "Today, not feeling great, I had to make some winners, to go to the net, to change the situation, because when I moved a lot, I was not good."

The boys final, at 9:30 a.m. on the new Stadium Court, will be the first meeting between Braswell and Gea.

One of the girls semifinals also ended with a retirement, with unseeded Mayu Crossley of Japan advancing to her second J1 final when No. 5 seed Ena Koike of Japan retired with Crossley leading 6-2, 3-1.

"Her back was injured," said the 16-year-old Crossley, who reached the final of the J1 in San Diego this spring, losing to Liv Hovde. "I was up 2-1 in the first set and she started feeling her back, and then she called the physio."

Crossley did not make any adjustments to her game plan, preferring to ignore any issues Koike was having.

"I didn't want to change because if I think about it, I can't play my tennis, so I just didn't think anything," Crossley said. "It was good for me to think nothing."

Crossley had a long wait to find out who her opponent in the final would be, with top seed Tereza Valentova of the Czech Republic and No. 3 seed Sayaka Ishii of Japan playing four hours and 23-minutes before Valentova emerged with a 7-6(6), 6-7(3), 7-6(6) victory. 

The first two sets took three hours and 15 minutes, so the final set was relatively brief at an 68 minutes, with so little separating the two that the possibility of an even longer third set tiebreaker seemed possible.

Valentova took a 4-1 lead, but tried an ill-advised drop shot that Ishii got to and hit a winner to make the score 5-5. Despite that result, Valentova went to the drop shot again on the next point, and this time executed a perfect drop shot, lob winner combination to give herself a match point. She missed a forehand return just wide to make it 6-6, but Ishii made a forehand error off a good return to give Valentova another match point, and she converted it when Ishii's backhand went a few inches long.

The doubles partners met at the net and embraced, with Valentova sobbing as they left the court together.

"The match was so emotional, I think that's the reason why I cried," said the 15-year-old, who was unable to play in the doubles final with Ishii. "It's so hard. I was down and then I was up, and yes, it was so emotional."

Valentova was given two hours and 15 minutes prior to the doubles final, but when the match time came, she had not recovered enough to play, still experiencing a headache and dizziness. She did attend the doubles trophy ceremony, and hopes to be recovered for Sunday's final, which follows the boys final on Stadium Court. 

Ishii, who appeared less physically and emotionally drained than Valentova, was proud of her performance, although she admitted to a range of feelings she concealed well.

"I think I did really good today," said the 17-year-old, who trains at the IMG Academy. "She was a little bit better than me in the final set, and I was mad after the match, but now I think it was one of best matches ever. We hugged, it was so tough match. I said why you crying? I wanted to cry but no."

Valentova, who has won two J1s this year, and Crossley will be meeting for the first time in Sunday's final.


The girls doubles title went to No. 5 seeds Isabelle Lacy and Ella Mcdonald of Great Britain, who were waiting on Stadium Court when the ITF Supervisor Scotty Moore informed them that Valentova was unable to play.

"Of course we were ready to play, but she needs to do what's best for her, especially with singles probably coming first," said Mcdonald, who won the doubles title last week at the JA in Merida with Mingge Xu of Great Britain. "It would have been a great match, but we'll just take the win."

"It's so much fun playing with her," Lacy said of her partner. "We're so close off the court, we have great fun on the court."

"Every match we got better, just went into the week with no pressure, playing our normal games, and it paid off," Mcdonald added.

Mcdonald, who did not play singles this week due to a late arrival from Mexico, will not play doubles next week at Orange Bowl.

The boys doubles title went to Cooper Williams and Yaroslav Demin of Russia, with the top seeds defeating No. 4 seeds Andrin Casanova of Switzerland and Kevin Edengren of Sweden 7-5, 6-4.

Williams and Demin, who won the J1 in Brazil in February, decided to pair up again for the last two major ITF junior tournaments of the year this week and next.

"We talked about playing some tournaments together in the future because we had a good result together in February," Williams said of his fellow 17-year-old. "It just worked out and we decided a couple of months ago to play here; we know we have good chemistry and we're good friends, so it definitely helps."

"We've played really well together from the beginning of this tournament," said Demin, who won the JA Offenbach doubles title this spring. "I feel so comfortable to play with him, it helps a lot."

Williams pointed to their serving as a key to the win today, although they took both sets by breaking, including on a deciding point to end it.

"I think we both served really well," said Williams, who has now won four J1 titles this year, as well as a the JA in Brazil. "We came back from 0-40 once or twice on Yaro's serve, had a couple of aces. We didn't return nearly as well as we wanted to until 6-5 in the first and 5-4 in the second. Overall we played a very solid match, served well, volleyed well."

While the 18s were competing on the HarTru courts at the IMG Academy, the finals in the 12s, 14s and 16s divisions were being contested on the hard courts. Sunny skies, low humidity and little wind made for ideal playing conditions, with six singles and five doubles champions crowned.

Two top-seeded Americans collected titles, with Michael Antonius winning the boys 12s and Maxwell Exsted claiming the boys 16s championship.

For Exsted, the third time was the charm in an Eddie Herr final. The 15-year-old from Minnesota had reached the 12s final in 2019 and the 14s final last year, but it looked as if he was going to go 0-3 in finals, trailing No. 2 seed Calvin Baierl 5-2 in the final set before roaring back for a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory.

Exsted said that deficit helped him loosen up and start going after his shots.

"In the beginning of the third my legs were bothering me a little bit, but I started to feel better, get more energy," said Exsted, who avenged his loss to Baierl in the Junior Orange Bowl 14s last year. "Everybody tends to play better when they're behind, because they're looser. You have nothing to lose. So I could have lost 6-2, but I loosened up, played well."

Baierl agreed that Exsted picked up his game, but was disappointed in his response to that.

"I just lost my concentration when I went up 5-2," said the 15-year-old from Florida. "He started playing better, and that's all it takes. One level drops, he raises it, and it just switches like that. I was getting too aggressive and overhit a lot when I didn't need to."

Both Exsted and Baierl are entered in the Orange Bowl, but Baierl is not sure if a glute injury will allow him to compete. Exsted is tired, but is not fazed by the thought of changing to clay.

"I play a lot on clay, I've been to Spain twice, and I prefer clay over hard, so it will be a nice switch," Exsted said.

Antonius spoke of himself as a bully this week, and none of his opponents were likely to contradict him. With his 6-2, 6-1 win in today's final over Tabb Tuck, Antonius took the title with the loss of just eight games in six matches.

Antonius, who won the Easter Bowl 12s title this spring, decided to stay in the 12s division for the last time, pointing out that there is no back draw here and plenty of more mature players in the 14s to contend with.

"I felt like I had a better chance to win the 12s," said the 12-year-old from Buffalo, who trains with the USTA at the National Campus. "Not playing as many kids who are big and strong, like in the 14s, I was able to work on more things, being more aggressive, having more chances to be the bully out there. In the 14s, more people can be the bullies compared to me."

Antonius admitted he was aware of how few games he had lost in the tournament.

"I was trying to limit as many points and games as possible from the opponent," said Antonius. "So I could get with the lead and stay with the lead. I made sure to keep the foot on the pedal, not having a great first set and a loose second but, keeping that same mentality throughout the match."

No. 4 seed Tuck, who, like Antonius, comes from an area not known for its tennis in Alabama, had nothing but praise for Antonius, while also appreciating his own performance in his first Eddie Herr. 

"He's so consistent from the baseline, never misses a ball, and if you give him anything short, he's always going to take advantage and rip his forehand," said Tuck, who trains with former University of Alabama-Birmingham coach Derek Tarr. "I'm really pleased with myself, I had a great week here playing at IMG, it's a really nice facility and I was playing great all week long."

The third final featuring an American was in the boys 14s, with No. 5 seed Keaton Hance falling to No. 2 seed Se Hyuk Cho of Korea 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 after serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set. 

Hance, who had been down 4-1 in the second set, admitted that nerves played a role in his inability to close out the match.

"Obviously there were a lot of nerves," said the 14-year-old from California, who had lost to Cho in the ITF World Junior Tennis 14U team competition in August. "When I was down 1-4, I was just focusing on getting as many games as I could in that set, make him work for the second and I ended up getting a lot more than I was expecting. The nerves hit me, I guess, made some quick errors, he played a good game also."

Down 4-1 in the third set, Hance wasn't able to mount another comeback, with Cho appearing physically fresher and buoyed by the Korean cheering section applauding his winners.

"I think he just had more energy coming on the court today, most of his matches were a little shorter than mine," said Hance, who needed three and a half hours to defeat top seed Ivan Ivanov in the quarterfinals Thursday. "It was a very competitive set, but I think he was just a little more energized."

Hance did get an Eddie Herr title in his first appearance at the tournament, partnering with Jack Kennedy for the boys doubles championship.  

The three girls singles finals did not feature any Americans.

In the girls 12s, top seed Yeri Hong was one of three Koreans to capture singles titles; she earned the title when No. 5 seed Yui Komada of Japan retired with an injury trailing 6-2, 1-0.

The third Korean title came in girls 16s, with Hyunyee Lee, seeded No. 2, defeating No. 14 seed Ece Gencer of Turkey 6-3, 6-3.


The only unseeded singles champion in the tournament was in girls 14s, with Yihan Qu of China defeating top seed Emerson Jones of Australia 7-5, 6-2.

The results of the doubles finals appear below in the captions of the photos of the winners.

B12s:
Taiki Takizawa(AUS) & Erikas Maskolaitis(GRE)[1] d.
Tabb Tuck(USA) & Victor Pignation(USA)[4] 6-4, 6-3

G12s:

Jordyn Hazelitt(USA) & Raya Kotseva(USA)[8] d.
Miyu Nishiwaka(JPN) & Ran Wakana(JPN)[3]  6-2, 3-6, 10-6

B14s:
Keaton Hance(USA)& Jack Kennedy(USA)[2] d.
Mason Taube(USA) & Ford McCollum(USA)[3] 6-4, 6-7(0), 10-3

G14s:
Nancy Lee(USA) & Thea Frodin(USA)[4] d.
Sena Yoon(USA) & Danielle Young(USA)[7] 6-1, 6-3

B16s:
Benjamin Willwerth(USA) & Noah Johnston(USA)[4] d.
Abishek Thorat(USA) & Asror Ismoilov(USA)[3] 6-2, 6-2

G16s:
Vessa Turley(USA) & Georgia Cranford(USA) d.
Amelie Justine Hejtmanek(GER) & Kayla Schefke(USA)[4] 6-0, 6-2

Friday, December 2, 2022

November Aces; Braswell Sole American Advancing to Eddie Herr ITF J1 Semifinals; All-US Finals Set for Eddie Herr B12s and B16s, Hance Reaches Boys 14s Final; Qualifying for Orange Bowl JA Begins Saturday

©Colette Lewis 2022--
Bradenton FL--


Before recapping today's semifinal and quarterfinal action at the Eddie Herr International Championships at the IMG Academy, I want to link to my monthly Aces column for the Tennis Recruiting Network. November was full of great performances, with the conclusion of the fall college season in San Diego, the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Billie Jean King Cup in Turkey, the Next Gen and ATP Finals, and a host of biggest and first pro titles for teenagers as they close out their 2022 season. With so much happening during the month, it wasn't possible to feature every current junior or collegian who won titles, but that's just an indication of the strength of the younger generation of tennis players.


Friday's ITF quarterfinals began with four Americans in the hunt for a singles title, but only one remains, with unseeded Jonah Braswell advancing to his first J1 final with a three-hour, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over No. 5 seed Danil Panarin of Russia.

Braswell led 6-4, 3-1 before dropping five straight games, but the 18-year-old from Sarasota, who has trained for the past three years at the IMG Academy, wasn't about to display any disappointment as he faced a third set for the second day in a row.

"I tried not to show it, but I was definitely extremely frustrated," the University of Florida freshman said. "But luckily I was able to bounce back. I really needed to come out and win a couple of games, start to get my momentum back. Danil played good in the second set, played really free and loose."

The match was decided with Panarin serving at 3-4 in the third set. In a five-deuce game, Braswell converted his third break point with a forehand winner, and held for the win, with his forehand and serve getting him through the next game.

"It was just a really high level game," Braswell said of that eighth game. "We were both making good decisions, both playing smart tennis, it was tough for me to get the break, but I got a couple bounces and took advantage of it."

Braswell will face No. 16 seed Tiago Pires of France, who ended the three-set run of unseeded Jonathan Irwanto 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. 

"I've never played him, I just know he's a good player, a French player and they are typically good on clay, so I'm looking forward to another great match."

Pires is one of two French players in the semifinals, with No. 10 seed Arthur Gea advancing by virtue of his 7-5, 6-4 win over unseeded American Kaylan Bigun. Gea will face No. 7 seed Iliyan Radulov of Bulgaria, who beat unseeded Andrin Casanova of Switzerland 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-1. Gea and Radulov met in the third round of the European Championships in Klosters this summer, with Radulov posting a 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 win.


The French may have half of the boys semifinalists, but Japan can claim three-quarters of the girls in the semifinals, with all three training at academies in Florida.

No. 3 seed Sayaka Ishii of Japan defeated No. 9 seed Tatum Evans, the last US girl in the draw, 6-2, 6-2 to set up a meeting with her doubles partner, top seed Tereza Valentova of the Czech Republic. Valentova needed less than an hour to beat No. 8 Sonja Zhiyenbayeva of Germany 6-1, 6-0. Ishii defeated Valentova in the first round at Wimbledon this year 6-1, 6-3, in their only meeting on ITF Junior Circuit.

The 17-year-old Ishii trains at the IMG Academy, as does No. 5 seed Ena Koike of Japan, who defeated No. 2 seed Luciana Moyano of Argentina 7-5, 6-2.

The third Japanese girl in the semifinals is unseeded Maya Crossley, who trains at the Evert Academy in Boca Raton. Crossley defeated 2021 Eddie Herr 14s champion Rositsa Dencheva of Bulgaria 4-6, 6-0, 6-2. In her third round win over No. 6 seed Lucciana Perez Alarcon of Peru, Crossley also dropped the opening set, but won the second 6-0.

"I feel like if I lose the first set, I know I have to fight the next set, because it could be my last set," said Crossley, who, like Koike, is 16 years old. 

Although they have not played in several years, Crossley grew up playing both Koike and Ishii.

"I know them since like I was 9, 10," said Crossley, who reached the quarterfinals of the 16s tournament here last year. "I've played them in Japanese tournaments, but not in two years, three years. We go to tournaments together some times, so we practice a lot. I will do my best tomorrow, and I don't think about 'that's Ena'."

Crossley was on Japan's Junior Billie Jean King Cup team that finished third early last month in Turkey, and the depth of the Japanese girls is such that Koike was not on the team. 

"It was good experience for me," said Crossley, "because I don't play team tennis, so it was good for me."

Crossley said she is playing without pressure here because she is unseeded and ranked outside the Top 100.

"I have no pressure right now because my ranking is not high," said Crossley, who said she prefers hard courts to clay. "Everyone is higher than me, so I feel more comfortable, more than in like Grade 3, Grade 4 ITFs. I'm playing relaxed and having fun."

The ITF doubles final are Saturday, with the top seeds in both boys and girls draws vying for the championships.

Cooper Williams and his partner Yaroslav Demin of Russia are through to the final, after defeating No. 6 seeds Atakan Karahan of Turkey and Rei Sakamoto of Japan 4-6, 6-2, 10-8.  They will play No. 4 seeds Andrin Casanova of Switzerland and Kevin Edengren of Sweden, who beat No. 7 seeds Aleksa Pisaric of Serbia and Patrick Schoen of Switzerland 6-3, 6-7(6), 10-7.

Valentova and Ishii, the No. 1 girls seeds, ended the run of wild cards Victoria Osuigwe and Japan's Wakana Sonobe 6-1, 3-6, 10-5. Their opponents in the final are No. 5 seeds Isabelle Lacy and Ella Mcdonald of Great Britain, who beat unseeded Ellie Daniel of Canada and Mia Slama 6-1, 6-3.

With one exception, the singles and doubles finals in the 12s, 14s and 16s divisions will be Saturday. The girls 14s doubles semifinals and final were played today, with the result below.

Five Americans are competing for titles Saturday, with a champion from the US guaranteed in the boys 12s and the boys 16s. Michael Antonius, the reigning Easter Bowl champion, has lost just five games in his five matches. He plays No. 4 seed Tabb Tuck, who came back to defeat unseeded Takashiro Kawaguchi of Japan 2-6, 6-2, 10-8.

Two 15-year-old Americans will meet for the boys 16s title Saturday, with No. 1 seed Max Exsted taking on No. 2 seed Calvin Baierl. Exsted, a finalist last year in the 14s, defeated No. 3 seed Abhishek Thorat 6-4, 6-3, while Baierl, a 16s finalist in Kalamazoo this year, beat No. 6 seed Jagger Leach 6-1, 1-6, 6-2. Baierl defeated Exsted 6-1, 6-2 in their most recent meeting, last year at the Junior Orange Bowl 14s.

Keaton Hance will play for the Boys 14s title, with the No. 5 seed taking on No. 2 seed Se Hyuk Cho of Korea. Cho, who won the inaugural Wimbledon 14s tournament this summer, defeated Hance in the quarterfinals of the ITF World Junior Tennis 14U team competition in August 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-4, although the USA went on to take the deciding doubles to advance.

Full results of Friday's singles:

B12s Semifinals:
Michael Antonius[1](USA) d. Jason Eigbedion[9](USA) 6-0, 6-1
Tab Tuck[4](USA) d. Takahiro Kawaguchi(JPN) 2-6, 6-2, 10-8

G12s Semifinals:
Yeri Hong[1](KOR) d. Haniya Minhas[3](PAK) 6-4, 4-6, 10-6
Yui Komada[5](JPN) d. Sun Xinran[8](CHN) 6-2, 2-6, 10-4

B14s Semifinals:
Keaton Hance[5](USA) d. Ford McCollum[7]USA) 6-4, 6-1
Se Hyuk Cho[2](KOR) d. Kuan-Shou Chen(TPE) 6-1, 6-1

G14s Semifinals:
Emerson Jones[1](AUS) d. Adelina Lachinova [9](LAT) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Yihan Qu(CHN) d. Renee Alame[16](CAN) 6-4, 6-3

B16s Semifinals:
Maxwell Exsted[1](USA) d. Abishek Thorat[3](USA) 6-4, 6-3
Calvin Baierl[2](USA) d. Jagger Leach[6](USA) 6-1, 1-6, 6-2

G16s Semifinals:
Ece Gencer[14](TUR) d. Amy Lee[10](USA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
Hyunyee Lee[2](KOR) d. Rachael Smith(USA) 6-3, 6-4

DOUBLES
The teams in Saturday's doubles finals:
B12s Final:
Taiki Takizawa(AUS) & Erikas Maskolaitis(GRE)[1] vs
Tabb Tuck(USA) & Victor Pignation(USA)[4]

G12s Final:
Miyu Nishiwaka(JPN) & Ran Wakana(JPN)[3] vs
Jordyn Hazelitt(USA) & Raya Kotseva(USA)[8]

B14s Dubs Finals:
Mason Taube(USA) & Ford McCollum(USA)[3] vs
Jack Kennedy(USA) & Keaton Hance(USA)[2]

G14s Final Result: 
Nancy Lee(USA) & Thea Frodin(USA)[4] d.
Sena Yoon(USA) & Danielle Young(USA)[7] 6-1, 6-3

B16s Final:
Noah Johnston(USA) & Benjamin Willwerth(USA)[4] vs
Abishek Thorat(USA) & Asror Ismoilov(USA)[3]

G16s Final:
Amelie Justine Hejtmanek(GER) & Kayla Schefke(USA)[4] vs
Vessa Turley(USA) & Georgia Cranford(USA)

Full draws can be found here.

Qualifying for the Orange Bowl ITF JA begins Saturday in Plantation; draws and the order of play are available here.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Hance Beats Top Seed in Three and a Half Hour Marathon to Reach 14s Semifinals; Americans Evans, Irwanto, Braswell and Bigun Advance to ITF Quarterfinals; Orange Bowl Wild Cards

©Colette Lewis 2022--
Bradenton FL--

After warmer conditions challenged players in the first half of the tournament, cooler temperatures, lower humidity and more wind greeted them at the IMG Academy on Thursday. That change was a godsend for No. 5 Boys 14s seed Keaton Hance, who needed three hours and 30 minutes to defeat top seed Ivan Ivanov of Bulgaria 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3.

"Really? Wow. So that's probably my longest match," the 14-year-old from California said when told what time it was. "I feel all right, a little bit tired in the legs, but nothing besides that."

Hance recognizes that not everyone likes matches of that length and intensity, but he enjoyed himself on the court.

"It was a really high level; Ivan's a really good player and I'd never actually played him so I was really excited for this match," said Hance, who reached the semifinals of Les Petits As early this year. "I had watched a couple of his matches, so I knew how he played, how good he was. He likes to hit hard with his forehand, it's probably stronger than his backhand, so I went into the match with a grinder mentality, make a lot of balls to his backhand and be super consistent and I guess it worked out."

Although he was unaware of the length of time he was on the court, Hance, the youngest of four siblings who have played top level tennis, had already put the match at the top of his best tennis memories.

"That'll be one of the favorite matches of my life," Hance said.

Hance will face No. 7 seed Ford McCollum, another top player from Southern California, in the semifinals. McCollum also was out on the court for more than three hours, eventually defeating No. 13 seed Jake Dembo 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(6).

"He'll be pretty tired tomorrow too," Hance said. "I've practiced with him a lot, haven't played that many matches in actual tournaments. I'm looking forward to it, 100 percent."

Although Ivanov lost today and Girls 16s top seed Claire Zhang was eliminated in the round of 16 Wednesday, the other four top seeds have advanced to Friday's semifinals. Results from today's quarterfinals are below; draws are available here.

B12s Quarterfinals:
Michael Antonius[1](USA) d. Tavish Pahwa[7](IND) 6-1, 6-1
Jason Eigbedion[9](USA) d. Lucas Han[8](AUS) 6-4, 7-6(5)

Tabb Tuck[4](USA) d. Tomas Laukys[6](USA) 6-3, 6-3
Takashiro Kawaguchi(JPN) d. Simon Velez(COL) 6-1, 6-1

G12s Quarterfinals:
Yeri Hong[1](KOR) d. Hannah Ayrault[7](USA) 6-3, 6-0
Haniya Minhas[3](PAK) d. Sakino Miyazawa(JPN) 6-3, 6-2

Sun Xiran[8](CHN) d. Clarice Ouvarova(USA) 4-6, 6-4, 12-10
Yui Komada[5](JPN) d. Andreea Olariu[2](ROU) 6-1, 6-1

B14s Quarterfinals:
Keaton Hance[5](USA) d. Ivan Ivanov[1](BUL) 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3
Ford McCollum[7](USA) d. Jake Dembo[13](USA) 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(6)

Kuan-Shou Chen(TPE) d. Hyu Kawanishi(JPN) 6-4, 6-2
Se Hyuk Cho[2](KOR) d. Weiyi Kong[6](USA) 6-3, 6-3

G14s Quarterfinals:
Emerson Jones[1](AUS) d. Nicole Okhtenberg[7](USA) 6-2, 6-1
Adelina Lachinova[9](LAT) d. Kimiko Cooper(CAN) 6-0, 6-0

Renee Alame(CAN) d. Polina Kuharenko[5](BLR) 6-4, 6-2
Yihan Qu(CHN) d. Anita Tu[13](USA) 6-3, 6-2

B16s Quarterfinals:
Maxwell Exsted[1](USA) d. Noah Johnston[8](USA) 6-1, 6-3
Abhishek Thorat[3](USA) d. Joseph Oyebog[16](USA) 6-1, 6-4

Jagger Leach[6](USA) d. Naoya Honda 6-4, 6-1
Calvin Baierl[2](USA) d. Boxiong Zhang[7](CHN) 6-3, 6-3

G16s Quarterfinals:
Ece Gencer[14](TUR) d. Amelie Hejtmanek[6](GER)  6-4, 6-1
Amy Lee[10](USA) d. Monika Ekstrand[3](USA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
 
Rachael Smith(USA) d. Tess Bucher(USA) 6-2, 6-1
Hyunyee Lee[2](KOR) d. Allie Bittner[8](USA) 6-3, 3-6, 6-2


In the ITF J1 tournament on the HarTru Courts of the IMG Academy, three unseeded American boys have advanced to the quarterfinals, while just one US girl, No. 9 seed Tatum Evans, is in the final eight.

University of Florida freshman Jonah Braswell defeated unseeded Patrick Schoen of Switzerland 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 to extend his junior career at least one more match on the courts where he trains. He will play No. 5 seed Danil Panarin of Russia, who defeated No. 11 seed Hayden Jones 6-1, 6-1.

Jonathan Irwanto, who experienced severe cramping after his second round match Wednesday, showed no effects of that on Thursday, although for the third match this week was required to come back from a set down. Irwanto, an 18-year-old from Miami, defeated No. 13 seed Alejandro Melero Kretzer of Spain 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. He will face No. 16 seed Tiago Pires of France, who beat Jan Hrazdil of the Czech Republic 7-6(6), 6-4.

Sixteen-year-old Kaylan Bigun has reached his first J1 quarterfinal, defeating wild card Cooper Woestendick 1-6, 6-3, 6-3. He will play No. 10 seed Arthur Gea of France, who prevented an all-USA quarterfinal with a 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 8 seed Cooper Williams.

The fourth unseeded boy in the quarterfinals is Andrin Casanova, who defeated No. 9 seed Juan Carlos Prado Angelo of Bolivia 6-2, 6-4.

Just two unseeded girls remain in contention for the singles title, and they meet in Friday's quarterfinals: 16-year-old Mayu Crossley and 2021 Eddie Herr 14s champion Rositsa Dencheva of Bulgaria. Crossley won a long and physical battle with No. 6 seed Lucciana Perez Alarcon of Peru 4-6, 6-0, 6-4, while Dencheva also went the distance, beating Gabriella Broadfoot of South Africa 6-3, 2-6, 7-5.

The other quarterfinal in the bottom half will feature No. 5 seed Ena Koike of Japan and No. 2 seed Luciana Moyano of Argentina. Koike, who won four consecutive ITF Junior Circuit tournaments in Asia in October, advanced to the quarterfinals when No. 11 seed Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz of Australia retired at 4-6, 6-2. Moyano defeated unseeded Malwina Rowinska of Poland 7-6(4), 6-3. 

Fifteen-year-old Tereza Valentova of the Czech Republic continued to impress, defeating No. 15 seed Amelia Waligora of Belgium 6-1, 6-2 in her Stadium Court debut. Valentova will play No. 8 seed Sonja Zhiyenbayeva of Germany, who ended the run of qualifier Piper Charney 6-3, 6-3.

Evans, the Nicholasville JB1 champion, defeated No. 7 seed Ranah Stoiber of Great Britain 1-6, 7-5, 7-5. 

Evans said that going from training on indoor hard at her home in Virginia to the green clay has been a challenge, but the 17-year-old is starting to feel comfortable.

"It was quite an adjustment for the first couple of days," said Evans, who has taken all her official visits, but has yet to decide which school she will attend next fall. "But I feel like now, I'm more settled, I understand the surface a little more, which is nice."

Although Stoiber was the one serving at 4-5 and 5-6 in the third set, and Evans broke her to win the match, Evans didn't feel that was any advantage.

"She had a very good serve, a very strong serve," Evans said. "I had to keep my composure, like nice serve, on to the next one. I couldn't take it personally. It wasn't like I was missing my returns, she was hitting aces or a forced return error."

Evans was up a break in the third set at 3-1, was broken back, then went down 0-30 at 5-all. She recovered with the help of a good first serve and two forehand winners to take a 6-5 lead, and the pressure was back on Stoiber. She double faulted to start the game, and got it back to 30-all before Evans hit a backhand volley winner in a rare net exchange to give herself a match point. Stoiber, who made only one first serve in the game, saved the first match point by forcing an error, but Evans earned another match point with a good forehand and closed it out with a forehand putaway.

"It was a really high quality match and it was really fun to play," Evans said. "It was a really fun match, where we could play freely. I really enjoyed it."

Although Evans had said her title in Nicholasville would take the pressure off her in the last two tournaments of the year, she admitted that she didn't quite convince herself. 

"I remember that conversation and I was so like, chill about these(tournaments), It'll be nice, I won't be nervous," Evans said with a laugh. "But now on the court I'm so nervous, I'm flipping out."

Evans will play No. 3 seed Sayaka Ishii of Japan, who reached the final of the Grade A Osaka Mayor's Cup in October. It will be their first meeting, although they have hit together.

All eight of the ITF quarterfinals are first-time meetings on the ITF Junior Circuit. 

The doubles semifinals are set for Friday, with three Americans competing with international partners.

Cooper Williams and partner Yaroslav Demin of Russia, the No. 1 seeds, defeated No. 8 seeds Paul Barbier Gazeu of France and Thanaphat Boosarawongse of Thailand 6-3, 4-6, 10-4 in this afternoon's quarterfinals and will play No. 6 seeds Atakan Karahan of Turkey and Rei Sakamoto of Japan. Karahan and Sakamoto saved two match points in defeating wild cards Cooper Woestendick and Matthew Forbes 4-6, 7-6(9), 10-1.

In the bottom half, No. 4 seeds Andrin Casanova of Switzerland and Kevin Edengren of Sweden will play No. 7 seeds Aleksa Pisaric of Serbia and Patrick Schoen of Switzerland.

Unseeded Victoria Osuigwe and Japan's Wakana Sonobe defeated No. 8 seeds Ava Krug and Theadora Rabman 3-6, 6-3, 10-6 to advance to a semifinal meeting with top seeds Sayaka Ishii of Japan and Tereza Valentova of the Czech Republic.

Unseeded Mia Slama and her Canadian partner Ellie Daniels beat Gabriella Broadfoot of South Africa and Ahmani Guichard, also unseeded 7-6(9), 6-1. They will face No. 5 seeds Isabelle Lacy and Ella Mcdonald of Great Britain, who beat wild cards Jessica Bernales and Alanis Hamilton 6-4, 6-4.

Qualifying begins for the Orange Bowl 16s on Friday, with main draw for the 16s beginning on Sunday. The ITF JA qualifying begins Saturday with the main draw beginning Monday.

Wild cards as of this date:

Boys 18s Main:
Kyle Kang
Roy Horovitz
Cooper Woestendick
Nikita Filin
Mitchell Lee
Andrew Delgado

Girls 18s Main:
Shannon Lam
Alanis Hamilton
Tyra Grant
Jessica Bernales
Akasha Urhobo
Alyssa Ahn
Katherine Hui

Boys 16s Main:
Matthew Forbes
Keaton Hance
Prathinav Chunduru
Ben Wilwerth
Nathan Blokhin

Girls 16s Main:
Nina Costalas
Nicole Okhtenberg
Kenna Erickson
Ishika Ashar
Harper Stone

Boys 18s Qualifying:
Mikel Anderson
Landon Ardilla
Leanardo Dal Boni
Tanner Povey

Girls 18s Qualifying:
Amber Yin
Stephanie Yakoff
Thea Latak
Kate Kim

Boys 16s Qualifying:
Ian Miller
Jeremiah Braswell
Blake Hilsen

Girls 16s Qualifying:
Yael Saffar


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 roll," 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.