©Colette Lewis 2005
Nearly Half the Seeds Out of Jr. Orange Bowl Boys 12s; In Boys 14s, Only Two Seeded Players Fall
Coral Gables FL--
The rain that the weather forecasters have been predicting for the past two days has not materialized; instead we've had unusually balmy weather for December, while the cold that is gripping the rest of the country hasn't yet made it this far south.
I split the day between the boys 12s at Tropical Park and the boys 14s at University of Miami, and the younger age division demonstrated once again how difficult it is to make any judgments at that stage of tennis.
Seeding 12s from all over the world is so difficult that at the Eddie Herr, they don't even attempt it.
At the Junior Orange Bowl, the committee assigns eight number ones and eight number nines, based primarily on the country's own rankings. The U.S. has only one seeded player, Emmett Egger, who is a one, despite the fact that three of the four semifinalists at the Eddie Herr were from the United States.
Today Egger won, but the number one seeds--from Russia, Canada and Japan--lost, as did four of the number nine seeds.
The 14s, who are seeded 1-16, (what happened to the 17-32 that is now standard in 128 draws?) lost only two seeds, number five Juan Vazquez of Argentina and number six Soufiane Azarqui of Canada. The U.S. boys fared very well, with JT Sundling (2), Frank Carleton (7) and Evan King (16) advancing, as did Blake Davis, Jordan Cox, Shaun Bernstein, Sam Wells, Alex Domijan, Devin Britton, Sekou Bangoura, Denis Kudla, Mousheg Hovhannisyan and Rhyne Williams. And that's not all. A very strong group of qualifiers also won their first round contests--Andy Cooper, William Parker, Jadon Phillips and Justin Rossi, and Phillips has already won five matches since Wednesday.
Although I only saw bits and pieces of the match, I enjoyed watching Devin Britton, the fourteen-year-old from Mississippi, who now trains at IMG Bollettieri in Bradenton. Britton is not afraid to approach the net, making his big first serve even more effective, and Saturday everything was working in his 6-2, 6-0 win. After a few days of watching qualifiers trade groundies, it was certainly refreshing to see some variety.