Coral Gables, Fla.--
The four 2007 Eddie Herr 12s and 14s champions are still in the running to add Junior Orange Bowl titles to their Florida triumphs after the second full day of tennis at the four sites hosting the international competition.
Boca Raton's Madison Keys, the Eddie Herr girls' 12s champion, was not seeded in the Junior Orange Bowl, and an unlucky draw put her up against No. 1 seed Louise Kwong of Canada, whom she'd beaten 7-6 in the third in the Eddie Herr quarterfinals.
"When I saw the draw, I thought, 'what are the odds of that?'," said Kwong, who fell to Keys 6-2, 6-4 in Tuesday's first round. "Of 127 people, it had to be Madison Keys. I thought she'd be seeded, but she's not. I don't know why."
The Eddie Herr was on hard courts, while the Junior Orange Bowl girls' event is held on the green clay at Salvadore Park, and both girls pointed to the surface as a factor.
"The clay was not as slidable as what I train on," Kwong said. "And her type of game style fits better on clay, so it was harder for me."
"I think I was a little bit more used to it than she was," said Keys, who trains at the IMG/Evert Academy. "It gave me an advantage."
Keys rarely trailed in the match, but when Kwon broke her to even the second set at 4, an element of suspense was introduced. In the next game however, the Canadian left-hander let a 30-0 lead evaporate and three points later Keys got a break point and pounced. The 5-foot-7-and-a-half-inch right-hander stepped into the court and blistered a backhand winner, a shot she relies on when she needs a big point.
"I like going for that shot," said Keys. "It's one of my better shots I like to hit."
Eddie Herr boys 12s champion Joe Di Giulio of Newport Beach, Calif., did receive a No. 1 seed, and he is one of the few remaining in the boys 12s draw after a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Franko Miocic of Croatia. The top half has five of its eight No. 1 seeds through to the third round, but the bottom half has only one No. 1 seed left, Jonathan O'Mara of Great Britain. Nearly as many qualifiers (5, including one lucky loser) as seeds (6) still have hopes of a Junior Orange Bowl title, including Thai Kwiatkowski of Charlotte, NC and Mac Roy of Clute, Tex.
The top seed in the girls 14s, Carol Lizarazo of Columbia, was ousted by Elizabeth Abanda of Canada 6-3, 6-3, and No. 3 seed Silvia Njiric of Croatia was also eliminated, losing 6-4, 6-2 to Breaunna Addison of New Braunfels, Texas. Great Britain's Laura Robson, this year's Eddie Herr 14s champion, is seeded 17th at the Junior Orange Bowl, but in her two matches, the 13-year-old from London has lost only one game and looks to be in top form on the hard courts of the Biltmore Tennis Center.
Brazilian Tiago Fernandes, the boys 14s Eddie Herr champion, did receive the top seeding at the Junior Orange Bowl, and despite a difficult draw, is the favorite for Sunday's final. On Tuesday, he met Christian Harrison, the 13-year-old American who was a finalist at Les Petits As, the indoor equivalent of the Junior Orange Bowl 14s, which is held in France in early February.
Harrison jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the early morning match played at the University of Miami Neil Schiff Tennis Center, as Fernandes made several nerve-induced errors at the start. But once the tall and lean right-hander began finding the court, the much smaller Texan couldn't locate the aggressive all-court game he needed to challenge. Fernandes's depth kept Harrison scrambling, and the Brazilian rarely took a risk he didn't need or made an error he couldn't afford on his way to winning the next 11 games in his 6-3, 6-1 victory.
His next opponent will be another American, Sean Berman, who saved two match points in his 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 win over No. 17 seed Leonard Stakhovsky of the Ukraine. With No. 3 seed Alexandru Ciprian Porumb of Romania losing on Monday and No. 2 seed Vitor Galvao of Brazil falling Tuesday, the top half of the draw is looking more formidable, with No. 4 seed Marcos Giron of the U.S. still in the mix.
Giron, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., scraped by Winston Lin of Williamsville, N.Y. 7-6 (2), 7-6 (6) to set up an encounter with another American, Dennis Novikov of Redwood City, Calif.
"I've played him like four times," said Giron. "I've never lost to him, so I feel I have a good shot against him."
Giron's confidence has been buoyed by his recent visit to Portland as part of the USTA High Performance camp held in conjunction with the Davis Cup.
"For a set, every player got to sit right on the bench," said Giron. "It was a lot of fun."
But it wasn't just rubbing shoulders with Roddick, Blake and the Bryan brothers that made it such a memorable experience.
"It also helped because I was playing really well while I was there, so it helped my confidence."
Second round action in girls 12s begins Wednesday morning. The other three divisions will play third round matches on Wednesday.