Junior Orange Bowl Day 5: Vinsant Topples No. 1 seed Fernandes in Boys 14s; Eight Americans Reach Semifinals
Coral Gables, FL--
Unseeded Shane Vinsant of Keller, Tex. shocked top seed Tiago Fernandes of Brazil 7-5, 6-4 in the boys 14s quarterfinals at the University of Miami Neil Schiff Tennis Center, joining Miami's Spencer Newman in Saturday's semifinals. Newman, a No. 9 seed, defeated Emmett Egger of Issaquah, Wash., also a No. 9 seed, 7-5, 6-3.
Vinsant started slowly, falling behind 3-0 in the first set to the rangy Brazilian, who hadn't lost more than four games in a match all week. But at 4-4 in the first set, Vinsant started to realize he was capable of winning the match.
"I think I really started to believe I could win then. When it started getting close and I had chances to go up 5-4, I lost that game, but won the next three," said Vinsant. "I thought deep down inside that I could win the match, but I wasn't really that confident," said Vinsant. "But as the match went on, I gained confidence and just went for my shots."
Vinsant served well throughout the match, while Fernandes got very few first serves in, giving Vinsant an opportunity to tee off on the frequent second serves he saw. The 14-year-old right-hander also served and volleyed on occasion, including match point, cracked several forehand winners and kept the ball in the court long enough to elicit errors from the Brazilian.
At 4-4 in the second set, Fernandes got down 15-40, saved one break point, and thought he had saved a second with a forehand that landed just wide, "three inches or so," according to Vinsant. The usually laid-back Fernandes was in the midst of a "c'mon" after he struck the ball, but when Vinsant's call came, he gulped back the word, glanced up at his coach and then headed for the bench.
"I think he got a little disappointed after that point," said Vinsant, who faced the task of serving out the match against the No. 1 seed and Eddie Herr champion. "It was tough, but it was even tougher in my last match," Vinsant said of the 5-2 lead he'd let get away in the third set of his round of 16 victory Thursday. "I think this is one of the best players I've beaten, but I don't think it was his best day."
Vinsant's opponent in the semifinal is Great Britain's George Morgan, a 17th seed, who downed No. 8 seed Matias Sborowitz of Chile 6-3, 6-0.
Unlike Vinsant, Newman, this year's Eddie Herr finalist, started quickly, taking a 3-0 lead in the first set, but lost the next five games. Saving a set point at 5-3, Newman reeled off six games in a row to take a 2-0 lead in the second set, lost the next three games, then won the next three and the match, winning most of the big points in the seesaw battle.
"It was a great match and a really good win for me," said Newman. "He was No. 1 in the 12s and No. 1 in the 14s, and I'd never beaten him in a tournament before, a set in practice, but never in a tournament."
Newman will face another No. 9 seed, Yaroslav Shyla of Belarus, who outlasted No. 5 seed Diego Hidalgo of Ecuador 2-6, 6-4, 7-5.
The other three divisions will also feature two U.S. players in opposite brackets in the semifinals. Monica Puig of Miami, like Newman, an Eddie Herr finalist, advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow No. 17 seed Yulia Putintseva of Russia in girls 14s action at Biltmore Tennis Center. Puig meets No. 9 seed Natalija Kostic of Serbia, who eliminated No. 5 seed Ellen Tsay of Pleasanton, Calif., 1-6, 6-1, 6-0. In the top half of the girls 14s, No. 9 seed Iveta Dapkute of Lithuania takes on unseeded Breaunna Addison of New Braunfels, Tex. Addison scored a 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 17 seed Eugenie Bouchard of Canada in the quarterfinals.
The boys 12s quarterfinals, also played at the Biltmore Tennis Center Friday afternoon, saw two of three Americans earn semifinal berths. No. 1 seed Joe Di Giulio of Newport Beach, Calif. defeated the only remaining No. 1 seed, Borna Coric of Croatia, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. Roy Lederman of Miami, who reached the Eddie Herr final, losing to Di Giulio, outlasted Frederico Silva of Portugal 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Di Giulio meets qualifier Matteo Donati of Italy in one semifinal, while Lederman will square off against Yifan Dang of China.
The girls 12s semifinals also feature two Americans: Madison Keys of Boca Raton, Fla., who won her third round and quarterfinal round matches Friday in straight sets, and Miami's Denise Starr, who came back from down a set and 5-2 to beat Ayaka Okuno of Santa Clara, Calif., 2-6; 7-6 (2); 6-3,
earning a semifinal meeting with Sujeoung Jang of Korea.
Keys will take on unseeded Emily Fanning of New Zealand, who disposed of two No. 1 seeds in straight sets on Friday. In her third round match, Fanning bounced Barbara Rodriquez of Venezuela 6-1, 6-2, and in Friday evening's quarterfinal, eliminated Viktoriya Lavrentiera of Russia 7-6 (4), 6-2.
Fanning, who is playing the U.S. for the first time, is having great success with her one-handed backhand, which debuted only three months ago, and on the clay, which is an alien surface for her.
"We don't have green clay in New Zealand or Australia, so it's different," said Fanning. "But I like it because it's a lot slower and with my spin, it's hard for my opponent because it gets up high."
As for the backhand, Fanning has high hopes for it as her game develops.
"It's going to be very good once I get stronger," said Fanning, who has yet to lose a set on the Salvadore Park courts.
The semifinals in the girls 12s begin at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, with Sunday's final scheduled for 8:00 a.m., all at Salvadore Park.
The semifinals in the other three divisions will be played at the Biltmore Tennis Center beginning with the boys 12s at 10:30 a.m., followed by the 14s at approximately noon.
For complete results, schedules and draws, see the Junior Orange Bowl TennisLink site.