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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Qualifying Finishes Under the Lights at Eddie Herr

©Colette Lewis 2010--
Bradenton, FL--

The weather was perfect for the completion of qualifying in the 14s, 16s and 18s on Sunday, but with two rounds to play and the schedule still recovering from rain on Friday and Saturday, it was after 9:30 p.m. before the last qualifier was determined.

All five of the U.S. boys who qualified in the 18s division did so under the lights and in three sets. Anthony Delcore defeated fellow American Austin Smith 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 in a long, tough match, and Alex Petrone also eliminated another U.S. player, Connor Farren, 6-7(6), 6-1, 6-1. Roberto Cid of the U.S., overcame a slow start against No. 6 seed Mikhail Vaks of Russia to win his second three-setter of the day 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Harrison Richmond defeated Vasco Mensurado of Portugal 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, managine to neutralize Mensurado's lethal forehand. No. 11 seed Evan Song of the U.S. beat No. 4 seed Dimitar Kuzmanov of Bulgaria 7-6(4) 1-6, 6-3 in a match that was started on an unlighted court and moved to a lighted one. Top seed Thiago Monteiro of Brazil, Laurent Lokoli of France and Chile's Matias Sborowitz, the No. 8 seed, were the non-American boys qualifiers.

In the girls 18s qualifying, 14-year-old Liz Jeukeng of the U.S. continued her impressive play, dropping only six games in two matches Sunday. Other American qualifiers are Nadia Echeverria Alam, who beat Lynn Chi of the U.S. 0-6, 7-6(10), 6-2 in a match that was moved to an indoor court due to fading light; Elizaverta Nemchinov, who beat Natalia Maynetto of the U.S. 6-1, 6-2, and Tristen Dewar, who defeated No. 16 seed Polina Yuzefovich of Russia 6-2, 6-1. Christina Kandler of Austria, Giuliana Olmos of Mexico and Ingrid Radu of Romania also reached the main draw with wins Sunday evening. Julia Jones of the U.S. and No. 7 seed Tjasa Srimpf of Slovenia had just begun a third set when I left at 9 p.m.

The main draw of the boys 12s finally got underway on Sunday, and as usual in the youngest age division, there were a plethora of lopsided scores and several No. 1 seeds out in the first round. Qualifier Michael Mmoh of the U.S. defeated Dmitry Shatalin of Russia, a No. 1 seed, 6-2, 6-1, and Boris Kozlov downed Mortimer O'Neal, a No. 1 seed from the Bahamas, 6-1, 6-0. Niels van Dam of the Netherland Antilles was the third No. 1 seed to lose in the opening round. The No. 1 seed from the U.S., William Blumberg, defeated Bernardo Ferreira of Brazil 6-0, 6-0.

Two of the most talked-about matches of the day came in the boys 16s qualifying. In the second round match between wild card Balaji Jothishankar of the U.S. and Pedro Ruiz of Colombia, scores of spectators gravitated to court 11, attracted by the emotional intensity of the two players, and the closeness of the match. Cries of vamos carried throughout the complex and as the match reached three hours in length the applause and cheers of the spectators drew even more people, now standing three and four deep around the court. After three hours and 24 minutes, Ruiz emerged with a 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 6-4 victory, and managed to save enough energy to win his second match 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 over Justin Butsch of the U.S.

The other topic of conversation centered on the default of Stanislav Korshunov of Russia, who had a meltdown late in the second set of his second round match against Robert Shulman of Canada. Although I did not witness the default, I was told that Korshunov received a game penalty leading 6-5 in the second set, and was so angry and threatening to the assistant referee that he was given a match penalty. Still enraged, Korshunov reportedly struck a ball in the direction of the referee, and indulged in an obscene gesture, although it's not clear whether the referee was aware of either act. Shulman didn't advance through to the main draw however, losing to Stephen Watson of the U.S.

Other U.S. boys qualifying in the 16s were Ognjen Samardzic, Konrad Zieba and Brett Clark. U.S. girls qualifying in the 16s were Rhiann Newborn, Kendal Woodard, Alexandra Kiick, Taylor Lederman and Lauren Burich.

In the girls 14s, Remi Ramos, Brooke Withrow and Kellyn Abbanat qualified; in the boys 14s, qualifers from the U.S. are Austin Williams and Chase Colton.

See the tournament website for more information.