Haas, Coric Win Nike Masters Titles; USTA's AO Wild Card Playoffs Friday; Junior Orange Bowl Main Draw Starts Friday Too
The weather warmed up today in Miami, so I ventured out to Tropical Park to watch the last round of qualifying in the boys 12s division of the Junior Orange Bowl. There were several accomplished players in the qualifying, including Korea's Lim Minseob who was a semifinalist at the Eddie Herr this year (as is often the case, there is confusion as to the order of the Chinese and Korean names--the JOB is calling him Minseob Lim, the Eddie Herr had it the other way around) and Mark Chepurnoy of Russia, who was a quarterfinalist last year at the Eddie Herr. Both qualified for the main draw today, with Chepurnoy defeating Fernando Ramirez of Mexico, who is training at T-Bar-M in Dallas, 6-1, 6-3, and Minseob beating Lucas Koelle of Brazil 6-2, 6-4. Both matches were good ones, with few of the loopy, time-consuming rallies that are often prevalent in the 12s.
The draws and seeds are up for the start of the main draw Friday, although there are still a few qualifiers to be determined yet tonight. The Nike Junior Tennis International Masters concluded a couple of days ago (click here for draws), and the 14s champions are both playing in the Junior Orange Bowl. Barbara Haas of Austria, was the top seed in the Nike Masters, winning it over No. 2 seed Valeria Patiuk of Israel 6-2, 7-5. Haas, the ITF's 78th ranked junior, is also the top seed at the Junior Orange Bowl, and she has a tough first-rounder against Ivana Jorovic of Serbia, whom Haas needed three sets to beat in the Nike semifinals. Eddie Herr 14s champion and 2009 12s JOB champion Francoise Abanda of Canada is No. 2. 2009 finalist Brooke Austin is the sixth seed.
Borna Coric of Croatia, the seventh seed at the Nike Masters, won the boys 14s title with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over unseeded Tal Goldengoren of Israel. Neither are seeded at the Junior Orange Bowl, making them dangerous floaters. Also unseeded are Les Petit As finalist Noah Rubin and Stefan Kozlov of the U.S. Great Britain's Joshua Sapwell is the top seed, with Bastian Malla of Chile No. 2, and Eddie Herr champion Peter Ashley of Great Britain No. 3.
It seems odd to have only 16 seeds in a 128 draw--I am so accustomed to the 32 seeds that are selected at the USTA National Championships.
The 12s Nike titles went to Marko Osmakcic of Switzerland and Zainab El Houari of Morocco, neither of whom are entered in the Junior Orange Bowl. Although there are 16 No. 1 seeds in the 12s, there are players at the top and bottom. Hayato Kudo of Japan in at the top of the boys draw, with Maksim Tybar of Belarus on the bottom. Lee Duckhee of Korea, the Eddie Herr champion, is also a No. 1 seed. At the top of the girls 12s draw is Usue Arconada of the U.S., and at the bottom is Eddie Herr champion Katarina Jokic of Bosnia, who lost in the final of the Nike Masters.
For complete draws and qualifying results, see the TennisLink site.
The USTA's Australian Open wild card tournament begins at 11 a.m. on Friday, December 17 at Racquet Club of the South in Norcross, Ga., with the women's quarterfinals, followed by the men's at 3 p.m. CoCo Vandeweghe and Donald Young are the top seeds. For complete draws, see the tournament website. I understand from @stephiesports on twitter, that there will be a livestream of one men's and one women's match tomorrow. Follow her on twitter for more information and updates.