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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Top Seeds in 16s Division Upset Thursday at Eddie Herr; Four U.S. Girls Reach 18s Quarterfinals

©Colette Lewis 2010--
Bradenton, FL--

A cold and windy morning at the IMG/Bollettieri Academy brought out the down vests, stocking caps and gloves, and also a couple of notable upsets, as both No. 1 seeds in the boys and girls 16s were sent to the sidelines Thursday.

In an 8 a.m. match, boys top seed Trey Strobel could never get going, falling to Jhonatan Gonzalez of Venezuela 6-0, 6-2. Strobel had the advantage of the home court, but Gonzalez also trained at Bollettieri's too, until recently joining Hugo Armando and Julian Alonso at the El Conquistador club, also in Bradenton.

"I've been playing all this tournament really good," said Gonzalez, who has been at El Conquistador for two months. "Since I moved with them, I'm playing so much better, and I'm feeling really happy and excited, and I hope I win tomorrow."

American boys still remaining in the 16s draw are unseeded Roy Lederman, No. 12 seed Jordan Daigle and qualifier Stephen Watson.

Alexandra Kiick lost only three games in three matches to qualify, and the 15-year-old daughter of former Miami Dolphin running back Jim Kiick has kept right on dominating, dropping only five games in here first two main draw matches. Against top seed Christina Makarova, also of the U.S., Kiick managed to contain her frustration when facing the 14-year-old's superb defense, emerging with a 6-4, 6-4 victory.

"I'd seen her play before, and I'd heard that she just gets everything and she's a really consistent player," said Kiick, who was the first player to take a game from Makarova in the tournament. "You can hit really great shots and she still can get to them, so I had to wait for my opportunity. I was getting frustrated, because you're giving all your energy into these shots, and she gets them and hits them really deep, and the whole point starts over again."

Kiick believed the conditions favored her more aggressive game style.

"I think the wind was kind of to my advantage today, because she does have a really defensive game. When she would be against the wind, it would affect her, because when I hit deep balls, she would have a hard time getting them back. Then when we switched sides, she would be hitting them out. It was to my advantage today, which was good."

Kiick's opponent in the quarterfinals is doubles partner Samantha Crawford, a wild card, who advanced with a 6-4, 6-2 win over No. 6 seed Zuzanna Maciejewska of Poland. Crawford and Kiick haven't played since the 10s, but they have reached the semifinals in doubles, so they are obviously familiar with each other's games. "It's going to be a great match," Kiick said.

In addition to Kiick and Crawford, wild card Taylor Townsend has also advanced to the quarterfinals in the girls 16s.

In the 18s division, half of the quarterfinalists in the girls draw are from the U.S., but there are no more American boys contending, with the four remaining players losing in Thursday's third round.

No. 5 seed and Yucatan Grade 1 champion Lauren Davis will play top seed Irina Khromacheva on Friday, hoping to replicate her recent straight-set victory over the Russian in Mexico. Unseeded Grace Min beat a seed for the second consecutive day and will take on No. 3 seed An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium in the quarterfinals. No. 12 seed Madison Keys will play No. 4 seed and U.S. Open girls finalist Yulia Putintseva of Russia, and wild card Vicky Duval will meet No. 2 seed Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine, who won the girls title at Roland Garros this year.

Duval avenged her Yucatan Cup loss to Viktoriya Tomova of Bulgaria last week, earning a 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2 victory in Thursday's third round.

Down 5-1 in the opening set, Duval won five straight games, but even though she lost it in a tiebreaker, the 15-year-old right-hander wasn't discouraged.

"I said to myself, I won five straight games, so I can do it again," Duval said.

There are no unseeded boys in the 18s quarterfinals. Top seed Mate Pavic of Croatia fought off a tough challenge from No. 13 seed Shane Vinsant to take a 7-6(3), 7-5 decision. He will play Belgian Joris de Loore, the sixth seed. No. 4 seed Mate Zsiga of Hungary eliminated Alexios Halebian 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-2 in a match that was played on the Academy Park courts. Zsiga will play No. 5 seed Oliver Golding of Great Britain in the quarterfinals.

Yucatan champion Dominic Thiem of Austria had his hands full with No. 16 seed Dennis Novikov of the U.S. for the better part of two sets, but the third seed came back for a 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 win. He will face No. 9 seed Mate Delic of Croatia on Friday. No. 11 seed George Morgan of Great Britain will play second seed Roberto Quiroz of Ecuador. Quiroz defeated No. 15 seed Bjorn Fratangelo of the U.S. 6-4, 6-3.

In the boys 14s, only one U.S. boys remains in contention for the title, No. 6 seed Zandrix Acob of Hawaii. Acob is the highest of the three seeds remaining in the 14s. He plays unseeded Alexander Sendegeya of Great Britain in the quarterfinals.

The girls 14s has been more predictable, with Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 still in the hunt for the title, including 2009 12s finalists Mariya Shishkina and Tornado Ali Black. Shishkina and Black are the only U.S. players remaining in the draw.

The 12s have reached the semifinals, but it was a long struggle to get there for most of them. Qualifier Michael Mmoh of the U.S. beat Geoffrey Blancaneaux of France, a No. 1 seed, 7-5, 6-3, but that match took more than 2 and a half hours to complete, and that was one of the shorter 12s matches. Lim Minseob of Korea went nearly four hours before defeating Julian Chousa of Argentina, a No. 1 seed, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, and Mikael Wondwosen of Sweden, a No. 1 seed, needed even longer to defeat Chung Yunseong of Korea 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-5. Lee Duckhee of Korea, a No. 1 seed, reached the semifinals for the second straight year with a 6-1, 6-4 win over No. 1 seed Basil Khuma of India.

The girls 12s also had some marathon quarterfinals Thursday, except for Cristina Rovira, who beat Katherine Sebov of Canada, also a No. 1 seed, 6-1, 6-0. Rovira will play wild card Anastasia Nefedova, who survived Jaqueline Cristian of Romania 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Unseeded Katarina Jokic of Bosnia beat Shilin Xu of the U.S. 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 to earn a meeting with Sofia Kenin, a No. 1 seed who got by Jaeda Daniel, also of the U.S., 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.

Because of the rain early in the tournament, the 12s are a round behind in singles, so both the semifinals and finals will be played on Friday.

The first 2010 Eddie Herr champions were crowned on Thursday, with Korea's Oh Chanyeong and Chung Yunseong taking the title over Lee Duckhee and Lee Youngseok 6-4, 7-6(4). Although until the final the doubles scoring format had been an eight-game pro set, in the finals the teams played no-ad scoring instead. Chanyeong and Yunseong trailed 5-2 in the second set, but came back to avoid the match tiebreaker played in lieu of the third set.

In the girls doubles final, the No. 1 seeded Russian team of Julia Bryzgalova and Sofya Zhuk took the title with a 6-1, 2-6, 10-6 victory over the unseeded Chinese team of Zhan Lan Wei and Qian Ting Yan.

For complete results, as well as photos and stories and an IMG-produced video, see eddieherr.com.

Ken Thomas will be livestreaming audio play-by-play for the last day on Friday at radiotennis.com.