©Colette Lewis 2011--
The weather was nearly perfect for the start of the 12s main draw Saturday at the Eddie Herr International. Only a tricky breeze, which sprang up mid-morning, kept conditions from being ideal, with temperatures in the mid 70s and humidity low under partly cloudy skies.
Although I did watch a few games of the 18s qualifying, I spent the bulk of the day familiarizing myself with the seeded 12s, most of whom I had never seen play before.
In past years, the seeding format has usually been 16 No. 1 seeds, but this year the 12s are seeded numerically 1 through 16. My first stop was Court 16, where No. 1 Alex del Corral, who tops the USTA rankings, was playing Lancelot Carnello of Sweden. Del Corral isn't big, but he towered over the tiny Swede, and the physical discrepancy made for a quick 6-0, 6-0 win for the USTA Spring and Hard Court National champion. I was impressed by del Corral's transition game, movement and balance. His first serve was his weakest shot, simply because he got very few in, but his second serve was more than adequate, and any short reply was swiftly put away.
I wasn't able to see much of No. 4 seed Patrick Kypson, because he was playing on a court with no seating and extensive wind screens, but the USTA No. 2 also had an easy win, beating Ricardo Alban of Ecuador 6-1, 6-0. I moved on to have my first look at No. 12 seed Noah Makarome, ranked No. 4 by the USTA, and he too was having no trouble, overpowering Dmitry Vinogradov of Russia 6-0, 6-0. Makarome served well and blasted plenty of winners on the forehand side in the half-dozen games I saw.
In the girls 12s, top seed Maria Tyrina of Russia controlled her match with Laura Crivei of Canada 6-2, 6-3, yet didn't seem particularly comfortable during most of the match. She was never in danger of losing, but made too many unforced errors to be happy with her level of play.
I also watched No. 7 seed Sofya Zhuk, also of Russia, and she impressed me with her composure and skill, although her opponent, Nicole Bunea of Canada, wasn't able to play at Zhuk's level, so judgment probably should be reserved.
The top American girl in the 12s is Anna Bright, the No. 3 seed, and I arrived at her court for the last two games of her 6-0, 6-2 win over Arina Vysochina of Russia.
No. 8 seed Nicole Conard of the US survived one of the day's toughest matches, beating Ekaterina Antropova of Russia 6-1, 2-6, 7-6(2). It was late afternoon when the match started and nearly 8 p.m. when it finished under the lights at the IMG/Bollettieri Academy.
With Conard squeaking through, only one seed went out in the girls 12s opening round, No. 12 seed Jiayi Ma of China. Danielle Burich of the US and Ma were the last match to finish, with Burich taking the decision by a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 score.
The only boys seed to fall in the 12s was No. 9 seed Lleyton Cronji of South Africa, who was beaten by Antoine Sanchez of the US 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
In the first round of 18s qualifying, which will be completed on Sunday with two rounds, there were many US winners. In the girls draw, Alexandra Morozova, Elizaveta Nemchinov, Abbie Pahz, Lynn Chi, Peggy Porter, Mia King, Breaunna Addison, Kendal Woodard and Alexandria Stiteler all earned victories Saturday.
The American boys advancing to the second round are: Harrison Richmond, Karim Arem, Austin Siegel, Maxx Lipman, Ryan Smith, Ridley Seguso and Richard Del Nunzio.
The 18s qualifying draws can be found at the ITF junior website.
The draws for the 12s, 14s, and 16s can be found at the Tennis Information site.
For other news and photos, including a link to webcams on Courts 1-14, see eddieherr.com.