Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Unseeded American Girls, Seeded American Boys Reach 12s Semifinals at Eddie Herr International; Few Upsets in Second Round of 18s Action

©Colette Lewis 2011--
Bradenton, FL--

The chilly weather that descended on the Eddie Herr International Wednesday didn't cool off two unseeded American girls, who reached the 12s semifinals with straight set victories on the hard courts of the IMG/Bollettieri Academy.

Dominique Schaefer and Jaeda Daniel continued their straight-set march through the draws with wins over seeded Americans today, with Schaefer beating No. 10 seed Abigail Desiatnikov 6-2, 6-2 and Daniel downing No. 8 seed Nicole Conard 6-2, 6-2. Daniel, who reached the quarterfinals last year as an 11-year-old, will play No. 7 seed Sofya Zhuk of Russia in one semifinal, while Schaefer plays No. 9 seed Katherine Sebov of Canada.

The boys 12s have gone much more to form, with the top four seeds reaching Thursday's semifinals. Top seed Alex del Corral beat fellow Floridian Vasil Kirkov 6-4, 6-1 in the quarterfinal and will meet No. 3 seed Alexei Popyrin of Australia. Popyrin had by far the most difficult match of the quarterfinal winners, saving multiple match points in his 5-7, 7-6(7), 6-3 victory over unseeded Dimitriy Voronin of Russia. The second American in the semifinals is No. 4 seed Patrick Kypson, who beat No. 11 seed Tomas Etcheverry of Argentina 6-4, 6-1 to set up a meeting with No. 2 seed Artem Dubrivny of Russia, a 6-4, 6-2 quarterfinal winner over No. 12 seed Noah Makarome of the US.

After three straight years with a Korean in the boys 12s final, their absence in the quarterfinals this year feels distinctly odd. But there are three still alive in the 14s round of 16, including last year's 12s winner Duckhee Lee. Lee, the No. 5 seed and unseeded Michael Mmoh of the US reprised the 2010 final this afternoon on Stadium court, and again it was Lee coming out on top over the 2010 Junior Orange Bowl 12s champion, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. Chan Yeong Oh of Korea beat top seed Sahil Deshmukh of India 6-1, 2-6, 6-3, and in the second of his two wins Wednesday defeated Alfredo Perez of the US 6-3, 6-2. Due to rain on Monday, the 14s played two matches today to get back on schedule.

The biggest surprise in the boys 16s was No. 7 seed Stefan Kozlov's 7-5, 6-3 loss to qualifier Filip Obucina of Canada. The 13-year-old Floridian had been one of the pre-tournament favorites due to his success in ITF tournaments this summer and fall. Obucina joins fellow Canadians Hugo Di Feo(1) and Brayden Schnur(2) in the round of 16.

The girls 14s action extended well past 9 p.m. tonight, and the top two seeds, Renata Zarazua of Mexico and Naiktha Bains of Australia won both of their matches, as did the surprisingly unseeded Mariya Shishkina of the US.

For complete results, see the Tennis Information site.

The 18s second round of singles and first round of doubles was completed before dark Wednesday, a rare occurrence this week. Top boys seeds Dominic Thiem of Austria and Liam Broady of Great Britain advanced in straight sets, as did No. 3 seed Robin Kern of Germany. Fourth seed Mitchell Krueger of the US seemed in trouble when he dropped the opening set to Kai-Wen Lai of Taiwan, but he won 11 games in a row in recording a 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 victory.

Krueger's next opponent is fellow American Thai Kwiatkowski, who advanced with a 7-6(4), 6-2 win over qualifier Johan Skattum of Norway. Kwiatkowski, 16, received a special exemption into the main draw after winning the doubles title with Luca Corinteli in last week's Yucatan Cup, which is played on hard courts.

The transition to clay gave Kwiatkowski a bit of trouble in his first round match Tuesday, and he dropped the opening set to Tendai Tapfuma of Zimbabwe before recovering for a 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory. Today against Skattum, Kwiatkowski served for the first set at 5-2, then lost the next four games, but that streak was more a credit to Skattum's improved play than any lapse from Kwiatkowski.

"At the beginning of the match he was making a lot of unforced errors," said Kwiatkowski, who trains at the USTA's Boca Raton center. "It's not that I changed my game style, he just started playing better and shots that he was missing he started making."

Skattum, who was required to finish the last set of his first round match with No. 15 seed Stefan Vinti of Romania, couldn't recover from the loss of the tiebreaker.

"Yesterday was a big relief for me," said Kwiatkowski. "It kind of got my feet under me and I think today I was able to play a little more free. I think every match that I play will be a little better, so hopefully I can play well against Mitchell tomorrow."

The only other American boy in the round of 16 is Alexios Halebian, the No. 13 seed. Halebian beat lucky loser Krittin Koaykul of Thailand 6-4, 6-1 and will play Wimbledon boys finalist Liam Broady on Thursday.

There are six US girls remaining, and two of them will face off on Thursday for a place in the quarterfinals. Kyle McPhillips beat Alejandra Cisneros of Mexico 6-4, 7-5 and Stefanie Nauta beat Viktoriya Tomova of Bulgaria 6-3, 6-0 to set up their meeting.

Other US girls advancing to the round of 16 are Kelsey Laurente, Taylor Townsend(15), Allie Kiick(14) and Danielle Collins, who beat No. 10 seed Zarah Razafimahatratra of Madagascar 6-1, 6-2. Razafimahatratra, No. 12 seed Elizaveta Kulichkova of Russia and No. 8 seed Kathinka Von Deichmann of Liechtenstein were the only girls seeds to lose in Tuesday's second round.

For complete draws, see the ITF junior website.