Orange Bowl Acceptances; Quinzi, Milojevic, Silva and Uberalova Out of Eddie Herr; Hsu and Hong Win Asian Closed
While I was absorbed in the USTA/ITA Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, the acceptances for the ITF Grade A Orange Bowl were released, with some notable juniors missing. Top-ranked Taylor Townsend, who is still entered at the Eddie Herr, has not entered the Orange Bowl, possibly because she will be participating in the USTA's Australian Open Wild Card tournament the following week on indoor hard courts in her home town of Atlanta. Also missing is Stefan Kozlov, who was injured earlier this fall, but had been expected to be back for the Orange Bowl.
With Townsend not entered, Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic (3) is joined by three other Top 10 juniors: Slovakia's Petra Uberalova (6)--the European 18s champion, Elizaveta Kulichkova (7) of Russia, and Francoise Abanda(8) of Canada. The top-ranked US girl in the draw is 2011 semifinalist Sachia Vickery, who is ranked 15th.
The boys draw currently features three Top 10 juniors: Gianluigi Quinzi (3) of Italy, Nikola Milojevic (7) of Serbia and Frederico Silva (8) of Portugal. Noah Rubin, at 12, is the highest-ranked US boy entered.
Uberalova, Quinzi, Milojevic and Silva have all withdrawn from the Eddie Herr, held the week before the Orange Bowl, with Quinzi and Milojevic's departure leaving the boys field without a Top 10 player. Rubin is likely to be the top seed. The girls field is much stronger, with Townsend, Siniakova, Kulichkova and Abanda still scheduled to compete.
The Grade 1 Yucatan Cup, which is next week, has failed to attract any Top 10 players save for Abanda. USA's Mackenzie McDonald, ranked 20th, is the top-ranked boy entered, and an ITF ranking was not necessary to be admitted to qualifying. Part of this may be the change of surface, with players reluctant to go from hard to clay, and part of it may be an unwillingness to play three weeks straight.
The acceptance lists for the Orange Bowl 16s can be found at the tournament page at usta.com. Ellie Halbauer of the US and Sumit Nagal of India head the entries in that division.
The ITF Asian Closed was last week, with Ching-Wen Hsu of Taiwan and Seong Chan Hong of Korea picking up the titles and the ranking boost that goes with a B1 title. The 15-year-old Hong, the 2011 Junior Orange Bowl 14s champion, went from 88 to 36 in the ITF World Junior rankings, meaning his prospects for playing all the 2013 juniors slams are excellent. Hong, who has not played in the US since the Junior Orange Bowl, has been competing in Asia, and he reached the semifinals of the Grade A Osaka Mayor's Cup last month in Japan. Somehow he got in the main draw of Eddie Herr with a ITF ranking of 96, and yet he's listed in the qualifying of the Orange Bowl, the cutoff of which was a week later, at 164. It doesn't make any sense, since he had no points to defend from last year.
The girls winner, 16-year-old Hsu, had a more modest rankings rise, from 21 to 13, but that greatly enhances her chances for a Top 8 seed at the Orange Bowl (she withdrew from the Eddie Herr) and at the Australian Open Junior Championships in January. Hsu also won the spring Asian Closed in India back in April. For more on the victories by Hong and Hsu, see this article from the ITF Junior website.