©Colette Lewis 2013--
Coral Gables, FL--
The weather conditions were perfect Tuesday for the start of the Junior Orange, and the top two seeds in the boys 14s division were nearly so in first round action at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center at the University of Miami.
Top seed Samuele Ramazzotti of Italy began the partly cloudy and warm day's play with a 6-0, 6-0 blanking of qualifier Blake Croyder, but despite the score, Croyder did have several opportunities, he just didn't convert the game points he had against the more physically mature Italian. The match between second seed Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia and Jean Phillippe Murray of Saint Lucia was far less competitive despite the fact that Murray won a game. Kecmanovic, the Eddie Herr 14s champion, was so many levels above Murray, who would not have looked out of place in the 12s competition at Salvadore Park, that Kecmanovic had difficulty keeping his focus during the 50 minutes he was on court.
The top two seeds were not the only players who kept their time on court to a minimum, with a total of 14 matches seeing the loser get one game or less. The number of three-set matches was 15, balancing out the blowouts, with many of those three-setters coming late in the afternoon.
Number three seed Camilo Ugo Carabelli of Argentina saw his hopes for the title disappear at the hands of Toru Horie of Japan, who scrambled and scrapped for a 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-4 victory over the much large Ugo Carabelli. Japan got the better of Argentina again later in the day when qualifier Shoichiro Morita defeated Tomas Etcheverry 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. No. 4 seed Noah Makarome, the highest seeded US player, beat Lenhard Soha of Hungary 6-3, 6-1.
Nike Junior Tour International Masters champion Max Stewart of Great Britain wasn't entirely happy with his play to open the tournament, but he did advance to the second round with a 6-3, 6-1 win over lucky loser Tatsuriki Noda of Japan.
"I played okay," said Stewart, who trains at the Nottingham Performance Academy in England. "The other kid was quite tricky, because he didn't me any rhythm, but I wasn't too happy with how I played today."
Stewart said he was surprised by his title at the Nike Junior Tour International Masters last week in Port Saint Lucie, Florida, but that it hadn't changed his expectations coming into the Junior Orange Bowl competition.
"I was really happy to win it," said Stewart, who was seeded sixth. "I went into to it maybe thinking I could maybe, if I played well, make the semis, but I just took every match as it came and ended up winning it. I played well. This week I will just try to play well, try to play my game and see where I get to."
Stewart has not run into local winter resident Andy Murray during his weeks in Florida, but he did get a chance to hit with 18-year-old Kyle Edmund, Murray's sparring partner during this off-season.
Stewart describes Murray as an inspiration, but doesn't perceive their games as having much in common.
"He's a good role model, he's a good guy," said Stewart, who is playing the Junior Orange Bowl for the first time since losing in qualifying as a 10-year-old. "But I don't think we have similar game styles. I think I'm quite aggressive. I try to look for my forehand, get into the court. I base my game around my big forehand."
The top seeds in the girls 12s and 14s also advanced with little difficulty. No. 1 Anastasia Potapova of Russia, No. 2 seed Hurricane Tyra Black, No. 3 seed Ekaterina Makarova of Russia and No. 4 seed Amanda Anisimova, another Nike Junior Tour Masters champion, dropped only two games between them in their first round victories in the 12s.
In the girls 14s, No. 3 seed Sofia Munera of Colombia withdrew after the draw was made, as did Orange Bowl 16s champion Charlotte Robillard-Millette of Canada, who was not seeded. No. 1 seed Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, No. 2 seed Claire Liu and No. 4 seed Olesia Pervushina of Russia all advanced in straight sets.
For complete results from today's action at the four sites, see TennisLink.