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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Qualifiers, Wild Cards Join Top Seeds in Eddie Herr ITF Round of 16; Quarterfinals Set in 12s, 14s and 16s Divisions

©Colette Lewis 2017--
Bradenton FL--

Although top seeds Whitney Osuigwe and No. 2 seed and defending champion Maria Carle of Argentina breezed through their second round matches Wednesday at the ITF Grade 1 Eddie Herr Championships, the rest of the draw is wide open, with No. 5 seed Naho Sato of Japan the only other seed still remaining.  There may be only three seeds left, but there are two qualifiers and two wild cards still in the girls draw after second round action today at the IMG Academy.

Katya Townsend defeated fellow wild card Ana Geller of Argentina 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 and will play ITF Junior No. 1 Osuigwe in an all-IMG Academy contest Wednesday.

Wild card Angelica Blake, the reigning USTA 16s champion, reached her first Grade 1 third round, playing error-free tennis down the stretch to eliminate qualifier Chloe Beck 2-6, 7-5, 6-3. She will face qualifier Ziva Falkner of Slovenia, who advanced when No. 16 seed Karolina Berankova of the Czech Republic was unable to take the court this morning due to an ankle injury.

Abigail Forbes has yet to lose a set in her five matches this tournament, with the qualifier taking out Peyton Stearns 6-4, 6-2. She will meet unseeded Viktoria Dema of Ukraine, who eliminated No. 10 seed Hailey Baptiste 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Carle, a 6-1, 6-0 winner over Denisa Hindova of the Czech Republic, will play Carla Burel of France, who ended the Eddie Herr winning streak of 2016's 16s champion Katie Volynets with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory.

The boys third round will feature ten seeds, as well as two qualifiers and a wild card.  Top seed Timofey Skatov of Russia defeated Anton Matusevich of Great Britain 7-5, 6-1 and No. 2 seed Uisung Park cruised past Daniel Michaelski of Poland 6-4, 6-1, but the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds were eliminated.  Sixteen-year-old Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria, an Eddie Herr 12s finalist back in 2013, defeated No. 3 seed Chun Hsin Tseng of Taiwan 6-4, 6-4 and 14-year-old wild card Martin Damm beat No. 4 seed Nicolas Mejia of Colombia 7-6(7), 7-6(5) in the most compelling boys match of the day.

Damm, the son of the former ATP star of the same name, is competing in only his second Grade 1 tournament, but at nearly 6-foot-7, he doesn't look out of place among the older, more experienced players. He also does not feel out of his depth.

"For sure I feel ready," Damm said. "Because of my size and my ground strokes, but also with my confidence. My ground strokes are there, so I think I'm ready to play with the big guys now."

The match, played on Court 3, was being closely followed by a group of IMG coaches, as well as ATP great Ivan Lendl, who lined the chain link fence throughout the 2 hour and 45 minute match. Although Mejia and Damm both train at the Bradenton facility, Damm said he wasn't that familiar with the 17-year-old's game.

"Sometimes I get called up with the older guys, to hit with them," Damm said. "I've hit with them quite a lot, but I haven't played him that much. The previous matches I've seen, he's a solid player, so I knew I had to play very well to beat him."

In the first set tiebreaker, the left-handed Damm saved a set point with an ace at 5-6. Mejia saved a set point with a good first serve at 6-7, but with Damm getting another at 8-7, Mejia attempted a drop volley that he netted to end the 75-minute first set.

Damm went up 4-3 in the second set and had game points for a 5-3 lead, but Mejia got the break back, with the match reaching peak intensity, as both players let out exclamations of "Si, Si, Si", "Vamos," "Pome," and "Allez" after nearly every point.

Despite giving up the break and going down 3-0 in the second set tiebreaker, Damm kept calm, and earned his first match point at 6-5 with a forehand winner.  Mejia got his first serve in and tried to sneak into the net, but Damm executed the forehand pass to seal the win.

"I think I just took the opportunities I had, and I think I served a little bit better than him," said Damm. "I went for my shots, and I think that's what decided it."

Damm believes his underdog status helped him.

"He's around 20 in the world, I'm 400, so for sure the pressure's on him," said Damm. "He's a couple of years older than me, so for sure I played a little bit more free than I usually would, but I knew I had a chance and I could win this."

There will be an American qualifier in the quarterfinals, with Ivan Yatsuk facing Michael Heller in the third round.  Yatsuk, who had beaten No. 5 seed Tao Mu of China on Tuesday, got his first straight-sets win after four three-set victories, beating Jonas Forejtek of the Czech Republic 6-4, 7-5.  Heller, who beat No. 9 seed and Yucatan Grade 1 champion Juan Cerundolo of Argentina Tuesday, beat Emile Hudd of Great Britain 7-6(7), 6-4.

The other Americans remaining in the draw are No. 6 seed Alexandre Rotsaert and No. 13 seed Drew Baird, the recent Grade A Abierto Juvenil champion. Baird defeated lucky loser Danill GLinka of Estonia 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 in a battle of one-handed backhands.

The top seeds in doubles advanced to the quarterfinals, with Mejia and Park, the No. 1 seeds, and Skatov and Aidan McHugh, the No. 2 seeds, both winning in straight sets.  The top seeds in girls doubles, Osuigwe and Caty McNally won in straight sets, while No. 2 seeds Carle and Layne Sleeth of Canada beat Lea Ma and Natasha Subhash 6-7(5), 6-4, 10-3.

The top four seeds in the boys and girls 12s and boys and girls 14s have all advanced to Thursday's quarterfinals. Below are the match ups:

Boys 12s:
Nishesh Basavareddy[1](USA) v Viet Tuan Minh Dinh[Q](VIE)
Juncheng Shang[3](USA) v Chanhee Han(KOR)
Learner Tien[7](USA) v Kyle Kang[4](USA)
Lennon Jones[5](JPN) v Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez[2](MEX)

Girls 12s:
Brenda Fruhvirtova[1](CZE) v Clervie Ngounoue[6](USA)
Alexandra Eala[3](PHI) v Martyna Ostrzygalo(CAN)
Ria Bhakta[5](USA) v Melisa Ercan[4](TUR)
Yujin Kim(KOR) v Tsehay Driscoll[2](USA)

Boys 14s:
Alex Bernard[1](USA) v Jewon Jeon[Q](KOR)
Aidan Mayo[3](USA) v Joel Pierleoni[7](GBR)
Harry Lazell[8](GBR) v Francisco Lamas[4](VEN)
Jacobi Bain[10](BAH) v Shintaro Mochizuki[2](JPN)

Girls 14s:
Hina Inoue[1](USA) v Dariya Radulova[10](BUL)
Linda Fruhvirtova[4](CZE) v Ryoko Ikeda(JPN)
Selin Sepken[8](TUR) v Clarine Lerby[3](NED)
Kyoka Kubo[Q](JPN) v Vivian Ovrootsky[2](USA)

Boys 16s:
Ronald Hohmann[13](USA) v Blaise Bicknell[5](USA)
Leighton Allen[4](USA) v Sebastian Gima[8](ROU)
Welsh Hotard(USA) v Nicholas-David Ionel[3](ROU)
Thiago Pernas[Q](ARG) v Van Phuong Nguyen[2](VIE)

Girls 16s:
Maria Rivera[1](GUA) v Kylie Collins[6](USA)
Katrina Scott[13](USA) v Alexandra Mikhailuk[7](CAN)
Jenna DeFalco(USA) v Kailey Evans(USA)
Julia Andreach(USA) v Gia Cohen[15](USA)

With excellent weather expected to continue through the week, the finals for the 12s, 14s and 16s are scheduled to be played on Saturday, with only the 18s singles finals on Sunday this year.

See the TennisLink site for complete draws for singles and doubles.