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Monday, November 27, 2017

Top Seeds Osuigwe and Carle Roll, but Eight Girls Seeds Fall in First Round of Eddie Herr; ITF Junior Circuit Changes Announced

©Colette Lewis 2017--
Bradenton FL--

World No. 1 junior Whitney Osuigwe and defending champion Maria Carle of Argentina had no difficulty in their first round matches Monday at the ITF Grade 1 Eddie Herr International. Osuigwe, who is playing at home this week at the IMG Academy while being filmed for a feature on Trans World Sport, defeated Diae El Jardi of Morocco 6-3, 6-1 Monday afternoon, while Carle took out wild card Carolyn Campana 6-1, 6-0.


Those two were the only Top 8 seeds to advance to Wednesday's second round, with eight others falling in first round play. Four girls seeds, who drew qualifiers, will play their first round matches on Tuesday.

No. 4 seed Yuki Naito of Japan was the highest seed to fall, with the 16-year-old losing to Sada Nahimana of Burundi 6-4, 1-6, 6-2. Peyton Stearns took out No. 6 seed Nika Radisic of Slovenia 6-3, 6-2 on the Academy Park courts, while No. 7 seed Natasha Subhash lost to Russia's Avelina Sayfetdinova 6-1, 7-5. No. 12 seed Ellie Douglas and No. 14 seed Hurricane Tyra Black were beaten in straight sets by Oona Orpana of Finland and Andreea Prisacariu of Romania, respectively.

IMG Academy student Katya Townsend, who has recently committed to Texas A&M, took out No. 15 seed Layne Sleeth of Canada 7-5, 6-2 and Clara Burel of France beat No. 13 seed Ania Hertel of Poland 6-4, 6-4.

Margaryta Bilokin of Ukraine, who also trains at the IMG Academy, ousted No. 11 seed Nicole Mossmer 7-5, 6-4, giving the fans surrounding the stadium court a lesson in turning around a set, not once but twice. The 16-year-old right-hander trailed 4-1 in the first set and 4-0 in the second set, yet she figured out what she had to change.

"I was rushing and making a lot of mistakes," said Bilokin, who has recently verbally committed to Duke for 2019. "I was just not playing smart. I kind of adjusted to the way she was playing and was more patient with my game. She's a great player, she makes a lot of balls. She's very consistent and doesn't rush. She just forces her opponents to miss and rush, which I was doing. But I got back to my game."

The other two girls seeds advancing were No. 9 Joanna Garland of Taiwan and No. 10 Hailey Baptiste.

Boys top seed Timofey Skatov of Russia had no difficulty in his first junior match on clay since winning the European 16s championship in July, beating Ryan Goetz 6-1, 6-1. No. 2 seed Uising Park of Korea had a much more challenging first round, coming from behind to defeat Axel Nefve 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Park was up a break, serving at 4-3 in the third set, only to lose his serve, giving Nefve a chance to take the lead. But Nefve lost his serve to give Park the opportunity to serve out the match, and Park took advantage of Nefve's errors to close it out on his first match point.

Thirteen boys seeds played on Monday, with the other three scheduled to play their first round matches against qualifiers on Tuesday. Two of those qualifiers were decided early on Monday, with Sebastian Rodriguez of Peru defeating Noah Schachter 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 in a match carried over from Monday, and Cezar Cretu of Romania beating Boris Kozlov 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Rodriguez was to be the top seed in the Boys 16s draw, but obviously could not play both divisions, so he was replaced in the 16s draw with a lucky loser.

The only two boys seeds to lose Monday were No. 8 Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic, who lost to Jack Draper of Great Britain 6-4, 6-2, and No. 11 Hugo Gaston of France, who was beaten by Nick Hardt of the Dominican Republic 6-2, 6-1. Two of the young IMG Academy wild cards, Toby Kodat and Martin Damm, both 14, won their first round matches. Kodat defeated Otto Virtanen 7-6(3), 6-3 and Damm beat Sheil Kotecha of Kenya 7-5, 6-4. Kodat is playing in his first Grade 1 event, while Damm won his first Grade 1 match in his first Grade 1 tournament last month in Tulsa.

The doubles draws have been released, with all first round doubles matches scheduled for Tuesday, after the completion of the remaining 16 first round singles matches. Nicolas Mejia and Uisung Park are the top seeds in the boys doubles, with Whitney Osuigwe and Caty McNally the No. 1 seeds in the girls draw. The ITF order of play for Tuesday is here.

In the 12s and 14s divisions, all of the Top 4 seeds advanced; in the girls 16s, No. 2 seed Natasha Sengphrachanh of Canada was beaten by Hibah Shaikh 6-2, 6-4. Many boys 16s first round singles matches were still on court as of 8:30 p.m.

The ITF announced several major Junior Circuit rule changes, including coaching at all junior slams, playing lets on serves and points restructuring. The points restructuring will feature both a shadow ranking and a current ranking until April, after the Easter Bowl, when the shadow ranking will take over as the actual ranking. I'm not sure what prompted these rankings changes, but I'll see if I can find out in the next several weeks.

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