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Saturday, November 24, 2018

McKennon Ousts Top Seed in Eddie Herr ITF Qualifying; Last Americans Exit in Quarterfinals of Yucatan Grade A; Kuzuhara Wins Grade 5 in Bahamas

©Colette Lewis 2018--
Bradenton FL--


When Max McKennon decided to withdraw from the Eddie Herr 16s and take his chances in the Eddie Herr Grade 1 ITF qualifying, he probably wasn't anticipating drawing the No. 1 seed. But once the 16-year-old left-hander from Southern California got over the disappointment of having to face Ki Lung Ng of Hong Kong, he used the draw as motivation, and on Saturday came through with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win.

"I was a little down, but I was motivated to see how I could do," said McKennon, who has been practicing on the green clay at the USTA's National Campus in Lake Nona prior to this tournament. "He's what, 91 in the world, but I was really motivated, because I've been playing really, training really hard, and I thought I could do it."

It wasn't looking great for McKennon, when Ng was up 6-4, 4-3 serving, but when McKennon won the first two points of that game, then broke, held and broke again.

"I had had chances in the second set on his serve, I would go up 30-15, 30-0 and then wouldn't convert," McKennon said. "But that game I played well, he made a few errors, but all in all it was a great game."

McKennon also found himself down a break early in the third set, but he got that back to make it 2-2. Serving at 3-4, Ng fell behind 15-40, saved both break points with a good first serve and a forehand winner, but when McKennon got a third chance, he capitalized, hitting a backhand return winner off a second serve to take a 5-3 lead.

Serving out the match wasn't difficult, with McKennon winning all four points to close out the victory.

"I usually get a little tighter," McKennon said. "I was feeling really loose, hit a couple of good shots when I was up 4-3. I felt I controlled my nerves a little bit and just calmed down and didn't get ahead of myself."

The top seed in the girls qualifying, Ana Luiza Cruz of Brazil, was moved into the main draw,  leaving a place for an alternate, Laura Perazzolo of Brazil, who lost to wild card Kyra Foster 6-1, 6-1.  Two boys were also injured or ill and unable to play with Finn Garner taking the place of No. 4 seed Ronan Jachuck, and Zvonko Bencedic of Great Britain replacing Anuj Watane. Garner won his match against wild card Juan Vega Librija of Mexico, while Benedic lost to Alexandre LeBlanc of Canada.

Chavatipon won the battle of the Charlottes, beating No. 4 seed Owensby 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, and wild card Gianna Pielet, the 2016 Eddie Herr 14s champion, defeated No. 5 seed Carole Young Suh Lee of Northern Mariana Islands 6-1, 6-2.

Two rounds of qualifying, including the final round, are scheduled for the ITF tournament on Sunday, while the final round of qualifying for the 12s, 14s, and 16s is Sunday morning.

At the ITF Grade A Yucatan Cup, the singles semifinals do not include any Americans.  No. 2 seed Coco Gauff lost to No. 6 seed Diane Parry of France 6-3, 6-2 and No. 8 seed Hurricane Tyra Black lost to No. 4 seed Lulu Sun of Switzerland 6-2, 6-1.  In the only match featuring an American in the boys quarterfinals, No. 3 seed Drew Baird lost to Holger Rune of Denmark, the No. 12 seed, 6-1, 6-2.

Gauff and Black are the top seeds in doubles and have reached the finals, which are tonight.

Two Argentinian qualifiers are in the boys semifinal in the top half, while Liam Draxl of Canada will play Rune in the bottom half semifinal later tonight.

Top seed Clara Burel plays Sun in one girls semifinal tonight, with Parry taking on unseeded Natsumi Kawaguchi Japan in the other semifinal.

Elsewhere on the ITF Junior Circuit, 14-year-old Bruno Kuzuhara earned his second ITF singles title at the Grade 5 in the Bahamas. Kuzuhara, the No. 4 seed, didn't lose a set all week, beating unseeded Jacobi Bain of the Bahamas 6-3, 6-3 in the final. Leyden Games, who reached the girls singles final, won the doubles title with fellow American Maya Rukosuev. The No. 4 seeds defeated No. 2 seeds Petra Miszczak and Genevieve Quenville of Canada 6-2, 6-1 in the final.

At the ITF Grade 5 in Guatemala, Katherine Teng earned the doubles title. Playing with Mariajose Hernandez Coronado of Guatemala, the No. top-seeded pair defeated Sara Gonzalez of Guatemala and Claudia Sofia Martinez Solis of Mexico 6-2, 6-4 in the final.

At the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit Futures in Columbus Ohio, No. 2 seed Roberto Ortega-Olmedo of Spain beat Great Britain's Jack Findel-Hawkins(North Florida) 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 to win the singles title. Findel-Hawkins had already secured the doubles title, with Korey Lovett(UCF). The unseeded pair defeated Ohio State's Alex Kobelt and James Kent Trotter of Japan, also unseeded, 4-6, 6-4, 10-7 in the final. It's the second career Futures doubles title for both Findel-Hawkins and Lovett.

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