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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Soggy Saturday at Junior Orange Bowl Leaves Girls Round of 16 Unfinished; Boys Quarterfinals Feature 10 Americans

©Colette Lewis 2018--
Coral Gables FL--

Salvadore Park courts are a sea of green clay during Saturday's rain
Rain made for a difficult day at three of the four Junior Orange Bowl sites, with only the boys 14s at Crandon Park able to complete all their round of 16 matches without interruption Saturday. At Salvadore Park, the boys 12s experienced a six-hour rain delay with only two matches completed before play was suspended, but three of the 13 Har-Tru courts were playable, with the final round of 16 match finishing around 7:45 p.m., as a light drizzle continued to fall. 

Only one girls round of 16 match was finished, with No. 9 seed Solana Sierra of Argentina advancing over US qualifier Blanka DeMicheli 6-1, 6-3 in the 14s, although top seed Yayi Yang of Taiwan was just a game away from the quarterfinals in her match with No. 9 seed Violeta Martinez of the US. Those seven matches, as well as all eight girls 12s matches in progress at the Biltmore Tennis Center will resume Sunday beginning at 8 a.m., with the quarterfinals to follow at 11:30 a.m. and noon.

Five US boys are through to the quarterfinals in both the 12s and 14s, including the top three seeds.
No. 5 seed Quang Duong of the US was able to finish his match, a 6-3, 6-1 win over No. 9 seed Oleksandr Ponomar of Ukraine prior to the delay. Duong, the Eddie Herr finalist, said switching from hard courts to clay did take some time, but a few days of practice was all he needed, and he won his first match without dropping a game.

"It took me three or four days to get used to it," said Duong, of Manhattan Beach California. "But when I get used to it, it feels like hard courts now. I don't train on clay that much actually."

Duong was disappointed with his play in the second set of the Eddie Herr final against Maximus Dussault, and he has been using that as motivation for this tournament.

"I've changed in the second set now," said Duong. "I just go for the kill now."

Duong said he does recognize that he has an edge over his quarterfinal opponent, who was at 4-4 in the second set when rain stopped play. 

"I'm very glad actually," said Duong. "I've got more to rest, and yes, that probably to my advantage."

Duong will face No. 3 seed Antonio Voljavec of Croatia, who trailed No. 9 seed Petr Brunclik of the Czech Republic 5-7, 4-4, but came back after the delay to post a 5-7, 7-5, 6-1 win.

The other player to finish before the rain was No. 9 seed Thanaphat Boosarawongse of Thailand, who defeated Tianhui Zhang of China 6-4, 6-1. He will play top seed Rudy Quan of the US, who was three points away from a win over qualifier Danial Rakhmatullayev of Kazakhstan when play was suspended.  When he returned to the court, a different court than they had played on previously, Quan needed just one extra point to prevail.

"I won my first point, second point I double faulted, third point I think he missed and on my match point I hit a winner," Quan said of the final points in his 6-3, 6-2 victory. "Yes, I waited that long for four points."

In the only all-US quarterfinal, No. 2 seed Alexander Razeghi will face No. 7 seed Kaylan Bigun.  Razeghi defeated qualifier Changmin Ryu of Korea 6-3, 6-3 and Bigun defeated twin brother Meecah Bigun 6-4, 6-4, both needing only a few games after the rain to close out their wins.

The other quarterfinal will feature No. 9 seed Santiago Muhala against unseed Juhun Choo of Korea. Muhala outlasted unseeded Benjamin Kreynes 6-1, 2-6, 7-6(0), while Choo defeated No. 9 seed Fadi Bidan of Lebanon 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

As in the 12s, there are five Americans in the quarterfinals and one all-US match, with No. 9 seed Ozan Colak facing No. 8 seed Fnu Nidunjianzan.  Colak took out No. 4 seed Juncheng Shang of the US 6-2, 6-7(3), 7-5, while Nidunjianzan didn't have to play a point with James Rico, a No. 9 seed, giving him a walkover due to injury.

Top seed and 2016 12s champion Victor Lilov defeated unseeded Nicolas Godsick 6-4, 6-2 and will face No. 5 seed Constantinos Koshis of Cyprus, who beat Jaden Weekes of Canada, a No. 9 seed, 6-1, 6-2.

Unseeded Californian Sebastian Gorzny defeated Gonzalo Bueno Rodriguez of Peru, a No. 9 seed, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 and will face No. 3 seed Chak Lam Wong of Hong Kong, a 6-3, 7-6(3) winner over Rashed Naif of Qatar, a No. 9 seed.

No. 2 seed Bruno Kuzuhara of the US had no difficulty getting past unseeded Evan Wen of the US, taking a 6-3, 6-0 victory. Kuzuhara, the 2016 12s finalist, will face No. 6 seed Mili Poljicak of Croatia. Poljicak defeated No. 9 seed Adolfo Vallejo of Paraguay 6-3, 6-1.

Because there is such a backlog of matches left to be played in the girls 14s, the boys will not move to the University of Miami until Monday. They had been scheduled to switch to Miami for Sunday's quarterfinals.

For Sunday's schedule, see the TennisLink site.

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