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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Top Three G14s Seeds Exit Sunday at Junior Orange Bowl; Six US Boys Advance to Semifinals in 12s and 14s

©Colette Lewis 2018--
Coral Gables FL--

Top seed Yayi Yang of Taiwan needed just one game to dismiss No. 9 seed Violeta Martinez when she returned to the court Sunday after Saturday's rain had kept her from putting the finishing touches on her 6-1, 5-3 lead in the round of 16. By late Sunday, it was Martinez preparing for Monday's semifinals, however, after her 1-6, 7-6(0), 6-4 comeback victory over Yang and a 6-1, 7-5 quarterfinal win over unseeded Qavia Lopez.

"This morning I woke up and I just pretended that the second set didn't happen, it was 0-0," said the 14-year-old from Port Saint Lucie Florida, who had just lost five straight games after holding a 3-0 lead in the second set. "I told myself to go on to the court and win it. If I was going to lose, I should have lost before the rain came, so I said it was sign for me to win."

Yang's booming groundstrokes took Martinez out of her game, but she was willing to play defense if that's what it took.

"I didn't work on attacking, because when I attacked it didn't really work out in my favor," Martinez who trains with Jose Rincon and also at the Midtown Athletic Club in Weston. "So I tried more a defensive style, it's not my game style, but I had to do what I had to do to win."

Martinez served for the match at 5-3 in the third set, but didn't get to match point, hitting a forehand long at 30-40 to give Yang hope. But Yang was not able to seize the opportunity that game presented, double faulting to open the game, then hitting two double faults to end it.

After such a significant win, Martinez had no time to savor the upset, which was fine with her.

"The adrenaline gets you going," Martinez said. "I wasn't tired after that match, I was just really, really awake for the next match. I said, that was a good win, but you still have more matches. It's nice to keep going, because your heart is pumping and it's just nice on the court."

Against Lopez, Martinez took control early, but saw her 3-0 lead slip away in the second set. Martinez said that is not an unusual pattern for her.

"When I dropped four in a row, it happens to me a lot," Martinez said. "I just have to recover, go to my towel and mentally calm down, and say, play how you were playing, because you were up. After a lot of years, you kind of get used to it, and I still have more years to come."

Martinez will face No. 4 seed Melisa Ercan of Turkey, who had a much less eventful day and yet to drop a set in the tournament. She defeated No. 9 seed Solana Sierra of Argentina 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinals after finishing off her round of 16 match with No. 9 seed Katerina Dimitrova of Bulgaria 6-0, 6-3.

No. 2 seed Eleana Yu fell short in her round of 16 comeback against No. 9 seed Reese Brantmeier, with Brantmeier taking the all-US contest 6-4, 7-5 after losing her 5-1 lead. Yu got back on serve at 5-5, but Brantmeier broke and after more tension in the last game, finally finished it off with a great first serve.
Unlike Martinez, Brantmeier couldn't rebound from that emotional win, and she lost to unseeded 12-year-old Victoria Mboko of Canada 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.  Mboko also needed a comeback in the resumption of her round of 16 match with No. 6 seed Marina Stakusic of Canada, having lost the first set when Saturday's rain came.

She returned to the court Sunday determined to make a change.

"I was thinking to be more aggressive, play my game, because in the first set, I don't think I was playing like I usually do," said Mboko, who lost to Martinez in the first round of the Eddie Herr. "I tried to play back the balls and keep the ball in, but that wasn't really working. So when I came back, I was having a different mindset, hitting the ball and overall, just playing my game."

Mboko's opponent in the semifinals is No. 9 seed Alexis Blokhina of the US, with won two three-set matches Saturday, beating No. 17 seed Sonya Macavei of the US 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-1 in the resumption of a round of 16 match, and No. 3 seed Katja Wiersholm of the US 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.

While the top seeds in the girls 14s fell by the wayside Sunday, the favorites continued their march through the draws in the girls 12s and the boys 14s.

As with the girls 14s, the round of 16 in the girls 12s was resumed after a two-hour delay Sunday morning, with top seed Clervie Ngounoue and No. 2 seed Brooklyn Olson of the US posting two straight-sets wins. Ngounoue defeated No. 9 seed Tamara Kostic of Austria 6-4, 6-3 and No. 9 seed Mia Slama of the US 6-2, 6-2 to reach the semifinals, while Olson took out American Lexington Reed, a No. 9 seed 7-5, 6-3 and No. 6 seed Sara Saito of Japan 6-1, 6-4.  Olson will face unseeded Shanice Roignot of France in Monday's semifinal at University of Miami and Ngounoue meets the only qualifier left in any of the four draws, Hayu Kinoshita of Japan.

At Crandon Park, top seed Victor Lilov and No. 2 seed Bruno Kuzuhara of the United States took their quarterfinals in straight sets, with Lilov beating No. 5 seed Constantinos Koshis of Cyprus 7-6(5), 6-3 and Kuzuhara defeating No. 6 seed Mili Poljicak of Croatia 6-4, 6-2.  A third American, No. 9 seed Ozan Colak, advanced to the semifinals against Lilov with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Fnu Nidunjianzan of the US.  Kuzuhara's semifinal opponent on Monday is No. 3 seed Chak Lam Wong of Hong Kong, who saved a match point in his 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(6) win over unseeded Sebastian Gorzny of the US.

The boys 12s draw lost its No. 2 seed in Sunday's quarterfinals at Salvadore Park, with No. 7 seed Kaylan Bigun defeating Alexander Razeghi, both of the US, 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(3). Bigun will face No. 9 seed Santiago Muhala of the US, who beat Juhun Choo of Korea 6-2, 6-4. Rudy Quan continued his dominating performance this week, beating Thanaphat Boosarawongse of Thailand 6-0, 6-0. He will play the only non-American left in the draw No. 3 seed Antonio Voljavec of Croatia, who prevented a second all-US semifinal by defeating No. 5 seed Quang Duong 6-3, 6-3.

The boys 14s and girls 12s will move to the University of Miami, joining the girls 14s for the semifinals. The boys 12s will remain on the Har-Tru courts at Salvadore Park throughout the tournament.

For complete results, see the TennisLink site.

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