Sponsored by IMG Academy

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Wild Card Coleman Advances over Fourth Seed Noel, Legendary Slam Champion Watches Navarro Oust No. 8 Seed in Second Round of ITF Grade A Orange Bowl

©Colette Lewis 2018--
Plantation, FL--

The heat and humidity of the first two days gave way to cool and breezy conditions today at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center, with half a dozen girls seeds and four boys seeds failing to survive their second round matches at the ITF Grade Orange Bowl.

No. 4 seed Alexa Noel was beaten by 15-year-old wild card Ellie Coleman, who advanced when Noel retired after calling the trainer down 4-6, 6-3, 4-1.  Coleman, who last year reached the Junior Orange Bowl 14s final, said her transition to the top level of junior competition has had its rocky moments.

"It's definitely different, and it's come with some bad tournaments, obviously," said Coleman, a Midland Michigan resident. "Transitioning to the junior ITFs is a big change, but you kind of have to adjust to playing week after week and having matches day after day."

Coleman knew that Noel's slicing and drop shots can lead to frustration, but after the opening set, she found ways to counteract them.

"I focused on my side of net, doing what I needed to do to win, step in a little more," said Coleman, who was expecting to play qualifying, but was given a wild card into the main draw at the last minute. "I felt like I handled that stuff pretty well. She sliced her backhand a lot, and it was a little tricky, because she changes it up quite a bit, but I kind of got the hang of it after the first set."

Coleman's willingness to come to the net and make a volley or two to win a point is particularly effective against someone with the defensive skills of Noel.

"It's definitely an advantage, because I finish a lot of points at the net, moving forward to attack," said Coleman, who will play another wild card, 14-year-old Robin Montgomery, in Thursday's third round. Montgomery defeated qualifier Abigail Forbes 6-4, 6-3.
Emma Navarro was also facing a seeded player with an unconventional game, and she too figured out how to solve the problem, beating No. 8 seed Kamilla Bartone of Latvia 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 while under the scrutiny of a special spectator, 18-time slam singles champion Martina Navratilova.

"She's coming to work with my dad a little bit in Charleston, at the Volvo Open," Navarro said of her father Ben, who recently purchased the WTA event in their hometown. "She came down to Charleston a few weeks ago and hit with me a little bit, watched me play. She is from here, so she's been watching my matches."

Although having a tennis legend at a match could be intimidating, Navarro sees it differently.

"It's super exciting to have her watching me," said the 17-year-old Duke recruit. "I couldn't ever have imagined that. It's inspiring and exciting."

Against Bartone, who hits dozens of drop shots and an equal number of forehand slices every match, Navarro needed some time to adjust.

"I think it took a whole set for me to not be annoyed with how she played, just accept it and figure out how to beat it," Navarro said. "It was actually tough today, with the wind and with her flat, low shots and drop shots. She's unlike anyone I've ever played, so it took me a set to figure it out, but once I did, I played well."

Navarro's strategy was to keep Bartone back and to anticipate the inevitable.

"I hit a lot of high heavies and gave myself time," Navarro said. "And on pretty much every shot I was ready for the drop shot. I just wanted to take that out of play, be ready for that, and I did. And being patient and playing good defense."

Navarro will face unseeded Peyton Stearns, who defeated No. 10 seed Adrienn Nagy of Hungary 6-2, 6-3.

There is a third all-US girls round of 16 match, with No. 5 seed Hurricane Tyra Black against wild card Charlotte Chavatipon. Black avenged her recent Pan American Closed loss to Kylie Collins 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-0, while Chavatipon defeated No. 9 seed Sohyun Park of Korea 6-3, 6-2.

Top seed Coco Gauff defeated qualifier Fiona Crawley 6-0, 7-5 and will face Ana Geller of Argentina in the third round Thursday. Hina Inoue is the last qualifier remaining in the girls draw, with the 15-year-old defeating No. 14 seed Gabby Price 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. She will face No. 3 seed Diane Parry of France next.

No. 6 seed Lea Ma defeated Charlotte Owensby 7-5, 6-1 and will face Mara Guth of Germany in the third round. Guth defeated No. 12 seed Loudmilla Bencheikh of France 7-5, 5-7, 6-2.

Only two US boys, both in the bottom half, remain after Tuesday's second round of play: No. 8 seed Cannon Kingsley and unseeded Zane Khan. Kingsley beat Matheus Pucinelli de Almeida of Brazil 6-2, 7-6(2) and Khan defeated Mathys Erhard of France 6-3, 6-2.  Kingsley will play No. 10 seed Harold Mayot of France, with Khan taking on No. 14 seed Sergey Fomin of Uzbekistan. Kingsley defeated Mayot 6-1, 6-1 this spring in the semifinals of the Santa Croce Italy Grade 1 on clay.

No. 11 seed Govind Nanda lost to Filip Kolasinski of Poland 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 and No. 12 seed Eliot Spizzirri fell to Lodewijk Westrate of the Netherlands 6-4, 7-6(4).

No. 2 seed Filip Jianu of Romania retired trailing 6-4, 3-1 in the his match with qualifier Luciano Tacchi of Argentina. No. 5 seed Valentin Royer of France went out to Alejo Lingua Lavallen of Argentina  6-2, 6-7(3), 6-3.

Top seed Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria defeated Lilian Marmousez of France 7-5, 6-1.

The first round of doubles was completed this afternoon, and the No. 2 girls seeds, Lea Ma and China's Qinwen Zheng, lost to Navarro and Chloe Beck 6-2, 6-2.

In the 16s, the quarterfinals are scheduled for Thursday, with a rematch of the Eddie Herr girls 16s final on tap. No. 7 seed Elaine Chervinsky and No. 4 seed Madison Sieg, will play for the third time in two months, with Sieg hoping to break Chervinsky's current winning streak against her.

That is one of three all-US quarterfinals, with wild card Carson Tanguilig playing India Houghton and wild card Jaleesa Leslie facing Lara Schneider. Leslie defeated No. 2 seed Jada Bui of Canada 6-4, 6-3.

In fourth quarterfinal, in the top half, Fatma Idrizovic of Serbia will play No. 8 seed Yelizaveta Karlova of Kazakhstan.

Only three Americans remain in the boys 16s singles, with No. 12 seed Aidan Mayo taking on No. 2 seed Alexander Bernard in one quarterfinal.  Top seed Dali Blanch will face No. 8 seed Lorenzo Claverie of Venezuela.

The 16s doubles semifinals are Thursday, with boys top seeds Blanch and Canada's Marko Stakusic facing No. 3 seeds Angel Guerrero Melgar and Pablo Llamas Ruiz of Spain. Unseeded Bohua Dong and Haoyuan Huang of China will play No. 8 seeds Alan Kam and Diego Navarro of Mexico.

The girls doubles semifinals will feature four American teams. Ava Catanzarite and Allie Gretkowski will play No. 8 seeds Lauren Stein and Leyden Games, while unseeded Tanguilig and Elise Wagle will face unseeded Ava Krug and Sophie Williams.

The draws, order of play and live scoring can be found at the tournament website.