Zootennis

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Top 16s Seed Cloud, Top 12s Seed Leach Fall at Winter Nationals; 16-year-old Xu, Princeton Sophomore Poling Claim Gold Balls at USTA National Women's and Men's Opens In New York

Top boys 16s seed Louis Cloud lost today in the third round of the USTA Winter Nationals at Lake Nona, bowing out courtesy of No. 17 seed Michael Ross 6-2, 6-1. The 16s are still a round behind (they are expected to play two matches, the quarterfinals and semifinals, on Thursday) but the quarterfinals are set in the 18s, with top seeds Sarah Hamner and Logan Zapp both surviving in three sets today.

The quarterfinals are also set for Wednesday for the 12s and 14s divisions in Tucson, and top seed Jagger Leach, the son of Lindsay Davenport and Jon Leach, will not be participating, having lost to No. 17 seed Tristan Dussault 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in today's round of 16.

The USTA National Men's and Women's Open is held every year at this time at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, and draws many top players on the east coast. The men's draw is usually 256--everyone who enters is accepted--while the women's draw is generally 64.

Last year two collegians, UNC's Alexa Graham and Penn's Kyle Mautner, won the titles. This year, Princeton sophomore Karl Poling, who won the mixed doubles title last year, won the men's gold ball. The top seed, Poling defeated No. 25 seed Justin Natale(Brown) 6-3, 6-1 in the championship match this morning. The women's title went to New Jersey's Valencia Xu, who reached the finals of the USTA 16s Nationals in San Diego this summer. The 16-year-old Xu, the No. 2 seed, defeated No. 3 seed Margarita Sadovnikova, an assistant coach for the women's team at Lasalle, 7-5, 6-0 in the final.

Xu also won the mixed doubles gold ball, with University of Chicago recruit Derek Hsieh. The No. 4 seeds defeated top seeds Eliot Spizzirri and Elise Wagle, another all-junior team, 6-7(8), 7-6(5), 6-2 in the final.

Unseeded Brian Battistone and Tennyson Whiting won the men's doubles title, beating Hsieh and SMU recruit Liam Krall, the No. 8 seeds, 7-6(2), 6-4 in the championship match.

Vanderbilt freshman Marcella Cruz repeated as women's doubles champion, but this year she partnered with the player she had beaten in the final last year, Wake Forest sophomore Anna Brylin. The top seeds defeated Dartmouth freshmen Ashley Hess and Chidimma Okpara, the No. 2 seeds, 6-2, 6-3 in the final.

For complete draws, see the TennisLink site.

2019 Honor Roll

  December
   Stephanie Yakoff, Junior Orange Bowl 14s
   Nishesh Basavareddy, Junior Orange Bowl 14s
   Robin Montgomery, Orange Bowl Grade A Plantation
   Ashlyn Krueger, Orange Bowl 16s
   Clervie Ngounoue, Orange Bowl 16s (dbls)
   Savannah Broadus and Kylie Collins, ITF Grade 1 Eddie Herr (dbls)
   Ashlyn Krueger, Eddie Herr 16s
   Sarah Hamner and Vivian Ovrootsky, Eddie Herr 16s (dbls)
   Jack Anthrop, Eddie Herr 16s
   Ozan Colak and Aidan Kim, Eddie Herr 16s (dbls)
   Sydni Ratliff, USTA Indoor Nationals 18s
   Carly Briggs and AnneMarie Hiser, USTA Indoor Nationals 18s (dbls)
   William Cooksey, USTA Indoor Nationals 18s
   Keshav Chopra and Marcus McDaniel, USTA Indoor Nationals 18s (dbls)
   Liv Hovde, USTA Indoor Nationals 16s
   Liv Hovde and Aubrey Nisbet, USTA Indoor Nationals 16s (dbls)
   Michael Zheng, USTA Indoor Nationals 16s
   Sujit Chepuri and Bjorn Swenson, USTA Indoor Nationals 16s (dbls)
   Maya Joint, USTA Indoor Nationals 14s
   Emma Roeck and Zehra Suko, USTA Indoor Nationals 14s (dbls)
   Cole Stelse, USTA Indoor Nationals 14s
   Dylan Charlap and Dylan Tsoi, USTA Indoor Nationals 14s (dbls)
   Ashley Matz, USTA Indoor Nationals 12s
   Nina Costalas and Helena Lynn, USTA Indoor Nationals 12s (dbls)
   Ronit Karki, USTA Indoor Nationals 12s
   Mark Krupkin and Oliver Narbut, USTA Indoor Nationals 12s (dbls)

   November
   Ellie Coleman, ITF Grade A Merida (dbls)
   Dali Blanch, ITF Grade A Merida (dbls)
   Hailey Baptiste, ITF World Tennis Tour W25 Tucson
   Eliot Spizzirri and Tyler Zink, ITF World Tennis Tour M15 Austin

   October
   Coco Gauff and Caty McNally, WTA International Luxembourg (dbls)
   Coco Gauff, WTA International Linz
   Welsh Hotard, ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed
   Robin Montgomery, ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed
   Robin Montgomery & Isabelle Kouzmanov, ITF Grade B1 Pan Am Closed (dbls)
   Aidan Mayo, ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed (dbls)

   September
   Govind Nanda, ITF World Tennis Tour M25 Harlingen
   Connie Ma, Robin Montgomery and Katrina Scott, ITF Junior Fed Cup
   Vanessa Ong, ITF World Tennis Tour W15 Lawrence
   Zachary Svajda, ITF World Tennis Tour M15 Champaign (dbls)
   Eliot Spizzirri and Tyler Zink, US Open Junior Championships (dbls)

   August
   Robin Montgomery, ITF Grade 1 College Park (dbls)
   Nishesh Basavareddy, Dylan Charlap, Kyle Kang, ITF World Jr Tennis 14U Team 
   Zachary Svajda, USTA Nationals 18s
   Martin Damm and Toby Kodat, USTA Nationals 18s (dbls)
   Katie Volynets, USTA Nationals 18s
   Abigail Forbes and Alexa Noel, USTA Nationals 18s (dbls)
   Alexander Bernard, USTA Nationals 16s
   Hugo Hashimoto and Benjamin Kittay, USTA Nationals 16s (dbls)
   Reese Brantmeier, USTA Nationals 16s
   Elise Wagle and Katja Wiersholm, USTA Nationals 16s (dbls)
   Cooper Williams, USTA Nationals 14s
   Alexander Razeghi and Dylan Tsoi, USTA Nationals 14s (dbls)
   Theadora Rabman, USTA Nationals 14s
   Ananya Annapantula and Maddy Zampardo, USTA Nationals 14s (dbls)
   Maxwell Exsted, USTA Nationals 12s
   Abhinav and Parthinav Chunduru, USTA Nationals 12s (dbls)
   Claire An, USTA Nationals 12s
   Haylee Conway and Aspen Schuman, USTA Nationals 12s (dbls)
   Jenson Brooksby, ITF World Tennis Tour M25 Decatur
   Coco Gauff and Caty Mcnally, WTA Citi Open (dbls)

   July
   Jenson Brooksby, ITF World Tennis Tour M25 Champaign
   Gabby Price, USTA Clay Courts 18s
   Lauren Stein and Reilly Tran, USTA Clay Courts 18s (dbls)
   Leighton Allen, USTA Clay Courts 18s
   Aryan Chaudhary and Logan Zapp, USTA Clay Courts 18s (dbls)
   Aubrey Nisbet, USTA Clay Courts 16s
   Sonia Maheshwari and Lina Mohamed, USTA Clay Courts 16s (dbls)
   Luke Casper, USTA Clay Courts 16s
   Ben Shelton and Maxwell Smith, USTA Clay Courts 16s (dbls)
   Lara Smejka, USTA Clay Courts 14s
   Alexis Blokhina and Natalia Perez, USTA Clay Courts 14s (dbls)
   Nishesh Basavareddy, USTA Clay Courts 14s
   Nicolas Godsick and Joseph Phillips, USTA Clay Courts 14s (dbls)
   Bella Payne, USTA Clay Courts 12s
   Claire An and Caitlin Bui, USTA Clay Courts 12s (dbls)
   Abhishek Thorat, USTA Clay Courts 12s
   Maxwell Exsted and Cooper Woestendick, USTA Clay Courts 12s (dbls)
   Savannah Broadus & Abigail Forbes, Wimbledon Junior Championships (dbls)
   Elli Mandlik, ITF Grade 1 Roehampton (dbls)

   June
   Dali Blanch, ITF Grade 1 Berlin (dbls)
   Allura and Maribella Zamarripa, ITF World Tennis Tour W15 Orlando (dbls)
   Tyler Zink, ITF World Tennis Tour M15 Orlando (dbls)
   Hailey Baptiste, ITF World Tennis Tour W25 Sumter SC
   Allura and Maribella Zamarripa, ITF World Tennis W15 Wesley Chapel (dbls)
   Chloe Beck and Emma Navarro, French Open Junior Championships (dbls)

   May
   Alexa Noel, ITF Grade A Milan Italy
   Elli Mandlik, ITF World Tennis Tour W15 Barletta Italy
   Eliot Spizzirri and Tyler Zink, ITF G1 Santa Croce Italy (dbls)
   Natasha Subhash, ITF World Tennis Tour W15 Williamsburg
   Savannah Broadus and Vanessa Ong, ITF World Tennis W15 Williamsburg(dbls)

   April
   Whitney Osuigwe, ITF World Tennis Tour W80 Charlottesville
   Ann Li, ITF World Tennis Tour W25 Osprey
   Amanda Anisimova, WTA International Bogota Colombia
   Hurricane Tyra Black, ISC Carson G1 ITF
   Kacie Harvey and Natasha Subhash, ISC Carson G1 ITF (dbls)
   Martin Damm and Toby Kodat, ISC Carson G1 ITF (dbls)
   Winta Woldeab, ISC Carson 16s
   Tsehay Driscoll and Ava Krug, ISC Carson 16s (dbls)
   Alexander Chang, ISC Carson 16s
   William Cooksey and Jeffrey Etterbeek, ISC Carson 16s (dbls)

   March
   Emma Navarro, Easter Bowl GB1 ITF
   Emma Navarro and Chloe Beck, Easter Bowl GB1 ITF (dbls)
   Ronald Hohmann, Easter Bowl GB1 ITF
   Will Grant and Tyler Zink, Easter Bowl GB1 ITF (dbls)
   Vivian Ovrootsky, Easter Bowl 16s
   Sydni Ratliff and Ava Catanzarite, Easter Bowl 16s (dbls)
   Samir Banerjee, Easter Bowl 16s
   Thomas Paulsell and Frank Thompson, Easter Bowl 16s (dbls)
   Tsehay Driscoll, Easter Bowl 14s
   Tsehay Driscoll and Madison Smith, Easter Bowl 14s (dbls)
   Juncheng Shang, Easter Bowl 14s
   Lucas Brown and Aidan Kim, Easter Bowl 14s (dbls)
   Thea Latak, Easter Bowl 12s
   Daniela Borruel and Rebecca Kong, Easter Bowl 12s (dbls)
   Abhishek Thorat, Easter Bowl 12s
   Abhinav Chunduru and Prathinav Chunduru, Easter Bowl 12s (dbls)
   Jenson Brooksby, ITF World Tennis Tour M25 Arcadia
   Elli Mandlik, ITF World Tennis Tour W15 Carson
   Nastasha Subhash, ITF World Tennis Tour W15 Carson (dbls)

   February
   Coco Gauff, ITF World Tennis Tour W25 Surprise (dbls)
   Eliot Spizzirri and Tyler Zink, ITF Grade 1 Brazil
   Charlotte Chavatipon, ITF Grade 1 Paraguay
   Caty McNally, ITF WTT $100K Midland
   Abigail Forbes, ITF Grade 1 Ecuador
   Mark Mandlik and Adam Neff, ITF Grade 1 Ecuador (dbls)

   January
   Hailey Baptiste, ITF World Tennis Tour W25 Plantation
   Kyle Kang and Cooper Williams, Les Petis As (dbls)
   Savannah Broadus, ITF Grade 1 Colombia
   Emma Jackson and Alexandra Yepifanova, ITF Grade 1 Colombia (dbls)
   Abigail Forbes, ITF Grade 1 Costa Rica
   Spencer Whitaker, ITF Grade 1 Costa Rica (dbls)
   Learner Tien and Joseph Phillips, Junior International Bolton (dbls)
   Govind Nanda, ITF World Tennis Tour M25 Tucson
   Connie Ma, USTA Winter Nationals 18s
   Anna Campana and Connie Ma, USTA Winter Nationals 18s (dbls)
   Ishaan Ravichander, USTA Winter Nationals 18s
   Jeremie Casabon and Henry Ruger, USTA Winter Nationals 18s (dbls)
   Nadejda Maslova, USTA Winter Nationals 16s
   Ava Catanzarite and Avery Durham, USTA Winter Nationals 16s (dbls)
   Luke Casper, USTA Winter Nationals 16s
   Samir Banerjee and Louis Cloud, USTA Winter Nationals 16s (dbls)
   Ria Bhakta, USTA Winter Nationals 14s
   Tsehay Driscoll and Emma Roeck, USTA Winter Nationals 14s (dbls)
   Sebastian Gorzny, USTA Winter Nationals 14s
   Lucas Brown and Aidan Kim, USTA Winter Nationals 14s (dbls)
   Amber Yin, USTA Winter Nationals 12s
   Amber Yin and Annika Renganathan, USTA Winter Nationals 12s (dbls)
   Mason Nguyen, USTA Winter Nationals 12s
   Abhinav Chunduru and Parthinav Chunduru, USTA Winter National 12s

Monday, December 30, 2019

Top 16s Seed Nisbet, 18s No. 2 Seed Velaga Lose at USTA Winter Nationals; Live Streaming Available at First Tennis Europe Super Category 14U Event in Moscow

Although the 16s are still a round behind, the USTA Winter Nationals in Lake Nona completed a lot of matches today, although formats were changed in order to accommodate the schedule. Doubles were shortened to 4 game sets and a match tiebreaker, while in singles, tiebreakers were played in lieu of a full three sets. In girls 16s action, top seed Aubrey Nisbet, the reigning 16s USTA Clay Courts champion, lost to Eileen Wang 6-2, 1-6, 10-6 in the second round, and in the third round of the girls 18s, No. 2 seed Neha Velaga lost to Ellie Pittman 6-2, 7-5.  Below is a quick rundown of the top 8 seeds and how they've fared in the last three days. The boys 12s is the only draw that has yet to lose a Top 8 seed.

Standard scoring is scheduled to return for play tomorrow in Lake Nona; the 12s and 14s divisions at the Winter Nationals in Tucson have not had to shorten their scoring and will all be playing the singles round of 16 Tuesday.

Girls 18s Top 8 seeds:
1. Sarah Hamner
2. Neha Velaga (out rd 3)
3. Julia Fliegner (out rd 1)
4. Gianna Pielet
5. Emma Staker
6. Brooke Killingsworth
7. Kathryn Treiber (out rd 3)
8. Allie Gretkowski

Boys 18s Top 8 seeds:
1. Logan Zapp
2. Leighton Allen
3. Welsh Hotard
4. Benjamin Koch
5. Ayran Chaudhary (out rd 3)
6. Thomas Paulsell
7. Coy Simon
8. Ben Shelton

Girls 16s Top 8 seeds:
1. Aubrey Nisbet (out rd 2)
2. Katie Codd
3. Ria Bhakta (out rd 1)
4. Kida Ferrari
5. Stephanie Yakoff
6. Anna Neyestani (out rd 1)
7. Vivian Miller (out rd 2)
8. Ann Guerry

Boys 16s Seeds
1. Louis Cloud
2. Daniel Schmelka
3. Michael Zheng
4. Walker Oberg (out rd 1)
5. Kurt Miller
6. Ethan Quinn
7. Sebastian Gorzny (out rd 1)
8. Lucas Brown

Girls 14s Top 8 Seeds:
1. Kinaa Graham (out rd 2)
2. Alexia Harmon
3. Susanna Maltby
4. Meg McCarty (out rd 2)
5. Sage Loudon
6. Victoria Zhao
7. Amber Yin (out rd 3)
8. Nina Wiese

Boys 14s Top 8 Seeds:
1. Carson Baker
2. Alexander Frusina
3. Lucas Coriaty
4. Adam Sun
5. Quang Duong (out rd 3)
6. Cooper Woestendick (out rd 3)
7. Soham Purohit (out rd 2)
8. Mason Nguyen

Girls 12s Top 8 seeds:
1. Mia Yamakita
2. Alexis Nguyen
3. Eleana Zhao
4. Kirsten Woods (out 2nd rd)
5. Maya Iyengar
6. Sabrina Lin
7. Sara Shumate
8. Elizabeth Fauchet

Boys 12s Top 8 seeds:
1. Jagger Leach
2. Roman Sancilio
3. Dominick Mosejczuk
4. Gray Kelley
5. Ford McCollum
6. Nav Dayal
7. Lachlan Gaskell
8. Andrew Li

Today marked the beginning of Tennis Europe's Christmas Cup in Russia, a prestigious 14U event that is the first Super Category tournament to be played under the new designation.

Back in October, Tennis Europe announced that five 14U events would be designated Super Category, and the requirements for that designation include full hospitality, chair umpires from the first main draw match and live streaming and live scoring. I haven't found the live scoring, but the live streaming is at this YouTube channel

The other four tournaments named Super Category are:
  • Les Petits As, Tarbes (FRA) - week of 27th January
  • Kungens Kanna & Drottningens Pris, Stockholm (SWE) - week of 24th February
  • XXVII Ta├ža Internacional Maia (POR) - week of 30th March
  • 43 Internationale Deutsche Tennismeisterschaften Dueren (GER) - week of 27th July

  • Although Les Petits As has always been on the forefront of junior tennis tournament innovation, adding a circuit like this raises the bar substantially for those hosting major international competitions. The two major 14U events in North America that I just covered, the Eddie Herr and Junior Orange Bowl, have no chair umpires until the semifinals or finals, no live streaming or scoring and no hospitality, so it's hard not to view them as falling behind their European counterparts.

    Tennis Europe is also introducing reserved spots for 15 and 16-year-olds in ITF junior events based on their Tennis Europe ranking. For more on these 2020 changes, see this article.

    Sunday, December 29, 2019

    More Rain at Lake Nona Winter Nationals; Little Mo International Champions; ATP Spotlights 14 Next Gen Players

    Rain has continued to be a problem at the 16s and 18s USTA Winter National championships in Lake Nona Florida, and the unfinished first round matches in girls 18s singles were moved indoors. Doubles were cancelled except for boys 18s, and as of now, no doubles matches have been completed in the tournament, which began yesterday.

    To keep updated on the results and schedule, see the TennisLink site.

    The 12s and 14s Winter Nationals in Tucson have managed to complete second round singles matches today, despite high temperatures in the 40s, and Kinaa Graham, the No. 1 seed in the girls 14s, lost in the second round to Jessica MacCallum 6-4, 6-2.

    The Little Mo International Championships were held earlier this month in Palm Beach Gardens and below is the list of winners in the various categories and age divisions. Complete draws are available at the TennisLink site.
    Girls 15/16: Marilou Cote - Levis, Canada
    Girls 14: Emma Namnieks - Tallinn, Estonia
    Girls 13: Thalia Smith - Gastonia, North Carolina
    Girls 12: Waverly Potter - Calgary, Canada
    Girls 11: Eden Mayorkes - Beit Zayit, Israel
    Girls 10: Anastasiia Rychkova - Miami Beach, Florida
    Girls 10 (green dot): Siany Panaggio - Jupiter, Florida
    Girls 9: Leila Hunter - Keysville, Georgia
    Girls 9 (green dot): Tea Kovacevic - Gradiska, Bosnia & Herzegovina
    Girls 8:Amy Shen - Vancouver, Canada
    Girls 8 (green dot): Sakino Miyazawa - Tsukuba, Japan

    Boys 15/16: Hayato Kurihara - Saitama, Japan                             
    Boys 14: Tim Kuster - Ljubljana, Slovenia                         
    Boys 13: Maximo Llamas Castellanos - Monterrey, Mexico                   
    Boys 12: Owen Nguyen - Coquitlam, Canada                                 
    Boys 11: Pedro Henrique Chabalgoity - Brasilia, Brazil               
    Boys 10: Juan Miguel Bolivar - Medellin, Colombia
    Boys 10 (green dot): Pedro Rodriguez - Bogota, Colombia
    Boys 9: Geoff Kosseifi - Delray Beach, Florida
    Boys 9 (green dot): Jaime Gomez - Zapopan, Mexico
    Boys 8: Max Neumann - Cape Coral, Florida
    Boys 8 (green dot): Luca Daraban - Barcelona, Spain / Romania

    The ATP is highlighting 14 NextGen players in this article, with all born in 1999 or later. The only American included is Sebastian Korda. With the notable exception of Jannik Sinner of Italy, I have seen all of them play in ITF Junior Circuit competition many times (some more than others, of course) and it's interesting to note that of the 14 featured, six have won junior slams, three others have made a junior slam final, and Hugo Gaston won the gold medal at last year's Youth Olympic games. Sinner, recently named the ATP Newcomer of the Year, is the only one of the 14 who never played a junior slam.

    Saturday, December 28, 2019

    Rain in Orlando Cancels First Round of Girls 16s at USTA Winter Nationals; College Tennis Now Becoming Popular Pathway for Arab Players; Querrey, Collins Win Hawaii Open Exhibition

    The rain in Florida this month has been a headache for all the tournaments there and today's first day at the USTA 16s and 18s Winter Nationals in Orlando continues that unfortunate trend. Wet courts set singles times back to the afternoon and the first round of girls 16s singles were cancelled for the day, as were doubles. Some of the girls 18s singles matches were scheduled at 7:30 p.m., so there aren't any updates for them, but top boys 18s seed Logan Zapp advanced, as did Louis Cloud, the top seed in the boys 16s, although Cloud barely survived Dylan Tsoi 6-0, 4-6, 7-6(4) in his opening match.
    No. 4 seed Walker Oberg and No. 7 seed Sebastian Gorzny lost in the first round in the 16s. The top 8 seeds for all eight divisions can be found in my post from yesterday.

    High temperatures in the 40s have caused problems for the 12s and 14s Winter Nationals in Tucson, and the doubles were cancelled for today. All four of the No. 1 seeds in singles did play and advanced to the second round.

    Pepperdine's Mayar Sherif reached the NCAA singles semifinals in 2018
    A recent article by Reem Abulleil for The Guardian explores the trend of Arab players joining collegiate teams in the United States as an alternative to immediately going from junior to pro tennis. With most of their federations unwilling or unable to provide financial support for the training required at during the crucial late-teens, early-20s years, these players are turning to US colleges to fill the gap. Abulleil speaks with former Wake Forest star Skander Mansouri of Tunisia and former Pepperdine standout Mayar Sherif of Egypt about their decision to attend college and play in the US and what they gained from taking that route. Several other Arab players are also interviewed about their collegiate tennis experience here in the United States.

    Exhibitions are not uncommon any time of year in the sport of tennis, and this week's Hawaii Open could have been a high-profile one, with Maria Sharapova, Bianca Andreescu, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori all announced as participants. They withdrew at various times this month, and although Angelique Kerber did show up, she was injured in the warmup prior to her final against Danielle Collins and Collins received a walkover to the title. Brandon Nakashima received a wild card, and he defeated Taylor Fritz in the semifinals 7-6(4), 6-4 yesterday. In today's men's final, Sam Querrey defeated Nakashima 6-4, 6-7(7), 13-11. For more on the reaction to all the withdrawals, see this article from Hawaii News Now.

    Friday, December 27, 2019

    My Junior Orange Bowl Recap; USTA Winter Nationals Begin Saturday in Arizona and Florida

    My recap of last week's Junior Orange Bowl tournament in Miami, which featured the worst weather I've experienced in 16 years of covering the event, is available now at the Tennis Recruiting Network. Americans Nishesh Basavareddy and Stephanie Yakoff won the 14s titles, with Russia's Mirra Andreeva and Great Britain's Benjamin Gusic Wan taking the 12s titles. I did manage to get some videos of all the winners and finalists, and hope to process and post them by the end of next month.

    The USTA's Winter National Championships begin tomorrow, with the 12s and 14s divisions playing in Tucson Arizona and the 16s and 18s playing at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona Florida. This year the 16s will play on clay and the 18s on hard courts. The 12s and 14s play on hard courts. Below are the Top 8 seeds in all eight divisions; draws can be found at the TennisLink sites linked above. The 16s and 18s have a separate website in addition to the TennisLink site.

    Girls 18s Top 8 Seeds:
    1. Sarah Hamner
    2. Neha Velaga
    3. Julia Fliegner
    4. Gianna Pielet
    5. Emma Staker
    6. Brooke Killingsworth
    7. Kathryn Treiber
    8. Allie Gretkowski

    Girls 16s Top 8 Seeds:
    1. Aubrey Nisbet
    2. Katie Codd
    3. Ria Bhakta
    4. Kida Ferrari
    5. Stephanie Yakoff
    6. Anna Neyestani
    7. Vivian Miller
    8. Ann Guerry

    Girls 14s Top 8 Seeds:
    1. Kinaa Graham
    2. Alexia Harmon
    3. Susanna Maltby
    4. Meg McCarty
    5. Sage Loudon
    6. Victoria Zhao
    7. Amber Yin
    8. Nina Wiese

    Girls 12s Top 8 Seeds:
    1. Mia Yamakita
    2. Alexis Nguyen
    3. Eleana Zhao
    4. Kirsten Woods
    5. Maya Iyengar
    6. Sabrina Lin
    7. Sara Shumate
    8. Elizabeth Fauchet
    Boys 18s Top 8 Seeds:
    1. Logan Zapp
    2. Leighton Allen
    3. Welsh Hotard
    4. Benjamin Koch
    5. Ayran Chaudhary
    6. Thomas Paulsell
    7. Coy Simon
    8. Ben Shelton

    Boys 16s Top 8 Seeds:
    1. Louis Cloud
    2. Daniel Schmelka
    3. Michael Zheng
    4. Walker Oberg
    5. Kurt Miller
    6. Ethan Quinn
    7. Sebastian Gorzny
    8. Lucas Brown

    Boys 14s Top 8 Seeds:
    1. Carson Baker
    2. Alexander Frusina
    3. Lucas Coriaty
    4. Adam Sun
    5. Quang Duong
    6. Cooper Woestendick
    7. Soham Purohit
    8. Mason Nguyen 

    Boys 12s Top 8 Seeds:
    1. Jagger Leach
    2. Roman Sancilio
    3. Dominick Mosejczuk
    4. Gray Kelley
    5. Ford McCollum
    6. Nav Dayal
    7. Lachlan Gaskell
    8. Andrew Li

    Thursday, December 26, 2019

    Costa Rica's ITF Grade 1 Coffee Bowl Acceptances Feature 32 Americans

    There isn't much going on in tennis this week, particularly in junior tennis, but the acceptances for the first ITF Grade 1 of the year in San Jose Costa Rica have been posted, with 14 US boys and 18 US girls receiving entry into the main draw of the tournament, which begins on January 6th.

    The field for the 56th edition of the Coffee Bowl doesn't appear to be particularly strong this year, with players without an ITF ranking of any kind able to get into the girls qualifying.

    The US boys who have entered the main draw are: Dali Blanch, Stefan Leustian, Benjamin Kittay, Jack Anthrop, Connor Krug, Max McKennon, Bruno Kuzuhara, Adit Sinha, Jake Krug, Sam Scherer, Billy Suarez, Alex Finkelstein, Jakub Ostajewski and Ekansh Kumar.

    The US girls entered in the main draw are: Charlotte Owensby, Tara Malik, Sofia Camila Rojas, Dakota Fordham, Rebecca Lynn, Ava Krug, Nevena Carton, Gabriella Soliman, Jaedan Brown, Calissa Dellabarca, Minorka Miranda, Mary Grace Armistead, Alexia Harmon, Leah Kuruvilla, Cecilia Garibay, Alexis Blokhina, Maria Rizzolo and Mia Slama.

    The tournament website often has live streaming of matches, especially the featured night matches, which draw large crowds to the San Jose Country Club. Wimbledon girls doubles champion Abbey Forbes, now a freshman at UCLA, won the girls title last year. Wimbledon boys singles champion Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan took the boys title.

    Tuesday, December 24, 2019

    Happy Holidays!


    I'm taking a little break for the Christmas holiday, so please spend some time to look through my daily coverage of the Eddie Herr, Orange Bowl and Junior Orange Bowl tournaments the past three weeks. These few days are the off-season in junior tennis, but the USTA Winter Nationals begin on Saturday with the 12s and 14s in Tucson Arizona and the 16s and 18s at the USTA's National Campus in Lake Nona.

    Monday, December 23, 2019

    Riffice and Forbes win USTA Collegiate Winter Wild Card Playoffs; Volynets Turns Pro

    University of Florida sophomore Sam Riffice and UCLA freshman Abigail Forbes won the USTA's second annual Collegiate Winter Wild Card Playoffs, held this past weekend at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona.  (All results are from Bobby Knight @college10s2day).

    Riffice took first place in the eight-player men's competition, when William Blumberg was unable to compete in the final with a back injury. Riffice had defeated Ohio State freshman Cannon Kingsley 7-6(5), 6-1 in the semifinals, while Blumberg got by UCLA sophomore Govind Nanda 7-6(3), 7-6(5). Nanda defeated Kingsley 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 for third place.

    Forbes advanced to the final with a 6-4, 6-2 win over University of Virginia freshman Natasha Subhash, while North Carolina senior Alexa Graham made the final when teammate Sara Daavettila was unable to play the semifinal due to an injury.  In the women's final, Forbes defeated Graham 6-2, 6-4, an impressive end to an outstanding fall season for the 18-year-old from North Carolina. Subhash finished third, with Daavettila, who had gone undefeated in round robin play, not able to play that match either.

    For the names of all the participants and the wild cards they won, see this preview from the USTA. Round robin results are available at this link.

    USTA National 18s champion Katie Volynets has decided to forgo college and is turning pro, she confirmed to me today. Volynets, who turns 18 next week, is currently 395 in the WTA rankings, having reached the final and the semifinals of two $25K events last month. As a junior, Volynets won the Eddie Herr 16s and the Orange Bowl 16s back-to-back in 2016, an accomplishment duplicated this year by Ashlyn Krueger.

    Sunday, December 22, 2019

    Americans Yakoff and Basavareddy Claim Junior Orange Bowl 14s Titles; Andreeva, Gusic-Wan Capture 12s Championships

    ©Colette Lewis 2019--
    Coral Gables FL--

    After five matches in three days, it would have been no surprise if the Junior Orange Bowl champions' arms were too weary to hold the winners' silver bowl of oranges over their heads for the post-match photos. But in spite of the tournament's many rain delays this year, Stephanie Yakoff, Nishesh Basvareddy, Mirra Andreeva and Benjamin Gusic-Wan were able to celebrate their titles with all the traditional ceremonies at the prestigious event, knowing there will be time to rest in the next several days.

    Rain threatened throughout the morning, but only a few sprinkles reached the ground, and all four finals were completed without interruption, with the girls 12s and girls 14s and the boys 14s taking place at the Kerdyk Tennis Center at the Biltmore Hotel and the boys 12s eight blocks north at Salvadore Park.

    Basavareddy, the No. 2 seed, defeated No. 3 seed Rashed Nawaf (Naif) of Qatar 6-4, 6-3, for the boys 14s title, two years after he had fallen in the 12s championship match.

    "Two years ago I was much sadder, because I lost a final after having a really tough semifinal," said the 14-year-old from Carmel Indiana. "This year I'm relieved to finally get over the hump and win such a big tournament. A lot of players from around the world come; it was very competitive and it definitely feels really nice to win this tournament."

    Basavareddy, who was out 15 months in 2018 and 2019 with a torn meniscus and a stress fracture in the same knee, said his body held up well during this grueling stretch on hard courts.

    "I'm feeling good physically," said Basavareddy, who won the USTA 14s Clay Court Championships and led the US boys to the ITF World Junior Tennis 14-and-under team championships this summer upon his return to competition. "Obviously, five matches in three days is pretty tough, but in USTA you get used to it. Maybe some of these other kids, they only play one match a day, so it was a little bit to my advantage, I think."

    Basavareddy also had the advantage of not losing a set in his seven victories, and Nawaf, who relies on his quickness, could feel the fatigue from his two tough wins Saturday.

    "I was tired, and yesterday I played maybe more than four hours," said the 14-year-old Nawaf, who was a finalist at Les Petits As in Tarbes France back in January. "I was not really physically there."

    Although Nawaf said he wasn't at his best physically, he managed to use his slice, his speed and his hands to force Basavareddy to end a point with yet another shot.

    "He's a really good mover, he gets to a lot of balls, and it's tough to finish a point against him," Basavareddy said. "I was able to come to the net, play a little bit more aggressive than in the last couple of days, trying to take it to him and make sure he didn't feel comfortable running around and scrambling back balls."

    With Nawaf getting so many balls back via defensive lobs, Basavareddy was presented with many more overheads than he is accustomed to hitting.

    "It was tough, and his lobs were really good, often landing a couple of inches from the baseline," Basavareddy said. "So that was obviously really tough."

    Basavareddy served for the match at 5-2, couldn't close it out on his serve, but he broke Nawaf in the final game, crushing a forehand winner to secure the title.

    "I was trying to use my slice effectively, bring him to the net and maneuver him around the court," Basavareddy said. "And I think that worked out pretty well."

    Despite the loss, and his fatigue, Nawaf was pleased with his tournament. "It was a really good week, and still a good result to end in the final."
    Like Basavareddy, Yakoff moved into the final without having lost a set, and like him, she ended her tournament 14-0 in sets won, beating top seed Kayla Cross of Canada 6-2, 6-3. Although the score doesn't appear especially close, Yakoff was often in trouble, but managed to get herself out of it in every instance.

    "She played really well, I felt like," said Yakoff, a 14-year-old from Fort Lee, New Jersey. "The points were long and almost every game went to deuce, so it was still a tough match. My serve was definitely working--I don't think I got broken--and so was my forehand line. I was definitely being aggressive on that."

    Cross was unhappy with her inability to take advantage of her opportunities.

    "It was close every game, we both had chances every game, but she just played better in the important points," said the 14-year-old left-hander from London, Ontario. "Those points, she just made more balls than me. I would either go for too much or not enough, and I think that's what made the difference."

    Cross, who had lost in the second round of both the Eddie Herr and Junior Orange Bowl 14s last year, can see the progress she has made in claiming the title in Bradenton and reaching the final here.

    "Eddie Herr was huge in confidence for me," said Cross, who will start 2020 with two ITF Grade 2s in Tunisia. "I've always done pretty good in tournaments, quarters, semis, but I wasn't really ever getting to finals. But this year I've won a few ITFs, and it's really big, winning Eddie Herr and coming to the finals here."

    Yakoff, who won the USTA Winter Nationals in the 12s two years ago, counts this as her most significant title.

    "I've been training for this tournament for months," said Yakoff, who did not play Eddie Herr, opting for the USTA Indoor Nationals instead, where she finished third in the 16s. "It's definitely one of the highlights of my career."

    Yakoff will not have much time off to enjoy her Junior Orange Bowl title, with the USTA Winter Nationals, where she'll play the 16s division, coming up for her in Lake Nona beginning December 28th.
    While Cross won the Eddie Herr title and made the final at the Junior Orange Bowl, Andreeva flipped that script, losing in the Eddie Herr final, but taking the winner's bowl of oranges at the Junior Orange Bowl with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over No. 5 seed Yelyzaveta Kotliar of Ukraine.

    Andreeva, the No. 8 seed, got off to a quick start in the match, but the second set was considerably tougher, with lengthy points and deuce games. Down 4-1 in the second set, Kotliar started her comeback by winning two consecutive games, but Andreeva closed the door to earn the title, the first by a Russian girl in the 12s division since Valeriya Solovyeva in 2004.

    "This tournament went well, and I will be here one more time,” Andreeva told Simon Lehrer of juniororangebowl.org after the match, as she looks forward to graduating to the 14s division next year. “I hope to win it again.”
    Andy Murray now has company as a Junior Orange Bowl 12s champion, with Benjamin Gusic-Wan becoming the first boy from Great Britain to capture that title since Murray did it in 1999. Gusic-Wan, the No. 6 seed, defeated top seed Alejandro Arcila of Colombia 6-3, 6-3 on the Har-Tru courts of Salvadore Park.

    Gusic-Wan said he got off to a slow start, but soon had figured out what he needed to do to counteract Arcila's game style.

    "I needed to find my range in the first games, but then I got into it a bit more," said the diminutive right-hander, who recently turned 12.

    "He was an aggressive baseliner and liked to attack with his forehand, so I had to move him about, hit some angles," said Gusic-Wan, who won the prestigious Open Super 12 in Auray France back in February.

    Gusic-Wan, who hopes to play the big 14-and-under tournaments next month in Bolton and Tarbes, said he did not think about joining Andy Murray as a Junior Orange Bowl champion until he finished the match. "It's good to be there with him," Gusic-Wan said with a laugh.

    Only two third place matches were contested Sunday morning, with Manas Dhamne of India defeating Calvin Baierl of the United States 3-6, 6-0, 7-5 in the boys 12s and Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez of Mexico beating Alexandru Mihai Coman of Romania 6-1, 7-6(3) in the boys 14s.

    Sara Saito of Japan took third in the girls 14s, with Cadence Brace of Canada a no-show. The third place girls 12s match between Mariia Masiianskaia and Alina Korneeva of Russia was not played.

    Complete draws can be found at the TennisLink site.

    Saturday, December 21, 2019

    ITF Orange Bowl Recap; Yakoff and Basavareddy Reach Junior Orange Bowl 14s Finals, Moved Up to Sunday

    ©Colette Lewis 2019--
    Coral Gables FL--

    The weather in South Florida the past two weeks has not been conducive to predictable tennis schedules, but at the ITF Grade A Orange Bowl in Plantation, the final day featured great weather, a relief from the rain the previous three days. My recap of Robin Montgomery and Ashlyn Krueger's sweep of the girls titles, as well as the incredible run to No. 1 by Argentina's Thiago Tirante, is available now at the Tennis Recruiting Network.

    Unlike the 16s and 18s Orange Bowl, the forecast for the final day of the Junior Orange Bowl calls for a good chance of rain, causing the tournament committee to move the finals up from Monday to Sunday.  Due to a problematic forecast for Sunday afternoon and beyond, the quarterfinal and semifinals of the Junior Orange Bowl were completed Saturday, after the third and fourth round matches were played on Friday. All eight finalists will be playing their fifth match in three days Sunday for the title of Junior Orange Bowl champion.

    Nishesh Basavareddy is not new to Junior Orange Bowl finals, having reached the 12s final in 2017. The No. 2 seed in the 14s this year, after more than a year out with injury, Basavareddy will take on No. 3 seed Rashed Naif of Qatar after both posted straight-sets victories today at Crandon Park. Basavareddy defeated Japan's Yu Maeda, a No. 17 seed, 6-0, 6-3 in the quarterfinals and knocked out No. 4 seed and Eddie Herr champion Alexandru Mihai Coman of Romania 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals. Naif, whose name is spelled Nawaf in his ITF profile, advanced to the semifinals with 7-6(1), 4-4 retired inj. decision over Lennon Jones of Japan, who beat Basavareddy in the 12s final in 2017. Naif, the Les Petits As finalist this year, defeated No. 7 seed Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez of Mexico 7-5, 7-5 in the semifinals, after seeing a 5-1 second set lead slip away.
    I stayed at the Biltmore courts today to watch the quarterfinals and semifinals of the girls 14s, with four Americans in the last eight. One of them, Stephanie Yakoff, advanced to Sunday's championship match, and, as has been the case all week, she did it with a minimum of fuss. Yakoff, a No. 9 seed, defeated Brooklyn Olson, also a No. 9 seed, 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals and Sara Saito of Japan, a No. 17 seed, 6-1, 6-2 in the semifinals.

    Yakoff was dominant on serve against Saito, who had taken out No. 4 seed Aya El Aouni of Morocco 6-4, 7-5 in the quarterfinals, and used that advantage, and her variety, to keep Saito from settling into her power baseline game.

    "I mixed it up, and I tried to change pace a lot," said the high school freshman from Fort Lee, New Jersey. "Her style is aggressive, so I tried to make her uncomfortable by changing pace, heavy shots, angles. I have been working on my serve a lot and I'm trying to hold more and be more aggressive on the returning game."

    Saito's serve is not a weapon, and Yakoff took full advantage of that.

    "She had a good first serve percentage, but still I was able to attack it," said Yakoff, who has not lost a set this week.

    As for playing four matches in two days, Yakoff was not fazed by that at all.

    "I played Indoor Nationals not too long ago, and that was also two matches a day," said Yakoff, who finished third in the USTA National Indoor Championships in the 16s last month. "I'm kind of getting used to it by now."

    Yakoff will face top seed Kayla Cross, who also earned her two wins in straight sets, beating No. 17 seed Sage Loudon of the US 6-1, 6-1 and fellow Canadian Cadence Brace, the No. 3 seed, 6-4, 6-2. Brace had beaten No. 9 seed Theodora Rabman of the US 6-3, 3-6, 10-8 in the quarterfinals. Although Cross's win over Brace looked routine, it was an emotional victory for her.

    "I was playing another Canadian and I hadn't beaten her in a long time," said the 14-year-old left-hander, who won the Eddie Herr title earlier this month. "My record against her is not very good, so the adrenaline helped me to win that match. It showed I can play with her, and even though I've lost the last few times, I can beat her when it really matters."

    At one stage late in the second set and early in the third, there were six breaks in seven games, but the one hold was Cross serving for the first set. She then held again for a 3-1 lead, and after breaking to go up 4-1, Brace took a medical timeout. Down 0-40 after that delay, Cross gathered herself, won the game and then saved a break point in the final game to seal the victory.

    "She took a medical timeout, and I didn't get really cold, but we hadn't played in five minutes, so it's hard to get back, when you're serving, you are doing it every other game, while when you're returning, it's like you're in the rally," Cross said. "I had to find the rhythm again."

    Cross and Yakoff played two years ago here in Coral Gables in the 12s, with Cross winning 1-6, 7-6(1), 6-1 in the round of 16.

    "I remember playing here at Orange Bowl," said Cross. "I remember playing her and I know she's a really good opponent and I'm going to have to fight really hard to get the title."
    Cross is the only Eddie Herr champion to reach the final here at the Junior Orange Bowl, after the semifinal losses by Coman in the boys 14s, Dhamne in the boys 12s, and in the girls 12s, Alina Korneeva of Russia. Korneeva defeated Sapir Cohen, who had finished her round of 16 match this morning, beating No. 7 seed Claire An 7-6, 6-4, by a score of 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals, but Korneeva lost to No. 5 seed Yelyzaveta Kotliar of Ukraine 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals. Kotliar, who had finished her round of 16 match at the Biltmore last night, barely edged No. 9 seed Sasha Kilgour of the United States 6-2, 6-7, 10-8 in the quarterfinals.

    Eddie Herr finalist Mirra Andreeva of Russia earned her appearance in the Junior Orange Bowl final with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Elizabete Brutane of Latvia, a No. 9 seed, and a 6-3, 6-1 win over unseeded Mariia Masiianskaia, the third Russian to reach the semifinals.
    In the boys 12s, top seed Alejandro Arcila of Colombia rolled on, beating unseeded Nicolas Arseneault of Canada 6-2, 6-0 in the semifinals and Eddie Herr champion Manas Dhamne of India, the No. 4 seed, 6-4, 7-5 in the semifinals.

    Arcila's opponent in the final will be No. 6 seed Benjamin Gusic-Wan of Great Britain, who won two tight matches Saturday at Salvadore Park. Gusic-Wan defeated No. 9 seed Oliver Bonding, also of Great Britain 2-6, 6-4, 10-7, then took out unseeded Calvin Baierl of the United States 7-6(5), 7-6(5) in the semifinals. Baierl had beaten No. 9 seed Samy Khediri 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinals. Arcila will be the first Colombian champion at the Junior Orange Bowl title if he wins; Gusic-Wan will be the first boy from Great Britain to win the 12s since Andy Murray in 1999 if he takes the title.

    The boys and girls 14s and the girls 12s finals are scheduled for 10 a.m. at the Kerdyk Tennis Center at the Biltmore, while the boys 12s final will be played at Salvadore Park, also at 10 a.m.

    For updated draws, see the TennisLink site.

    Friday, December 20, 2019

    No. 2 Seeds Eliminated in G14s and B12s as Junior Orange Bowl Adopts Two-a-Day Schedule for Friday and Saturday

    ©Colette Lewis 2019--
    Coral Gables FL--

    More rain overnight caused a two-hour delay Friday, as the Junior Orange Bowl tried to get back on schedule after a complete washout of third round main draw matches Thursday with two rounds of matches. Fortunately most of the afternoon was dry, and the consolation tournament was cancelled, so quarterfinals are set for Saturday, and the semifinals will be played as Saturday as well, given a dicey forecast for Sunday. The plan is to play the final Monday, as initially scheduled, with Sunday now a day of rest, providing there is no rain Saturday.

    With all the tennis played today, some top seeds were bound to be eliminated, especially with a match tiebreaker used in lieu of a third set.

    At the girls 14s at Kerdyk Center at the Biltmore, No. 2 seed Nikola Daubnerova of Slovakia fell in the third round to Tatum Evans, a No. 17 seed, 6-3, 6-1. Evans lost in the next round to fellow American Stephanie Yakoff 6-1, 6-0. Yakoff, a No. 9 seed, will take on another American, Brooklyn Olson, also a No. 9 seed in the quarterfinals. Olson reached the girls 12 final last year.

    Top seed Kayla Cross of Canada has yet to lose a set, and she will take on American Sage Loudon, a 17 seed, in the quarterfinals. The fourth American in the quarterfinals of the girls 14s is Thea Rabman, the reigning USTA 14s national champion. The No. 9 seed, Rabman defeated No. 5 seed Daria Zykova of Russia 2-6, 7-5, 10-8 in the round of 16.  Rabman will play No. 3 seed Cadence Brace of Canada.

    Six of the top 8 seeds in the boys 14s have advanced to the quarterfinals, with only No. 5 seed Nahuet Nicolas Eli of Argentina needing a match tiebreaker to advance. Eli will face Eddie Herr champion Alexandru Mihai Coman of Romania, the No. 4 seed in the quarterfinals.  No. 2 seed Nishesh Basavareddy of the US will play No. 17 seed Yu Maeda of Japan, who defeated No. 8 seed Cooper Williams of the United States 6-2, 6-3. The other American in the quarterfinals is Joseph Phillips, a No. 9 seed. He will take on Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez of Mexico, who posted the most impressive results Friday at Crandon Park, losing only one game in each of his two matches. The other boys 14s quarterfinal features Lennon Jones, the 2017 Junior Orange Bowl 12s champion, and No. 3 seed Rashed Naif of Qatar, who beat two Americans today: Eddie Herr finalist Benjamin Kreynes 6-1, 6-3 in the third round and unseeded Nikita Filin 6-1, 6-1 in the round of 16.

    The boys 12s draw lost its No. 2 and No. 3 seeds today, with Changmin Ryu of Korea, seeded third, falling to No. 9 seed Samy Khediri of Great Britain 6-3, 5-7, 10-4. No. 2 seed Max Exsted of the United States was beaten by Oliver Bonding, a No. 9 seed, 6-3, 6-7(9), 10-4. Bonding is one of three boys from Great Britain in the quarterfinals, and he will play compatriot Benjamin Gusic-Wan, the No. 6 seed, who defeated No. 9 seed Timofey Derepasko of Russia 4-6, 7-5, 10-4.  The sole American remaining the boys draw is unseeded Calvin Baierl, who defeated Maximus Wong of Singapore 6-2, 6-1 and Boxiong Zhang of China 6-1, 6-1. Baierl's quarterfinal opponent is Khediri.

    Top seed Alejandro Arcila had no difficulty in his two matches, and his opponent in the quarterfinals is Nicolas Arseneault of Canada, one of three unseeded players in the final eight. Arseneault defeated Francisco Salmain of the United States 6-2, 5-7, 12-10 in the third round and Oskari Paldanius of Finland 6-4, 6-2 in the fourth round.  Eddie Herr champion Manas Dhamne, the No. 4 seed, was forced to a match tiebreaker by unseeded Mateo Carballo of Argentina, but the 11-year-old from India prevailed 6-3, 0-6, 10-4. Dhamne's quarterfinal opponent is unseeded David Carteputreda, who beat Nicholas Patrick of the US, a No. 9 seed, 6-1, 6-1 in the third round and unseeded Hans Deng of Canada 6-2, 6-4 in the fourth round.

    Even with the match tiebreaker, several of the girls 12s matches were lengthy, with two third round matches that began around 1:30 not finishing until well after 4 p.m. The winners of those two matches were were just preparing for their fourth round matches when a light rain suspended play at Crandon Park, and those two matches were sent to the Biltmore to be played.
    Lya Fernandez of Mexico, a No. 9 seed, defeated No. 3 seed Hephzibah Oluwadare of Great Britain 6-4, 5-7, 10-8 to reach the quarterfinals, where she will play unseeded Mariia Masiianskaia, one of three Russian girls in the quarterfinals.

    No. 8 seed Mirra Andreeva of Russia will face Elizabete Brutane of Latvia, a No. 9 seed. No. 5 seed Yelyzaveta Kotliar of Ukraine defeated Alexis Nguyen of the United States 6-1, 6-3 in one of the two moved matches. Kotliar will play Sasha Kilgour of the United States, a No. 9 seed, in the quarterfinals. Eddie Herr champion and No. 2 seed Alina Korneeva of Russia will play the winner of the unfinished match between Sapir Cohen of Israel and No. 7 seed Claire An of the United States. Rain late in the evening at the Biltmore prevented that match from finishing, with Cohen up 7-6(3), 3-4.

    All scores from today's matches can be found at the TennisLink site. Play is expected to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, weather permitting.

    Thursday, December 19, 2019

    Rain Washes Out Play on Day Three of Junior Orange Bowl; Australian Open Junior Acceptances; Semifinals Set at USTA Collegiate Winter Wild Card Playoffs

    ©Colette Lewis 2019--
    Coral Gables FL--

    The saturated Har-Tru Courts at B12s site Salvadore Park
    Today was one of the worst weather days I can recall in my 16 years of covering the Junior Orange Bowl, and with the exception of seven consolation matches in the B12s, no matches were started, let alone finished, with persistent rain continuing throughout the day.

    Third round main draw matches are scheduled to be played Friday morning beginning at 10 a.m., with the round of 16 set for Friday afternoon, but that schedule relies on dry weather, and it continues to rain tonight, with the forecast not good for Friday either. The consolation draw is likely to be abandoned if there are any more delays; the weather forecast for the remainder of the tournament includes a 50% chance of rain everyday through Monday according to AccuWeather.

    See the TennisLink site for Friday's times and for updates on the weather Friday morning.

    With no tennis viewed today, it's a good time to look at the 2020 Australian Open Junior Championships acceptances, which came out Tuesday. As usual, there are not many Americans making the trip, and only six are currently in the main draw: Martin Damm, Dali Blanch, Aidan Mayo, Robin Montgomery, Savannah Broadus and Katrina Scott.

    Those accepted into qualifying are Alex Bernard, Zane Khan, Stefan Leustian, Cash Hanzlik, Ellie Coleman, Madison Sieg, India Houghton, Elvina Kalieva, Skyler Grishuk and Charlotte Owensby.

    Although there are more current Top 10 players in the boys field--Shintaro Mochizuki(JPN), Harold Mayot(FRA), Damm and Shunsuke Mitsui(JPN)--than the girls field, the girls field is much deeper, with their cutoff 67, while the boys cutoff is 107. In fact, the cutoff for the girls qualifying is 102 meaning it was harder for a girl to get into qualifying than a boy to get into the main draw. The girls Top 10 players are Elsa Jacquemot of France, Kamilla Bartone of Latvia and Montgomery.

    It should be pointed out however that many players pull out of Australia once they get a handle on their schedule for the new year, and often the junior qualifying isn't full, or extends much farther down in the rankings than it would appear from the first acceptance list.

    The rain has not extended as far north as Orlando, and the semifinals are set at the USTA's Winter Wild Card Playoff after three days of round robin play.  Advancing to the men's semifinals are Cannon Kingsley(Ohio State), Govind Nanda(UCLA), Sam Riffice(Florida) and William Blumberg(UNC). Kingsley plays Riffice and Nanda play Blumberg in Friday's semifinals. Advancing to the women's semifinals are Sara Daavettila(UNC), Alexa Graham(UNC), Natasha Subhash(Virginia) and Abigail Forbes(UCLA). The Tar Heel teammates play each other, with the two freshman meeting in the other semifinal.

    Bobby Knight's twitter account is the source of this information. This is a link to the tweet below, which provides the scores of the round robin matches.

    Wednesday, December 18, 2019

    Top Seed Ousted by Qualifier in Junior Orange Bowl Girls 12s as Weather Leads to Format Changes

    ©Colette Lewis--
    Coral Gables FL--

    Rain overnight in the Miami area meant wet courts Wednesday morning, but fortunately no more rain fell during the second day of play at the Junior Orange Bowl.

    Delays ran from an hour to more than two, depending on the site, and with consolation matches also scheduled to begin today, the decision was made to play a match tiebreaker in lieu of a third set in the second round of main draw, and to implement short scoring (first to 4, tiebreaker at 4-all, match TB for third) in the first round of consolation matches (in B12s and G14s only, Crandon Park didn't get the word and played full sets with a match tiebreaker for a third, the standard consolation format).

    After few surprises on the first day of play Tuesday, with all but one top 8 seed advancing (and one withdrawing), that changed Wednesday, with two of the top four seeds in the girls 12s losing and four more top 8 seeds also suffering losses in today's second round.

    Top seed girls 12s seed Mingge Xu of Great Britain lost to qualifier Yifei Huang of China 6-3, 6-2. Huang should not have been in qualifying, as she was seeded No. 5 at the Eddie Herr and reached the semifinals. The Junior Orange Bowl does not use UTR for entry as the Eddie Herr now does, relying instead on the Order of Merit a country submits and that has led to more qualifiers in the third round.

    No. 4 seed Thea Latak of the United States, who won the Easter Bowl 12s this year, lost to Riley Crowder, also from the US, 6-4, 4-6, 10-8. No. 6 seed Bella Payne retired to Helena Lynn trailing 7-5, 1-1 in another all-US second round match.

    In the boys 12s, the top four seeds all advanced to the third round in straight sets, but No. 7 seed Mark Krupkin of the United States lost to Hans Deng of Canada 6-2, 3-6, 10-5. No. 8 seed Gregory Vrel-Nagel of France survived against Jonas Hahn of Australia in a battle of left-handers 6-2, 3-6, 10-7.

    I spent the afternoon at the girls 14s at the Biltmore's Kerdyk Tennis Center, and while I missed the losses by No. 7 seed Lucciana Perez of Peru(to Orly Oglivy of Canada) and No. 8 seed Maya Joint of the United States(to American Sophie Lleyellyn), I did watch No. 4 seed Aya El Aouni of Morocco advance to the third round--just barely.

    Although she didn't face a match point, El Aouni was two points from defeat at 9-9 in the match tiebreaker she played against Karen Verduzco of Mexico. Verduzco had taken the first set 6-4; El Aouni took the second set 6-1. Neither could settle on a game plan, and moon balls were frequent, with lengthy points the norm.  They also lost track of the score during the match tiebreaker, with El Aouni serving three times at 6-3, 6-4 and 6-5, with the roving umpire not observing at the time of El Aouni's first two serves (one of which was a double fault), and Verduzco not aware that it was her turn to serve. In reality, serving was no advantage to either girl, with five of the first six points going to the returner. El Aouni's took a 9-6 lead, but Verduzco, unusually, won her two service points to close the gap to 9-8. On match point No. 3, a 30-ball rally ended when El Aouni's lob went long, and although they changed ends, El Aouni didn't serve the next point, with the long point and the change of ends apparently causing them to lose track of the score again. Verduzco lost that point that she served in error, and on the fourth match point, Verduzco served, but an El Aouni forehand forced an error to give her the match in an 11-9 tiebreaker.

    Top seed and Eddie Herr champion Kayla Cross of Canada defeated Reya Coe of the US 6-0, 6-1 and No. 2 seed Nikola Daubnerova of Slovakia beat Canadian Iulia Bucea 6-2, 6-2 to close out main draw second round action in the 14s.

    The boys 14s continued to go as expected, with seeds 2-8 advancing after No. 1 Kyle Kang withdrew. No. 2 seed Nishesh Basavareddy defeated Micah Bigun 6-2, 6-2 in an all-US second round contest, and Eddie Herr champion Alexandru Mihai Coman of Romania, the No. 4 seed, beat Adhithya Ganesan of the US 6-3, 6-4. No. 3 seed Rashed Naif of Qatar will have a challenge in Thursday's third round when he takes on Eddie Herr finalist Benjamin Kreynes of the US, a No. 17 seed.

    For draws and Thursday's times, see the TennisLink site.

    Tuesday, December 17, 2019

    Top Seeds Advance in First Round Action at Junior Orange Bowl; Exsted Survives Stern Test in B12s

    ©Colette Lewis 2019--
    Coral Gables FL--

    The weather appeared excellent for the opening day of the 2019 Junior Orange Bowl, but with high humidity delaying play in the girls 14s, and an abundance of competitive matches it was still 9 p.m. before the last first round concluded Tuesday.

    Courts damp from dew led to a two-hour delay in starting the girls 14s matches at the Kerdyk Biltmore Tennis Center, but all eight of the top seeds reached the second round, including No. 1 Kayla Cross of Canada and No. 2 Nikola Daubnerova of Slovakia.

    The boys 14s lost their top seed in Kyle Kang, who withdrew and was replaced by a lucky loser. No. 2 seed Nishesh Bassavareddy and No. 3 seed Rashed Naif advanced in straight sets at Crandon Park.

    All the top 8 seeds in the girls 12s reached the second round at Crandon Park, including No. 1 seed Mingge Xu of Great Britain and No. 2 seed Alina Korneeva of Russia, the Eddie Herr champion.

    I spent the day at Salvadore Park, getting acquainted with the field in the boys 12s.  No. 5 seed Oliver Narbut fell in a match with fellow American Calvin Baierl 7-5, 6-4. Normally players from the same country are separated from one another in the first round (unless they are qualifiers or lucky losers), and I was told there was a mistake made in this case.

    Top seed Alejandro Arcila of Colombia, No. 3 seed Changmin Ryu of Korea and Eddie Herr champion Manas Dhamne of India, the No. 4 seed, lost only four games between them. But No. 2 seed Max Exsted had to fight for his life against qualifier Kohshi Ishibashi of Japan, coming from a break down in the third set to earn a 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-3 win in three hours and 15 minutes.

    Exsted had two match points in the second set tiebreaker, at 6-5, when he made an unforced forehand error, and at 7-6, when Ishibashi snapped off a perfect forehand volley winner. Ishibashi followed that winner with a backhand on the line to earn his first set point, and he converted it with a forehand swing volley, sending the match, which had started under bright sunlight at 3:35 p.m., to a third set played under the lights on court 1.

    The standard 10-minute USTA break between sets did nothing to stop the momentum of Ishibashi, who lost only six games in four qualifying matches. He broke and held for a 2-0 lead, but Exsted came back, winning the next four games. Ishibashi broke back for 4-3, but couldn't pull even, dropping serve again to give Exsted the chance to serve for the match. Getting his first serve in, Exsted closed out the match without much drama, as Ishibashi couldn't find the consistent aggression that he had displayed throughout the match in the final game.

    Exsted admitted to a drop in his level early in the second set, but he gave credit to Ishibashi for pressing him throughout the match, with his ability to close at the net particularly impressive.

    "My dad told me to just stay calm and just play," said Exsted, who reached the Eddie Herr final two weeks ago. "He was really good. I didn't really expect it. In the second set, in the beginning, I stopped playing a little bit and he just started being more offensive. He got every ball back and he can play offense too, so he was good all around."

    There is a good chance of rain in Wednesday's forecast, but if it holds off, second round play begins at 8 a.m. in all four divisions.

    For all results and Wednesday's times, see the TennisLink site.