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Saturday, December 7, 2019

Qualifier Lys, Unseeded Kolodynska in Eddie Herr Girls ITF Final; Argentina's Tirante and Burruchaga Meet for Boys Title; Broadus and Collins Take ITF Girls Doubles; Anthrop and Krueger Claim 16s Titles

©Colette Lewis 2019--
Bradenton, FL--

When qualifier Eva Lys of Germany and unseeded Jana Kolodynska of Belarus meet Sunday morning in the first ITF Grade 1 final for both, Lys will have had the advantage of needing only an hour to defeat Evialina Laskevich of Belarus 6-1, 6-1 in today's semifinal, while Kolodynska took more than three hours to get past American Elina Kalieva 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5). But Lys will be playing her ninth match since last Saturday, so that advantage may be limited.

Lys, who had lost 6-4, 6-1 to Laskevich in an ITF Grade 2 in October, was confident that she would perform better in the rematch.

"I had many injuries this year and I was recovering," said the 17-year-old from Hamburg. "That was my first tournament after the injury and I wasn't very fit. She played good, but I couldn't run. I felt very, very good on court today and I played how I'm supposed to play. She was playing fine, she was playing good, but I just didn't give her a chance to do something that would make me stop playing the way I was playing."

With all her injuries this year, Lys had a different perspective on this tournament.

"I think it easier for me to play, because I don't have anything to lose," said Lys, who last made a Grade 1 semifinal 18 months ago in Morocco. "My ranking is 300 and I'm just enjoying to be here, so I had a very great day."

Fortunately for Lys, she has not lost a set in the main draw this week, keeping her court time to a minimum, and she knows there is just one more match to go.

"I am pretty tired, and I will probably go to the physio and try to relax there, but I am happy to be playing the finals tomorrow," Lys said.

Kolodynska was up 6-4, 4-2 against Kalieva when the American caught fire, winning four straight games to even the match. The third set was a grind for both players, with Kalieva unable to overpower Kolodynska, who would get ball after ball back in play, often using high, heavy, deep balls to reset the point after a Kalieva attack.

Kalieva had an opportunity to break and serve for the match with Kolodynska down 15-40 at 3-4, but Kolodynska won the next four points and broke Kalieva at love to earn a chance to serve out the match herself. After not missing a ball for several games, Kolodynska suddenly looked vulnerable, with a double fault and a forehand error putting Kalieva back in the match.

"I played a very bad game," said the 16-year-old right-hander, who was broken at 15-40. "I must play aggressive but I am very nervous, because it's semifinal Eddie Herr; it's the best tournament of my life and it's very important for me to win today."

Kalieva picked up her game then, hitting four winners to go up 6-5 and it was Kolodynska who then faced the pressure of serving for a tiebreaker. At 30-30, a rally of over 30 balls eventually went Kolodynska's way and after a Kalieva shot was called good by the line judge but disputed by Kolodynska, the chair looked at the mark and called it out, putting the match in a tiebreaker.

Kalieva had mostly contained her frustration with Kolodynska's relentless defense, but after another long rally that she could not control in the third point of the tiebreaker, she seemed to unravel, shouting "holy sh*t, how does that happen?" after Kolodynska hit three or four lines after retrieving potential Kalieva winners. Coded for an audible obscenity, Kalieva found herself down 6-2 before she regrouped, getting back on serve by winning three straight points. But on match point No. 4, Kolodynska came up with a short-angle forehand winner after a brief rally to end Kalieva's hopes of another comeback.

Lys and Kolodynska have not met before, but Kolodynska was adamant that she will play more aggressive and less tentatively than she did today.

"I won't play nervous, I will play with my head," Kolodynska said.
Argentina will have its first boys ITF champion since Luciano Vitullo in 2000 after Sunday's final, when No. 2 seed Thiago Tirante of Argentina faces Roman Burruchaga.  Tirante, who is now No. 4 in the ITF World Junior rankings, earned his second win over Arthur Cazaux of France in the past seven days, having beating Cazaux in three sets in the ITF Grade A Merida final and 6-4, 6-2 in today's semifinal. Tirante attributed the easier win today to the change in several conditions from the Mexico and Florida tournaments.

"I think the other one in Mexico was more slow and that's why [that match] was longer," said the 18-year-old from La Plata. "At Mexico we play with Head championship balls, so it was more faster than here. I was ready for a longer match, and in the beginning I play a little bit nervous, a little bit not good. I won the first set, very tough, and I think in the second set he don't play good, he lost focus in the match, so I play more and more aggressive."

Tirante decided to try for the ITF World Junior Top 4 in order to get special exemptions into three $25,000 World Tennis Tour events in 2020, and by winning the Grade A last week, he is still in the hunt for the No. 1 ITF Junior Circuit year-end ranking.

"I was 7 before, and I have to finish 4 in the rankings," Tirante said. "I come here to get the 4. But if I win this tournament and the other one, I take the No. 1. I play good tennis, I am confident, so I think have to try to do that."

Burruchaga, a year younger than Tirante, trailed No. 8 seed Timo Legout of France 4-1 in the second set, but won six of the next seven games for a 7-6(1), 7-5 win and a place in a Grade 1 final for the first time.

Tirante said he doesn't mind playing Burruchaga in the final.

"I know him so much, both of us know so much," Tirante said. "But I play good, stay to play my game and I will play point by point."
The ITF doubles champions were decided Saturday afternoon, with unseeded Savannah Broadus and Kylie Collins of the United States defeating No. 5 seeds Giulia Morlet of France and Diana Shnaider of Russia 6-3, 7-6(6).

Morlet and Shnaider, both left-handers, served for the second set at 5-4 and 6-5, but Broadus and Collins won both games, the latter on a deciding point to send it to a tiebreaker. At 5-all in the tiebreaker, Collins crushed a backhand winner to give her team a match point, but Morlet saved it with a well-executed forehand volley. Broadus earned a second match point with a backhand volley winner, and Morlet double faulted to end the match.

"I thought in this match we played really solid," said the 17-year-old Broadus, the 2019 Wimbledon girls doubles champion. "A couple of games every now and then we got a little tight, but we worked through it."

"I think our communication was good all throughout the tournament," said Collins, who turned 17 on Wednesday. "Our energy, the more we picked it up the better we started playing, so it was perfect."

Broadus and Collins, who saved a match point in their 6-7(6), 7-6(4), 10-2 semifinal win over Americans Reese Brantmeier and Allie Gretkowski, had played together previously and gotten to finals, but this was their first title as a team.

"The whole match, we knew how we wanted to play and it was just going out and executing it," Collins said.

Collins and Broadus will be playing together at next week's Orange Bowl.
The boys doubles title went to No. 5 seeds Jeffrey Von Der Schulenburg of Switzerland and Alexander Hoogmartens of Belgium, who defeated No. 3 seeds Arthur Fery and Felix Gill of Great Britain 7-6(3), 6-2.

Von Der Schulenburg and Hoogmartens were playing together for the first time, after Von Der Schulenburg had admired Hoogmartens' doubles game when he was an opponent at the ITF Grade A in Osaka this fall.

"I lost to him in doubles and I thought he played quite well, so I asked him if he would like to play with me," said Von Der Schulenburg.

It didn't take long for the pair to realize that they had a chance at the title.

"We had never played together and in the first round we played two quite good Germans and we won easily," the 17-year-old Von Der Schulenburg said. "We played a really good match, and you know it just clicked."

They were tested in the final, with very little separating the two teams.

"The first set was tough, really close," said Hoogmartens, also 17. "It's a little bit difficult, when it's a lefty and a righty, always changing up."

"So maybe it took us a few games to get used to how to play," Von Der Schulenburg said. "The first set could have gone either way. It was so important. In the second set, Alex played a really good service game and then we're 3-0 up and you don't really relax, but you feel a bit more comfortable."

Von Der Schulenburg and Hoogmartens will also be playing the Orange Bowl as a team.

Sunday's order of play
Boys singles draw
Girls singles draw
Boys doubles draw
Girls doubles draw

The finals in the 12s, 14s, and 16s divisions were played Saturday, with Americans sweeping the singles titles in the 16s.
Jack Anthrop, the No. 2 seed, defeated top seed Marko Andrejic of Austria 6-3, 6-1 to claim the boys 16s title.

Trailing 2-0 in the first set, Anthrop decided a change was in order.

"He was playing very well in the beginning," said Anthrop, who turned 16 last month. "He came out firing forehands and backhands, both corners and I was playing a little bit more defense than I would have liked. I realized I had to start hitting the ball a bit bigger, moving more into the court or I was not going to win this match."

Anthrop had lost to Andrejic early this year at the Grade 1 in Costa Rica, so he had that history to draw on.

"I realized I was up for a challenge and I knew what to expect," said Anthrop, a resident of Orlando Florida. "So I think I did very well today to prepare to come battle."

Anthrop, who did not lose more than four games in a set all week, could have played qualifying in the 18s based on his ITF ranking of 218, but with the ITF limits on tournaments one of the factors, he decided to play 16s instead.

"I'm actually almost maxed out in the ITFs I can play this year," said Anthrop, who will also be playing 16s at the Orange Bowl. "It was probably the best decision, since I age out of 16s next year. I'm very, very pleased that I managed to win this tournament in my last year in the 16s."
Ashlyn Krueger received a wild card into the 16s tournament, and the 15-year-old from Texas made the best of it, taking the title with a 6-4, 6-3 win over No. 7 seed Qavia Lopez, also from the United States.

Krueger, the No. 8 seed, has been playing a combination of Pro Circuit events and ITF events, but she decided to set her sights on a title this week.

"I started slow this week, but towards the end, I really upped my game," said the 6-foot-1 Krueger, who has been working with Dave Licker at the Lakes Tennis Academy in Frisco for the past several months. "I feel like I'm an all-court player, but I also like to hit big from the baseline and look for my opportunity to come to the net. Today I had to [do that] because she's a good baseliner, so winning points at the net was how I was going to win."

Krueger fell behind 3-0 to start the final, but although she admitted to some nerves, she didn't panic.

"I am a slow starter, so I just had to stay calm," said Krueger, who ended the 20-match Eddie Herr winning streak of 12s and 14s champion Brenda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic in the semifinals. "It was hard, because she's one of my friends, but it came down to mental and physical. She played really well, so I just had to up my game and play better."

Lopez was not entirely satisfied with her performance in the final.

"It definitely wasn't my best tennis," said the 14-year-old from Milwaukee. "I think she played pretty solid the whole match and was a bit more steady than I was. I needed to play more inside the court rather than be on more defense, that was something I definitely could have done"

Lopez admitted that the occasion could have been a factor.

"I don't know if it was nerves; I've never been in a final of a tournament this big before, especially not in 16s," Lopez said. "But the week overall was a good week: good tennis, good players."

Lopez and Krueger will both be playing the 16s Orange Bowl next week.
The 14s titles went to the No. 1 seeds, with Kayla Cross of Canada defeating No. 13 seed Sara Saito of Japan 6-3, 6-1 and Mihai Coman of Romania downing No. 12 seed Benjamin Kreynes of the United States 6-3, 7-6(3).

Cross, who needed barely an hour to take the title, has been dominant all week, losing just 15 games in her six victories.

"I had a good game plan and I executed it really well today," said Cross, 14. "I was really motivated every point and I didn't miss random shots. I made sure I was focused every single shot, no matter what the score was."

Cross, who lost in the second round at the Eddie Herr last year, admitted that she was nervous, but got her emotions under control early.

"Going in the as the first seed was a lot of pressure," Cross said. "In the finals, I was nervous, but I was really excited to be playing on that court, being able to show people how much I've improved."

Nathalie Tauziat, the 1998 Wimbledon women's finalist, who has coached for Tennis Canada since her retirement, supported Cross throughout the week.

"She just starting coaching me about a month ago," Cross said. "I think for 15 weeks she's coming to help us out. She's been helping me a lot because I'm one of the older ones there. I get to hit with her a lot and she's really good to travel with, she gives really good feedback. I love coming to the net, so she always encourages me, where some coaches don't like that."

Cross is going back home to Canada for five days, but will return to play the Junior Orange Bowl in Coral Gables.
Coman looked to be in control in the final against Kreynes at 6-3, 5-3, but Kreynes made him work for the title.

"At 5-4, match point, I guess I was a little bit nervous to finish the set and to win the tournament," said Coman, 14. "Fortunately I managed my emotions good and finished in two sets, not three sets."

Kreynes couldn't quite get the points he needed to put pressure on Coman.

"He played well today, and I couldn't really do much," said Kreynes, a 13-year-old who trains at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Naples Florida and its sister academy in Spain. "I had chances at 6-5, but I was returning so I couldn't really do anything."

Kreynes was happy with his tournament this week, considering he wasn't in top form until recently.

"A couple of months back I wasn't playing very well, but a month back I stared playing better, so I'm that I could make the final," said Kreynes, who is planning to play the Junior Orange Bowl.

Coman, who is playing both the 16s Orange Bowl and the Junior Orange Bowl, gives credit to the ITF Junior Grand Slam Development 14U Team for helping him on this trip.

"Without them I couldn't be here," Coman said. "It's a good feeling to win this tournament, I'm very nervous right now. But if you win the Eddie Herr it doesn't mean you'll be an ATP player. You have to work, maybe harder than you worked before."
In the 12s, No. 4 seed Manas Dhamne became the first player from India to win an Eddie Herr singles title, beating No. 3 seed Max Exsted of the United States 3-6, 6-0, 10-6.

Dhamne knew after the first set he had to change tactics.

"The way he was playing, I needed to take the balls in front, not give him more time," said Dhamne, who trains in Pune. "The first set I made mistakes and he was not missing, so the second set I was taking the ball early, not giving him time."

Exsted, the 2019 USTA 12s champion, admitted that he ran out of energy in the second set, with his semifinal win over top seed Alejandro Arcila of Colombia taking its toll.

"He started being a lot more aggressive and I missed a lot more," said Exsted, who is from Savage, Minnesota.  "I think physically and mentally, the day before took a lot out of me."
In the girls 12s, No. 2 seed Alina Korneeva took the title in an all-Russia final, beating doubles partner and top seed Mirra Andreeva 6-3, 6-3. It was just the third loss of the year for Andreeva, who had won four Category 1 tournaments in Europe this year and last lost a match in February.

The doubles champions were crowned in the 12s, 14s and 16s, with the winners pictured and the results in the captions.

Ozan Colak(USA) & Aidan Kim(USA)[2] d.
Gonzalo Bueno(PER) & Felipe Lopez(CHI) 7-6(5), 6-2

Sarah Hamner(USA) & Vivian Ovrootsky(USA)[1] d. 
Ava Krug(USA) & Qavia Lopez(USA)[6] 6-1, 6-4

Michael Kouame(FRA) & Fabio Nestola(GBR) d.
Juan Prado(BOL) & Lucas Silva(BRA)[2] 2-6, 7-6(4), 10-4

Kayla Cross(CAN) & Nikola Daubnerova(SVK)[1] d.
Ena Koike (USA) & Sara Saito(JPN) 6-4, 6-1

Se Hyuk Cho(KOR) & Minsoek Maeng(KOR)[6]) d.
Manas Dhamne(IND) & Aarav Samrat Hada(NPL)[2] 7-6(5), 6-2

Mirra Andreeva(RUS) & Alina Korneeva(RUS)[1] d. 
JaiYi Wang(CHN) & Yifei Huang(CHN)[7] 6-2, 6-3
For complete draws, see the TennisLink site

Friday, December 6, 2019

Top Two Girls Seeds Fall in Eddie Herr ITF Quarterfinals; Lopez and Krueger to Meet for Girls 16s Title; Anthrop, Kreynes and Exsted Advance to Boys 16s, 14s, 12s Finals

©Colette Lewis 2019--
Bradenton Florida--

An unseeded girl will win the ITF Eddie Herr International Grade 1 title in 2019 after the top two seeds were dismissed in Friday's quarterfinals, while a rematch of last week's boys final at the Grade A in Mexico will highlight the boys semifinals Saturday.

Conditions were ideal at the IMG Academy's green clay courts, with clear blue skies, temperatures in the 70s and no wind. Evialina Laskevich of Belarus took full advantage, beating top seed Alexandra Eala of the Philippines 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2 in a match that lasted just short of three hours.

"It was a really a difficult match, I'm just happy that I won," said the 15-year-old right-hander, who celebrated her birthday last month. "Of course I'm tired, but I really want to win this tournament. It's really amazing to play semis here and I'm ready."

Laskevich was down 5-2 in the first set when she called her coach to the court, with this the first day that coaching is allowed, as a chair umpire is necessary to monitor that situation.

"I think it helped me, I made it 5-all," Laskevich said. "He said, 'just relax and play your game, play with freedom.'"

Laskevich was ranked 95 coming into the tournament, while Eala, just 14 years old, is No. 12 in the ITF World Junior rankings. But she didn't waiver, taking more control with every game, and after needing nearly two-and-a-half hours for the first two sets, the third ended relatively quickly, in just 35 minutes.

"It's amazing to be in the semis," Laskevich said, who is making her second trip to the United States, having made the quarterfinals of the Junior Orange Bowl 12s in 2016. "It's a nice place; I like to be in America."
In her first Grade 1 semifinal, Laskevich will face qualifier Eva Lys of Germany, who ended the run of 13-year-old wild card Clervie Ngounoue 6-1, 7-5. Down 6-1, 5-1, Ngounoue saved a match point and went on to win four straight games, taking a lead 5-5 30-0 lead on her serve, only to lose the next four points. Lys, who had played so solidly in the first 12 games of the match, began to spray forehands, and she had to save a break point serving for the match at 6-5. Ngounoue went for and missed a backhand return, and Lys cracked a forehand winner to earn a match point, which went her way when Ngounoue netted a backhand.

"It was pretty tough, she's a really good player," said Lys, a 17-year-old from Hamburg. "Leading 5-1, match point, I made an easy mistake and then I was so shaky. She started to play so good and I didn't know what to do. In the end, I kind of found myself again. But she was playing so good, and my forehand was so shaky, I made so many down-the-line mistakes, I just stopped playing down-the-line and just stayed cross."

Lys had to win two third set match tiebreakers in the last two rounds of qualifying, but she has yet to drop a set in her four main draw wins.

"I had two pretty tough matches, winning the 10-pointers, so I could have been out in the qualies," said Lys, who tore a ligament and has played only two tournaments since August, reaching the semifinals of a $15,000 tournament in Greece last month. "So I'm pretty surprised so far I got so far. For me, I couldn't be happier."

The other tournament Lys played was a ITF Junior Grade 2 in Spain in October, where she lost to Laskevich 6-4, 6-1 in the first round.

"I played her a month ago and I won, but I think it will be a tough match," Laskevich said. "It's semis and she has won a lot of good players."

Elvina Kalieva is the last American vying for a singles title after the 16-year-old defeated second-seeded 14-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-2. Kalieva has yet to drop a set this week, and has beaten the No. 5 and No. 2 seeds, while also eliminating last week's Grade A champion Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva in the third round.

Kalieva will play unseeded Jana Kolodynska, a 16-year-old from Belarus, who has had an equally impressive tournament, beating the No. 9 and No. 6 seeds. Today Kolodynska took out unseeded Guillermina Grant of Uruguay 6-2, 6-2.

Saturday's boys semifinal between No. 6 seed Arthur Cazaux of France and No. 2 seed Thiago Tirante of Argentina is a rematch of the Grade A final Sunday in Mexico, with Tirante winning it 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-3. Neither had much trouble on Friday, with Tirante taking out No. 5 seed Jeffrey Von Der Schulenburg of Switzerland 6-3, 6-2 and Cazaux beating unseeded Max Alcala Gurri of Spain 6-1, 6-3.

In the top half of the draw, No. 8 seed Timo Legout ended the run of unseeded Gian Luca Tanner of Switzerland 6-1, 6-1 and unseeded Roman Burruchaga of Argentina beat No. 9 seed Felix Gill of Great Britain 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.

The doubles finals are set for Saturday, with the unseeded American team of Savannah Broadus and Kylie Collins taking on No. 5 seeds Giulia Morlet of France and Diana Shnaider of Russia. Broadus and Collins saved a match point on a deciding point with Broadus serving at 5-6 in the second set to beat wild cards Reese Brantmeier and Allie Gretkowski 6-7(6), 7-6(4), 10-2. Morlet and Shnaider defeated unseeded Nanari Katsumi and Manami Ukita of Japan 4-6, 6-2, 10-8.

The boys doubles final will feature No. 5 seeds Alexander Hoogmartens of Belgium and Von Der Schulenburg against No. 3 seeds Arthur Fery and Gill of Great Britain. Hoogmartens and Von Der Schulenburg defeated Burruchaga and Santiago De La Fuente of Argentina 6-3, 2-6, 11-9, and Fery and Gill beat unseeded Marc Ktiri and Pedro Vives Marcos of Spain 6-2, 7-6(2).

Saturday's order of play
Boys singles draw
Girls singles draw
Girls doubles draw
Boys doubles draw

Five Americans have advanced to finals in the 12s, 14s and 16s divisions, including an all-American final in the girls 16s. Fifteen-year-old Ashlyn Krueger, a wild card seeded No. 8, will face 14-year-old Qavia Lopez, the No. 7 seed for the title. Krueger ended the Eddie Herr winning streak of 12-year-old Brenda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic, Linda's younger sister, who had won the Eddie Herr 12s as a 10-year-old and the 14s last year as an 11-year-old, by a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 score. Lopez, the No. 7 seed, avenged a loss to Lan Mi of China in the quarterfinals of the Grade 4 in Boca Raton last month, beating the No. 5 seed 6-3, 6-4.

In the boys 12s, Maxwell Exsted of Minnesota took out top seed Alejandro Arcila of Colombia and will face Manas Dhamne of India in the final.

In the boys 14s, No. 12 seed Benjamin Kreynes of Florida will face top seed Mahai Alexandru Coman of Romania for the title, and in the 16s final, No. 2 seed Jack Anthrop, also of Florida, will play top seed Marko Andrejic of Austria.

The singles results from today are below, followed by the doubles matchups for Saturday's finals. Complete draws are available at the TennisLink site.

Semifinal results:
Maxwell Exsted[3](USA) d. Alejandro Arcila[1](COL) 6-4, 7-5
Manas Dhamne[4](IND) d. Changmin Ryu[2](KOR) 6-1, 6-1

Semifinal results:
Mirra Andreeva[1](RUS) d. Yifei Huang[5](CHN) 6-2, 6-0
Alina Korneeva[2](RUS) d. Mariia Masiianskaia[6](RUS) 6-4, 6-1

Semifinal results:
Mahai Alexandru Coman[1](ROU) d. Juan Prado[4](BOL) 6-1, 6-2
Benjamin Kreynes[12](USA) d. Sean Daryabeigi[2](USA) 6-2, 2-6, 6-4

Semifinal results:
Kayla Cross[1](CAN) d. Karsyn Evans[8](USA) 6-2, 6-0
Sara Saito[13](JPN) d. Lucciana Perez[10](PER) 6-4, 7-5

Semifinal results:
Marko Andrejic[1](AUT) d. Azuma Visaya[4](USA) 6-3, 6-2
Jack Anthrop[2](USA) d. Spencer Johnson[11](USA) 6-1, 6-3

Semifinal results:
Qavia Lopez[7](USA) d. Lan Mi[5](CHN) 6-3, 6-4
Ashlyn Krueger[8](USA) d. Brenda Fruhvirtova[9](CZE) 6-3, 3-6, 6-2

Doubles Finals:
Se Hyuk Cho(KOR) & Minsoek Maeng(KOR)[6]) v Manas Dhamne(IND) & Aarav Samrat Hada(NPL)[2]

Mirra Andreeva(RUS) & Alina Korneeva(RUS)[1] v JiYi Wang(CHN) & Yifei Huang(CHN)[7]

Michael Kouame(FRA) & Fabio Nestola(GBR) v Juan Prado(BOL) & Lucas Silva(BRA)[2]

Kayla Cross(CAN) & Nikola Daubnerova(SVK)[1] v Ena Koike(USA) & Sara Saito(JPN)

Gonzalo Bueno(PER) & Felipe Lopez(CHL) v Ozan Colak(USA) & Aidan Kim(USA)[2]

Sarah Hamner(USA) & Vivian Ovrootsky(USA)[1] v Ava Krug(USA) & Qavia Lopez(USA)[6]

Thursday, December 5, 2019

November Aces; Thirteen-year-old Ngounoue into Eddie Herr ITF Quarterfinals; Semifinals on Tap for Friday in 12s, 14s and 16s Divisions

©Colette Lewis 2019--
Bradenton FL--

My update on the top performances of last month is available today at the Tennis Recruiting Network. College tennis is on a break for the next few weeks, (although coaches are out in force looking for prospects at both the Eddie Herr and next week's Orange Bowl) but 13 of those featured are future, current or former college players.

Last year at the Eddie Herr, Clervie Ngounoue made the 14s final, losing to Brenda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic. This year, playing in only her second Grade 1 event on the ITF Junior Circuit, the 13-year-old wild card from Washington DC has reached the quarterfinals, with an emphatic 6-1, 6-2 win over No. 4 seed Melodie Collard of Canada.

Ngounoue said her first serve was a key to controlling the court today.

"My first serve percentage was really high, and that was effective," Ngounoue said. "I think I used the whole court and I wasn't just hitting down the middle. I took my chances when I had them and I think I played very confident today."

Ngounoue agreed that Collard might have run out of energy after reaching the final at the Grade A in Mexico last week and having little time to recover from that.

"She could have been tired," said Ngounoue. "We're also in Florida weather. I had a tough time staying in it yesterday (a three-set win over No. 15 seed Diana Shnaider), I was losing focus and my brain was shutting down."

Because she could not begin to play ITF Junior Circuit events until she turned 13 in July, Ngounoue has very little experience against Top 100 ITF players, but she never doubted that her game was ready.

"We mostly came into this tournament not really with much expectations, but I wanted to play freely, I didn't want to think about the scores and everything," Ngounoue said.  "I've just been playing, staying focused, staying confident. I know I can play at this level; I've seen myself play at this level."

Next up for Ngounoue is 17-year-old qualifier Eva Lys of Germany, who beat lucky loser Victoria Hu 6-2, 6-1. The other quarterfinal in the top half features top seed Alexandra Eala of the Philippines against unseeded Evialina Laskevich of Belarus.
Like Collard, Merida Grade A champion Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva was stopped in the third round, with Elvina Kalieva taking a 6-2, 6-4 decision from the 14-year-old from Andorra. Kalieva did not play in Mexico last week, opting instead for the USTA Pro Circuit $25,000 event in Naples, where she won two qualifying matches and got into the main draw as a lucky loser.

"I played some pretty good matches there and my confidence is a little bit better now," said the 16-year-old, who recently split with her private coach and will be looking for another after this Florida swing.

Kalieva, who won the 2017 Junior Orange Bowl 14s title, was up a break at 4-3 in the second set, lost serve, then won a marathon game to break Jimenez Kasintseva and serve for the match.

"I knew I had to be aggressive; I can't be defensive against her or she's going to attack me," said Kalieva, who is into her second Grade 1 quarterfinal. "So hitting to the middle wasn't a very good idea. I was trying to hit cross court more, move her around; when I had an easy ball I just went for it and it worked out."

Serving out a match can be tricky, but Kalieva, who beat No. 5 seed Dayeon Back of Korea 6-2, 6-0 Wednesday, had no problem despite some jitters.

"I was nervous, because it's 5-4, really close," Kalieva said. "But with my first serve, I just tried to place it, not go for a lot. She's really young, a 2005, and she won last week. She's really good. Maybe she was a bit tired."

Kalieva's quarterfinal opponent is No. 2 seed Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic, who beat Kalieva 6-0, 7-5 in the quarterfinals of the Grade A in South Africa in September.

"She's a really good player, her shots are really good," Kalieva said. "She hits the ball. I think she's a lot more aggressive than [who I played] today."

As with the top half, the bottom half also has a quarterfinal between unseeded players, with Guillermina Grant of Uruguay taking on Jana Kolodynska of Belarus. Grant defeated wild card Victoria Mboko of Canada 6-1, 6-1, while Kolodynska took out No. 6 seed Maria Timofeeva of Russia 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.

Five seeded boys have advanced to the quarterfinals, but only one match features two seeded players, with No. 2 seed Thiago Tirante of Argentina taking on No. 5 seed Jeffery Von Der Schulenburg of Switzerland.  No. 6 seed Arthur Cazaux of France, who lost to Tirante in the Merida Grade A final Sunday night, plays unseeded Max Alcala Gurri of Spain, who ended the run of 14-year-old wild card Jerry Shang of China 6-1, 6-1.

Gian Luca Tanner of Switzerland, who beat top seed Martin Damm Wednesday, continued his run of form, beating No. 14 seed Elmer Moller of Denmark 6-4, 6-3. Tanner will face No. 8 seed Timo Legout of France, who outlasted No. 11 seed Lukas Neumayer of Austria 3-6, 6-0, 6-4.  No. 9 seed Felix Gill of Great Britain will play unseeded Roman Burruchaga of Argentina in the other quarterfinal in the top half.

Both top-seeded doubles teams fell today in the quarterfinals. No. 5 seeds Alexander Hoogmartens of Belgium and Von Der Schulenburg beat No. 1 seeds Mikolaj Lorens of Poland and Shunsuke Mitsui of Japan 6-3, 6-4. Giulia Morlet of France and Shnaider, the No. 5 seeds, beat No. 1 seeds Fruhvirtova and Kristyna Lavickova of the Czech Republic, coming from 6-2 down in the match tiebreaker to earn a 6-3, 4-6, 10-7 win. Morlet and Shnaider will play unseeded Nanari Katsumi and Manami Ukita of Japan, who beat the unseeded team of Hibah Shaikh and the Czech Republic's Barbora Palicova 3-6, 7-5, 10-2.

Two unseeded American teams will meet in Friday's semifinals, with wild cards Reese Brantmeier and Allie Gretkowski taking on Savannah Broadus and Kylie Collins. Brantmeier and Gretkowski beat Amelia Bissett of Great Britain and Sophie Luescher of Switzerland 7-6(2), 4-6, 10-6. Broadus and Collins defeated Laura Hietaranta of Finland and Janice Tjen of Indonesia 6-4, 6-4.

Friday's order of play

Girls singles draw

Boys singles draw

Girls doubles draw

Boys doubles draw

The semifinals in the 12s, 14s, and 16s divisions are set for Friday, with today's quarterfinal results below. All No. 1 seeds, with the exception of Vivian Ovrootsky, who lost a three-and-a-half-hour battle in the girls 16s, are still alive.  For complete draws, see the TennisLink site.


Alejandro Arcila[1](COL) d. Amir Omarkhanov[9](KAZ) 6-0, 6-3

Maxwell Exsted[3](USA) d. Fumin Jiang CHN) 6-1, 6-2

Manas Dhamne[4](IND) d. Matthew Jintao Yang[16](USA) 6-2, 6-4

Changmin Ryu[2](KOR) d. Varav Samrat Hada[11](NPL) 6-2, 6-2


Mirra Andreeva[1](RUS) d. Maya Iyengar(USA) 7-5, 6-4

Yifei Huang[5](CHN) d. Sapir Cohen(ISR) 7-5, 6-1

Mariia Masiianskaia[6](RUS) d. Brooke Wrigley[4](USA) 6-1, 6-4

Alina Korneeva[2](RUS) d. JiaYi Huang(CHN) 4-6, 6-1, 10-7


Mahai Alexandru Coman[1](ROU) d. Fabio Nestola[11](GBR) 6-4, 2-6, 6-3

Juan Prado[4](BOL) d. Majun Li[8](USA) 6-4, 6-4

Benjamin Kreynes[12](USA) d. Tanner Povey(USA) 6-2, 6-3

Sean Daryabeigi[2](USA) d. Quang Duong[10](USA) 6-4, 6-2


Kayla Cross[1](CAN) d. Luciana Moyano(ARG) 6-1, 6-3

Karsyn Evans[8](USA) d. Nikola Daubnerova[3](SVK) 7-5, 6-3

Lucciana Perez[10](PER) d. Aya El Aouni[6](MAR) 2-6, 6-2, 6-2

Sara Saito[13](JPN) d. Brooklyn Olson[2](USA) 6-0, 6-2


Marko Andrejic[1](AUT) d. Gabrielius Guzauskas [7](USA) 6-3, 4-6, 6-1

Azuma Visaya[4](USA) d. Brayden Michna(USA) 5-7, 6-4, 6-1

Spencer Johnson[11](USA) d. Emilano Aguilera Gurrero(MEX) 6-1, 2-6, 6-2

Jack Anthrop[2](USA) d. Jonah Braswell[16](USA) 6-4, 6-4


Lan Mi[5](CHN) d. Vivian Ovrootsky[1](USA) 6-4, 4-6, 7-5

Qavia Lopez[7](USA) d. Midori Castillo[4](USA) 6-2, 6-1

Brenda Fruhvirtova [9](CZE) d. Sarah Hamner[3](USA) 6-0, 6-4

Ashlyn Krueger[8](USA) d. Emma Charney[2](USA) 6-1, 6-3

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Top Seed Damm Falls to Tanner in Eddie Herr ITF Second Round, Young Wild Cards Move On; Quarterfinals Set for Thursday in 12s, 14s, 16s

©Colette Lewis 2019--
Bradenton FL--

The boys seeds were able to navigate the first round of singles at the ITF Grade 1 Eddie Herr Championships with only one loss, but the second round was a different story, with three of the top four seeds, including No. 1 Martin Damm, eliminated on a cool but sunny day at the IMG Academy.

The 16-year-old Damm started out well against Gian Luca Tanner of Switzerland early Tuesday on the tournament's featured court, taking the first set 6-3. But Tanner began to find his rhythm and keep himself in points longer to take the second set 6-2. The third set came down to a couple of key points in the third set tiebreaker, with a missed approach shot and a netted backhand volley costing Damm late in the tiebreaker, giving Tanner the 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(5) victory.

"I was just trying to loosen up a little bit, to get into my rhythm, because I was playing quite tense," said the 18-year-old from Klosters, where the European Championships are played every July. "I had a really good start into the second set and everything started going better from there on."

Tanner knew that if he could relax, he could keep Damm from moving forward and taking control of points that way.

"I think he was playing really aggressive and my shots were not deep enough," said Tanner, who had won only three Grade 1 level matches in his career before this week. "He could dictate the points and I was running a lot. But in the second set, I was playing a little bit deeper and a little bit harder so I could also dictate the points some times."

Tanner had heard that Damm had recently made the final of an $25,000 tournament in Naples Florida two weeks ago, but he also had gained confidence recently.

"I've been playing quite good the last couple of weeks," said Tanner, who has trained with AndrΓ© van der Merwe at Alpine Tennis Academy in Klosters for the past three years. "And I was quite confident I could compete with him today. It's obviously my best junior win, the highest ranked junior I have beaten. It's also really important for me to win after such a long third set, because I've lost a couple of them in the past, so it was really quite a big relief."

Tanner said he thought Damm was not serving particularly well today, and he managed to break the 6-foot-7 left-hander twice in the third set. At 5-5 in the tiebreaker, Damm netted a backhand approach shot, to give Tanner a match point, which he immediately converted with a backhand return winner.

Tanner decided to come to Florida for the last two big tournaments of his junior career, and he's happy that he did.

"I was thinking about playing pro tournaments, but we decided to come here to compete with the best guys in the world our age," said Tanner, whose career-high ITF ranking is 132. "It's worked out pretty well."

No. 3 seed Shunsuke Mitsui of Japan lost a three-hour battle of attrition with Max Alcala Gurri of Spain 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-1 and No. 4 seed Pedro Vives Marcos of Spain, who was seeded based on his ATP ranking, lost to Lilian Marmousez of France 6-3, 6-2.

American boys went 0-7 today in the second round, with qualifiers Max McKennon, JJ Tracy and Logan Zapp seeing their runs come to an end. Aidan Mayo, Micah Braswell and Andrew Dale also lost.

Dale went out to 14-year-old wild card Juncheng "Jerry" Shang of China in a match that Dale could not complete, with the score 6-4, 3-6, 5-2 ret.

And while Shang has made an impressive Grade 1 debut this week, he is not the youngest wild card to reach the third round, with two 13-year-old girls, Clervie Ngounoue and Canadian Victoria Mboko, beating seeds today to advance.

Ngounoue defeated No. 15 seed Diane Shnaider of Russia 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 and Mboko beat No. 14 seed Ana Geller of Argentina 6-3, 6-1.
While the American boys struggled today, five US girls have reached the round of 16, including qualifier Fiona Crawley and lucky loser Victoria Hu, who met in the final round of qualifying on Sunday. Three of the five US girls who advanced did so at the expense of another American: Crawley beat Hibah Shaikh 3-6, 7-5, 6-1, Hu beat wild card Isabelle Kouzmanov 6-3, 6-3 and Ellie Coleman beat No. 7 seed Savannah Broadus 6-4, 6-2.

Coleman trailed 4-2 in the first set and 2-0 in the second set, putting together streaks of four and six games to earn the win.

"Savannah's a great opponent, a great competitor and I knew it was going to be close going into it," said the 16-year-old Coleman. "I really just wanted to keep calm mentally, and stay within myself, not get too worked up about a point or a game here and there. I think I did a nice job with that and that's why I was able to come back in each set."

Coleman lives in Michigan, so she does not have much opportunity to train on green clay, but she did play last week's Grade A tournament in Merida, winning the doubles title there.

"I like clay," Coleman said. "I like sliding around. I was in Mexico last week, so I kind of got used to clay there, but it's not a huge deal to change back and forth for me."

The fifth American girl to advance to the third round is Elvina Kalieva, who defeated No. 5 seed Dayeon Back of Korea 6-2, 6-0.

Top seed Alexandra Eala of the Philippines had a tough match with Skyler Grishuk, but the 14-year-old was able to come away with a 6-4, 7-5 victory.

The quarterfinals of doubles are set for Thursday, with the only two seeded teams in the girls draw playing each other, as No. 1 Linda Fruhvirtova and Kristyna Lavickova of the Czech Republic face No. 5 seeds Shnaider and Giulia Morlet of France.  Wild cards Reese Brantmeier and Allie Gretkowski advanced to the quarterfinals, as did Broadus and Kylie Collins. Shaikh, playing with Barbora Palicov of the Czech Republic, is the fifth American girl in the doubles last eight.

Five seeded teams remain in the boys doubles, including top seeds Mikolaj Lorens of Poland and Mitsui; none of the three American boys in the second round advanced today.

Thursday's order of play

Girls singles draw

Boys singles draw

Girls doubles draw

Boys doubles draw

The quarterfinals are set for the 12s, 14s, and 16 divisions, with the top two seeds in all six divisions still alive for the titles. See the TennisLink site for complete draws.

All matches below are scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday.

Girls 12s
Mirra Andreeva[1](RUS) v Maya Iyengar(USA)
Sapir Cohen(ISR) v Yifei Huang[5](CHN)
Mariia Masiianskaia[6](RUS) v Brooke Wrigley[4](USA)
JiaYi Wang(CHN) v Alina Korneeva[2](RUS)

Boys 12s
Alejandro Arcila[1](COL) v Amir Omarkhanov[9](KAZ)
Maxwell Exsted[3](USA) v Fumin Jiang(CHN)
Matthew Jingtao Yang[10](USA) v Manas Dhamne[4](USA)
Aarav Samrat Hada[11](NPL) v Changmin Ryu[2](KOR)

Girls 14s
Kayla Cross[1](CAN) v Luciana Moyano(ARG)
Nikola Daubnerova[3](SVK) v Karsyn Evans[8](USA)
Aya El Aouni[6](MAR) v Lucciana Perez[10](PER)
Sara Saito[13](JPN) v Brooklyn Olson[2](USA)

Boys 14s
Coman Mihai Alexandru[1](ROU) v Fabio Nestola[11](GBR)
Juan Prado[4](BOL) v Majun Li[8](USA)
Tanner Povey(USA) v Benjamin Kreynes[12](USA)
Quang Dong[10](USA) v Sean Daryabeigi[2](USA)

Girls 16s
Vivian Ovrootsky[1](USA) v Lan Mi[5](CHN)
Midori Castillo[4](USA) v Qavia Lopez[7](USA)
Brenda Fruhvirtova[9](CZE) v Sarah Hamner[3](USA)
Ashlyn Krueger[8](USA) v Emma Charney[2](USA)

Boys 16s
Marko Adrejic[1](AUT) v Gabrielius Guzauskas[7](USA)
Azuma Visaya[4](USA) v Brayden Michna(USA)
Emilano Aguilera Gurrero(MEX) v Spencer Johnson[11](USA)
Jonah Braswell[16](USA) v Jack Anthrop[2](USA)

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Eddie Herr ITF First Round Complete with Last Week's Merida Grade A Finalists Advancing; All Top 4 Seeds in 12s, 14s and 16s Advance to Round of 16

©Colette Lewis 2019--

Bradenton FL--
After many late nights at the ITF Grade A in Merida Mexico last week, the four singles finalists returned to tennis in the sunlight Tuesday at the ITF Grade 1 Eddie Herr Championships and all managed to set aside their fatigue to advance to the second round. 

Fourteen-year-old Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra, who is the rare junior to win the first Grade A she played in, was tested by No. 12 seed Giulia Morlet, but Jimenez Kasintseva continued her winning streak with a 7-6(6), 6-4 victory over the 17-year-old left-hander from France, who did not play either of the Mexican tournaments last month.

The first set took nearly an hour and a half to complete, but Jimenez Kasintseva was able to get the early break in the second set, going up 4-2, only to lose it. But just as Morlet was reasserting herself, she threw in an awful service game at 4-4, double faulting twice and going down 0-40. Jimenez Kasintseva didn't waste any time converting her opportunity to break, smacking a forehand winner to go up 5-4 and holding at love for the win.

Jimenez Kasintseva, herself a left-hander, said she had adequate practice to prepare for Morlet, having faced two left-handers in her run to the Merida title: Robin Montgomery and Darja Semenistaja of Latvia.

"Last week I played two," Jimenez Kasintseva said. "I don't really mind; sometimes I think it's difficult, but you have to play with everybody. My opponent was a really good player, and I am still a bit tired from my last tournament. I had a long trip yesterday, so I'm really happy that I won. I played really good and I think I had a really good attitude and that's what got me through."

Jimenez Kasintseva will have a chance Wednesday to avenge her last loss when she faces Yasmine Kabbaj of Morocco, who beat Jimenez Kasintseva 6-2, 7-6(5) in the second round of last month's Grade 1 in Cancun, on hard courts.

Jimenez Kasintseva, who is also entered in next week's Grade A Orange Bowl, did not enter doubles this week, hoping to get a bit more time to recover during this stretch of back-to-back-to-back-to back tournaments.

The Merida girls finalist, Melodie Collard of Canada, was taken to three sets today by Laura Hietaranta of Finland, but the No. 4 seed came back to post a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 win in two and a half hours. 

Merida boys champion Thiago Tirante of Argentina, seeded No. 2 this week, defeated Joao Victor Couto Loureiro of Brazil 6-4, 6-2, while Merida finalist Arthur Cazaux of France, the No. 6 seed this week, beat Juan Bautista Torres of Argentina 6-2, 7-5. 

After one round of singles, 15 of 16 boys seeds have advanced, with the only loss by a seed coming today on Court 1. Wild card Jerry Shang of China, this year's 14s Easter Bowl champion, took out No. 16 seed Sebastian Nothhaft of Hong Kong 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. Shang, the 2017 Eddie Herr 12s champion, is now training at the IMG Academy.

Morlet was the only girls seed to lose today, but five lost on Monday.

The first round of doubles was completed today, and the No. 2 seeded team did not take the court. Merida champions Dali Blanch and Tirante withdrew prior to the start of play. Tirante is also entered in next week's Orange Bowl and after taking both titles last week is in need of a little less time on court this week.  Top seeds Mikolaj Lorens of Poland and Shunsuke Mitsui of Japan advanced with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Cash Hanzlik and Benjamin Kittay. Wild cards Karl Kazuma Lee and Ishaan Ravichander defeated No. 4 seeds Elmer Moller of Denmark and Eliakim Coulibaly of Cote d'Ivoire 6-4, 6-3.

In the girls doubles, No. 2 seeds Darja Semeninstaja of Latvia and Maria Timofeeva of Russia lost to Savannah Broadus and Kylie Collins 3-6, 6-2, 10-5. Top seeds Linda Fruhvirtova and Kristyna Lavickova of the Czech Republic beat Ava Catanzarite and Gianna Pielet 5-7, 7-5, 10-8.

The top four seeds in the 12s, 14s and 16s all have advanced to Wednesday's third round, which is far from normal when there are so many players from all over the world who may be playing outside of their country for the first time. Doubles also began today in the younger age groups, with results available at the TennisLink site.

The ITF revamped its websites overnight and not everything is where it was before. I'm sure I'll get used to it, but I have been given permission to post links to the ITF draws and the order of play on Google documents. I personally find these sheets much easier to work with than what appears on the ITF Junior site, so I am happy to be able to provide them.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Qualifiers Earn Fourth Victory in Three Days to Advance to Eddie Herr ITF Second Round; Yepifanova Drops Opening Match; Coleman and Blanch Win Merida Grade A Doubles Titles; USTA National Indoor Finals Results

©Colette Lewis 2019--
Bradenton FL--

The wind picked up and the temperature dropped Monday for the first round of the ITF Grade 1 Eddie Herr Championships, which may have been a blessing for the qualifiers who were playing their fourth matches in the past three days.  Of the 14 qualifiers on Monday's schedule, six managed set aside any fatigue and post wins, while undoubtedly looking forward to finally getting a day off in singles on Tuesday.

JJ Tracy, Logan Zapp and Max McKennon won two matches Sunday and another today, all managing to keep their time on the court to a minimum.  Tracy defeated Alex Barrena of Argentina 6-4, 6-1, Zapp cruised to a 6-1, 6-0 win over Juan Sebastian Zabala Vargas of Ecuador and McKennon took out fellow qualifier Marc Ktiri of Spain 6-4, 6-3.

Zapp, who is from Florida, made sure he stuck to his routine after his two matches Sunday, both of which went to super tiebreakers in lieu of a third set.

"Yesterday I did a lot of stretching after my two matches and a lot of recovery stuff," said Zapp, who turned 18 last month. "Today I felt pretty good when I woke up, then had a good practice and a good warmup and all that preparation helps."

Growing up in Florida, Zapp is comfortable on the green clay surface of the Eddie Herr ITF.

"There are 12 clay courts like five minutes from my house, so those are the courts I've grown up playing on," said Zapp, the 2019 USTA 18s Clay Court finalist. "I train on clay whenever I can. My mindset is to try to stay aggressive, but try to stay in every point and make him win the point. For clay, you just have to work the point a little more than you do on hard and it's easy to do that if you can generate power and spin."

Needing a wild card just to get into qualifying, Zapp is pleased with his performance although reluctant to settle for one main draw win.

"It's been a good tournament so far," Zapp said. "Obviously I'm not done yet, but I'm grateful for the wild card, grateful to the USTA. I haven't played that many ITFs and my ranking's not that high, so for me, the expectation was to qualify, take a look at the draw and try to go out there and compete as hard as I can in every match."
Unlike Zapp, McKennon is not accustomed to clay, but the 17-year-old Southern Californian has now beaten two Spaniards in succession, all after returning to competition just last month after tearing his meniscus at a July ITF tournament in Canada.

"I worked really hard after the surgery, coming back and rehabbing every day so I could come back as soon as possible," said McKennon, who has committed to Arizona State for next fall. "Once I got healthy, I was in the gym every day, hitting every day and I feel really good about it now."

While it was frustrating to be sidelined from competition, McKennon can look back and see the benefits of that time off.

"It helped both mentally and physically," McKennon said. "I've beefed up a little bit, gotten a lot fitter, and mentally, I've realized it was nice to have that little break. I realize there is a lot more than just junior tennis. I'm not getting as nervous for matches, stuff like that."

With not much clay to train on in California, McKennon arrived in Florida several days early to get some practice in.

"I feel comfortable on clay, but it's really tough playing Spanish guys on clay," McKennon said. "Especially last round of qualies yesterday (a 6-3, 7-6(4) win over No. 5 seed Angel Guerrero Melgar), it was really tough, and today it wasn't easy at all. It's tough physically, but I feel I'm training hard enough now to where I'm not really getting tired as much."

One of the three girls from qualifying who advanced to the second round was lucky loser Victoria Hu, who lost to Fiona Crawley in the final round of qualifying, but defeated No. 10 seed Yeon Woo Ku of Korea 2-6, 6-0, 6-0 when she got her chance in the main draw. Crawley also took down a seed, beating No. 16 Jada Bui of Canada 6-1, 6-3. Eva Lys of Germany was the other girl who won two matches on Saturday, one yesterday and another today to reach the second round.

No boys seeds lost Monday, with top seed Martin Damm getting his tournament started with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Nino Ehrenschneider of Germany.

Top girls seed Alexandra Eala of the Philippines defeated Ava Catanzarite 6-3, 6-1 and No. 2 seed Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic beat Janice Tjen of Indonesia 6-3, 6-2, but No. 3 seed and 2019 US Open girls finalist Alexandra Yepifanova was ousted by Celia Mohr of France 7-5, 6-3. No. 9 seed Darja Semenistaja of Latvia lost to Jana Kolodynska of Belarus 6-4, 6-1 and No. 11 seed Mara Guth of Germany was beaten by Barbora Palicova of the Czech Republic 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

I did manage to watch the second set of the match between 13-year-old Clervie Ngounoue and Switzerland's Chelsea Fontenel, 15, both of whom had received wild cards. Ngounoue had an advantage with her serve, and she also was hitting exceptionally deep, making Fontenel choose between staying on the baseline and being rushed, or retreating behind it and playing defense. Ngounoue won that battle, 6-3, 6-4.

The first round of boys 16s singles is still in progress under the lights, but so far no top 4 seeds have lost in any of the younger age divisions. My post from yesterday has the Top 8 seeds for each division listed; full draws are available at the TennisLink site.

The Grade A in Merida Mexico concluded last night, with top seed Thiago Tirante of Argentina coming back to defeat No. 2 seed Arthur Cazaux of France 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 in the boys final. He moves to a career high of 4 in the ITF World Junior rankings with the title. Tirante also won the doubles title late Saturday night, partnering with American Dali Blanch. The No. 2 seeds defeated No. 7 seeds Bruno Oliveira and Natan Rodrigues of Brazil 6-7(4), 6-1, 10-8 in the final. Both Tirante and Cazaux, seeded No. 2 and No. 6 this week, are on Tuesday's schedule at the Eddie Herr.

Unseeded 14-year-old Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra won the girls singles title, beating No. 9 seed Melodie Collard of Canada 7-6(8), 6-2 in the final. Jimenez Kasintseva had not played in a Grade A prior to this week. Unseeded this week at the Eddie Herr, she is scheduled to play No. 12 seed Giulia Morlet of France first thing tomorrow, with Collard, the No. 4 seed, playing Laura Hietaranta of Finland at the same time on an adjacent court.

No. 7 seeds Ellie Coleman and Uruguay's Guillermina Grant won the girls doubles title, beating top seeds Savannah Broadus and Robin Montgomery 6-4, 6-2 in the final.

The USTA National Indoor Championships concluded today at eight sites around the country. The results are below. Click on the division headings to go to the TennisLink site for full draws.

USTA National Indoor Championships finals:

Boys 12s:
Singles: Ronit Karki[9] d. Roman Sancilio[2] 6-1, 6-3
Doubles: Mark Krupkin and Oliver Narbut[1] d. Jagger Leach and Roman Sancilio[2] 8-3

Boys 14s:
Singles: Cole Stelse[15] d. Nicholas Herdoiza[12] 6-0, 6-1
Doubles: Dylan Charlap and Dylan Tsoi[2] d. Cole Stelse and Adam Sun[6] 9-7

Boys 16s:
Singles: Michael Zheng[7] d. Walker Oberg[11] 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
Doubles: Sujit Chepuri and Bjorn Swenson[8] d. Nicholas Heng and Omar Oudeh 8-6

Boys 18s:
Singles: William Cooksey d. Marcus McDaniel[3] walkover, illness
Doubles: Keshav Chopra and Marcus McDaniel d. Michael Andre and Blake Kasday[3] 8-5

Girls 12s:
Singles: Ashley Matz[9] d. Mia Yamakita[1] 6-1, 6-0
Doubles: Nina Costalas and Helena Lynn[1] d. Kavitha Gowda and Ashley Matz 8-4

Girls 14s:
Singles: Maya Joint[1] d. Valeria Ray[9] 6-2, 6-4
Doubles: Emma Roeck and Zehra Suko[3] d. Kavya Karra and Madeleine Rexroat 8-7

Girls 16s:
Singles: Liv Hovde[2] d. Kiley Rabjohns[8] 4-6, 6-1, 6-2
Doubles: Liv Hovde and Aubrey Nisbet d. Whitney Pate and Liza Tankimovich[8] 8-7(2)

Girls 18s:
Singles: Sydni Ratliff d. Julia Fliegner[7] 7-5, 4-6, 7-5
Doubles: Carly Briggs and AnneMarie Hiser[1] d. Elizabeth Fahrmeier and Kathryn Treiber 8-5

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Top Seeds Eala and Damm Highlight Monday's Opening Day at Eddie Herr ITF; Eleven Americans Qualify Sunday; 12s, 14s and 16s Divisions Begin Play Monday; USA Wins Ninth Master'U International Collegiate Competition

©Colette Lewis 2019--
Bradenton FL--

Forty-eight of the 64 first round singles matches are on Monday's opening day schedule at the ITF Grade 1 Eddie Herr Championships at IMG Academy. With ITF World No. 1 junior Diane Parry of France withdrawing late, 12th-ranked Alexandra Eala of the Philippines is the top girls seed, and the boys top seed is Bradenton resident Martin Damm, No. 5 in the ITF World Junior rankings.

Eala is unfortunately playing over at the Academy Park courts, where there is almost no viewing, but I may check out those courts anyway, with one of the most intriguing first round matches on the schedule pitting two wild cards: 15-year-old Chelsea Fontenel of Switzerland and 13-year-old Clervie Ngounoue of the United States.

For the second year in a row, even qualifiers who played two matches today play again Monday, including all eight of the boys who won both their matches today. The two girls who didn't play two matches on Saturday, but won twice today, Americans Rachel Gailis and Kimmi Hance, are not on Monday's schedule.

With singles finals matches at the Grade A in Mexico going so late tonight, those players obviously can't play here on Monday.

In today's qualifying, several final round matches came down to the super tiebreaker played now in lieu of a third set. JJ Tracy[4] survived against No. 12 seed Francisco Llanes of Uruguay 2-6, 6-3, 14-12, and unseeded Billy Suarez saved five match points in his 6-3, 3-6, 15-13 decision over No. 3 seed Hunter Heck.

Suarez, a high school senior who has signed with Tulane for 2020, started out the day with a 6-4, 3-6, 10-6 win over No. 16 Daniel Ibragimov of Russia, giving him confidence for the afternoon match with Heck.

"I haven’t really played any qualifying rounds in ITFs lately, so I haven’t played any superbreakers in a while, but I was happy I got to a play one earlier just so I could get the feeling again," said the 17-year-old from New York.

Suarez also needed to work out the change of surfaces, because his training is primarily on fast indoor hard courts.

"My first match was a little shaky, I’m still getting used to the conditions," Suarez said.  "I train on really fast indoor hard courts at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy. So I’ve been working on playing as aggressively as possible, because that’s what I do best. So on this surface, not only a clay court, but a slow clay court, the balls get really fluffy and I can’t really hit through them. I’m happy I got through my first match and I definitely played really well, in both matches, today. I adjusted when I needed to adjust and it worked out."

Although they hadn't played in a long time, Suarez knew enough about Heck's game to formulate a strategy.

"I haven’t played Hunter since I want to say I was 12 or 13, so it’s been a while," Suarez said. "I know how Hunter plays, he likes to hit the ball really hard, so I was trying not to get into those exchanges where he would just tee off on everything."

In those crucial moments down match point, Suarez told himself to  concentrate on staying with his game plan.

"I was trying not to focus on the score, just to play the point like it was any other score; make sure I make every ball in those tense moments."

A frustrated Heck took his anger out on his racquet after the 26th point of the tiebreaker, and when he finished, the frame was at right angles to the handle.

Other American boys advancing to the main draw were two wild cards: Luke Casper and Logan Zapp, along with No. 11 seed Max McKennon and No. 14 seed Daniel Milavsky.

The American girls who made it through qualifying, in addition to Gailis and Hance, are Fiona Crawley, Sofia Rojas[2] and Elise Wagle[14]. Victoria Hu, who lost to Crawley 6-4, 6-2 in the final round of qualifying, made the main draw as a lucky loser.

One of the announced wild cards, Isabella Kruger(RSA), did not accept and her wild card was given to Cora Barber of Germany.

Girls ITF seeds:
1. Alexandra Eala(PHI)
2. Linda Fruhvirtova(CZE)
3. Alexandra Yepifanova(USA)
4. Melodie Collard(CAN)
5. Dayeon Back(KOR)
6. Maria Timofeeva(RUS)
7. Savannah Broadus(USA)
8. Kristyna Lavickova(CZE)
9. Darja Semenistaja(LAT)
10. Yeon Woo Ku(KOR)
11. Mara Guth(GER)
12. Giulia Morlet(FRA)
13. Ziva Falkner(SLO)
14. Ana Geller(ARG)
15. Diana Shnaider(RUS)
16. Jada Bui(CAN)

Boys ITF seeds:
1. Martin Damm(USA)
2. Thiago Tirante(ARG)
3. Shunsuke Mitsui(JPN)
4. Pedro Vives Marcos(ESP) [seeding based on ATP ranking of 589]
5. Jeffrey Von der Schulenburg(SUI)
6. Arthur Cazaux(FRA)
7. Eliakim Doulibaly(CIV)
8. Timo Legout(FRA)
9. Felix Gill(GBR)
10. Arthur Fery(GBR)
11. Lukas Neumayer(AUT)
12. Martin Krumich(CZE)
13. Mikolaj Lorens(POL)
14. Elmer Moller(DEN)
15. Sebastian Gima(ROU)
16. Sebastian Nothhaft(HKG)

Below are the Top 8 seeds in the 12s, 14s and 16s divisions. See the TennisLink site for complete draws.

Boys 16s:
1. Marko Andrejic(AUT)
2. Jack Anthrop(USA)
3. Adit Sinha(USA)
4. Azuma Visaya(USA)
5. Louis Cloud(USA)
6. Ozan Colak(USA)
7. Gabrielius Guzauskas(USA)
8. Gonzalo Bueno(PER)

Girls 16s:
1. Vivian Ovrootsky(USA)
2. Emma Charney(USA)
3. Sarah Hamner(USA)
4. Midori Castillo(USA)
5. Lan Mi(CHN)
6. Ava Krug(USA)
7. Qavia Lopez(USA)
8. Ashlyn Krueger(USA)

Boys 14s:
1. Mihai Alexandru Coman(ROU)
2. Sean Daryabeigi(USA)
3. Josue Guzman(PER)
4. Juan Carlos Prod(BOL)
5. Andrew Delgado(USA)
6. Robert Zhang(USA)
7. Kaylan Bigun(USA)
8. Majun Li(CHN)

Girls 14s:
1. Kayla Cross(CAN)
2. Brooklyn Olson(USA)
3. Nikola Dabunerova(SLO)
4. Priya Nelson(USA)
5. Alexia Harmon(USA)
6. Aya El Aouni(MAR)
7. Daria Zykova(RUS)
8. Karsyn Evans(USA)

Boys 12s:
1. Alejandro Arcila(COL)
2. Changmin Ryu(KOR)
3. Maxwell Exsted(USA)
4. Manas Dhamne(IND)
5. Yubel Ubri(USA)
6. Se Hyuk Cho(KOR)
7. Timofei Derepasko(RUS)
8. Yoshka Sborowsky(FRA)

Girls 12s:
1. Mirra Andreeva(RUS)
2. Alina Korneeva(RUS)
3. Bella Payne(USA)
4. Brooke Wrigley(USA)
5. Yifei Huang(CHN)
6. Mariia Masiianskaia(RUS)
7. Eva Oxford(USA)
8. Sasha Kilgour(USA)
The team representing the United States in the annual Master'U BNP Paribas World University competition won its ninth title today, beating Great Britain 4-1 in the final. Below are the results from today's final. For more on the US team's stay in France, see the blogs from coach Greg Patton at usta.com.

USA 4, Great Britain 1
Women's #2  Singles: Alexa Graham (USA) def. Ella Taylor (GBR), 6-2, 7-5
Men's #2 Singles: Dan Little (GBR) def. Keegan Smith (USA), 7-6, 6-2
Women's #1 Singles: Michaela Gordon (USA) def. Emily Arbuthnott (GBR), 6-3, 5-7, 6-1
Men's #1 Singles: Aleks Kovacevic (USA) def. Ben Jones (GBR), 6-3, 6-2
Men's Doubles: Aleks Kovacevic/Keegan Smith (USA) def. Jones/Little (GBR), 6-1, 6-2