Zootennis

Monday, December 9, 2019

Guzauskas Takes Down Top 16s Seed; 2018 Finalist Khan Advances During Long First Day at Orange Bowl

©Colette Lewis 2019--
Plantation FL--

A delay of over two hours due to overwatered courts led to a long day at the ITF Grade A Orange Bowl, with first round singles matches extending well past 9 p.m. at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center.

The 16s age division started off the day around noon, and by 2:30 there was already a major upset, with American Gabrielius Guzauskas taking out No. 1 seed and Eddie Herr finalist Marko Andrejic of Austria 6-1, 6-1.
Guzauskas had lost to Andrejic 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 in the quarterfinals of the Eddie Herr 16s last week, with Guzauskas suggesting the change of surface was one of the reasons he was able to avenge that loss.

"I'm more comfortable on clay," said the 16-year-old, who trains at the Tough Tennis Academy in Naples Florida. "Also, I was more aggressive, and I knew what to do, not like last time. I was nervous in the beginning, but I started to loosen up, got my first serves in, tried to keep the pressure on. I knew he was a little tired, because he got to the [Eddie Herr] finals, so I had a little advantage over him. I'm happy I won and I want to keep going."

At the academy, Guzauskas works with 37-year-old Jesse Witten, the 2002 NCAA finalist, who still plays Naples area USTA Pro Circuit events occasionally, recently qualifying and winning a round at a $25,000 tournament in Naples this fall.

"I hit with him almost every day," Guzauskas said. "I can't beat him, I just hope to get one game against him."

Eddie Herr 16s champion Jack Anthrop, again the No. 2 seed this week, was able to make the transition from hard to clay, coming from 4-2 down in the first set to beat Jonah Braswell 6-4, 6-2.

Top 16s seed Rebecca Lynn had a long, tough battle with qualifier Adeliya Mukhutdinova of Russia, but the 15-year-old from Southern California came through by a score of 7-5, 1-6, 6-1.

The long wait to get on court was especially frustrating for seven seeds in the 18s, with six girls and one boys seeds eliminated today.

American girls took out four seeds, with wild card Reese Brantmeier, playing with an injured wrist on her left hand, defeating No. 10 seed Maria Timofeeva of Russia 6-1, 7-6(5) and wild card Eleana Yu closing out the singles competition under the lights with a 6-2, 6-2 win over No. 7 seed Ane Mintegi Del Olmo of Spain.  Gianna Pielet defeated No. 9 seed Dayeon Back of Korea 6-4, 6-1 and Hibah Shaikh beat No. 16 seed Darja Vidmanova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-3.

No. 12 seed Kristyna Lavickova of the Czech Republic lost to Lucia Nguyen Tan of France 6-4, 6-3 and No. 4 seed Melodie Collard was beaten by Celia Mohr of France 7-5, 6-4.

No. 10 seed Eliot Spizzirri, a wild card who did not play the Eddie Herr, lost to Santiago De La Fuente of Argentina 6-3, 6-4.
Another American wild card, No. 12 seed Zane Khan, has had an injury-plagued 2019, with hamstring and rib problems keeping him out of competition from June until September. Khan, the 2018 Orange Bowl finalist, had played only ITF World Tennis Tour events, as well as the Houston Challenger since September, making two quarterfinals in Cancun last month. He took a wild card into the Grade A in Merida two weeks ago, losing in the first round, but after beating Gian Luca Tanner of Switzerland 6-2, 6-4 today, Khan is looking forward to another junior match.

"I'm happy to win a match this time," Khan said. "I thought I was going to maybe lose first round again like I did in Merida. I don't expect to win the tournament; I just started playing again, having really played any junior tournaments, so I'm just happy to be out here and happy to play every match I can."

Khan was aware that Tanner had beaten top seed Martin Damm at the Eddie Herr last week, and knew he had to stay on the offensive to earn the win.

"I served pretty good," said Khan, who continues to work with his uncle Shariq Khan and Antonio Fernandez, as well as former ATP pro Sebastien Grosjean, who was at the match today. "I kept trying to dictate with my forehand and backhand, stay aggressive, not let him try to take over the points, because when he started to take over, he was pretty good."

The first round of 16s doubles was completed Monday night, and the second round of singles for the 16s is scheduled for Tuesday.

Top seeds Diane Parry of France and Thiago Tirante of Argentina will take the court on Tuesday for their first round matches in the 18s, with the first round of singles concluding Tuesday, with the first round of doubles on the schedule.  Tirante and Dali Blanch of the United States are the boys top seeds, with Mintegi Del Olmo and Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra the girls top seeds.

Draws and Tuesday's order of play are available at the tournament website.

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