Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Only Eight Matches Finish Wednesday at Orange Bowl with Rain Washing Out Play, but Eddie Herr Champion Krueger Ousts Top 16s Seed Lynn; Nakashima Turns Pro

©Colette Lewis 2019--
Plantation FL--

Day Three of the ITF Grade A Orange Bowl had barely begun when rain moved into the area, leaving just eight matches completed and 15 in progress. Rain continued for nearly four hours and around 3 p.m., with little chance the courts would be playable, all matches were cancelled for the day. 

Both 16s third round and 18s second round matches were first on, and each of the four draws did complete at least one match.

In the boys 18s, Inaki Montes-De La Torre of Spain defeated No. 3 seed Shunsuke Mitsui of Japan 6-1, 6-4.  In the girls 18s, Elvina Kalieva downed Gianna Pielet 6-4, 6-2 and No. 5 seed Robin Montgomery defeated Laura Hietaranta of Finland 6-1, 6-1. Eddie Herr semifinalist Kalieva and Montgomery will play in the third round, but not on Thursday, with the only girls 18s singles matches on Thursday the remaining 14 matches from the second round.

In the 16s, three boys have advanced to the quarterfinals, two of them qualifiers. Filippos Astreinidis of Greece defeated qualifier Adam Duan of the United States 6-4, 6-4 and Giulio Perego of Italy beat No. 4 seed Abedallah Shelbayh of Jordan 6-0, 6-1.  No. 3 seed Marc Ktiri of Spain took out No. 15 seed Hugo Hashimoto of the US 6-3, 6-2. The other five boys 16s singles matches were late in the second set or early in the third.

In the girls 16s, two matches were completed. No. 13 seed Vivian Ovrootsky avenged her Eddie Herr quarterfinal loss to Lan Mi of China, taking a 6-4, 6-0 decision. Eddie Herr champion Ashlyn Krueger continued her winning streak, beating top seed Rebecca Lynn, also of the US, 6-3, 6-3 only minutes before rain halted play.

Krueger said she is holding up well after her ninth win in the past ten days.

"My arms a little tired but I'm good," said the 15-year-old from Dallas, who also had to adjust from the Eddie Herr hard courts to the Plantation green clay. "The first match was a little tough, but hitting the day before helped. There isn't that much of a difference, but this clay isn't the best so it's a little harder."

Krueger had to work to get past Lynn, a 15-year-old from California who did not play the Eddie Herr last week.

"She's a good player," Krueger said. "I feel I had to really take control of the points, because if I didn't, she was going to. Moving up, stepping into the court, really placing my serve, that was going to help me."

Up 6-3, 3-0, Krueger lost three straight games before snapping back mentally.

"I had a little walkabout," Krueger said. "It was definitely mental; I was thinking too far ahead, but I got it back and pressed a little harder, kept the balls inside the court."

Krueger is not playing doubles this week, so she will get what is certainly a welcome day off on Thursday.

Play is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Thursday, with completion of the 16s third round and 18s second round in singles. The second round of 16s doubles is scheduled for Thursday, as well as the second round of 18s doubles, with half of the 18s doubles quarterfinals also on the schedule.

For Thursday's order of play, see the tournament website.

Although the official announcement from sports marketing agency GSE Worldwide has not yet been released, 18-year-old Brandon Nakashima will be giving up his final three years of college eligibility to pursue professional tennis. Nakashima, who played for the University of Virginia during the 2019 dual match season, had an ATP ranking of 942 at the beginning of September, but two Challenger semifinals and a quarterfinal helped his ranking rise to its current position of 370, a career high.

Nakashima spoke with Baseline Tennis about his decision to begin his pro tennis career in this article.