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 glad 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