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