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Friday, December 2, 2005

Top seed Radwanska, Second Seed Olaru Upset in Girls 18s; Girls 16s to Feature Three Americans in Semifinals

Top seed Radwanska, Second Seed Olaru Upset in Girls 18s; Girls 16s to Feature Three Americans in Semifinals ~~~
©Colette Lewis 2005
Bradenton FL--

Only two number one seeds remain in contention for the six championships to be decided this weekend at the Eddie Herr International Championships at IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy, thanks to Romanian Sorana Cirstea who took out top seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-4, 6-2 in girls 18 quarterfinal action Friday. Cirstea, seeded 10th, provided Radwanska with her first challenge of the tournament, but the reigning Wimbledon Junior Champion failed to respond. Cirstea faces the surprising Sabine Lisicki of Germany, who followed up her win Thursday over fourth seed Alexandra Dulgheru by taking out fifth seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in two tense tiebreak sets. Evgeniya Rodina of Russia dominated second seed Raluca Olaru of Romania 6-2, 6-1 and will meet third seed Dominika Cibulkova of the Slovak Republic. Cibulkova outlasted Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.

Boys 18s top seed Marin Cilic, impressive all week, was even more so against a tough and determined opponent, Ivan Sergeyev, the 11th seed from the Ukraine. Although the 6-2, 6-4 score would indicate a routine win, the six-foot five-inch Croatian and those witnessing the match would not agree.

"It was the best match I played in this tournament," said Cilic. "I played much better on the baseline, served a little bit better." And yet he found it tough to shake Sergeyev, who returned well and forced Cilic to earn nearly every point he won.

The crowd that filled the bleachers on court fifteen were impressed not only with the level of play but with the sportsmanship displayed, especially at set point 5-2 in the first, Cilic serving. Cilic's shot sailed two or three inches behind the baseline but the chair umpire overruled Sergeyev's out call. Sergeyev looked puzzled and gestured to show how out it was, but before any argument could begin, Cilic corrected the umpire. Asked about it after the match Cilic dimissed the idea that he had done anything special. "It was out, you know, clearly out, by a few centimeters."

Cilic will face fourth seed Dusan Lojda of the Czech Republic, who put an end to the run of unseeded Petru Luncanu of Romania 6-4, 6-2 in a battle of lefthanders. The possibility of an all Croatia final still exists as Nikola Mektic, who upended second seed Ryan Sweeting Thursday, continued his run with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over wild card Roumenov of Spain. Mektic, the 13th seed, meets unseeded Kevin Botti of France who eliminated Bollettieri student Kei Nishikori of Japan, 7-6(4), 6-2.

The other number one seed still in the hunt for a title is in boys 14s where Borut Puc of Slovenia continued his cruise through the draw, beating sixth seed Nicolas Pastor of Argentina 6-1, 6-0. Next in his sights is 13th seed Alex Domijan (USA) who also had an impressive quarterfinal win, taking out Brazilian Joao Fernandes 6-0, 6-0. The Floridian will face his first seed in the semifinals, but he has yet to lose a set in his four wins. In the other semifinal, unseeded James Munro of South Africa will meet second seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria. Munro upset 15th seed Manuel Sanchez-Montemayer of Mexico 6-4, 6-1 and Dimitrov ousted ninth seed Guido Andeozzi of Argentina 6-1, 7-5.

The day's best match for sustained tension was in boys 16s where third seed Drew Daniel (USA) saved eight match points enroute to a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(4) win over 12th seed Alexey Grigorov of Russia. Daniel, a student at the Roddick-Moros Academy in Texas, spread out the heroics, saving two at 3-5, two more at 5-4 and four at 5-6. Daniel will test his ninth life against sixth seed Radu Albot of Moldova who defeated Vladimir Ignatic of Belarus 6-3, 7-5.

The opportunity for an All-American final was kept alive, as fourteen-year-old wild card Rhyne Williams (USA) continued his roll, dumping Cesar Ramirez, the 16th seed 6-3, 6-2. Williams, of Knoxville Tennessee, is coached by his grandfather Mike DePalmer, who serves as the Master of Ceremonies at the Eddie Herr's Parade of Nations. Williams will take on 13th seeded Ecuadoran Gonazlo Escobar who ended the run of lucky loser Jeff Dadamo (USA) 6-4, 6-1.

The girls 16s final will have a representative from the U.S., and in Saturday's semifinal qualifiers Nadja Gilchrist and Cristala Andrews vie for that spot. Andrews, who scrambled for a qualifying spot due to missing the entry deadline, defeated Canadian Taylor Ormond, 6-2, 6-2 while Gilchrist also beat a Canadian, Marie-Pier Huet 6-2, 6-3. The other semifinal finds double partners and Bolletteri students Mallory Cecil(USA) and Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal on opposite sides of court. Cecil, a wild card, defeated Alexa Guarachi (USA) 6-2, 6-1, while Larcher de Brito eliminated the last seed when she beat Ioana Ivan of Romania, the eighth seed, 6-4, 6-1.

Fifth seed Valeriya Savinykh of Russia is now the favorite in the girls 14s as she is the only seed remaining. Savinykh defeated Sally Peers of Australia 6-1, 6-2. Saturday she will meet Belgian Tamaryn Hendler who eliminated Katarena Paliivets of Canada 7-6 (3), 6-1. In the bottom half, Pipiya Nanuli of Russia took out the last American remaining, Carling Seguso, 6-3, 6-1 and will face Valieria Solovieva of Russia. Last year's Jr. Orange Bowl 12 and under champion, Solovieva battled past last year's Eddie Herr 12 and under champion, Great Britain's Tara Moore, scoring a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory.

Semifinal action begins at 9:00 a.m. Saturday. For full draws and doubles information, see www.eddieherr.com.