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Monday, December 19, 2005

U.S. Boys Claim Seven Spots in Round of 16; De Coster Dumps Egger

U.S. Boys 14s Claim Seven Spots in Round of 16; Half of the Remaining Boys 12s Players from U.S. ~~~
©Colette Lewis 2005
Coral Gables FL --

Nearly half the players in the Junior Orange Bowl Boys 14s fourth round are from the United States; most were expected to advance, others are finding their best tennis at the prestigious international event.

Second seed JT Sundling, Rhyne Williams and Devin Britton, all of whom received wild cards into the 16s Orange Bowl last week, were expected to produce solid results when moving back down to the 14s, and they have--none of them dropping a set in their first three wins. Alex Domijan, the Eddie Herr 14s finalist, is playing superb tennis now, and his win over seventh seed Frank Carleton shouldn't be characterized as an upset, even though Domijan wasn't seeded.

The other three U.S. players advancing are more surprising-- Shaun Bernstein, in his first year in the 14s; Mousheg Hovhannisyan, who has stuck close to his Southern California section; and qualifier Jadon Phillips, winner of seven straight matches.

Phillips, from Macon Georgia, told me he thinks all the qualifying matches were good for him.

"Usually I don't play well in my first match," he said, "but I was ready this time after all the qualifying matches. I've been gearing up for my first Orange Bowl for a while--it's nice to be playing well."

Phillips next faces Sundling, who once again eased past his opponent in straight sets Monday afternoon. Phillips said that although he was aware of Sundling's impressive 14s resume, he had never played him, and hadn't even seen the tall lefthander play.

"I've got to play my game and do what I do well and not worry about it," Phillips said.

In boys 12s action Monday, Mika De Coster avenged his Eddie Herr finals defeat by eliminating rival Emmett Egger 6-4, 6-2 in the third round. Egger, a one seed, was not the only favorite to fall; Quoc-Daniel Nguyen of the U.S. took out one seed Jea-Moon Lee of Korea and Floridian Spencer Newman defeated one seed Matheus Costa of Brazil, in a match that completed after a brief afternoon rain delay. Newman was serving for the match in the third set when sprinkles turned to court-dampening showers. When the boys returned to the court, Newman dug himself a 15-40 hole, but he managed to pull even and after several deuces, complete the upset. In addition to De Coster, Nguyen and Newman, the U.S. also has in the Round of 16 qualifier Jacob Jung, Christian Harrison, Robert Livi, Thai Kwiatkowski and Andrew Korinek.

There are now only three seeds among the 16 players still in the draw--one seed Jan Romih of Slovenia and nine seeds Ben Wagland of Australia and George Tsivadze of Georgia.

The girls 14s have six seeds still playing in the main draw, including top seed Viktoriya Kamenskaya of Russia and fourth seed Indire Akiki of Croatia. Four girls from the U.S. remain, but three of them are clustered in one quarter, where tomorrow's match of the day will pit Asia Muhammad against Gail Brodsky. Julia Boserup and Alexandra Anghelescu are the other two U.S. players.

The girls 12s, with a 64 player draw, are now down to eight, with Grace Min, Gabrielle DeSimone and Nicole Gibbs representing the United States. Four of the one seeds are still around and two of them, Hanna Orlik of Belarus and Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia meet in Tuesday's quarterfinal. That is a rematch of the Eddie Herr final, which Orlik won 7-6 (3), 6-3, but maybe Tomljanovic will be as successful turning the tables as De Coster was.