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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bencic, Milojevic Take Titles in ITF's First Grade A of 2013; Mixed Results for Top Seeds at Winter Nationals

Fifteen-year-old Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and 17-year-old Nikola Milojevic of Serbia won the singles titles Saturday at the ITF Grade A Abierto Juvenil in Mexico City, the first big tournament of 2013 on the ITF schedule.

Both had impressive runs on the clay, neither losing a set, and top seed Bencic won six of her 12 sets by 6-0 scores.  In the final, Bencic beat No. 2 seed Ching-Wen Hsu of Taiwan 6-4, 6-2 after demolishing No. 3 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-0, 6-0 in the semifinals.

No. 2 seed Milojevic, who didn't play the Eddie Herr or the Orange Bowl this year, didn't lose more than four games in any of the 12 sets he won, and in the final, he defeated No. 12 seed Naoki Nakagawa of Japan 6-0, 6-3.  Nakagawa had surprised top seed Frederico Silva of Portugal 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in the quarterfinals. Milojevic and Silva won the doubles title as the top seeds, beating No. 2 seeds Franko Miocic of Croatia and Guillermo Nunez of Chile 7-5, 6-3.

The girls doubles title also went to the top-seeded team, with Mertens and Karin Kennel of Switzerland defeating Bencic and Veronika Kudermetova of Russia, the No. 2 seeds, 6-4, 7-6(3).

For complete results and draws, see the ITF junior website.

At the USTA Winter Nationals in Arizona, five of the eight No. 1 seeds are still in the running for a gold ball.  George Goldhoff, No. 1 in the boys 18s, and Jamie Loeb, the defending champion and No. 1 in the girls 18s, have advanced to Thursday's round of 16. Top boys 16s seed Sameer Kumar has also advanced to the fourth round, but girls 16s No. 1 Meredith Xepoleas lost to unseeded Angela Kulikov in Saturday's third round 7-6(3), 6-4.

Both top seeds are out in the 14s, with Connor Hance a late withdrawal and Elizabeth Porter losing in the third round to Hanna Chang, a No. 17 seed.  Junior Orange Bowl 12s champion Abigail Desiatnikov is playing the 14s division in this tournament, and as the No. 8 seed, she has reached the quarterfinals, beating Eddie Herr champion Ellie Douglas, a No. 17 seed, 6-1, 6-1. Douglas had beaten Desiatnikov 6-1, 6-3 in the semifinals at the Eddie Herr. Because two matches per day are scheduled during the first two days of the tournament for their age groups, the 14s and 12s are now at the quarterfinal stage. Both No. 1 seeds in the 12s--Keenan Mayo and Sophia Edwards--have advanced to the final eight.

For the complete draws, see this TennisLink site for the 12s and 14s, and this TennisLink site for the 16s and 18s.