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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Kwiatkowski Downs Eddie Herr Champion, Will Face Wild Card Baughman in Orange Bowl Quarterfinals; Townsend and Scholl Advance in Girls 18s; 16s Semis Include Five Americans

©Colette Lewis 2012--
Plantation, FL--

One of the two US boys left in the ITF Grade A Orange Bowl will be eliminated in Friday's quarterfinals, with No. 9 seed Thai Kwiatkowski facing unseeded Deiton Baughman. But neither could be unhappy about that scenario, with each picking up big wins in third round action Thursday at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center.

Kwiatkowski, who beat Eddie Herr champion and No. 6 seed Christian Garin of Chile 6-3, 6-1, called it one of his best victories.

"For sure this is one of my biggest wins," said Kwiatkowski, 17. "I'm really happy with how I played, and how everything went. I'm happy to be in the quarterfinals tomorrow."

Garin took a medical timeout when he fell behind 3-0 in the second set, and Kwiatkowski had to guard against letting up when it was obvious Garin was playing with pain.

"You could see that it was hurting him at 1-0 and 2-0," said Kwiatkowski, who recently committed to the University of Virginia. "For sure it was tough today, because he was hitting some pretty amazing winners. You know it's hard for him to keep it up, because obviously he's hurting. You've just got to stay with it, focus on getting to the finish line rather than your opponent."

Kwiatkowski weathered the storm, as Garin took to finishing points quickly and often did hit some spectacular winners. But Kwiatkowski came up with his share of the same, and for his part, didn't commit many unforced errors, increasing the pressure on Garin to come up with more.

"I knew going into the match that he was playing well," said Kwiatkowski. "Obviously, because he won Eddie Herr last week. I felt pretty confident with how I've been playing this week. I feel comfortable on the clay, so I knew I certainly had a chance if I did the right things and stayed mentally tough."

Baughman, a 6-foot-5 16-year-old from Southern California, wouldn't be an obvious choice to display clay court acumen, but on Thursday he defeated No. 4 seed Borna Coric of Croatia 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to prove his versatility.

"Borna is such a great player, he's top 20 in the world," said Baughman, who last faced Coric in the final of the Little Mo 10s. "To beat him here, at the Orange Bowl, and play so well against him on clay--he's from Europe, so he plays on clay all the time--to get a win against him and so convincingly in the second and third sets, I'm definitely pleased with my play."

Baughman competed in the USTA Collegiate Clay Court Invitational last month in Orlando on clay and has trained on it at the USTA Training Center in Carson, but feels the clay in the past two tournaments is a different surface.

"I was on clay a lot, but the clay is way different here than it is in California," said Baughman. "But I've been playing well overall, and at Eddie Herr it was good to get a couple of matches in there. I had a thought in my mind I wanted to do really well here, and so far, so good."

Baughman and Kwiatkowski played at a USTA sponsored wild card tournament last year for a spot in the US Open Junior Championships.

"I absolutely got smacked, 1 and 0," Baughman said. "It wasn't even a match. I was missing every shot, he was making every shot. But I think we are both playing better than we were back then, I'm definitely playing a lot better. I'm looking forward to it. It's a little upsetting that we're the last Americans, playing in the quarters, but at least we have a guaranteed American into the semis."

The other boys quarterfinals are No. 1 seed Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy against No. 10 seed and Eddie Herr finalist Laslo Djere of Serbia; No. 8 seed Filippo Baldi of Italy against No. 3 seed Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan; and No. 12 seed Elias Ymer of Sweden against No. 2 seed Frederico Silva of Portugal.

There are also two US girls remaining in the quarterfinals, but they are in opposite halves of the draw.  Top seed Taylor Townsend trailed in each set against No. 13 seed Katy Dunne of Great Britain, but picked up her game when she it mattered to claim a 6-4, 6-4 victory. Townsend will play No. 5 seed Carol Zhao of Canada in the quarterfinals.

Chalena Scholl, the No.  8 seed, has been making it look easy the past two days. On Thursday, the Pompano Beach resident eliminated 2011 Orange Bowl 16s champion Erin Routliffe of Canada, the No. 12 seed, 6-2, 6-1 to earn a shot at No. 2 seed Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.  Siniakova, who still has a chance to finish the year as the ITF World Junior champion, made virtually no errors in the first set against No. 15 seed Ayaka Okuno of Japan, taking a 6-1, 6-3 decision.

The other quarterfinals will feature No. 4 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland against No. 7 seed and Eddie Herr champion Ana Konjuh of Croatia, and No. 6 seed Marcela Zacarias of Mexico against Natalia Vajdova of Slovakia, the last unseeded player in the girls draw.

Bencic advanced when No. 14 seed Anastasia Komardina of Russia retired with a back injury trailing 4-0, and Konjuh prevailed over Allie Kiick of the US 7-6(2), 6-2. Zacarias, the Yucatan Cup champion, who did not play the Eddie Herr, beat No. 9 seed Christina Makarova of the US 6-2, 6-4 in Thursday's third round.

In the 16s, the semifinals are set, with five Americans among the final eight players.

In the boys draw, a US finalist is guaranteed, with unseeded Sameer Kumar meeting No. 12 seed Tommy Paul. Kumar beat unseeded Vitalii Shcherba of Ukraine 6-2, 7-5, winning the last five games of the match, while Paul took out No. 2 seed Sumit Nagal of India 6-4, 7-5.

The top half semifinal will feature No. 4 seed Andrey Rublev of Russia against No. 14 seed Dennis Uspensky of the US.  Rublev eliminated unseeded Jess Jones of the US 6-1, 6-0, while Uspensky beat No. 8 seed William Blumberg 6-3, 6-2.

The girls 16s semifinals are No. 5 seed Usue Arconada of the US against Gloria Liang of Canada and No. 16 seed Chloe Ouellet-Pizer of the US against unseeded Lisa Ponomar of Germany.

Arconada defeated unseeded Camila Wesbrooks 7-5, 7-6(8), while Liang needed more than three and a half hours to beat No. 3 seed Madison Bourguignon of the US 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.  Ouellett-Pizer ousted No. 12 seed Maddie Pothoff of the US 6-2, 6-3, while Ponomar downed Mary Haffey of the US 7-5, 6-1.

The 16s doubles champions will be crowned on Friday afternoon.

Top seeds Nagal and Uspensky will play No. 7 seeds Lamar Remy of the US and Alejandro Tabilo of Canada in the boys championship match.

The Canadian team of Marie-Alexandre Leduc and Liang, the No. 6 seeds, will play No. 2 seeds Ponomar and Johnnise Renaud of the US for the girls 16s doubles title.

For complete draws, see the tournament page at usta.com.