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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Higuchi Ousts Sixth Seed, Boys No. 2 Seed Tatlot Upset in Eddie Herr ITF Second Round

©Colette Lewis 2013--
Bradenton, FL--

Bradenton can be cool and windy during Eddie Herr week, but for second round play Wednesday it was anything but. Temperatures near 80 and the slightest of breezes made for ideal tennis weather, but that didn't help seeded players, with more than half of them gone as the ITF tournament moves into the third round.

On Monday, top seed and World No. 1 Alexander Zverev of Germany lost; on Wednesday, the other ITF Top 10 boy in the field, France's Johan Sebastien Tatlot made his exit.  Tatlot was beaten by Guy Orly Iradukunda of Burundi 6-4, 6-4. Iradukunda, 17, is a member of the ITF Grand Slam Development Team and won consecutive Grade 4s in Africa this summer, but his win over Tatlot, who won a Futures last month in Greece, is certainly the best of his junior career.

With Zverev and Tatlot gone, No. 3 seed Stefan Kozlov is the top seed remaining and he had no trouble with qualifier Ryotaro Matsumura of Japan, taking a 6-1, 6-2 victory. Kozlov has yet to play at the main site, and he is again on the Academy Park courts on Thursday, a tram ride away, when he takes on qualifier Reilly Opelka. Opelka rebounded to beat Djurabeck Karimov of Uzbekistan 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Only one round of 16 match will feature two seeds, with No. 5 seed Michael Mmoh taking on No. 9 seed Kamil Majchrzak of Poland. Majchrzak beat Taylor Fritz 6-2, 6-4 and Mmoh cruised by Alexander Sendegeya of Great Britain 6-3, 6-0.

Six of the 16 boys still remaining are from the United States. In addition to Kozlov, Mmoh and Opelka, qualifier Catalin Mateas, wild card Deiton Baughman and No. 13 seed Francis Tiafoe reached the third round. Mateas beat Omar Jasika of Australia 7-6(2), 6-2, while Baughman made short work of qualifier Artur Dubinski of Belarus.  Tiafoe had his hands full with Yucatan finalist Francisco Bahamonde of Argentina in the first set, but once Tiafoe got a break to open the second set, Bahamonde "laid an egg," in Tiafoe's words.  Barely moving for balls, Bahamonde didn't appear to be hurt, but he certainly was interested in getting off the court as soon as possible.

Unlike the boys draw, the top two girls seeds have had no trouble this week, with Varvara Flink of Russia and Tornado Alicia Black again posting straight set victories. Flink beat wild card Olivia Hauger 6-0, 6-2, and Black handled Dzina Milovanovic of Serbia 6-0, 6-3. Both Flink and Black will play qualifiers on Thursday, with Flink facing Seone Mendez of Australia and Black meeting Julia Terziyska of Bulgaria.

Aside from the top two seeds, there are only three others remaining in the girls draw, all of them double digit seeds.  No. 3 seed Camila Giangreco Campiz of Paraguay was beaten by Elena Ruse of Romania, and No. 6 seed Ioana Ducu was eliminated by wild card Emma Higuchi. Although the score was 6-3, 6-1, the match was nearly two hours long, and the 15-year-old Californian was relieved to finish it in straight sets.

"I was staying really patient, moving the ball," said Higuchi. "She kind of broke down and I took advantage of that. I kept on moving and getting everything."

Higuchi says she feels comfortable on clay, often training on it in Carson.

"I can get a lot of balls back, and clay court players do that a lot," said Higuchi, who will play No. 12 seed Sandra Samir of Egypt on Thursday. "You just have to adjust, and I think I did that well today."

The comeback of the day went to Sofia Kenin, who trailed Australian Naiktha Bains 6-1, 5-2 before coming all the way back for a 1-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 victory that took nearly four hours to complete.  Kenin will play Chloe Ouellet-Pizer in the third round, after Ouellet-Pizer posted a considerably less dramatic 6-3, 6-2 victory over qualifier Angelika Shapovalova of Russia.

The top seeded girls doubles team of Black and Fanny Stoller lost on Tuesday, and the top seeded boys doubles team of Zverev and Andrey Rublev went out on Wednesday.  After taking a long and emotional first set, Zverev and Rublev couldn't hold off the Polish team of Phillip Gresk and Jan Zielinski 6-7(10), 6-4, 10-6. Gresk has a very big serve, but it was a couple of his backhand return winners that proved key in the match tiebreaker.

In the younger age divisions, all the No. 1 seeds reached the third round. Anastasia Potapova of Russia and Alexander Zgirovsky of Belarus in the 12s, Kayla Day and Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia in the 14s and Helen Altick and Yunseong Chung of Korea in the 16s, all advanced in straight sets.

The day's most dramatic match, which was over four hours long, saw Alexa Bortles defeat No. 2 seed Jenna Friedel 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 in girls 16s action. There were bathroom breaks, code violations and cramping before the match, begun in early afternoon sunlight, ended under the Stadium court lights.

No. 2 seeds Hurricane Tyra Black(12s), Sofia Sewing(14s), Adam Neff(12s), Noah Makarome(14s) and Mate Valkusz(16s) all advanced in straight sets.

For complete results, see eddieherr.com.