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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Seven US Players Qualify for Eddie Herr ITF; Main Draw for 12s, 14s, 16s Also Begins Monday; Day Wins Yucatan Cup

©Colette Lewis 2015--
Bradenton, FL--

The Har-Tru courts at the IMG Academy were busy from 7:45 a.m. until 5:45 p.m. Sunday, with the final match of two rounds of ITF qualifying ending after sunset.

Five US girls and two US boys advanced to the main draw. Top seed Hanna Chang, No. 15 seed Sabina Dadaciu, No. 4 seed Meible Chi, No. 10 seed Victoria Emma and No. 8 seed Jessica Livianu all advanced without dropping a set in either of their two matches. (Chi played only her final round qualifying after it was discovered late yesterday that her second round opponent had also played in the 16s qualifying, which is not permitted).   In fact, only one qualifier played more than four sets on Sunday--No. 12 seed Nidhi Surapaneni of India, who needed three sets to get past her second round opponent Marlee Zein.  No. 6 seed Violet Apisah of Australia and No. 7 seed Ali Collins of Great Britain also advanced to the main draw.

Due to the withdrawals of Olesya Pervushina and Wimbledon girls champion Sofya Zhuk of Russia and Usue Arcondada, three lucky losers got in: Brindtha Ramasamy of Canada, Shelly Krolitzky of Israel and Taylor Russo.

No. 1 seed Dalma Galfi of Hungary will begin the defense of her title on Monday against Yuki Naito of Japan, while No. 2 seed Sonya Kenin will play Dominique Schaefer of Peru. Kenin defeated Schaefer in two tiebreakers in the second round of the Grade 1 Yucatan Cup last week.

In contrast to the girls qualifying, the final round of the boys qualifying was long and arduous for most.  Six of the eight afternoon matches went the full three sets, with No. 15 seed Michiel De Krom and No. 6 seed Bart Stevens of the Netherlands, No. 9 seed Elliot Benchetrit of France, unseeded Nicolas Mejia of Colombia, unseeded Sebastian Baez of Argentina and unseeded John McNally all taken to the limit.

McNally had the most dramatic win, defeating unseeded Kyrylo Tsygura 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(5) in the only all-American matchup in the final round of boys qualifying.  Tsygura led 4-2 in the third set, but couldn't hold on to the break, and was broken at 5-all to give McNally an opportunity to serve for the match. McNally's first serve was not in evidence in that game however, and he failed to convert on two match points, the first lost to a double fault and the second to a forehand sent long.

Tsygura got a minibreak to lead 4-1 in the tiebreaker, but after McNally won his two points on serve, Tsygura double faulted. A McNally forehand forced an error on the next point, putting the match on his racquet at 5-4 serving, but McNally's backhand error made it 5-all. Serving much better in the tiebreaker than he did in the previous game, McNally hit a good serve and forehand winner combo to reach match point, and converted it when Tsygura missed a backhand wide early in the final point.

That was the last match of the day on the Academy Park courts, which have been expanded from 7 to 9 courts this year, but the day's final match ended in the fading light on Court 1. Baez defeated No. 16 seed Gerardo Penchyna Cardenas of Mexico 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 in that match, putting an end to a long day for the Mexican. Baez served for the match at 5-2, then again at 5-4, and finally ended it with a surprise serve and volley, perfectly executed. Penchyna Cardenas was on court approximately six hours Sunday, having won a nearly four-hour second round match over Gabriel Boscardin Dias of Brazil 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(2).

The two boys who advanced to the main draw without drama were unseeded Adam Ambrozy and No. 1 seed Rudolf Molleker of Germany, who won both of their Sunday matches in straight sets.

Tsygura received a spot in the main draw as a lucky loser, as did Christos Antonopoulos of Greece, who lost to Ambrozy.  They are taking the place of Yucatan champion Mate Valkusz of Hungary, who withdrew today, and Denis Klok of Russia, who withdrew Saturday.

Top seed Casper Ruud of Norway will start his quest for the title Monday against wild card Oliver Crawford, with No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas playing Mwendwa Mbithi.

The draws and order of play for Monday, which includes 48 singles matches, can be found at eddieherr.com.

The 12s, 14s and 16s will also begin main draw play on Monday, with the top half in each draw in action. The bottom half of each draw will play on Tuesday.

US players qualifying for the main draws:

Boys 12s:
Michael Nicholls
Noelle Ampong
Daniel Cohen
Jonah Braswell
Noah Hernandez

Boys 14s:
Ronald Hohmann
Zane Khan
Tyler Zink
Mark Mandlik

Boys 16s:
Antoine Sanchez
JanMagnus Johnson
Noah Schachter
Miguel Pereira
Drew Baird
Lucas Greif
Tomas Martinez

Girls 12s:
Maria Drobotova
Gavriella Smith
Violeta Martinez

Girls 14s:
Ruth Marsh
Margaryta Bilokin
Aanya Goel
Nastasya Semenovski

Girls 16s: (final round played Saturday)
Sarah Hua
Margaret Owensby
Vanessa Streng
Anna Letto

Draws and Monday's times for the younger divisions are available at the Tennis Link site.

Kayla Day, who won the ITF Grade B1 last month in Tulsa, added another Grade 1 title to her resume last night at the Yucatan Cup. Day, the No. 5 seed, beat No. 4 seed Bianca Andreescu of Canada 7-5, 6-3 in the final. The 16-year-old from Southern California didn't lose a set all week.

Andreescu got her revenge in the doubles final, when she and Vanessa Wong, the No. 6 seeds, beat No. 3 seeds Day and Alexandra Sanford 7-5, 6-3.

Neither Day nor Andreescu will have much time to recover, as both are on the schedule Monday, which is a departure from scheduling in the past. Now the only players with Tuesday first round matches are qualifiers or their opponents.

As mentioned previously, Valkusz, who would have been the No. 2 seed here at the Eddie Herr, withdrew, but Kenneth Raisma of Estonia, who lost 6-2, 6-4 to Valkusz in the Yucatan final, is also scheduled to play on Monday, taking on wild card Nathan Perrone.

The boys doubles title went to No. 8 seeds Piotr Matuszewski and Kacper Zuk of Poland, who beat No. 2 seeds Valkusz and Louis Wessels of Germany 4-6, 6-2, 10-7.

In the final of the WTA $125K in Carlsbad, California, No. 5 seed Nicole Gibbs fell to top seed Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium 6-3, 7-6(4). Down 5-0 in the first set, Gibbs fought back, but came up just against WTA No. 49.