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Friday, December 2, 2016

November Aces; Top Seeds Kecmanovic, Sigouin Advance to Eddie Herr ITF Semis, Cantos Siemers' Run Continues; Five Finalists Ready for 12s, 14s, 16s Championship Matches Sunday

©Colette Lewis 2016--
Bradenton, FL--

Before I get to the action today at the Eddie Herr Championships, here is my review of November's top college and junior tennis performers for the Tennis Recruiting Network. Fifteen players in all, with teenagers making up the bulk of the highlights, now that college tennis's individual season has been completed.

At the Grade 1 ITF event at the IMG Academy, top seed Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia and No. 2 seed Benjamin Sigouin of Canada continued to post impressive results, with both claiming their fourth consecutive straight-sets wins.

Kecmanovic, the ITF's top-ranked junior boy, defeated No. 6 seed Tomas Etcheverry of Argentina 6-4, 6-0 to advance to the Eddie Herr ITF quarterfinals for the first time after taking quarterfinal losses in both 2014 and 2015.

Kecmanovic will play fellow 17-year-old Ergi Kirkin of Turkey, who survived the day's longest singles match. Kirkin, seeded 12th, needed over three hours to work his way past No. 13 seed Alberto Lim of the Philippines 4-6, 7-6(8), 6-4.

Kenneth Raisma, the No. 3 seed, eliminated Lukas Greif, the last American boy in the draw, 6-1, 6-4, spoiling the Kalamazoo 16s champion's 17th birthday.

The 18-year-old Raisma, the Wimbledon boys doubles champion, will play Sigouin next, with the 17-year-old Canadian earning a 6-3, 6-3 victory over unseeded Finn Bass. Sigouin, who reached the semifinals here last year, has had some of his best results on clay.

Against Bass, Sigouin led 6-3, 5-0, unsuccessfully serving for the match twice before he finally broke Bass for the win, aided by a shanked backhand lob winner at 30-all that had spectators chuckling and Bass shaking his head in disbelief and repeating "wow" several times.

"I kind of got really relaxed after I got the third break," said Sigouin, "It's happened a couple of times. In Mexico City, the same thing happened, so I happy to get through."

As for the lob winner, Sigouin recognized his good fortune when Finn was no doubt feeling the momentum in the match had turned in his favor.

"Yeah, I was really relieved," Sigouin said. "It couldn't have come at a better time."

Sigouin's match with Raisma will be his first against a seeded player.

"I been happy with the way I've been playing, but honestly, I haven't had the toughest draw," Sigouin said. "But I think I've been dealing with my matches well and I deserve to be in the semis."

Sigouin, who is No. 2 in the Tennis Recruiting Class of 2017 rankings, is still considering college as an option, but he has told the many interested coaches that he is not making a decision on his future until the middle of next year.

"I haven't visited any schools and I haven't looked properly yet," said Sigouin, who trains with Tennis Canada at the National Centre in Montreal, and is traveling this week with Vasek Pospisil's former coach Fred Fontang, who is also working with last year's Eddie Herr ITF champion Felix Auger-Aliassime. "Maybe in the near future I will look. I'm not sure yet."

Sigouin, who has reached the semifinals and quarterfinals at Futures tournaments this fall, will continue to play juniors next year, with the Australian Open Junior Championships on his calendar.

"My goal is to be the No. 1 junior," said Sigouin. "So I'm going to try to play these tournaments to accomplish that."

Sigouin and Kecmanovic will play in the doubles final on Saturday after their singles semifinals, with the top seeds escaping with a 6-3, 5-7, 10-7 win over unseeded Gianni Ross and Danny Thomas. Ross and Thomas saved three match points at 3-5 in the second set, another on a deciding point at 5-4 in the second set and then two more at 9-5 in the match tiebreaker, but on match point No. 7 went the way of Sigouin and Kecmanovic.  Their opponents in the final are unseeded Alexandre Rotsaert and Govind Nanda, who beat No. 3 seeds Dan Added and Matteo Martineau of France 7-5, 4-6, 10-8.

With the top 5 seeds out of the girls singles draw after the third round, it's no surprise that two unseeded players have advanced to the semifinals.  One of them, Irina Cantos Siemers of Germany, has beaten three seeds in her last three matches, taking out No. 1 seed Xiyu Wang in the second round, No. 14 seed Morgan Coppoc in the third round and No. 9 seed Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine today.

Cantos Siemers was not feeling well and considered retiring early in the match, but for the second day in a row, she dominated in the final two sets taking a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 decision from the 14-year-old Kostyuk.

"I felt really bad in the first set, I was extremely dizzy, I have a cold," Cantos Siemers said. "But I don't know, I fought through it and then suddenly I won the second set, and I realized I can win this. It definitely gave me confidence to do the same thing yesterday."

After a bathroom break for both girls after the second set, Kostyuk took a medical timeout and emerged from her time with the trainer with her left leg taped above the knee.  Kostyuk's movement didn't appear to be affected and she took a 2-0 lead in the third set, but Cantos Siemers raised the level of her game, particularly on the backhand side and she won the final six games of the match over an increasingly dispirited Kostyuk.

"I felt better with my backhand, I started to get my rhythm again," Cantos Siemers said of her resurgence after breaking Kostyuk and holding for 2-2.  "And the new balls. She hits really flat, so the balls come really fast and I am already not feeling very well, so I am hitting everything late. But once I got the rhythm of the new balls, I started feeling better again."

Cantos Siemers was happy to get the extra few minutes of rest when Kostyuk took the medical timeout.

"It actually helped me. As I said before, I wasn't feeling too well, so I used that time to rest myself."

Cantos Siemers is playing with a heavily taped thigh after tweaking her hamstring in her first round match.

"I always have a little pain, but I can't really tell," the 16-year-old left-hander said with a laugh. "I think it's actually better."

Cantos Siemers faces No. 6 seed Varvara Gracheva of Russia, who defeated unseeded Nicole Mossmer 6-3, 6-3.

"She's an amazing player; she has amazing timing," said Cantos Siemers, who will be playing the 16-year-old Russian for the first time. "I'm excited to play her, because she's my type of player."

Unseeded Carson Branstine lost her first set of the tournament today against No. 16 seed Astrid Brune Olsen but used her power to overcome the 17-year-old from Norway 6-1, 2-6, 6-1.  Branstine, who has agreed to play under the Canadian flag and is traveling with a Tennis Canada coach, although still technically representing the US at the moment, will play No. 12 seed Maria Carle of Argentina.  The crafty Carle, who won the 16s Orange Bowl title last year, defeated No. 15 seed Lea Boskovic of Croatia 6-3, 6-0.

Boskovic still has an opportunity for a title however, as she and partner Kaja Juvan of Slovenia, the No. 4 seeds, have advanced to Saturday's girls doubles championship, beating top seeds Yuki Naito of Japan and Xiyu Wang of China 6-4, 6-2.  They will play No. 7 seeds Maria Portillo Ramirez of Mexico and Sofia Sewing, who defeated No. 2 seeds Ellie Douglas and Natasha Subhash 6-4, 5-7, 10-8.

Five of the finalists in the younger age divisions have been determined with the results of those semifinals listed below.  Their opponents will be decided in the semifinals played on Saturday.  The girls 16s quarterfinals were all played today and both of those semifinals will be played Saturday. Complete draws can be found at the TennisLink site.

Girls 12s:
Stela Peeva[11](BUL) v Katrina Scott[3](USA) SATURDAY
Dasha Plekhanova[4](CAN) def. Tatiana Muzykantskaya[2](RUS) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4

Girls 14s:
Gianna Pielet[5](USA) v Gabby Price[4](USA) SATURDAY
Emma Raducanu[2](GBR) def. Natasha Sengphrachanh[12](CAN)  6-7(1), 6-3, 6-1

Girls 16s quarterfinals:
Emma Navarro[9](USA) def. Cori Gauff[8](USA) 6-4, 7-5
Victoria Hu[4](USA) def. Hye Ran Yun[6](KOR) 6-3, 6-2

Margaryta Bilokin[3](UKR) def. Lauren Stein[10](USA) 6-0, 6-2
Katie Volynets[7](USA) def. Angelica Blake[11](USA) 0-6, 7-5, 6-2

Boys 12s:
Victor Lilov[1](USA) v Jonah Braswell[9](USA) SATURDAY
Gunuk Kang(KOR) def. Kenta Nakamura(JPN) 7-5, 6-3

Boys 14s:
Bu Yunchaokete[1](CHN) def. Toby Kodat(USA) 6-4, 1-6, 6-2
Alexander Gaponenko[3](ISR) v Zane Khan[2](USA) SATURDAY

Boys 16s:
Vikash Singh[5](IND) v Jake Hersey[4](GBR) SATURDAY
Anton Matusevich[2](GBR) def. Jack Draper[3](GBR) 6-4, 7-5