Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Qualifier Sridhar Defeats Sigouin, Thomas Downs Etcheverry in Metropolia Orange Bowl First Round Action

©Colette Lewis 2016--
Plantation, FL--

Top seed and ITF No. 1 junior Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia breezed into the second round of the ITF Grade A Metropolia Orange Bowl Tuesday, beating local wild card Joseph Honorio 6-0, 6-0, but No. 3 seed Benjamin Sigouin of Canada, who lost to Kecmanovic in the final of the Eddie Herr Grade 1 on Sunday, ran into a red-hot qualifier in Sangeet Sridhar and fell 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-0.

Sridhar was taking the ball early and matching Sigouin's power and then some throughout the opening set. In the first set tiebreaker, Sridhar hit five winners total, including a forehand winner at 5-4 and an ace at 6-4.  Sigouin came back in the second set, but Sridhar refused to concede the set, with Sigouin escaping only after saving a break point.

"I just wanted to put as much pressure as possible for him to close out the set," said the 16-year-old from Arizona. "I had a break point with a tough call there on the line, but I just made him work for it. He did a good job closing the set out, but when the third set started, I was ready again. I think the effort at the end of the second set, even though I lost it, was I think critical to the third set."

Sridhar took control of the third set with a break in the second game and rolled from there.

"I played really solid in the first three games and he started to break down and lose it mentally a little bit," Sridhar said. "He was obviously tired, I'm sure he had a long week last week. I played smart and put the pressure on him to push his level and he struggled a little bit and I took advantage of it."

Sridhar, who had also qualified last week for the Eddie Herr, but lost in the first round there, admitted his game was at its peak today.

"It's one of the best matches I've played," Sridhar said. "I hope to have better matches in the future, but so far that's the best match I've played. It's tough, there's times you want to drop the level, drop the focus because it was so tough, some of the games. But I told myself obviously Ben's a great player and if I want to win the match I have to do it by playing every game as hard as I possibly could. So the drive to win the match pushed me to play at that level the entire match."

Danny Thomas had seen the downside of not sustaining his level when he played No. 3 seed Kenneth Raisma of Estonia last week in the second round of the Eddie Herr. After taking the first set 6-4, Thomas lost the next two 6-3, 6-2, so after winning the first set today against No. 8 seed Tomas Etcheverry of Argentina 6-1, the 17-year-old from Ohio was on his guard.

"It was in my mind the whole time, especially when I won the first set pretty easily," said Thomas, who completed the 6-1, 6-1 victory without any drama. "Going into the second, I had a couple of bad points and he ended up holding for 1-all, and I was thinking maybe it would happen again. But I tried to keep fighting as hard as I could to not let that happen."

Thomas did not play either of the ITF junior tournaments in Mexico, opting for Futures in Central America instead, but he believes he is acclimated to clay after last week.

"This is just I think my fourth tournament on clay this year, and I haven't had too much practice on it," Thomas said. "In Ohio I mostly play on hard. But I like clay more, I think, than hard court."

In addition to Sridhar and Thomas's wins over seeds, four other US boys advanced to the second round.  Alexandre Rotsaert defeated qualifier Yusuf Khamis of Egypt 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, No. 16 seed Trent Bryde beat qualifier Carlos Sanchez Jover of Spain 6-3, 6-4, and Govind Nanda downed Maxence Broville of France 6-4, 7-5.  Vasil Kirkov had lost to Alberto Lim of the Philippines in the third round of the Eddie Herr 6-2, 6-2, but their rematch in today's first round was much closer, with Kirkov pulling out a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(4) victory.  Kirkov led 4-1 in the third set, but it was Lim who served for the match at 6-5, only to be broken without reaching match point, and Kirkov was the steadier of the two in the tiebreaker.

The rematch of the Eddie Herr ITF girls final saw the same winner emerge, with Maria Carle beating No. 14 seed Varvara Gracheva of Russia 6-2, 6-2.  No. 8 seed Jodie Burrage of Great Britain lost to qualifier Meiling Wang of China 7-5, 6-3, No. 11 seed Emily Appleton of Great Britain lost to qualifier Victoria Emma 7-5, 6-3 and qualifier Layne Sleeth of Canada beat No. 10 seed Ellie Douglas 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

In the second round of the 16s, top seed Yeonseok Jeong of Korea was
beaten by Roi Ginat of Israel 6-3, 6-4 and No. 2 seed Jack Draper of Great Britain was ousted by Drew Baird 6-2, 6-3. Of the 14 boys seeds that started the tournament (two dropped out before play began) only five have advanced to the third round.

The girls 16s draw had only 12 seeds to begin with, with four, including No. 1 Elli Mandlik, dropping out after the draw was made.  Only three seeds are left in the round 16, No. 2 seed Oana Corneanu of Romania, No. 3 seed Kacie Harvey and No. 14 seed Imani Graham. Eddie Herr 16s champion Katie Volynets repeated her win in the final over Victoria Hu two days later, with Volynets taking out the No. 13 seed 6-1, 6-2 in a match much closer than that score suggests. Volynets faces Corneanu in Wednesday's third round.

The doubles quarterfinals are set for the 16s, but only the bottom half of the 18s doubles draws completed their first rounds today, with the top half first round matches scheduled for Wednesday.

For draws, the order of play and the link to live scoring, see the USTA's tournament page.