Thursday, December 1, 2016

USTA National 16s Champions Move into Eddie Herr ITF Quarterfinals; Semifinals Set for 12s, 14s and Boys 16s; Day Withdraws From Orange Bowl

©Colette Lewis 2016--
Bradenton, FL--

Thursday's third round in the Eddie Herr ITF didn't go well for most of the US juniors with four of the five boys and six of the eight girls eliminated. But 2016 USTA National 16s champions Nicole Mossmer and Lukas Greif did make their way into the quarterfinals, with Mossmer saving match points in her 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-1 win over No. 3 seed Ellie Douglas and Greif beating Marko Miladinovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-4.

Mossmer has now played six consecutive three-set matches, three in last week's ITF Grade 1 Yucatan Cup and three this week at the Eddie Herr.

"My first match in Mexico(at the Grade A in Mexico City) I was down 6-3, 5-1 and I came back and won that," said the 16-year-old from La Jolla, California. "In the second tournament (Yucatan), I lost the first set 6-0 and in the second set tiebreaker she had match point. I double faulted and we were literally about to touch hands to shake hands when I asked to see a mark, and it ended up being in. And she had a couple of other match points in the tiebreak, but I won the third set 6-0.  The other ones were just super long too. It's been a grind."

Drawing on memories of that match last week in Mexico, Mossmer faced down two match points in the second set tiebreaker with Douglas, and went on to dominate in the third set.

"I kind of just went for it," said Mossmer, whose defensive skills contribute to many long games and points. "I don't mind being down, I kind of like it. I just play my game and I played without any pressure on those points. I just went for my shots, and I think I hit a backhand winner on one of them."

Mossmer said she does not get tired, crediting her soccer training, which she abandoned only two years ago, with providing her the stamina to regularly play three-hour matches.

"The longer the match, the better it is for me," said Mossmer said. "When I played soccer, my team was really good, we were No. 1 in the nation. When I was 14, I played both, maybe not tennis as competitively, but I decided to play just tennis. There's something about being out there on the court and having it all be on how I play that I really liked. But just from playing soccer all the time I have really good fitness, really good endurance. I was a center midfielder, so I had to run a lot."

Mossmer doesn't play much on clay in Southern California, but believes her speed is an advantage for her on the surface once she has adjusted.

"I can get to a lot more balls than the other girls and a lot of them don't expect the ball to come back, but I keep getting them back," Mossmer said.

Greif, who trains in Indianapolis, also has little experience with clay, but

"I don't play on it very much," said Greif, the 16s USTA Clay Court Champion. "The last time I played on green clay was Clay Courts, actually. I like it, I play well on it, but it's tough to adjust.  I do feel it helps me get to more balls that I could on hard court; I think it helps my game, but adjusting to it was tough at first. But now I feel adjusted and I'm playing well."

Greif, who turns 17 Friday, was pleased with his level of play against the young Serbian, who will be 16 next week.

"Today I played really well," said Greif, who received a wild card into the tournament. "I played aggressive, got it done on big points. It was a long two-setter, we had a lot of deuce games in the first set. In the second set, the 4-all game was pretty big, it went to deuce and I broke him, then closed it out own my serve, came up with a few good shots."

Greif's quarterfinal opponent is No. 3 seed Kenneth Raisma of Estonia, who came back from a set down for the second straight match.

"I hadn't seen him play before this tournament, but I watched a little bit yesterday against Danny Thomas," Greif said. "He's good. It will be a tough one."

Mossmer will face No. 6 seed Varvara Gracheva of Russia, who is now the highest seed remaining in the girls draw.

Irina Cantos Siemers of Germany, who defeated top seed Xiyu Wang of China on Wednesday, continued her outstanding play, topping No. 14 seed Morgan Coppoc 6-7(2), 6-0, 6-1.  She will play No. 9 seed Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine, the 2015 Eddie Herr 14s champion, who defeated Jimena Rodriguez-Benito 6-0, 6-3.

Carson Branstine, who is currently USA, but changing to Canada when her passport comes through, ended the run of 14-year-old Vanessa Ong with a 6-3, 6-4 victory. Branstine will play No. 16 seed Astrid Brune Olsen of Norway, who beat No. 4 seed Jodi Burrage of Great Britain 7-5, 0-6, 6-4.  No. 12 seed Maria Carle of Argentina defeated qualifier Victoria Emma 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 and will face No. 15 seed Lea Boskovic of Croatia. Boskovic eliminated Sofia Sewing 7-6(2), 6-1.

Boys top seed Miomir Kecmanovic got out of a tough first set with No. 14 seed Gianni Ross and went on to a 7-5, 6-1 victory.  He will play No. 6 seed Tomas Etcheverry of Argentina, who outlasted unseeded Patrick Kypson 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, ending the three-hour match by taking final five games.

No. 13 seed Alberto Lim of the Philippines defeated Vasil Kirkov 6-2, 6-2 and will meet No. 12 seed Ergi Kirkin of Turkey, who beat No. 7 seed Sam Riffice 6-4, 6-1.  Finn Bass of Great Britain joins Greif as the only unseeded players in remaining, and he will play No. 2 seed Benjamin Sigouin of Canada next. Bass beat Ray Ho of Taiwan 1-6, 7-6(1), 6-3, while Sigouin took out Nick Hardt of the Dominican Republic 6-1, 6-3.

Friday's doubles semifinals will feature two unseeded US boys teams and three US girls.

Ross and Thomas will face top seeds Kecmanovic and Sigouin and Govind Nanda and Alexsandre Rotsaert will meet No. 3 seeds Dan Added and Matteo Martineau of France.

No. 2 seeds Douglas and Natasha Subhash will play No. 7 seeds Maria Portillo Ramirez of Mexico and Sewing in one semifinal.  The other has top seeds Yuki Naito and Wang against No. 4 seeds Kaja Juvan of Slovenia and Boskovic.

The bottom half semifinal in the boys and girls 12s and 14s divisions and the boys 16s division will play on Friday, with the top half semifinal matches scheduled for Saturday (the one exception is B14s).  After a rain delay earlier in the week, the girls 16s division will play all four of their quarterfinal matches on Friday and both semifinal matches on Saturday. Below are the matchups, with Friday's matches in bold.

Girls 12s:
Stela Peeva[11](BUL)v  Katrina Scott[3](USA)
Dasha Piekhanova[4](CAN) v Tatiana Muzykantskaya[2](RUS)

Girls 14s:
Gianna Pielet[5](USA) v Gabby Price[4](USA)
Natasha Sengphrachanh[12](CAN) v Emma Raducanu[2](GBR)

Girls 16s quarterfinals:
Emma Navarro[9](USA) v Cori Gauff[8](USA)
Victoria Hu[4](USA) v Hye Ran Yun[6](KOR)
Lauren Stein[10](USA) v Margaryta Bilokin[3](UKR)
Katie Volynets[7](USA) v Angelica Blake[11](USA)

Boys 12s:
Victor Lilov[1](USA) v Jonah Braswell[9](USA)
Kenta Nakamura(JPN) v Gunuk Kang(KOR)

Boys 14s:
Bu Yunchaokete[1](CHN) v Toby Kodat(USA)
Alexander Gaponenko[3](ISR) v Zane Khan[2](USA)

Boys 16s:
Vikash Singh[5](IND) v Jake Hersey[4](GBR)
Jack Draper[3](GBR) v Anton Matusevich[2](GBR)

Complete draws can be found at the TennisLink site.

According to the USTA, Kayla Day has withdrawn from next week's Metropolia Orange Bowl with an injury, thereby assuring Anastasia Potapova of Russia of the ITF year-end World Junior Champion title.

The USTA's Orange Bowl preview can be found here.

Qualifying for the Orange Bowl 16s tournament begins Friday, with the boys and girls draws now available.