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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Top Seed Ousted by Qualifier in Junior Orange Bowl Girls 12s as Weather Leads to Format Changes

©Colette Lewis--
Coral Gables FL--

Rain overnight in the Miami area meant wet courts Wednesday morning, but fortunately no more rain fell during the second day of play at the Junior Orange Bowl.

Delays ran from an hour to more than two, depending on the site, and with consolation matches also scheduled to begin today, the decision was made to play a match tiebreaker in lieu of a third set in the second round of main draw, and to implement short scoring (first to 4, tiebreaker at 4-all, match TB for third) in the first round of consolation matches (in B12s and G14s only, Crandon Park didn't get the word and played full sets with a match tiebreaker for a third, the standard consolation format).

After few surprises on the first day of play Tuesday, with all but one top 8 seed advancing (and one withdrawing), that changed Wednesday, with two of the top four seeds in the girls 12s losing and four more top 8 seeds also suffering losses in today's second round.

Top seed girls 12s seed Mingge Xu of Great Britain lost to qualifier Yifei Huang of China 6-3, 6-2. Huang should not have been in qualifying, as she was seeded No. 5 at the Eddie Herr and reached the semifinals. The Junior Orange Bowl does not use UTR for entry as the Eddie Herr now does, relying instead on the Order of Merit a country submits and that has led to more qualifiers in the third round.

No. 4 seed Thea Latak of the United States, who won the Easter Bowl 12s this year, lost to Riley Crowder, also from the US, 6-4, 4-6, 10-8. No. 6 seed Bella Payne retired to Helena Lynn trailing 7-5, 1-1 in another all-US second round match.

In the boys 12s, the top four seeds all advanced to the third round in straight sets, but No. 7 seed Mark Krupkin of the United States lost to Hans Deng of Canada 6-2, 3-6, 10-5. No. 8 seed Gregory Vrel-Nagel of France survived against Jonas Hahn of Australia in a battle of left-handers 6-2, 3-6, 10-7.

I spent the afternoon at the girls 14s at the Biltmore's Kerdyk Tennis Center, and while I missed the losses by No. 7 seed Lucciana Perez of Peru(to Orly Oglivy of Canada) and No. 8 seed Maya Joint of the United States(to American Sophie Lleyellyn), I did watch No. 4 seed Aya El Aouni of Morocco advance to the third round--just barely.

Although she didn't face a match point, El Aouni was two points from defeat at 9-9 in the match tiebreaker she played against Karen Verduzco of Mexico. Verduzco had taken the first set 6-4; El Aouni took the second set 6-1. Neither could settle on a game plan, and moon balls were frequent, with lengthy points the norm.  They also lost track of the score during the match tiebreaker, with El Aouni serving three times at 6-3, 6-4 and 6-5, with the roving umpire not observing at the time of El Aouni's first two serves (one of which was a double fault), and Verduzco not aware that it was her turn to serve. In reality, serving was no advantage to either girl, with five of the first six points going to the returner. El Aouni's took a 9-6 lead, but Verduzco, unusually, won her two service points to close the gap to 9-8. On match point No. 3, a 30-ball rally ended when El Aouni's lob went long, and although they changed ends, El Aouni didn't serve the next point, with the long point and the change of ends apparently causing them to lose track of the score again. Verduzco lost that point that she served in error, and on the fourth match point, Verduzco served, but an El Aouni forehand forced an error to give her the match in an 11-9 tiebreaker.

Top seed and Eddie Herr champion Kayla Cross of Canada defeated Reya Coe of the US 6-0, 6-1 and No. 2 seed Nikola Daubnerova of Slovakia beat Canadian Iulia Bucea 6-2, 6-2 to close out main draw second round action in the 14s.

The boys 14s continued to go as expected, with seeds 2-8 advancing after No. 1 Kyle Kang withdrew. No. 2 seed Nishesh Basavareddy defeated Micah Bigun 6-2, 6-2 in an all-US second round contest, and Eddie Herr champion Alexandru Mihai Coman of Romania, the No. 4 seed, beat Adhithya Ganesan of the US 6-3, 6-4. No. 3 seed Rashed Naif of Qatar will have a challenge in Thursday's third round when he takes on Eddie Herr finalist Benjamin Kreynes of the US, a No. 17 seed.

For draws and Thursday's times, see the TennisLink site.


Mandi Carter said...

I wish they would not seed the 12s. Thats when players should be developing their games and not give a darn about rankings yet. Just arrange the draws without seeding in the 12s. Its why so many games stagnate so early, the players worry too much about winning in the 12s.