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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Orange Bowl Acceptances; Top Seed Fruhvirtova Out, Ngounoue Reaches Semifinals at ITF JA in South Africa; Rain Pushes Two Semifinals to Friday at South Carolina J4

The acceptances for the ITF JA Orange Bowl, scheduled for December 6-12, were released today, and at least for now, the fields are strong, particularly for the girls. It's the tournament's 75th year, and it's great to see it back to a 64-player draw after having been reduced to 48 last year due to Covid concerns.

Seven of the ITF Top 10 girls have entered, including No. 1 Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra, US Open finalist Kristina Dmitruk of Belarus and the Fruhvirtova sisters. The boys acceptance list features four of the Top 10, including the top three Americans: Samir Banerjee[3], Victor Lilov[6] and Bruno Kuzuhara[8]. The fourth is No. 10 Viacheslav Bielinskyi of Ukraine.

There are five US boys and six US girls accepted into the main draw; in addition to the three boys above, Ozan Colak and Ethan Quinn have entered. The boys ranking cutoff is 84, putting nine US boys in qualifying.

The US girls are Elvina Kalieva[10], Madison Sieg, Clervie Ngounoue, Alexis Blokhina, Qavia Lopez and Liv Hovde. The girls ranking cutoff is 87, with 16 US girls currently in qualifying.

The Orange Bowl 16s entries don't close until Tuesday November 2, with the acceptances expected to be released November 7.

The acceptances for the JA in Merida Mexico, which is the week of Thanksgiving, came out last week, with all the same US girls entered as the Orange Bowl. Only Lilov and Colak entered from the US boys Orange Bowl contingent, but Benjamin Kittay and Ryan Colby join them in the main draw. Merida is a 48-player draw, and the girls cutoff of 79 is higher than the Orange Bowl. The boys cutoff in Mexico right now is 95.

The Eddie Herr J1 acceptances won't be out for nearly two weeks, so it remains to be seen how many players will skip that tournament to concentrate of the two JAs.

Speaking of JAs, the semifinals of the current one in Cape Town South Africa are Friday, with 15-year-old Clervie Ngounoue among those reaching the final four. Ngounoue, the No. 6 seed, defeated unseeded Carolina Kuhl of Germany 4-6, 7-5, 6-3. Ngounoue will face No. 2 seed Ksenia Zaytseva of Russia, who beat No. 5 seed Johanne Svendsen of Denmark 6-3, 7-6(4). 

Top seed Brenda Fruhvirtova suffered a rare junior loss today, falling to No. 7 seed Yaroslava Bartashevich of Russia 6-4, 7-6(6). Bartashevich will play No. 3 seed Petra Marcinko of Croatia, who beat No. 8 seed Maria Sholokhova of Russia 6-3, 6-2. 

The boys semifinals will feature top seed Leo Borg of Sweden against No. 7 seed Neo Niedner of Germany and No. 3 seed Jakub Mensik of the Czech Republic against unseeded Borys Zgola of Poland.

Rain at the J4 in South Carolina was particularly unfortunate for the four players who could not finish their semifinals. No. 6 seed Nikita Filin advanced to the final, his second this fall, with a 6-3, 6-1 win over unseeded Amor Jasika of Australia, but the second boys semifinal between Andrew Delgado and Roy Horovitz will have to be played Friday morning, with the final to follow. 

The same problem exists for the girls, with Maddy Zampardo already in the final with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over qualifier Emily Baek, while her opponent won't be decided until Friday morning, when top seed Isabella Chhiv and Taylor Goetz play. I assume both those semifinals are in progress, but there is no partial score given on the ITF junior website.