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Friday, December 17, 2021

My Review of Historic ITF JA Orange Bowl; Eddie Herr Champion Penickova Falls in Third Round of Junior Orange Bowl, Other Top Seeds Survive in Third Sets or Match Tiebreakers

©Colette Lewis 2021--
Coral Gables FL--

Last week's Orange Bowl featured several surprises during the week, and although not shocking, the titles won by Petra Marcinko of Croatia and Danny Vallejo of Paraguay were another reminder that sports aren't scripted. My coverage of those titles, as well the doubles championships, can be found at the Tennis Recruiting Network. A separate recap of the 16s tournament can be found here.

Another day without rain helped the Junior Orange Bowl get back on schedule, although the girls 12s and 14s and the boys 14s all played a match tiebreaker in lieu of a third set for the third round today, as they had done in all four age divisions on Thursday. The boys 12s, played on clay at Salvadore Park, was on schedule with the consolation draw, so they returned to the regular format today.

Two of the top seeds found themselves in those tense match tiebreakers today, with boys 14s No. 3 seed Darwin Blanch beating Evan Sharygin, a No. 17 seed, 7-5, 4-6, 10-7 and girls 12s top seed Christina Lyutova getting by Aoi Watanabe of Japan, a No. 17 seed, 6-4, 3-6, 10-4, in matches at Key Biscayne's Crandon Park.

Three of the four Eddie Herr champions still have an opportunity to add a Junior Orange Bowl title to their resumes, but not girls 12s winner Kristina Penickova, who is the No. 2 seed here. Penickova was convincingly defeated by Yui Komada of Japan 6-0, 6-2. Two unseeded players remain in the girls 12s: Ye Sung Choo of Korea and Briley Rhoden.

Rositsa Dencheva of Bulgaria, the No. 2 seed here after her title in Bradenton, won two matches today, beating Nicole Okhtenberg 6-4, 7-5 this morning in a match held over from Thursday and Meritxell Teixido of Spain 6-1, 6-4, this afternoon. Top seed Iva Jovic defeated Marcella Roversi 6-3, 6-0. There are three unseeded players in the fourth round in the girls 14s: qualifier Sabrina Lin, Eden Mayokes of Israel and Sara Conde of Argentina.

Timofey Derepasko of Russia, also a No. 2 seed this tournament after winning the Eddie Herr two weeks ago, advanced to the round of 16 this evening with a 6-1, 6-1 win over No. 17 seed Zachary Cohen. Top seed Max Exsted, who lost to Derepasko in the Eddie Herr final, defeated Nicholas Rizzo 6-1, 6-3.  There are three unseeded players in the round of 16: Alvaro Jimenez Roman of Spain, Valentin Garay of Argentina and Nicolas Arseneault of Canada.

After spending all day Thursday at the girls 14s, I watched all Friday's round of 16s matches for the boys 12s today at Salvadore Park, and Eddie Herr champion Teodor Davidov again found himself in a tough contest, as he had in the first round. Against No. 17 seed Oluwajomiloju Aminu of Great Britain, Davidov found himself down 5-1 in the second set, after taking the first set 6-3. Aminu, nearly twice Davidov's size, served for the set at 5-1, and 5-3, but couldn't close either time. A marathon game with Davidov saving set points serving at 4-5 appeared to be the turning point, and the 11-year-old from Bradenton closed out the tiebreaker for a 6-3, 7-6(1) victory.

Davidov didn't need a third set, but No. 3 seed Svit Suljic of Slovenia did, coming back to claim a 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Emilio Comacho, a No. 17 seed from Ecuador, who had not lost a game in his first two matches. Comacho trailed 4-1 in the opening set before winning six of the next seven games. Suljic kept his leads in the second and third sets, but the match was in doubt until the final game.

All 16 boys remaining in the main draw are seeded, with the top eight intact. No. 2 seed Navneet Raghuram extended his streak of matches with a 6-0 set to three, beating Damian Tabuteau 6-0, 6-1. 

I am planning to spend Saturday at Crandon Park to watch the girls 12s and boys 14s round of 16 matches, if the weather cooperate.

Complete draws can be found at the USTA's PlayTennis site. The consolation matches in the girls 12s and 14s and the boys 14s began with the score 2-2 to allow two rounds to be completed Friday.