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Saturday, November 26, 2022

First Round of ITF J1 Eddie Herr Qualifying Complete, Two Rounds Set for Sunday; Rain Disrupts Semifinals in JA Merida; Shnaider Reaches WTA 125 Final; Canada and Australia Meet for Davis Cup Title Sunday

©Colette Lewis 2022--
Bradenton FL--

Effects from the rain at the Grade A this week in Merida Mexico spilled over into the first day of ITF J1 Eddie Herr qualifying, with both walkovers and alternates featured in round 1.

The tradition of playing late matches in Mexico and difficulty of getting to Bradenton from there is always challenging when it comes to the first few days of the Eddie Herr ITF. This year, with rain delaying the boys doubles semifinals from Friday to today, and more rain today, there were a lot of special exemption requests that ultimately proved moot, because the players simply couldn't get to the IMG Academy in time.

Nahum Gloriana of Morocco, who lost in Friday's quarterfinals in Merida and was the No. 9 seed in qualifying, tried to get here, but was unable to do so, despite getting a match time of not before 3 p.m. With just one lighted HarTru court, which is new this year, the Eddie Herr ITF is definitely a daylight tournament, so 3 p.m. is about as late as match can be scheduled.

Three players moved into the main draw due to last minute withdrawals: Americans Alexis Harmon and Maya Iyengar, the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, and No. 4 seed Luca Pow of Great Britain. Because no boys alternates signed in, Pow's opponent Piotr Andrzejewski of the United States received a walkover, one of three on the day in the boys draw. Three girls alternates got in, but none advanced to the second round.

Top girls seeds Antonia Vergara Rivera of Chile and Katie Rolls got through in straight sets, but No. 6 seed Sage Loudon and No. 7 seed Arina Oreschenkova lost in match tiebreakers.  

Top boys seeds Gonzalo Zeitune of Argentina and Jules Leroux of France are through, although Zeitune barely survived, beating Adam Duda of the Czech Republic 3-6, 6-2, 11-9. No. 3 seed Marko Mesarovic lost to Zachary Vaiiala of Australia 7-6(5), 4-6, 10-3. 

Two boys who have made early 2024 commitments ousted seeds today, with Thomas Faurel of France, who has given a verbal to Kentucky, defeating No. 8 seed Hady El Korde of Egypt 6-3, 6-2 and Matthew Forbes, who recently announced his intention to play for North Carolina, beating No. 10 seed Junghee You of Canada 4-6, 6-3, 10-8. At 8-all in the match tiebreaker, You had a chance to put an overhead away, but Forbes tracked it down, reset the point and eventually won it, then served it out with a sharp angled winner ending it.

Two rounds of qualifying matches are scheduled for Sunday, but there is a chance of rain in the afternoon, and the high humidity has made for some lengthy matches with towel use more prevalent.

The final round of qualifying for the 12s, 14s and 16s divisions is set for Sunday, with main draw matches beginning Monday.

As for the JA in Merida, the singles semifinals, scheduled for today, but so far not played, are:

No. 4 seed Ella Mcdonald of Great Britain vs. Ariana Pursoo 
No. 5 seed Clervie Ngounoue vs. qualifier Yujin Kim of Korea

No. 1 seed Gerard Campana Lee of Korea vs. No. 8 seed Paul Inchauspe of France
No. 6 seed Juan Carlos Prado Angelo of Bolivia vs. No. 2 seed Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez of Mexico.

Campana Lee has now won 21 consecutive ITF Junior Circuit matches since losing to ITF No. 1 Daniel Vallejo of Paraguay in the third round of the US Open. 

NC State freshman Diana Shnaider of Russia has advanced to her first WTA final at the 125 in Montevideo Uruguay. The unseeded 18-year-old left-hander, who reached the Orange Bowl final last year, defeated No. 6 seed Kateryna Baindl of Ukraine 6-3, 6-2 in this evening's semifinals, her fourth straight-sets victory of the week. Shnaider, up to 121 in the live WTA rankings, will face No. 10 seed Leolia Jeanjean(Baylor/Arkansas/Lynn) of France in Sunday's final. 

The Davis Cup final is set for Sunday in Spain, after Australia defeated Croatia 2-1 Friday and Canada defeated Italy 2-1 today. Italy had beaten the United States in the quarterfinals 2-1. With the new format featuring just two singles and a deciding doubles match, if necessary, all three of the matches above came down to the doubles, as did Canada's win over Germany in the quarterfinals.