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Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Roles Reversed Wednesday as Five Girls Seeds, Just One Boys Seed Lose in Second Round of FILA International Championships; Documentary Subject Brockett Avenges Orange Bowl Loss to Leach; Tiafoe Reaches BNP Paribas Semifinals

©Colette Lewis 2023--
Indian Wells CA--

Tuesday's second round featured the top half of the draw of the ITF J300 FILA International Championships, with five of eight boys seeds losing their first contests on the tournament, while all eight girls seeds advanced.

The script was flipped on Wednesday, when seven of the eight boys seeds in action advanced to the third round, while five girls seeds in the bottom half lost on an unseasonably cool and damp start to the day in the Coachella Valley.

Quevedo signs autographs after her win

The top four girls seeds have advanced, including No. 2 seed Kaitlin Quevedo, who defeated Canadian Eliana Kook 6-2, 6-0.

Quevedo, currently No. 17 in the ITF junior rankings needed a few games to find her form, with several brief rain interruptions at the start of the match contributing to her slow start. 

"It was obviously difficult to get any rhythm in the beginning," said Quevedo, who reached three consecutive J300 finals last month in South America. "It did rain, so we were stopping a few times, but overall, I was able to stay focused and think about what I could do better, play more aggressive on the return."

Quevedo had seen Kook at the South American tournaments, but had not competed against her. 

"I really didn't know how she played, so that was a little tricky too," said Quevedo, who turned 17 last month. 

With all the success she had in South America, Quevedo was excited to have the opportunity to compete in the event while she was playing so well.

"It makes you feel like a very good player; you get to be around the great players," said Quevedo, who autographed several tennis balls after the match. "It's a really good experience and I was very excited to play this tournament when I heard it was going to happen."

Quevedo is not playing the San Diego J300 next week, with her preparations for the clay season beginning with a three-week training block back in Naples Florida, and the slow courts at the Indian Wells Tennis Center feel like a gradual transition to the clay. 

"I think the courts are pretty slow, but for me it's an advantage," said Quevedo, who is still in the midst of the college recruiting process. "Physically, it helps me a lot with my game, which is running and getting all the balls back. It's harder to hit winners on these courts and playing against me, it's hard to hit winners in general, so it's an advantage, and I don't hit that many winners myself."

Quevedo will face 14-year-old Thea Frodin, who beat No. 14 seed Piper Charney 6-4, 6-4.

No. 5 seed Ariana Pursoo was the highest girls seed to lose, with wild card Valerie Glozman, the 2022 USTA National 18s finalist, earning a 6-3, 6-4 victory.  Glozman, who won the Easter Bowl 16s titles last year here at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, will face qualifier Susanna Maltby next, with Maltby taking out No. 11 seed Ava Krug 6-4, 6-2. 

Shannon Lam defeated No. 10 seed Qavia Lopez 7-6(2), 6-1 amd Ahmani Guichard beat No. 13 seed Ellie Daniels of Canada 7-5, 4-6, 6-4. 

The boys seeds faced the entire range of resistance, from eighth-seeded Duncan Chan of Canada's three-hour 6-7(8), 6-2, 7-6(5) win over Abhishek Thorat, to No. 10 seed Maxwell Exsted's 64-minute 6-0, 6-3 victory over Miguel Tobon of Colombia. 

Mitchell Lee's 6-0, 6-4 win over No. 14 seed Aayush Bhat earned him a meeting with No. 2 seed Roy Horovitz, who beat wild card Keaton Hance 6-3, 6-2. 

No. 9 seed Stiles Brockett and Jagger Leach were meeting for the second time in three months, after Leach had beaten Orange Bowl 16s top seed Brockett 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 in the third round. Brockett turned the tables on Stadium Court 6, taking a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory over the son of Jon Leach and Lindsay Davenport.

"It's always going to be tough playing him, so I went in with a lot of energy, a lot of feet," said the 16-year-old from Virginia. "I knew I had to push him as much as I can, because he's not going to go anywhere. I had a good start, but obviously he's going to come back with something good, but I feel I raised my level a lot in the third."

Serving at 1-1 in the third set, Brockett was down 0-40, digging a hole with unforced errors, but he won the next five points, then broke Leach to take a 4-1 lead.

"That was a huge hold," said Brockett, who will face No. 5 seed Oliver Bonding of Great Britain Thursday after Bonding got past wild card Nathan Blokin 6-2, 7-6(2). "I thought, I'm still in this game, and I was able to hold, luckily and it was giving me momentum the rest of the match. If I didn't hold there, it would have been a little different story in that third. I was getting some momentum and was rolling a little bit, but I knew I had to keep pushing, keep going, put my foot on the gas and I feel like I did a good job of staying on him."

Brockett is one of the handful of juniors who are being featured in a junior tennis documentary, which has been in production since last fall.

The crew is wrapping up filming now, with visits to the training facilities of the juniors, and they were recently at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park Maryland, where Brockett trains.

"It's really cool honestly, cool to be a part of something like that, being highlighted for something I'm doing well," said Brockett, who believes he has been able to be himself while the cameras have recorded his every move. "I'm myself, on and off camera. They're really good, they let me do my own thing, they just want to see inside, what I do. I know it's there, but I just let it be. I'm no different."

The doubles seeds played their first matches today, with three seeded boys teams losing, including No. 3 seeds Bhat and Adhithya Ganesan, who fell to Leach and Joseph Oyebog, another of juniors in the documentary, 7-6(4), 6-4. Brockett and his partner Kuang Qing Xu of Canada, the No. 5 seeds, lost to Krish Arora and Rudy Quan 6-1, 6-2.

Four of the eight seeded teams in the girls doubles lost, including No. 3 seeds Quevedo and Charney, who were beaten by Glozman and Anya Murthy 6-3, 7-6(4).

The eight round of 16 boys singles matches begin at 10 a.m. Thursday, followed by the girls round of 16 singles and the doubles quarterfinals. 

The weather forecast for the rest of the week does not include any rain.

While the juniors were playing on the outside courts, Frances Tiafoe, who won the Easter Bowl ITF here in 2014, was playing 2021 BNP Paribas Open champion Cameron Norrie in Stadium 1, and his 6-4, 6-4 victory put him into an ATP Masters 1000 semifinal for the first time. The No. 14 seed will face No. 5 seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia on Saturday for a place in the final. For more on Tiafoe's victory, see this article from the BNP Paribas Open website.