Photo: Susan MullaneFrederico Ferreira Silva (POR)
The 18-and-under singles competitions at this year’s Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships continued to gather pace on Wednesday, when the claycourts of the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Florida saw some of the biggest names in junior tennis in action.
In the boys’ singles, the top two seeds Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy and Frederico Ferreira Silva (POR) both progressed to the third round, although Ferreira Silva had to come from a set down to get past talented German teenager Alexander Zverev before ekeing out a 26 64 61 win. Quinzi beat the USA’s Daniel Kerznerman 62 75 and was joined in the third round by third seed Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN), fourth seed Borna Coric of Croatia and Chile’s Christian Garin, who is bidding for his second title in two weeks following his victory at the Eddie Herr International.
The day’s biggest upset belonged to Gustav Hansson of Sweden, who proved too strong for Great Britain’s 14th seed Luke Bambridge in one of the most hotly-contested matches of the day. Hansson eventually prevailed 36 76(2) 64 to set up a third round meeting with Quinzi.
Bambridge’s compatriot Evan Hoyt was a 61 61 victim of dangerous Russian Anton Desyatnik, who is unseeded in a strong boys’ draw must be regarded as potentially difficult third round opponent for twelfth seed Elias Ymer of Sweden.
Much attention at this year’s Grade A tournament has been focused on Australian Open Girls’ champion and Orange Bowl top seed Taylor Townsend - especially as Townsend is currently locked in a tense duel for the year-end No.1 spot in the ITF Junior Rankings with Katerina Siniakova of Czech Republic. Townsend kept her nose in front in the race on Wednesday, thanks to a 76(6) 64 second round win over Indy De Vroome of Netherlands.
“Anytime someone’s on top, there’s a target. I try to focus on myself. I don’t try to focus on what people say and the pressure,” said Townsend after her match. “I just try to focus on one match at a time, and try to focus on my game, and what I’m supposed to be doing. Everything else will take care of itself.”
Siniakova, who needs to win the title to have any chance of stealing the top spot from Townsend, kept pace with a 61 61 second round victory over Mia Horvit of the USA.
Townsend was joined in the third round by fellow American (and fellow Top 20 player) Christina Makarova, who was born in Russia to a family with a strong tennis pedigree. Makarova’s mother Luda was an accomplished player herself and also coached Marat Safin and Anna Kournikova, amongst others. “I mean, everybody in this tournament is good,” said Makarova Junior after a 61 26 63 second round win over Vavara Flink (RUS). “It just depends on how you good you play that day,” Makarova said. “If I play well every day, I feel like I have a chance. You never know what’s going to happen.
American girls have a good record at the Orange Bowl and two have won the 18s’ title in the last five years - WTA Top 100 player Lauren Davis (2010) and former WTA Top 200 player Julia Boserup (2008). With Makarova and Townsend leading the charge, this year’s event could yet see a home champion in the girls’ singles competition.