08 Dec 2017

Britain's Loffhagen reaches Orange Bowl quarterfinals

News Article

By Sandra Harwitt

Photo: Susan MullaneGeorge Loffhagen (GBR)

There were mixed fortunes for the British boys at the Grade A Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship on Thursday.

In the good news department, 15th-seeded George Loffhagen of Ealing, London, reached the quarterfinals when second-seed Uisung Park of Korea retired from their match with the Briton leading 61 4-0.

The world Junior No. 63's best result of the year so far is winning the Grade 2 Swiss Junior title, but that result certainly wasn’t the highlight of the 16-year-old’s season.

The time he spent over two hours practicing with Rafael Nadal during Wimbledon, where the youngster reached the third round of the boys' singles, superseeds that. The event took place on a court at Aorangi Park, adjacent to Wimbledon, and was a learning experience he won’t soon forget.

The outing came about for Loffhagen, the son of two lawyers - dad is an attorney with IMG - via recommendations. Apparently the Nadal camp asked Tim Henman for a hitting partner recommendation and Henman consulted with his old coach, David Felgate. And the rest is history, as they say.

In the bad news department, 14th-seeded Glaswegian Aidan McHugh was upset by 229th-ranked American wildcard recipient Tyler Zink 63 64. The 17-year-old McHugh, who is receiving mentoring from the Murray brothers - that would be Andy and Jamie - reached the semifinals of two Grade 1 tournaments during the second half of this year.

Besides for Loffhagen there are only two other seeded boys remaining in the draw.

Top-seeded Timofey Skatov of Russia earned his quarterfinal slot with an easy 62 60 win over Jonas Forejtek of Czech Republic.

The 11th-seeded Hugo Gaston of France scored a 64 64 third round win over eighth-seeded Ondrej Styler of Czech Republic to move onto the final eight.

The host nation only has two players remaining in the boys’ competition and both are unseeded. The122nd-ranked Govind Nanda and the 229th-ranked Zink are the USA’s only hope of hoisting the boys’ trophy.

The quarterfinal pairings pit Skatov against Admir Kalender of Croatia, Gaston against Zink, Nanda against Dostanbek Tashbulatov of Kazakhstan, and Danile Nichalski of Poland against Loffhagen.

In girls’ action on Thursday, unseeded American Chloe Beck backed up her big second-round upset over second-seeded Alexa Noel of USA by beating another seeded player to reach the quarterfinals.

The 228th-ranked wildcard recipient, Beck rebounded to take down 14th-seeded Layne Sleeth of Canada 36 64 62 in the third round.

There were three other upsets posted in the girls’ competition on Thursday. Vanessa Ong battled for three sets to upset fellow American and eighth-seeded Caty McNally 26 64 62.

American wildcard recipient Abigail Forbes outlasted 13th-seeded Hurricane Tyra Black 60 46 64, and Margaryta Bilokin of Ukraine ousted 15th-seeded Sada Nahimana of Burundi 63 76 (5).

Top-seeded Whitney Osuigwe, the world No. 1 who won her first Grand Slam junior singles title at Roland Garros this year, lost only two games in her 60 62 win over 16th-seeded Yasmine Mansouri of France. The 15-year-old Osuigwe is hoping to win her second consecutive title - she won last week’s Eddie Herr tournament - to end her extraordinary year in style.

The girls’ quarterfinal lineup pits Osuigwe against Ong, Forbes against ninth-seeded Joanna Garland of USA, fifth-seeded Naho Sato of Japan against Bilokin, and sixth-seeded Nika Radisic of Slovenia against Beck.