Photo: Corinne DubreuilChristina Makarova (USA)
Top seeded American girl Christina Makarova got her 30th Copa Gerdau campaign off to an ideal start when she steamrolled Brazil’s Eduarda Nardi dos Santos 60 61 to set up a second round meeting with another Brazilian, in-form qualifier Julia Rittscher. Makarova’s compatriot Nicole Frenkel was in even more determined mood when she notched up the day’s only ‘double-bagel’ in beating Brazilian wildcard Ana Laura John 60 60.
Frenkel will now play Camila Giangreco Campiz of Paraguay, who looked strong in beating Mexico’s Constanza Gorches 61 61 on the clay courts of the Associacao Leopoldina Juvenil club in Porto Alegro.
In the boys’ competition, accomplished 17-year-old Gianluca Quinzi asserted his status as a title contender with a 60 61 win over Chile’s Bastian Malla, which set up a second round meeting with local favourite with Gabriel Vellinho Hocevar. Last year saw Quinzi win the 53 Trofeo Bonfiglio (also known as the Italian Open) in Milan to earn himself a debut Grade A title.
Quinzi went onto reach the World No.1 in the ITF Junior rankings in January and while he is currently ranked three, the teenager has already been notching up wins on the South American swing of ITF Junior events after finishing runner-up to Johan Sebastien Tatlot at the Banana Bowl. Tatlot himself was also a winner on Tuesday, beating Luis Valero 76(5) 60 to keep his Brazilian winning streak alive. He will now play Michael Mmoh in the second round.
Elsewhere in the boys’ draw, Naoki Nakagawa of Japan marched into the second round with a comfortable 63 62 win over Venezuelan Rafael Antonio Coutinho and will now face Mexico’s Lucas Gomez for a place in the third round.
Brazil has been hosts to a Grade A event since 1998 when the Banana Bowl in Sao Paulo was awarded this status. The tournament remained the host of a Grade A event until 2006 before in 2007 it was shifted to the Copa Gerdau.
The Copa Gerdau is celebrating its 30th event in 2013 and forms the climax to a South American series of tournaments. The tournament has been running since 1984 when entry was restricted to only local players but has grown in size to offer events in a number of different age groups alongside the main draw and has been open to international players since 1987. The event was first a part of the Junior Circuit in 1993 and reached Grade A status in 2007.
Tournament organisers are preparing for potential disruption on Wednesday, with rain forecast in Porto Alegro. However, bright skies and warm temperatures look set for the latter half of the week.