Photo: Susan MullaneVarvara Flink (RUS)
A string of upsets rocked day one at the 30th Copa Gerdau Grade A ITF Junior Circuit event in Brazil, which started on Monday.
The USA contingent in the boys’ draw was hardest hit when three American seeds were beaten by South American opposition on the clay courts in Porto Alegre. Local player Orlando Luz scored a crowd-pleasing 75 75 first round win over third-seeded American Thai-Son Kwiatowski. Kwiatowski’s compatriot, eighth seed Mackenzie McDonald was also bundled out when he suffered a 61 60 defeat to Nicolas Alvarez of Peru and seventh seeded Spencer Papa of the USA lost 63 64 to Jordi Arconada of Argentina.
Ninth seed Diego Pedraza was also a first round casualty when the Columbian succumbed to Argentina’s Juan Pablo Paz to open up the boys’ draw even further. Paz now plays Marcelo Tebet Filho of Brazil for a place in the third round.
Top seed Gianluca Quinzi of Italy, who is a former tournament winner at Grade A level, was rested on Monday before taking on Brazilian wildcard Gabriel Vellinho Hocevar in his opening match. Second seed Jorge Brian Panta Herreros of Peru has been drawn to play Jaime Ignacio Galleguillos of Chile in his first round match.
The girls’ competition got off to a more predictable start, with a win for second seed Vavara Flink of Russia, who ran out a 64 62 victor over Alexandria Stiteler of USA. The accomplished Russian junior will now take on Brazilian wildcard Leclane Comparin Da Silva in the second round and must be considered amongst the favourites for the prestigious Copa Gerdau title.
Top seed in the girls’ competition, Christina Makarova of the USA, is scheduled to take on Eduarda Nardi dos Santos of Brazil in round one, with the winner set to play another Brazilian, Julia Rittscher. Rittscher came through qualifying and went on to beat compatriot (and lucky loser) Jaleska Teixeira Mendes in her first main draw match and should be comfortable on the courts.
In other matches, 13th seed Maria Marfutina of Russia made serene progress with a 63 60 victory over Ivone Alvaro of Portugal, as did Argentina’s Constanza Vega of Argentina. Vega’s 61 60 win set up a second round clash with Camila Fuentes of Mexico. Eight seed Carolina Meligeni Rodrigues Alves of Brazil, 11th seed Renata Zarazua and Alejandra Cisneros (both from Mexico) were also among the day one winners.
Play resumes on Tuesday, with warm sunny temperatures expected in the large, historic coastal city of Porto Alegre. Organisers will be hoping that Wednesday and Thursday’s forecast rain stays away.