22 Mar 2013

Action-packed Thursday in Porto Alegre

News Article

Photo: Corinne DubreuilGianluigi Quinzi (ITA)

American wildcard JC Aragone notched up the biggest upset on what was a busy day at the 30th Copa Gerdau on Wednesday when he sent second seeded Peruvian Jorge Brian Panta Herreros tumbling out of the Grade A event in a hard-fought three-set win.

In what has been a mixed tournament so far for the American boys, Aragone made up for a string of surprise defeats for the US contingent on Monday by battling past World No.11 Panta Herreros to win their marathon match 46 76(3) 63. His reward is a third round meeting with 16th seeded Brazilian Rafaelo Matos.

Seventeen-year-old Aragone, from Yorba Linda, California, has already faced far more serious battles off the court. According to an interview he gave with www.zootennis.com in October 2012, the teenager was hospitalised in January last year with liver and kidney failure following an adverse reaction to medication. He was left suffering from type-1 diabetes and yet since returning from illness has posted a string of impressive results on the ITF Pro Circuit at men’s Futures events.

Aragone’s current ITF Junior ranking of 274 should gain a boost with his wins in Porto Alegre but even more so if he can get past Matos and into the last four of one of the ITF Junior Circuit’s most prestigious events. There is no shortage of competition in what is a predictably strong field and Aragone’s bottom half of the draw is still teeming with accomplished players.

Two of those, Johan Sebastien Tatlot of France and another American Luca Corinteli, face off in the last 16 after they scored contrasting wins on Wednesday. Tatlot eased past Michael Mmoh (USA) 57 60 61, while Corinteli had to come from a set down to beat Lucas Bernardo of Brazil 57 60 61.

Top seeded Italian Gianluca Quinzi continued his serene progress through the draw, beating Gabriel Vellinho Hocevar of Brazil 61 62 to set up a third round match against France’s Maxime Hamou. Hamou, seeded 13th, was in ominous form in beating American Martin Redlicki 62 63. Fourth seed Guillermo Nunez of Chile was also among the winners and plays 14th seed Stefan Kozlov of USA in the third round.

There were more successful upsets for the the USA in the girls’ draw, when Rianna Valdes knocked out sixth seed Laura Ucros with a 64 64 win and Louisa Chirico defeated Macarena Olivares Lopez of Chile 63 75 to reach the third round. Valdes now plays ninth seed Constanza Vega of Argentina and Chirico takes on local favourite and fifth seed Beatriz Haddad Maia, both for a place in the quarterfinals.

Those were not the only shocks, however. Maria Fernanda Herazo Gonazalez of Chile ended Carolina Meligeni Rodrigues Alves of Brazil ‘s hopes of winning the title with a 64 76(3) win. Top three seeds Christina Makarova (USA), Vavara Flink (RUS) and Camilia Gaingreco Campiz (PAR) all survived to move through to the third round unscathed.