Photo: Susan MullaneVarvara Flink (RUS)
A quality boys’ and girls’ field at the 30th Copa Gerdau has narrowed to two thoroughbred semifinal line-ups at the Grade A clay court event in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
The tournament could see a French boys' singles champion for the second year in a row after Quentin Halys and Johan Sebastian Tatlot both stormed through to the last four. Halys takes on top seeded Italian Gianluca Quinzi in the semifinals, while Tatlot will be up against American Stefan Kozlov (seeded 14).
Halys may find himself a little less fresh than his opponent when they meet in the last four. He may have enjoyed a 64 75 win over fifth seed Pedro Cachin of Argentina but Quinzi progressed without finishing a single game after his opponent Nicolas Alvarez of Peru was forced to retire before the match was even underway.
Quinzi remains on course for what would be his second ITF Junior Grade A title inside 12 months after he took the honors at the 53 Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan last May.
Tatlot demolished Brazil’s Rafael Matos 60 61 to keep alive a winning streak which has now seen him win his last nine matches, including victory over Quinzi in the final of last week’s 43rd Banana Bowl, also in Brazil. Kozlov beat Japan’s Naoki Nakagawa 60 63 to earn his place in the final four.
In the girls’ singles competition, Beatriz Haddad Maia will carry the hopes of the home nation on her shoulders on the final weekend, for the teenager is the last Brazilian standing in the singles after beating Victoria Rodriguez of Mexico 61 63 in the quarterfinals.
Haddad Maia faces in-form Russian Maria Marfutina, seeded 13th. Marfutina has notched up a series of impressive wins this week, including beating top seed Christina Makarova of USA and ninth seed Constanza Vega of Argentina in back-to-back matches’ en route to this stage.
Third seed Camila Giangreco Campiz of Paraguay will face Russian second seed Vavara Flink in the semifinals after Campiz proved too strong for Maria Fernanda Herazo Gonzalez of Columbia and Flink beat Mexican Alejandra Cisneros 62 75 in their respective quarterfinals.
With Flink and Marfutina on opposite sides of the draw, there remains the possibility of a first Russian girls’ singles champion since 2004, when Alyssa Kleybanova lifted the trophy.
The doubles is set for an exciting denouement, with unseeded Brazilian teams in both doubles finals harboring dreams of a home win against seeded opposition. Top seeded girls Cisneros and Rodriguez of Mexico play the unseeded home team of Brazilians Ingrid Gamarra Martins and Haddad Maia for the title.
The boys’ doubles final is between the USA/Germany team of Spencer Papa and Alexander Zverev (seeded fourth in doubles) and unseeded Brazilian pair Orlando Luz and Marcelo Zormann Da Silva.