Johan Sebastien Tatlot (FRA)
The 67th annual Metropolia Orange Bowl Junior Tennis Championships, has been a fixture of the year-end junior tennis calendar since 1947 and this year’s event promises to add to its illustrious history.
Top seeded boy Alexander Zverev of Germany got his title campaign off to the ideal start when he overcame a determined challenge from Brazil’s Gabriel Vellinho Hocevar. Zverev was joined in the second round by second seeded Frenchman Sebastien Tatlot, who was a 75 61 winner over American Catalin Mateas. American seeds Francis Tiafoe and Michael Mmoh also progressed, as did Burundi’s Guy Orly Iradukunda, a beneficiary this season of the ITF Grand Slam Development Fund, which enables players from developing countries to travel and receive coaching support.
Fourteenth seed Benjamin Bonzi of France was the only seeded casualty on day one, when he fell 62 64 to China’s Weigiang Zheng.
In the girls’ competition, American Tornado Alicia Black, seeded three, was among the winners on Monday when she beat Dzina Milovanovic of Serbia 62 75. Black was joined in round two by Romanian Ioana Ducu (seeded six), Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova and second seed Ivana Jorovic of Serbia. The only seed to fall on the girls’ side was fourth seed Helen Ploskina of Ukraine, who was shocked 63 61 by American Sofia Kenin.
Top seeded girl Varvara Flink of Russia is due in action Tuesday, when she takes on Jil Belen Teichmann of Switzerland in what is likely to be a tough encounter for both players.
The Grade A tournament runs Dec. 9-15 at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Florida and, as last year, will be play on clay rather that hard courts. “The Orange Bowl is one of the most prominent junior tennis tournaments in the world, and we're excited for another year of world-class competition," Tournament Director Lew Brewer told the official United States Tennis Association website.
The honour roll of the Orange Bowl 18-and-under singles competition explains why the 2013 contenders are so desperate to make their mark. This year’s winners will join this impressive list: Chris Evert (1969-70), Bjorn Borg (1972), John McEnroe (1976), Ivan Lendl (1977), Gabriela Sabatini (1984), Mary Joe Fernandez (1985), Jim Courier (1987) and Anna Kournikova (1995). Roger Federer (1998), Elena Dementieva (1998), Andy Roddick (1999), Vera Zvonareva (2000-01), Marcos Baghdatis (2003), Nicole Vaidisova (2003) and Caroline Wozniacki (2005).