American Francis Taifoe provided one of Thursday’s headlines at the Metropolia Orange Bowl International Championships in Plantation, Florida.
Taifoe stunned third seed Filippo Baldi of Italy 60 63 to storm into the quarter-finals of the Grade A 18-under clay-court event in a performance which suggested he was capable of delivering a US winner of the boys’ title. He is one of three American boys through to the last eight after Michael Mmoh and Stefan Kozlov both also scored wins.
“I played very well on both sides,” Taifoe told the Miami Herald newspaper after his win. “He was asked about the possibility of winning the title but refused to get too far ahead of himself. “I don’t take it that far at this point.”
Taifoe plays Roman Safiullin for a place in the last four at the prestigious event after the seventh-seeded Russian earned a hard-fought 16 75 62 win over Lucas Miedler of Austria. Elsewhere on the bottom half of the draw, Mmoh beat Brazil’s Marcelo Zormann 61 67(5) 75 to set up a quarter-final meeting with second seed Johan Sebastien Tatlot of France.
Top seed and pre-tournament favourite Alexander Zverev of Germany continued his serene progress through the top half of the boys’ draw, adding Francisco Bahamonde to his list of vanquished opponents with a 62 60. Zverev now faces Russia’s Andrey Rublev.
Japan’s Naoki Nakagawa, seeded eighth, will be Kozlov’s quarter-final opponent after he beat Kamil Majchrzak of Poland 63 62, ended the tenth seed’s run of three set victories.
In the girls’ competition, top seed Varvara Flink of Russia needed three sets to battle past Franny Stollar of Hungary 67(2) 61 62 and now takes on Julia Terziyska (Bulgaria) for a place in the semi-finals. American Tornado Alicia Black, seeded three, is a potential last four opponent providing she can get past Romania’s Ioana Ducu on Friday.
In the bottom half of the girls’ draw, second seed Ivana Jorovic (Serbia) was pushed hard by Great Britain’s Isabelle Wallace before prevailing with a 75 36 61. That win set up a quarter-final clash with Anastasia Parazinskaite of Lithuania. Black’s fellow American Sofia Kenin is now the only unseeded player in the final eight of the girls’ competition after she beat Siqi Cao (China) 26, 64, 64. Kenin now plays Czech Marie Bouzkova 75 46 76(2).