Photo: Susan MullaneGianluigi Quinzi (ITA)
PLANTATION, FL, USA: The big guns of the boys’ 18-under singles competition at the Orange Bowl International Championships all scored convincing wins on Tuesday to keep the title race wide open.
Italy’s Gianluigi Quinzi, 16, has been one of the outstanding performers on the ITF Junior Circuit this year, winning the Grade A 53 Trofeo Bonfiglio amongst other prestigious titles, and he was amongst the winners again in his opening match at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Florida.
Quinzi, the top seed, beat Lucas Gomez of Mexico 6-2 6-2 and was joined in the second round by second seed Frederico Ferreira Silva of Portugal and the in-form Chilean Christian Garin, who came into the tournament fresh from winning the under-18s boys’ singles trophy at the Eddie Herr International Championship.
Thai-Son Kwiatowski is the highest ranked American boy left in the draw and he kept alive his chances of being the first home winner of the 18-under boys’ singles title since Timothy Neilly took the honours in 2004 with a 7-6(2) 6-3 win over Germany’s Viktor Kostin.
“I think it was a good first match. I was able to do the things that I wanted to work on and things that I wanted to do if I want to go deep into the tournament,” said Kwiatkowski, who used to train in Florida and looked comfortable on the Orange Bowl’s claycourts. “So, I feel like today’s a good day to start it off well. I hit the forehand pretty well. I hit the serve pretty well. I just need to clean a couple things up, and I think I have a pretty good chance.”
Fourteen-year-old Ana Konjuh of Croatia played in the 14s category at last year’s Orange Bowl but has progressed so much in the last twelve months that this year she must be considered as a contender for the 18s Girls’ title. “I didn’t imagine this success, but I’m really glad to be here and hope it continues like this,” said Konjuh, who beat local player Alicia Black 6-1 6-3 in their first round match. “I played really well. I really respect her. She’s a good player, but today I was just better. I have a lot of confidence at the moment.”
Konjuh was girls’ 18s champion at the Eddie Herr International last week but she will face stiff competition for the girls’ title from top seeded American Taylor Townsend and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, who are also locked in a battle for the year-end No.1 ITF Junior Ranking.
Siniakova must win the title to maintain any chance of overhauling Townsend but even then she would need Townsend to lose before the semis to have a chance. The Czech kept her chances alive with an efficient 7-6(4), 6-2 win over American Nicole Frenkel and now plays US wildcard Mia Horvit in the second round. Townsend takes on talented Dutch girl Indy De Vroome.