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Top-Seeded Tiafoe, Unseeded Makarova Move Into Quaterfinals at USTA International Spring Championships
Makarova photo by Cynthia Lum / USTA
CARSON, Calif., (April 3, 2014) – Top-seeded and International Tennis Federation world No. 7-ranked junior tennis player Francis Tiafoe dispatched William Blumberg of Greenwich, Conn., 6-1, 6-2, on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals at the 10th annual USTA International Spring Championships taking place at the StubHub Center.
The 16-year-old Tiafoe, who last December became the youngest Boys’ 18s champion in the 67-year history of the Orange Bowl International Championships, will meet No. 8-seeded Sameer Kumar of Carmel, Ind., on Friday on the second match on the featured Court 4. In the opener on the court starting at 9 a.m., unseeded Christina Makarova of San Diego will face No. 5-seeded CiCi Bellis of Atherton, Calif., in a Girls’ 18s quarterfinal.
Makarova, 17, was a semifinalist here last year as the top-seeded player and is playing her first junior tournament since the US Open last September, she told Colette Lewis of ZooTennis.com on Wednesday. Because of injuries and a focus on ITF professional Futures events over the past six months, Makarova’s junior ranking has slipped to No. 169.
“This will probably be my last junior tournament,” said Makarova, after beat Mary Haffey of Naples, Fla., 6-0, 7-6 (4) on Thursday. “This tournament is close to home so I thought what the heck, I might as well play to get some matches in.”
Makarova first played the 16s here way back in 2010 as a 13-year-old and fell to Mayo Hibi that year.
Also moving on to the quarterfinals on Thursday was Rancho Santa Fe’s Taylor Fritz (No. 7 seed), who beat William Bushamuka of Princeton, N.J., 6-0, 6-4. Fritz will next face Aron Hiltzik of Wilmette, Ill. The unseeded Hiltzik upset No. 3 Alex Rybakov of Coral Springs, Fla., coming back from a slow start to win, 0-6, 6-4, 6-2.
There were no upsets in the Boys’ 16s quarterfinals as Jacob Brumm (No. 14), Rancho Santa Fe; Patrick Kypson (No. 11), Greenville, N.C.; John McNally (No. 9), Cincinnati, Ohio, and Alex Phillips (No. 7), Peachtree City, Ga., moved on, each without dropping a set.
In the Girls’ 16s, Samantha Martinelli, the No. 12-seeded player from Denver, Colo., upset Kayla Day, the No. 4 seed from Santa Barbara, 6-3, 6-4. Two South Bay players, Carson’s Kalani Soli (No. 13) and Rya Peus (No. 3) of Palos Verdes Estates also advanced to the semifinals, along with Alaina Miller.
To get an idea of the kind of talent this event produces, just two years ago Belinda Bencic was playing in the Girls 18s. On Thursday, the 17-year-old advanced to her first WTA quarterfinal in Charleston, S.C. Also on Thursday, former Australian Open junior doubles winner Gabby Andrews advanced to the semifinals of the Girls’ 18s doubles. Andrews and Sandra Samir beat Ellyse Hamlin and Kaitlyn McCarthy in straight sets. Andrews and her Australian Open doubles partner current WTA pro Taylor Townsend won this event in 2011.
Professional players Sam Querrey, who was the event’s first winner in 2005, Alison Riske and Daniel Kosakowski (2010 champ) all stopped by on a break from training at the facility to watch some of the action.
For a complete run down of Thursday’s scores and updated draws, as well as live streaming, log onto the website at www.usta.com/isc.
Boys’ 18 Singles (Round of 16)
Paul, Tommy (Coconut Creek, FL) def. Caruana, Liam (New Braunfels, TX) 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-0
Nakagawa, Naoki (2) def. Reinberg, Emil (Atlanta, GA) 6-3, 6-4
Tiafoe, Francis (1) (College Park, MD) def. Blumberg, William (Greenwich, CT) 6-1, 6-2
Kumar, Sameer (8) (Carmel, IN) def. Epshteyn Losev, Mark (Sunny Isles Beach, FL) 6-2, 3-6, 6-2