| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff

American boys have had a rough time adapting to the clay courts at the 2011 Orange Bowl, taking place at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Fla. Only two Americans reached the round of 16 in the Boys 18s draw, and Americans were shut out entirely from the Boys 16s quarterfinals. But the American girls have taken up the slack, as two powered their way into the 18s quarterfinals on Thursday, while two more make up half of the semifinal field in the 16s draw.

Americans were guaranteed at least one girls’ 18s quarterfinalist on Thursday, as Floridians Samantha Crawford of Tamarac and Nadia Echeverria Alam of Doral faced off in a match that featured two of the bigger hitters in the tournament. By her own admission, Crawford, the 2011 USTA International Spring Champion, is playing some of the best tennis of her budding career, and it showed on Thursday, as she banged out winners from both wings as well as from her booming serve. Echeverria Alam, who’d spent more than seven hours on court over the last two days just to advance to the third round, was never able to gain footing in the match, as Crawford won going away, 6-3, 6-0.

“I was just trying to take it one point at a time,” said Crawford, who trains full-time at the USTA Training Center-Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla. “I knew she’d been involved in a couple of three-set matches over the last two days, but I was just trying to focus and not think about that.”

Crawford will face her toughest test to date in the quarterfinals in the form of the number two seed and Eddie Herr Champion, Yulia Putintseva of Russia, who, like Crawford, has yet to drop a set through three matches.

For a while, it looked as though Crawford might be the only American to advance, as Sachia Vickery of Miramar, Fla., lost the first set to the six seed, Zuzanna Maciejewska of Poland 6-0. But the 16-year-old Vickery displayed fortitude and poise beyond her years, and stormed back to defeat her imposing six-foot, four-in. opponent 0-6, 6-2, 6-2. The other remaining American, number 16 seed Taylor Townsend lost to the three seed and Wimbledon girls semifinalist, Indy De Vroome of the Netherlands, 6-4, 7-6(5).

Meanwhile, top seed Eugenie Bouchard of Canada advanced with a relatively easy 6-3, 6-2, victory over the 13 seed, Elizaveta Kulichkova of Russia, while Kulichkova’s compatriot, Vavara Flink upset the numnber four seed Ilka Csoregi of Romania 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, in the draw’s lone three-set match.

The match of the day took place in the Boys 18s draw, as the number 13 seed, Alexios Halebian of Glendale, Calif., faced off against Canada’s Filip Peliwo. The two players faced each other twice in 2010, with Peliwo winning both matches, but this third edition was their tightest yet. Halebian squandered a set point in the first-set tiebreak, before pulling out the next set in a second tiebreak. Peliwo was the stronger player in the decisive third set, however, and emerged with a 7-6(7), 6-7(6), 6-3, victory.

The other remaining American, wild card Noah Rubin, whose presence in the third round was something of a surprise given his relative young age of 15, was unable to continue his magical run through the draw as he was beaten by the number seven seed, Patrick Ofner of Austria, 6-2, 6-1.

Elsewhere, Latvian twins Martins and Janis Podzus, both of whom were forced to qualify for the main draw, each reached the quarterfinals, extending their hopes of meeting in the final for at least one more day. Janis pulled off the day’s biggest upset, defeating the number two seed and Wimbledon boys’ finalist Liam Broady of Great Britain, 7-6(5), 6-4, while Martins was involved in one of the day’s longest matches, overcoming Germany’s Kevin Kaczynski, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.  Top-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria won his 15th consecutive ITF World Junior Tour match, beating 16th seeded Hassan Ndayishimiye of Burundi, 6-1, 6-4.

As the U.S. attempts to win the Girls 16s title for a sixth consecutive year, hopes rest with 14th-seeded Rasheeda McAdoo of Palmetto Bay, Fla., and Kimberly Yee of Las Vegas. With Bob McAdoo, her basketball Hall of Fame father watching off to the side, Rasheeda stormed back from an early 5-2 deficit to power her way past Lexi Boor of Westfield, N.J., 7-5, 6-2. On the other half of the draw, Yee was forced to play from behind for the second straight day. She lost the first set to Jessica Ho of Wexford, Pa., before finding her game and dominating the second and third sets, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.

“I guess I just have to get used to it, and see how the player plays,” Yee said. “But once I’m losing, I tend to play a lot more freely. So I just have to work my way into the match. It’s really cool to be in the semifinals; honestly, I was just hoping to make it past the first round!”

In Friday’s semifinals, McAdoo will face 13th-seeded Erin Routliffe of Canada, who defeated San Francisco’s Caroline Doyle in a lengthy three-set match, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Yee will take the court against the number two seed, Katie Boulter of Great Britain, who beat ninth-seeded Josie Kuhlman of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., 6-4, 7-6(5).

The Boys 16s semifinals will feature two Canadians and could have featured a third in Eddie Herr 16s Champion Tommy Mylkinov, but Mylkinov was beaten in straight sets by the number 12 seed, Diego Pedraza of Colombia. Pedraza will face the fourth-seeded Hugo Di Feo of Canada, while Canadian Brayden Schnur, the five seed, will face South Korea’s Hyeon Chung.

In addition to the 16s semifinals, Friday’s play will also feature the 16s boys and girls doubles finals. The fifth-seeded team of Canadians Erin Routliffe & Charlotte Petrick will face Californian partners Hadley Berg & Mary Closs in the girls final, while Brazilians Lucas Guitarrari & Marcelo Tibet Filho will face Alexander Sendegeya of Great Britain & Franz Sydow of the Netherlands in the boys final.

Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship
Frank Veltri Tennis Center, Plantation, Fla.
Thursday, December 08, 2011

Girls 18s Singles – Third Round
►(1) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) def. (13) Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS), 6-3, 6-2
►(7) Donna Vekic (CRO) def. (12) Ganna Poznikhirenko (UKR), 6-2, 6-2
►(3) Indy De Vroome (NED) def. (16) Taylor Townsend (Stockbridge, Ga.), 6-4, 7-6(5)
►(5) Anett Kontaveit (EST) def. Elizaveta Ianchuk (UKR), 7-5, 6-0
►(WC) Sachia Vickery (Miramar, Fla.) def. (6) Zuzanna Maciejewska (POL), 0-6, 6-2, 6-2
►Varvara Flink (RUS) def. (4) Ilka Csoregi (ROU), 6-2, 4-6, 7-5
►Samantha Crawford (Tamarac, Fla.) def. (WC) Nadia Echeverria Alam (Doral, Fla.), 6-3, 6-0
►(2) Yulia Putintseva (RUS) def. Anna Danilina (KAZ), 7-5, 6-3

Boys’ 18s Singles – Third Round
►(1) Dominic Thiem (AUT) def. (16) Hassan Ndayishimiye (BDI), 6-1, 6-4
►(10) Kimmer Coppejans (BEL) def. Borna Coric (CRO), 7-5, 2-6, 6-4
►(Q) Martins Podzus (LAT) def. Kevin Kaczynski (GER), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
►(12) Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) def. Kai-Wen Lai (TPE), 1-6, 6-0, 6-4
►(6) Julien Cagnina (BEL) def. Markos Kalovelonis (GRE), 6-2, 6-4
►Filip Peliwo (CAN) def. (13) Alexios Halebian (Glendale, Calif.), 7-6(7), 6-7(6), 6-3
►(7) Patrick Ofner (AUT) def. (WC) Noah Rubin (Rockville Centre, N.Y.), 6-2, 6-1
►(Q) Janis Podzus (LAT) def. (2) Liam Broady (GBR), 7-6(5), 6-4

Girls’ 16s Singles - Quarterfinals
►(13) Erin Routliffe (CAN) def. Caroline Doyle (San Francisco), 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
►(14) Rasheeda McAdoo (Palmetto Bay, Fla.) def. Lexi Borr (Westfield, N.J.), 7-5, 6-2
►Kimberly Yee (Las Vegas) def. Jessica Ho (Wexford, Pa.), 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
►(2) Katie Boulter (GBR) def. (9) Josie Kuhlman (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.), 6-4, 7-6(4)

Boys’ 16s Singles – Quarterfinals
►(12) Diego Pedraza (COL) def. Tommy Mylnikov (CAN), 7-6(5), 6-4
►(4) Hugo Di Feo (CAN) def. (9) Daniel Windahl (SWE), 7-5, 6-3
►Hyeon Chung (KOR) def. (3) Fedor Andrienko (RUS), 7-6(6), 7-6(2)
►(5) Brayden Schnur (CAN) def. (LL) Vadym Kalyuzhnyy (UKR), 6-1, 6-3

Girls’ 16s Doubles – Semifinals
►(5) Charlotte Petrick (CAN) & Erin Routliffe (CAN) def. Caroline Doyle (San Francisco) & Kimberly Yee (Las Vegas, 6-1, 7-6(4)
►Hadley Berg (Greenbrae, Calif.) & Mary Closs (Menlo Park, Calif.) def. Josie Kuhlman (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.) & Jamie Loeb (Ossining, N.Y.), 6-4, 3-6, [10-7]

Boys’ 16s Doubles – Semifinals
►(3) Alexander Sendegeya (GBR) & Franz Sydow (NED) def. Robbie Bellamy (Pacific Palisades, Calif.) & Gregory Garcia (Poway, Calif.), 7-6(5), 6-4
►Lucas Guitarrari (BRA) & Marcelo Tibet Filho (BRA) def. Andres Cabezas (ECU) & Dennis Uspensky (Atlantic Beach, N.Y.), 6-1, 7-5