The Jr. Orange Bowl Tennis Championships began Wednesday, and most of the top seeds survived their opening matches.
Yshai Oliel of Israel, the No. 1 seed in the Boys 14s, beat American James Ignatowich of Norwalk, Connecticut, 6-2, 6-0. Oliel won the Boys 12s title two years ago and is aiming to take home another trophy. In the Girls 14s, top-seeded Russian Olesia Pervushina won the final nine games of the match to defeat Alana Wolfberg of Orlando 6-3, 6-0.
Hurricane Tyra Black of Boca Raton, the defending Girls 12s winner, is a wild card in the 14s and advanced to the next round with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Karla C. Lopez. Black’s next opponent is No.3 seed Emiliana Arango of Colombia.
Few players were on the court longer than qualifier Nada Dimovska and No.9 seed Ekaterina Makarova, whose match stretched over three hours before Dimovska pulled off the upset 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.
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Sixth-seeded Caty McNally of Cincinnati, a 12-year-old playing in the 14s, won her opening match 6-1, 6-0 over Selina Pichler. American Alexa Noel outlasted Gabriela Giraldo Saenz of Colombia 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.
Many of the players have tennis lineage, including 14-year-old Roscoe Bellamy, who cruised past Milan Radokhovic 6-0, 6-0.
Bellamy’s mother, Beth, won the NCAA championship at University of Southern California and went on to play 11 years on the pro tour, recording wins over Martina Navratilova, Mary Joe Fernandez and Pam Shriver. His father, Steve, is the founder of the Tennis Channel, owns four tennis clubs, and spent some time as a tennis instructor to the stars in Los Angeles. His students included Arnold Schwarzenegger, Goldie Hawn and Steven Spielberg.
One of the most famous parents is former great Hana Mandlikova, whose daughter, Elli H. Mandlik, got through qualifying and won her 14s match Monday 6-0, 6-1 over Zoe Howard.
Among the winners who train locally was Steven Sun, who beat Italian Alessio De Barnardis in three sets. Sun is from Glen Cove, New York, but moved to Boca Raton last year to train with coach Andres Pedroso.
The tournament continues through Dec.23. The Boys 14s are being held at UM and the Biltmore, Girls 14s at Crandon Park Tennis Center, Boys 12s at Salvadore Tennis Center and Girls 12s at Tropical Park. UM hosts all semifinals and finals except Boys 12s, which will remain on the clay at Salvadore.