PORT ST LUCIE, Florida, USA – Seventh seeded Dylan Bednarczyk of Canada is expected to face a stern test in his opening match of the Boys Under-14 draw at the Nike Junior Tour (NJT) International Masters at Club Med Sandpiper Bay on Friday.
Bednarczyk, who received a wild card into the tournament, has been drawn to play Hungary’s Mate Valkusz, who was one of the players also considered to be seeded as he is ranked No 5 in Europe. In addition, Valkusz has a solid history at the NJT International Masters because in 2010, when the tournament was played at Club Med Columbus Isle, he won through to the semifinals.
It is difficult to compare Canadian rankings with those on other continents but Bednarczyk has played in Europe during the year.
All of the seeded players have first-round byes and while top seed Mikael Ymer of Sweden and No 2 Jay Clarke of Great Britain have to wait to find out who they will take on the in second round, the balance of the seeds will face other players who have been granted a bye. Third seeded Marko Osmakcic of Switzerland, who won the Under-12 title in the Bahamas two years ago, faces Luka Klein of the Slovak Republic while No 4, Eduard Guell of Spain, meets Belorussian Maksim Tybar. In other second-round action fifth seeded Simon Sippel of Germany takes on Romania’s Calin Manda, Louis Tessa of France faces Israel’s Yankel Zemel and Norwegian wild card Casper Ruud of Norway, seeded No 8, will come up against Yibing Wu of China.
Hungary’s Fannie Stollar, winner of last week’s Eddie Herr Championship, tops the Girls Under-14 seeds with compatriot Dalma Galfi at the bottom of draw at No 2. As with the boys, the two top seeds will have to wait for the outcome of two first-round matches before they will know who their second round opponents will be. Stollar is drawn to come up against sixth seed Julia Payola of Spain, who opens her tournament against Vera Lapko of Belarus.
No 3 seed is Jazzi Plews of Great Britain and she will meet South Africa’s Lee Barnard in her second round encounter. Plews is in the bottom half of the draw, as is Eddie Herr runner-up Sofia Kenin (seeded No 8) of the USA
, and they are drawn to meet in the quarter-finals. The winner is expected to meet Galfi in the semis.
Viktoria Kuzmova of the Slovak Republic is the fourth seed and is another who could face a tough first-round match when she comes up against Russia’s Aleksandra Pospelova. Both are highly ranked in Europe and this could go down to the wire.
Kuzmova is drawn to play seventh seeded Theo Gravouil of France, who will first have to get past Lulia Ivasci of Romania in her first match, in the quarter-finals.
An interesting aspect of the Girls Under-14 draw is that with the exception of Galfi, all of the others seeds, as well as Pospelova, played in the Under-12 draw in the Bahamas in 2010. That title went to Zainab El Houari of Morocco, who is seeded No 5 for this event. She dropped only one set on her way to the title and that was in the final.
It might well prove to be a good-luck omen for the Moroccan because once again she is seeded No 5 and, as was the case in the Bahamas, she is in the bottom half of the draw.
Alen Avidzba was unseeded for the Eddie Herr Championships but that posed no problem for the young Russian as he defeated all of his opponents to win the title. His reward for that accomplishment is the top spot in the Boys Under-12 draw this week.
Russian coach Vladimir Dmitriev hopes his player generates the same intensity at the NJT
International Masters as he did last week but does have one concern. “This is a different tournament and there are a lot of other things happening. It’s NOT JUST TENNIS
Avidzba is drawn to meet Czech wild card Tomas Machac, who is seeded No 7, in the quarter-finals.
The other two seeds in the top half of the draw are No 4 Nikola Kuhn of Spain and No 5, Boris Kozlov of the USA
Second seed is Yshai Oliel of Israel, another tournament wild card. He was the top seed at the Eddie Herr but lost in the semifinals to eventual runner-up Nikolay Vylegzhanin in two tight tie-breaker sets. He will be looking to atone for that loss but has some tough opposition along the way. He is seeded to meet eighth seeded Czech Tomas Jirousek in the quarters.
If things go according to plan, third seed Rudi Molleker of Germany is seeded to meet No 6 Mark Keki of Hungary at the same stage, with the winner taking on Oliel.
Molleker reached the semifinals of the Eddie Herr last week, losing 2-6 6-4 6-3 to Avidzba, and last year, as an 11-year-old, won through to the quarter-finals of the NJT
International Masters. Even though he had two matches left to play, the young German felt he was not ready to win the tournament. He is certain to have a more positive attitude about his chances this year.
The Girls Under-12 event is expected to be one the most competitive of this year’s NJT
International Masters. Once again the outcome of the Eddie Herr Championship has had an impact on the seedings and the No 1 position has gone to finalist Anastasia Potapova of Russia.
She looks to have quite a decent draw and is expected to meet eighth seeded Laura Rohacova in the quarter-finals and the winner of fourth-seeded American Abigail Desyatnikov and No 7 Jovana Vukovic in the semis.
The No 2 position has gone to wild-carded Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska. In her half of the draw are No 6 Claire Liu of the USA
, who she is seeded to meet in the quarters, as well as No 3 Paula Arias Manjon of Spain and No 5 Anna Kynclova of the Czech Republic.