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Americans continue strong showing on Day 3 of Orange Bowl

December 8, 2016 10:57 AM

By Pat Mitsch, special to USTA.com

The second round of the Metropolia Orange Bowl saw Americans on both sides of the upset spectrum – an unseeded American boy took out a top-seeded contender, and an unseeded girl toppled a top-seeded, contending American.

Vasil Kirkov (pictured above), a 17-year-old from Tampa, Fla., who finished runner-up to top young pro Michael Mmoh in August’s USTA Boys’ 18s National Championships, beat seventh-seeded Italian Liam Caruana, 6-2, 6-4, while 15-year-old Amanda Anisimova, the No. 5-ranked junior in the world who reached the girls’ singles final at the French Open this past June, fell to Latvian Daniela Vismane, 6-4, 7-6 (2).

Six American girls remain in the third round, while Kirkov is one of seven American boys to reach the round of 16 at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Fla.

Two of those boys – Kirkov and Sam Riffice, a 17-year-old from Roseville, Calif. – are among a group of juniors to train with eight-time Grand Slam champion Ivan Lendl as part of a USTA Player Development initiative to involve former champions as coaches.

In the 16s draws, four American boys have reached the quarterfinals, including fourth-seeded Brian Shi (16, Jericho, N.Y.), unseeded Drew Baird (16, Holly Springs, N.C.), who upset No. 2-seeded Brit Jack Draper in the second round, wild-card Trey Hilderbrand (16, San Antonio) and Steven Sun (16, Glen Cove, N.Y.), who is ranked outside of the Top 1000 in the ITF World Junior Rankings.

Meanwhile, six of the quarterfinalists in the girls’ 16s draw are American, ensuring at least one American finalist. Imani Graham (14, Saint Johns, Fla.), the No. 14 seed, is the highest seed remaining in the girls’ 16s draw, while 14-year-old Katie Volynets of Walnut Creek, Calif., took out second-seeded Oana Smaranda Corneanu of Romania, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4), on Wednesday.