By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
BAHAMAS Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA) president Derron Donaldson said the performances by the Bahamian players at the 3rd International Tennis Federation Junkanoo Bowl should bode well for the Junior Nationals that is scheduled to begin today.
As the week-long international tournament came to a close on Saturday at the National Tennis Center, the Bahamas didn't have any competitors in either the boys or girls singles championship.
In the boys' 18s division, top seed Daniel Kerznerman of the US prevailed with a 6-1, 6-3 decision over his countryman Farzin Amiri. The girls' 18s title went to another American, Mariana Gould, who disposed of Mexico's Valeria Salazar 7-5, 6-3.
But the Bahamas had a team in the boys 18s doubles with the combo of Christian Cargill and Kevin Major Jr. They lost to the No.2 seeded team of Nicolas Jarry of the US and Juan Sebastian Marino of Colombia. The final score was 6-4, 6-0.
The girls 18s doubles featured the top two teams, but it was the No.2 duo of Dasha Ivanova of the US and Yolimar that beat the top ranked Mexico pair of Antonella Bramato and Valeria Salazar 6-2, 6-7 (1) (10-4).
While Cargill and Major Jr fell short of their bid to rise to the top, the combo of Gabriela Donaldson and Iesha Shepherd clinched the girls 14s doubles with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win over Eva Frazzoni of Bermuda and Kianah Motosono of the US.
It was a payback for the Bahamian duo after they both fell victims to Motosono in the singles. Motosono eliminated highly favoured Shepherd in the semifinal before she took out Donaldson in the final. Donaldson advanced with her victory over Frazzoni in the semifinal.
And in the boys 14s, Joshua Turnquest got into the singles final where he lost to Blaise Bicknell of Jamaica 6-4, 6-2. Turnquest got into the final with a win over Dimitri Bird, another Jamaican.
Bicknell and Bird also kept the Jamaican flag flying after they won the doubles crown with a 6-2, 6-2 decision over Nick Lines and William Way of Bermuda.
"Everything went well. In the 14s we showed that even though we had some of the best in the world, we can still hang with them. Hopefully with our summer programme swinging into high gear, we will be ready when the next international tournament comes here in November," said Donaldson, the new BLTA chief.
The tournament in November, according to Donaldson, will be a grade five, which means that the competition will be of a higher standard than the Junkanoo Bowl.
But Grand Bahamians Simone Pratt and Larikah Russell have both been successful in the tournament in the past during their tenure as juniors, so Donaldson said they are confident that the Bahamas will eventually see another champion emerge from both the girls and boys side.
Today, the National Junior Tournament is slated to begin where all of the players who represented the Bahamas in the Junkanoo Bowl are expected to compete in the boys and girls singles and doubles from the 10 to the 18-and-under divisions.
The tournament is scheduled to run through Saturday when the national champions will be crowned. Additionally, the BLTA will be selecting its national team that will go on to represent the Bahamas at the various international meets on tap for the summer.
"I would advise the players to play very hard in the nationals so that they can obtain their national rankings," he said. "So it should be a good tournament because the players are just coming off participating in the Junkanoo Bowl and they will be out to improve on their performances."
Kevin Major and Jody Turnquest are the No.1 and 2 seeds in the boys 18s singles, Philip Major Jr/ and Malik Jones are the top two seeds in the boys 16s, Justlyn Thompson and Oneil Mortimer are the top seeds in the boys 14s, Jacobi Bain and Denali Nottage are on top in the boys 12s and Owen Taylor and Anthony Burrows lead the way in the 10s.
As for the girls, Donesha Gibson and Elana Mackey are 1-2 in the 10s, Sydney Clarke and Afrika Smith are tops in the 12s, Iesha Shepherd and Shay-Tonya Missick are the leaders in the 14s, Dominique Mortier and Missick, who go for the double threat, are 1-2 in the 16s and Mortier is already in the final of the 18s as there are only two other players entered. Mortier will play the winner of the match between Joyanne Carroll and Adrienne D'Alewyn.