By RENALDO DORSETT
THE qualifying rounds are complete and the main draws open today in the ITF Junkanoo Bowl hosted by the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association at the National Tennis Centre.
The Bahamas will have a strong presence in both the girls and boys under-14 divisions after yesterday’s slate of matches which featured several head-to-head Bahamian matchups with sports in the main draw on the line.
In the Girls 14, Sydney Clarke defeated Candace Mortier - 0-4,4-2, 10-6, Gabriella Donaldson defeated Afrika Smith 4-0,4-1, Siera Donaldoson defeated Peyton Henderson 4-0, 4-0, Sydni Kerr defeated Dauntae Turnquest 4-0, 4-0, Hana Dixon defeated Caitkin Walker 4-0, 4-1, Lauryn Daxon defeated Jade Bastain 5-3,4-2 and Savannah Roberts defeated T’shae Ferguson 4-2,4-0.
Mandisa Walle of Curacao defeated Donesha Gibson 4-0,4-0.
In the Boys 14, three Bahamians were able to advance.
Bradley Fowler defeated Jason Fox 2-4,4-0,10-5, Manuel de Mendiola of Costa Rica defeated Brandon Taylor 4-1,4-0, Kyle Rolle defeated Trenton Fowler 4-1,4-0 and O’neal Mortimer defeated Dont� Armbrister 4-0,4-1.
In the Boys 18, scheduled to begin today, the Bahamas has eight entrants in the main draw.
Shaquille Taylor is the highest ranked seed for the Bahamas at No.2 overall and is slated to face Luis Eduardo Morfin Friebel of Mexico in round one.
Kevin Major, ranked No.4, is set to take on sixth ranked Christian Cargill in a head- to-head Bahamian matchup, Treajh Fergson will face John Jorgenson of the United States, Dylan Walker will face Julian Saborio of Costa Rica, Joshua Turnquest will take on Sinan Orhon of Turkey, Justyn Thompson faces Gerardo Pnchyna Cardenas of Mexico, Shannon Francis will face Daniel Mease of the United States and Rasheed Carey takes on Daniel Gutierrez of Costa Rica.
Seven Bahamians will contest the main draw of the Girls 18, led by seventh ranked Simone Pratt who will face Shweta Sangwan of India in the opening round.
Eighth ranked Danielle Thompson will face Paloma Martinez of Mexico, Iesha Shepherd will face sixth ranked Elizabeth Sutherland of the United States, Shatonya Missick will take on Alyssa Mayo of the United States, Adrian D’Alewyn will face third ranked Sofia Kenn of the United States, Dominique Mortier will open against Swara Kulkarni of India and Gabriella Bowe goes up against Delanye Edwards of the United States.
The Junkanoo Bowl annually hosts some of the top ITF junior players around the country looking to improve rankings.
Tournament director Bradley Bain foreshadowed an exciting brand of tennis for the upcoming week.
“The talent pool at this tournament is going to be pretty tough. When you look at it, this tournament is always fully subscribed and a number of players in the world attend. We are expecting great performances from our players, especially those playing in ITF tournaments every other week,” he said. “A number of them [Bahamian players] will be seeded so that is a positive sign. Hopefully we can claim a second ITF title in the Bahamas, but the key to this whole tournament is exposure and picking up much needed points so you can get into grand slam tournaments.”