Nanda, Zink into Boys’ 18s QFs
at Orange Bowl
Pat Mitsch | December 8, 2017
Look at the Orange Bowl Boys’ 18s draw, and you’ll notice that Govind Nanda and Tyler Zink’s names are not printed in the bold type bestowed to seeded players. Their plain-text names just keep advancing past seeded players.
Nanda (pictured above) and Zink – both unseeded, both ranked outside the Top 100 of the ITF World Junior Rankings – are two players left representing the U.S. in the Boys’ 18s quarterfinals. Nanda eased by Spaniard Alejandro Vedri Asensi, 6-3, 6-1, and Zink knocked off 14th-seeded Brit Aidan McHugh, 6-3, 6-4, in Thursday’s third round on the green clay at the Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Fla.
In a draw that began with only two American boys seeded – and both of them losing before the third round – Zink and Nanda have carried the stars and stripes on the boys’ side, each hoping to be the Orange Bowl’s first Boys’ 18s champion since Stefan Kozlov in 2014. ADVERTISEMENT
“It’s very, very good for us,” said the 16-year-old Zink, who currently lives in Bradenton, Fla., and trains with coaches George Gonzalez and Juan Mateas – along with his father, George – at Nick Bollettieri’s IMG Academy. “I think all the hard work is starting to pay off, and I think it’s good for American tennis.”
Zink’s dedication to tennis began in 2012, when he and his father moved from Tyler’s native Lancaster, Pa., to Sarasota, Fla., to begin training more seriously in the game George first taught his son at 3 years old.
“I’ve been working a lot on just believing in myself, playing one point at a time, and not getting caught up in the future,” Zink said. “It’s really helped in this tournament.”
Four of the Girls’ 18s quarterfinalists are American, after three hard-fought victories and one relative cake-walk. While No. 1-ranked and top-seeded Whitney Osuigwe of Bradenton, eased past 16th-seeded Yasmine Mansouri of France, 6-0, 6-2, wild card Abigail Forbes of Raleigh, N.C., toughed out a 6-0, 4-6, 6-4 win over 13th-seeded American Hurricane Tyra Black, unseeded Vanessa Ong of Tulsa, Okla., came from a set down to beat eighth-seeded American Caty McNally, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, and wild card Chloe Beck outlasted 14th-seeded Canadian Layne Sleeth, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
A pair of 15-year-old Americans – Fiona Crawley of San Antonio and Jaedan Brown of Granger, Ind. – advanced to the Girls’ 16s semifinals.
Two all-American teams will compete for the Boys' 16s doubles title on Friday: Eliot Spizzirri of Greenwich, Conn., and Spencer Whitaker of Richmond, Va., will take on Georgi Mavrodiev of Norcross, Ga., and Sean Sculley of Hilton Head Island, S.C.
In the Girls’ 16s doubles championship, second-seeded Kylie Collins of Savannah, Ga., and Kacie Harvey of Braintree, Mass., will meet American Briana Crowley of Battle Ground, Ind., and Puerto Rican Maria Cecilia Aguiar for the title.
Play begins at 10 a.m. ET on Friday. Full results and live scoring can be found here.