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A number of Bahamians set to play in ITF Junkanoo Bowl

  • READY TO PLAY: Shaquille Taylor is expected to be one of the Bahamians in the main draw at this weekend’s ITF Junkanoo Bowl, which will be played over at the BLTA’s National Tennis Centre.

Guardian Sports Reporter

Published: Jul 04, 2013

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About 10 local junior tennis players will automatically be placed into the singles main draw at this year’s Junkanoo Bowl, with three receiving top rankings.

The International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) grade four tournament will swing into action on Saturday, over at the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association’s (BLTA) National Tennis Centre. The BLTA will play host to some of the best junior tennis players from around the world and they will be looking to improve their international rankings, as well as gain some exposure. Some of the top local players to be added to the main draw in both the girls’ and boys’ divisions are Christian Cargill, Shaquille Taylor, Kevin Major Jr., Simone Pratt, Danielle Thompson, Iesha Shepard and Gabriella Donaldson.

The majority of the players selected to represent The Bahamas at the tournament are either wrapping up play or coming off play at a regional event.

Also, the BLTA’s Junior National Tennis Tournament concluded yesterday. Shepard prevailed as champion in the girls 14’s division. She defeated Donaldson, 4-6, 6-0 and 10-6.

Jacobi Bain and O’Neil Mortimer got past Bradley Fowler and Ahmed Thompson to take the boys 14’s doubles title, and Shannon Francis out-played Joshua Turnquest for the boys 16’s title.

Both Taylor and Major Jr. played in the Bank of Bermuda Foundation ITF Junior Tournament in Bermuda last weekend. Taylor fell to American James Wasserman, 2-6 and 6-7(5), and the score for Major Jr., the number two seed in singles, was 6-2, 6-7 and 4-6. He lost that match to Jack Van Slyke of Canada.

In doubles, Major Jr. partnered with Jody Maginley of Antigua and they lost in the final to Robert Levine and Jorge Vargas, 3-6 and 2-6. Taylor and Stefan Cooper were defeated by Courtney Murphy and Myles Schalet, 6-3, 1-6 and 11-13.

Bradley Bain, tournament director for the ITF Junkanoo Bowl, is expecting the title in both divisions to remain in The Bahamas. Bain based his predictions on the results posted by Bahamians when playing in tournaments at the regional and international levels.

“The talent pool at this tournament is going to be pretty tough,” said Bain. “When you look at it, this tournament is always fully subscribed and a number of the top ranked players in the world attend. We are expecting great performances from our players, especially those playing in ITF tournaments every other week.

“A number of them will be seeded, so that is a positive sign. Shaquille should be able to get the number three seed, Kevin the number five and Christian the number six, so about 10 of them will appear in the main draw of 32, that’s unprecedented. We are looking forward to all of them doing well. 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. When you are invited to grand slam tournaments you play against the best in the world.”

Bain said a number of Bahamians are ranked high in the ITF and the BLTA is hoping to add to that list.

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