By Joshua Rey, special to USTA.com
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – On a wet, wild and woefully cold day at the Dunlop Orange Bowl, eight players from eight different countries emerged as the Boys’ 18s singles quarterfinalists.
In the middle of the melting pot stands British prospect George Morgan, who won the Junior Orange Bowl Boys’ 14s title three years ago. On Thursday, the No. 9 seed took advantage of an angry opponent in No. 5 Mate Zsiga, who drew three code violations in the match.
After dropping serve to open the third set, the Hungarian Zsiga received a game penalty for ball abuse. That proved the difference, as Morgan advanced just before dusk, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
"I really like the courts over here; they suit my game" said Morgan. "Since I won the 14s, I’ve believed that I could win this tournament."
Zsiga saved four match points at 3-5 to force Morgan to hold serve in order to advance. That brought back bad memories for Morgan, who squandered a chance to reach the 2009 quarterfinals by losing a third-set tiebreak to Sekou Bangoura.
"Last year, in the third round, I had a match point and lost," said Morgan. "So I was thinking of that a bit in this match, but in the last game I stayed focused."
Hoping to prevent history from repeating itself, the 6-foot-1 Brit responded emphatically. He smoked three successive flat first serves to take a 40-love lead, before finishing with an ace out wide on match point No. 5.
"My serve is usually one of my best strengths, and I just believed in myself," said Morgan. "I thought to myself all the things my coach has been telling me: to get up and drive to the ball, to play solid and stay calm. That’s what I did."
A day after Brit Liam Broady berated himself repeatedly in a second-round match, countryman Oliver Golding drew four code violations, including two game penalties, in a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 loss to No. 12 Jannick Lupescu of the Netherlands.
At a tournament marred by temper tantrums, Morgan is the exception to the cruel.
"I am known to be a bit ratty," said Morgan, "but I’ve improved my attitude a lot in the last year."
The lone American left in the Boys’ 18s singles draw is Alexios Halebian (Glendale, Calif.), who knocked out Karue Sell of Brazil, 7-5, 6-1. He’ll have to defeat another South American to reach the semifinals: No. 8 seed Hugo Dellien of Bolivia.
Rounding out the quarterfinalists are No. 3 Mate Pavic of Croatia, No. 4 Roberto Quiroz of Ecuador, No. 7 Joris de Loore of Belgium and No. 2 Dominic Thiem of Austria, who increased his winning streak to 15 matches with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Vladyslav Manafov of the Ukraine.
Three Americans advanced to the Girls’ 18s quarterfinals – none more surprising than wild card Gabrielle Andrews (Pomona, Calif.). The 13-year-old shocked a seed for the second straight round by bashing a backhand return winner to upend No. 16 Madison Keys (Boca Raton, Fla.), 7-5, 0-6, 6-3.
"I think that was my hardest match," said Andrews. "After the second set, I was telling myself: ‘Do you want to win? Do you want to win this match and go on to the next one?’ She started missing some balls, and I started getting my groove back."
Andrews’ opponent Friday will be Grace Min (Duluth, Ga.), who edged 14-year-old Dutch player Indy de Vroome, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2. Min hit backhand drop shots and lobs late in the first set to keep de Vroome guessing.
"She was really good from the baseline, but she didn’t move too well up and back," said Min. "By mixing those in, I slowly broke her down."
Joining Min and Andrews in the quarterfinals is No. 8 seed Lauren Davis (Gates Mills, Ohio), who has dropped only seven games in six sets at the year’s Dunlop Orange Bowl. Her opponent in the quarterfinals will be US Open champion Daria Gavrilova.
In two prior meetings, Davis and Gavrilova have each earned a 6-3, 6-1 victory over the other – Davis winning on Italian clay, and Gavrilova winning on an American hard court.
Also winning on Thursday were No. 3 Monica Puig of Puerto Rico, No. 5 An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium, No. 7 Yulia Putintseva of Russia and No. 13 Natalija Kostic of Serbia, who needed eight match points to eliminate Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.
The wet weather washed away all Boys’ and Girls’ 16s singles quarterfinals, which have been rescheduled for Friday at 8 a.m. The winners will meet in the semifinals later Friday, following the Boys’ and Girls’ 18s quarterfinals.
Admission to the 2010 Dunlop Orange Bowl at the Crandon Park Tennis Center is free.
64th Dunlop Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships
Crandon Park Tennis Center
Key Biscayne, Fla.
December 5-12, 2010
Girls’ 18s Singles – Third Round
 Daria Gavrilova (Russia) d. [WC] Victoria Duval (Norcross, Ga.) 6-1, 6-1
 Lauren Davis (Gates Mills, Ohio) d.  Ilona Kremen (Belarus) 6-3, 6-0
 Monica Puig (Puerto Rico) d. Demi Schuurs (Netherlands) 6-4, 6-0
 An-Sophie Mestach (Belgium) d. [WC] Ashley Dai (Temple City, Calif.) 6-3, 6-1
Grace Min (Duluth, Ga.) d. Indy de Vroome (Netherlands) 7-5, 4-6, 6-2
[WC] Gabrielle Andrews (Pomona, Calif.) d.  Madison Keys (Boca Raton, Fla.) 7-5, 0-6, 6-3
 Yulia Putintseva (Russia) d. [SE] Lauren Herring (Greenville, N.C.) 3-6, 6-3, 6-0
 Natalija Kostic (Serbia) d. Eugenie Bouchard (Canada) 6-2, 7-5
Boys’ 18s Singles – Third Round
Alexios Halebian (Glendale, Calif.) d. Karue Sell (Brazil) 7-5, 6-1
 Hugo Dellien (Bolivia) d. [Q] Nik Razborsek (Slovenia) 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-2
 Mate Pavic (Croatia) d.  Shane Vinsant (Keller, Texas) 7-6(3), 6-4
 Jannick Lupescu (Netherlands) d.  Oliver Golding (Great Britain) 3-6, 7-5, 6-4
 George Morgan (Great Britain) d.  Mate Zsiga (Hungary) 1-6, 6-3, 6-4
 Roberto Quiroz (Ecuador) d. Dimitar Kuzmanov (Bulgaria) 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(4)
 Joris de Loore (Belgium) d.  Mate Delic (Croatia) 6-4, 6-3
 Dominic Thiem (Austria) d.  Vladyslav Manafov (Ukraine) 6-2, 6-3