ITF update: Aussies and Japanese dominate in Burnie
ALL eight of the remaining contenders in the ITF W25 event in Burnie are either home nation hopes or Japanese talents with the Apple Isle event edging closer to the pointy end. Aussie young gun Olivia Gadecki headlines the field, having reached the quarter finals after some impressive performances, and will now take on compatriot Arina Rodionova in the last eight.
Gadecki crushed Brit Naiktha Bains 6-0 6-1 in the opening round of competition, and then had to dig deep against 28-year-old Japanese player Riko Sawayanagi to get home in three sets, 6-4 4-6 6-2. Rodionova had an equally epic battle against fellow Aussie Destanee Aiava in the Round of 16, needing three sets to get through 6-3 1-6 6-4.
Up the other end of the draw, second seed Jaimee Fourlis has looked the goods by knocking out a couple of Japanese players along the way, winning against Hiroko Kuwata and Eri Hozumi to reach the quarter finals. Next up for the world number 163 is fellow 23-year-old Australian Alexandra Bozovic who is 302 in the world.
The fifth Australian into the quarter finals is Lizette Cabrera who knocked off Kaylah McPhee and Talia Gibson to reach the third stage of the tournament, with Japan’s Misaki Matsuda awaiting her. The 24-year-old was the beneficiary of a retirement of experienced Australian Storm Hunter in the first round, and then coming from behind to defeat another Australian Elysia Bolton in three sets.
The last quarter final in Burnie is an all-Japanese one. Erika Sema shocked rising Australian and third seed Priscilla Hon in straight sets 6-3 7-5, while Himeno Sakatsume won against New Zealander Paige Hourigan in straight sets. The winner of that clash will face either Gadecki or Rodionova in the semi-finals of the event.
BURNIE W25 QUARTER FINALS:
 Olivia Gadecki (AUS) vs. Arina Rodionova (AUS)
Erika Sema (JPN) vs.  Himeno Sakatsume (JPN)
 Misaki Matsuda (JPN) vs.  Lizette Cabrera (AUS)
 Alexandra Bozovic (AUS) vs.  Jaimee Fourlis (AUS)
In the men’s draw, exciting Australian wildcard Alex Bolt is in red-hot form, taking down top seed Rio Noguchi in the first round. Bolt had the home crowd support to win 6-2 6-3, before destroying fellow Australian wildcard Matthew Romios in the Round of 16, 6-1 6-0. He will now take on Japan’s Shinji Hazawa in the quarter finals, who defeated local hope Jake Delaney in three sets.
The winner of that quarter final will face either fourth seed Adam Walton or fifth seed Naoki Nakagawa who defeated their opponents’ respective countrymen in the Round of 16. Walton overcame Japan’s Shuichi Sekiguchi in three sets including two tiebreakers 6-1 6-7 7-6, while Nakagawa rolled past Australian Blake Ellis, 6-4 6-2.
Sixth seed Australian Thomas Fancutt had three tiebreakers against compatriot and qualifier Jeremy Jin, eventually getting up 6-7 7-6 7-6 in an epic struggle. He takes on third seed Yuta Shimizu, who ended the run of Edward Winter in straight sets.
The only non-Australian left in the Burnie event is seventh seed Maxime Chazal, who had to get past two Australians to make it into the quarter finals. He defeated Calum Puttergill and Philip Sekulic in respective matches, but now takes on second seed Tristan Schoolkate which will be a tougher challenge. Schoolkate got the better of Luke Saville in a three-set match.
BURNIE M25 QUARTER FINALS:
[WC] Alex Bolt (AUS) vs. Shinji Hazawa (JPN)
 Adam Walton (AUS) vs.  Naoki Nakagawa (JPN)
 Thomas Fancutt (AUS) vs.  Yuta Shimizu (JPN)
 Maxime Chazal (FRA) vs.  Tristan Schoolkate (AUS)
OTHER AUSSIES AROUND THE GLOBE:
World number 150 Kimberly Birrell has secured a quarter finals spot in the W60 event in Orlando, Florida, and will face local hope Sachia Vickery in the last eight. Vickery is coming off an outstanding win over second seed Elizabeth Mandlik, while Birrell has defeated a couple of Mexican opponents in Fernanda Contreas Gomez and Marcela Zacarias, both in straight sets. Birrell is the last non-American in the bottom half of the draw, with eighth seed Ashlyn Krueger taking on Francesca di Lorenzo for a spot in the semi-finals.
Unfortunately Astra Sharma‘s trip to Mexico City ended early, with the Australian falling to Brazilian Gabriela Ce. The 27-year-old Sharma is ranked 215th in the world and is surprisingly playing in a WTA 40 event rather than the event in Orlando, and she was beaten by the current world number 265, 6-2 5-7 7-5. Fourth seed Argentinian Nadia Podoroska is the highest ranked player remaining and red-hot favourite to take the title.
In the men’s ITF Tour just two Australians entered events and both lost in the first round. At the M15 event in Monastir, Tunisia, wildcard Luke Vuletic bowed out in straight sets to Italian wildcard Noah Perfetti, 6-3 6-4. Meanwhile in Egypt at the M15 Sharm ElSheikh event, Jacob Bradshaw made it through qualifying only to lose in the opening round to wildcard Boris Pokotilov, 7-6 2-6 6-3.