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Bicknell, Dawson in Jamaica Cup ITF Junior finals

Observer writer

Friday, November 10, 2017

TOP seeds Blaise Bicknell of Jamaica and Najah Dawson of the United States of America (USA) eased into the finals of the Jamaica Cup International Tennis Federation (ITF) Boys' and Girls' 18 and under singles, respectively, at the Liguanea Club in New Kingston yesterday.

Bicknell, who has not dropped a set leading up to today's final, will face third seed Shintaro Mochuzki of Japan.

In their respective semi-finals played yesterday, Bicknell defeated eighth seed German Gutierrez of Colombia in straight sets 7-5, 6-2, while Mochizuki breezed past second-seeded Lancelot Carnello of Sweden.

Meanwhile, in the Girls' 18 and under, Dawson will face Alexandra Anttila of Finland in the final. Dawson overpowered fourth seed Mireille Moreau of Canada in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, while Anttila beat third seed Kennedy Bridgforth of the USA 7-5, 6-1 in their semi-finals yesterday.

Bicknell said after his semi-final win over Gutierrez that he was very confident going into the final against the Japanese.

“It should be the best match of the tournament as we have both defeated each other, so we both have something to prove [as to] who will come out victorious,” Bicknell said.

He said the first set in the semi-final was a bit tough as Gutierrez was playing extremely well, especially with his forearm shots as a left-handed player, but he was able to weather the Colombian's aggression later in the match. “He was serving for the set at 5-4, but I broke him and won the next two games to take it 7-5.”

The Jamaican top junior player said he turned on the pressure in the second set with powerful serves and good returns and broke him three times to win comfortably at 6-2.

“I really played very good and smart against him. I will be hoping to win the Jamaica Cup singles title as Mochizuki had won the tournament played in Peru last week, while I was beaten in the quarter-finals,” said Bicknell.

Dawson, born in the USA to Jamaican father Larry Dawson, explained that she played with aggression.

“I came out and played my aggressive game. So far I am playing pretty well and I look forward to the final match against my opponent.”