December 30th, 2016
Florida Jr. Tennis Profile: Dec. 12s Success for Coconut Creek’s Kuzuhara
By Colette Lewis, ustaflorida.com contributing writer
It’s been quite a month for Coconut Creek’s Bruno Kuzuhara. He began December by taking home a winner’s trophy in doubles at the Eddie Herr International Championships, then wrapped up his season by advancing to the boys 12s singles final of the prestigious Junior Orange Bowl Championships in Coral Gables.
Second seeds Kuzuhara and his partner Jonah Braswell of Sarasota were down a set and a break in their Eddie Herr boys 12s championship match with top seeds Victor Lilov and Evan Wen before storming back for a 4-6, 7-6(1), 10-6 victory.
Buoyed by that result, but disappointed by his third-round singles loss to his doubles partner, Kuzuhara was ready to take on another strong international field at the Junior Orange Bowl.
“I felt like if I played well, I could get to the finals,” the 12-year-old right-hander said. “After Eddie Herr, I wasn’t too confident that I would get to the finals, but I did play really well.”
In the first all-American final since 2007, played on the Har-Tru courts of Salvadore Park, No. 9 seed Kuzuhara overwhelmed No. 3 seed Lilov in the opening set, but ended up on the losing end of the 0-6, 6-2, 6-4 score.
“I played good in the first set, I was moving the ball well,” Kuzuhara said. “But after the first set, he kind of got into the match and started playing better.”
Kuzuhara, who was born in Brazil but has lived in Florida since he was a toddler, trains with Michael Bennett at Dillon Tennis Center in Oakland Park in the Ft. Lauderdale area.
“He’s helped me since I was four,” said Kuzuhara, who will take some time off before he begins training for 2017 competition. “He’s been helping me a lot.”
Ranked No. 15 in the nation by the Tennis Recruiting Network, Kuzuhara plans to move up to the 14s division soon, with the upcoming USTA National Level 3 in Delray Beach next on his schedule.