| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff


Down in Miami, some of the world’s best junior tennis players are competing in the annual Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships, and on Monday, Huntington’s Jack Kennedy punched his ticket into the event’s championship match.

Competing in the Boys 14s division, Kennedy advanced to the finals behind a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Weiyi Kong in his semifinal showdown.

“He had some huge weapons, a massive serve and a massive forehand, and Jack did a great job of neutralizing those weapons and absorbing his pace,” said Kennedy’s coach at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy (JMTA), Greg Lumpkin. “He stuck to his game plan really well. There were some tough moments, but he dug in and stayed focus on what he needed to do.”

Kennedy’s discipline and dedication are the hallmarks of his game, and is part of the reason he has moved up to No. 3 in the USTA rankings in his age group (with the highest UTR ranking).

“At this level, everyone has all these tools and weapons, but Jack’s discipline and dedication has been there for a long time,” Lumpkin added. “He’s been that way in every practice and every match, and allows him to stay the court during those tough moments. He takes things one point at a time and has a very professional approach to things, which you don’t often see from someone his age.”

Kennedy is now just one win away from being able to call himself an Orange Bowl champion. He will square off against Bulgaria’s Ivan Ivanov in the finals which is scheduled for Tuesday morning at 11:00 a.m.

“We know he is a fighter who is never going to give up,” Lumpkin said of the Kennedy’s next opponent. “He was down 3-5 in the third set of his quarterfinal and came back to win, so we know he isn’t going to give up and is good under pressure. For Jack, we just got to make sure he sticks to his game, and structures his points well.”