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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Querrey Downs Clayton in 18s; Harrison Squeaks Through in 14s

Querrey Downs Clayton in 18s; Top seed Harrison Squeaks Through in 14s--
©Colette Lewis 2005--
Palm Springs CA--


querrey&harrison Sam Querrey and Ryan Harrison celebrate winning tough matches on Wednesday with a little putting contest at the Riviera Resort in Palm Springs.

In a day filled with hot sun and high quality tennis matches, few of which could be viewed in their entirety, two stood apart. In the Boys 14s round of 16, top seed and tennis wunderkind Ryan Harrison met Austin Krajicek, from Florida, who was seeded ninth.

The result was such a thrilling display of tennis savvy and skills from a twelve-year-old (Harrison) and a fourteen-year-old (Krajicek) that declaring a winner seems somehow cruel. Eventually Harrison, who trains at the Newcombe Academy in Texas, earned his place in the quarters with a 7-5, 6-7(6), 7-5 victory.

Krajicek, who is beginning to rival distant cousin and Wimbledon Champion Richard in the height department, is comfortable at the net, and was in fact there when Harrison put an unreachable passing shot by him at match point.

And don't think that Harrison is simply retrieving and defending. "I tried to get to the net before he did, but it was tough sometimes today," Harrison said. "He's such a big kid, it's tough to knock him off the baseline. I was having to move him a lot to get to the net."

Down a break in all three sets, Harrison didn't panic. But then, neither did Krajicek, who led 6-3 in the second set tiebreaker, lost three points in a row, but recovered to take the last two with Harrison serving.

"All three sets were tight," Krajicek said. "He forces you to hit one extra shot and he came up with a lot of good shots today. It could have gone either way, but he deserved to win."

No argument there, but Krajicek, who several times played what appeared to be out balls on key points (there were no umpires on court) certainly didn't deserve to lose.

The second match of note was probably the most highly anticpated of the entire tournament, with Sam Querrey, the winner at last week's Grade 1 International Spring Championships, against Alex Clayton. In an instant classic at the Luxilon Cup, a junior invitational just a few weeks prior to the Easter Bowl, Clayton had beaten Querrey 12-10 in a third set tiebreaker, and that the rematch came so early in the draw seemed unfortunate for both players.

Querrey hadn't played much competitive tennis prior to the Luxilon, but at home in California, his game has blossomed. And with his 7-6(2), 6-4 win over Clayton, whom he beat for the 16s title in Kalamazoo last summer, Querrey has established himself as a serious challenger to the ITF's top ranked junior, Donald Young.

Asked what was different in his game from just a few short weeks ago, Querrey responded decisively. "I returned much better.. and I served much better. I served great today, I thought."

Clayton agreed. "He returned my serve better than the last time we played. Sam's tough. He's got a big serve and he doesn't miss very much, so you have to win most of your points, he doesn't give you many free points."

Neither player strayed from his strengths--Clayton's speed and solid ground strokes and Querrey's serve and power forehand. On Wednesday, Querrey, the 2004 Easter Bowl 16s champion, once again proved that the fast courts of the Riviera Resort are tailor-made for his game.

1 comments:

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