One, Two, Three--Boys Seeds Disappear;Glatch only U.S. Player Left in Singles--
Flushing Meadow NY--
It was the same-old same-old today; perfect weather and Donald Young losing the first set.
The weather continued its streak, but Young’s flair for winning went the way of the scattered morning clouds, and he fell to sixth seed Sun-Yong Kim 7-6 (1), 2-6, 7-6(2).
Young served for the match after breaking Kim when the Korean was serving at 5-5 in the third. “He played great during that game,” said Kim through his interpreter and coach Jung Hoon Park. “He deserves the credit.”
But the eighteen-year-old Korean showed no inclination to surrender and at 6-5, 30-40 got new life when Young hit a forehand into the net.
And unfortunately for the top seed, that was only the first of many to come in the tiebreak. The first three points, all won by Kim, were forehand errors, and the sixteen-year-old from Chicago misplaced his knack for elevating his game. Kim, from outside Seoul, can hit the ball hard and flat, but his strategy was obviously to deny Young pace, as there was a lot of girls 14s in their rallies. Kim had lost to Young in straight sets in the Australian final, but observers of that match said the swirling winds and the nerves of both players didn’t provide the best conditions to test their tennis skills.
The weather couldn’t be blamed on Friday, but maybe the load of four straight three set singles matches on top of doubles could. But some of the pain of singles loss was allieviated when Young and partner Alex Clayton earned a spot in the doubles final by defeating the third seeded team of Petar Jelenic and Evgeniy Kirillov 6-2, 6-3. Clayton and Young, seeded eighth will meet Carsten Ball and Thiemo de Bakker, the second seeds, who took out Wimbledon champions Jesse Levine and Michael Shabaz 6-1, 6-3.
Alexa Glatch, the only American remaining in junior singles, will also be playing for a Grand Slam title on Saturday. Glatch, a straight-set winner over third seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in singles, and partner Vania King dispatched the fifth seeded team of Wen-Hsin Hsu and Amina Rakhim in straight sets. Glatch and King, the second seeds, will face Nikola Frankova and Alisa Kleybanova, the seventh seeds.
“Vania and I have a great time out there,” said the six-foot righthander from California. “I love to play doubles now. I was never a great doubles player before I started playing with Vania. She’s taught me a lot.”
One thing everyone learned today at the National Tennis Center is beware the underdog. In addition to top seed Young, the boys draw lost second seed and French Jr. Open champion Marin Cilic, a loser to Wimbledon Jr. Champion Jeremy Chardy and third seed Leonardo Mayer, defeated by unseeded Ryan Sweeting.
“It was surreal out there,” said the eighteen-year-old Bahamian, who took out the powerful Argentine 6-4, 7-5, winning the last four games played. “I don’t remember a single point from the match. Even match point, I think I thought I hit a serve winner, I raised my arms in the air and then it came back and somehow I hit an overhead to win it.”
It wasn’t just the seeding that made the result surprising—in the recently concluded ITF Grade 1 in Canada, Mayer had defeated Sweeting 6-4, 6-1 in the semifinals.
Frenchman Chardy was seeking revenge, as the towering Croatian had eliminated him in the second round of the Australian Open this year, but after Chardy, the seventh seed, dropped the first set 6-4, it seemed unlikely that he’d get it. But he drew confidence from his play in the Canadian, even though he lost in the quarterfinals.
“I felt I was playing well on hard courts there and in the first three rounds here,” said Chardy, who spoke through an interpreter.
The points were short in the match and the play alternately brilliant and lackluster. It was difficult for either player to get a rhythm, as rallies were rare, but Chardy finally began to use his professional-grade serve to advantage and Cilic did not.
The highest seed remaining in the boys draw is Santiago Giraldo of Columbia, who was tabbed for the fourth spot based on his ATP ranking (currently 399). Giraldo’s penetrating groundstrokes have given all of his junior opponents fits, and unseeded Tim Smyczek was no exception. The first set, which Giraldo won 6-1, seemed to be over in about fifteen minutes. But Smyczek recovered to win the second set 6-3, and Giraldo appeared agitated to have dropped his first set of the tournament. But with his small group of vocal supporters evident on winners and errors alike, Giraldo took an early lead in the third set and never looked back, taking it 6-2.
Unseeded Liz Plotkin of San Francisco was hoping to join Glatch in an All-California semifinal and was ahead in both sets, 5-3, and 3-1 in her match with unseeded Nina Henkel of Germany Friday afternoon, but she dropped both by identical 7-5 scores.
“It was a winnable match,” said Plotkin. “But I wasn’t on the court today. Definitely not on this planet. But credit to my opponent—she played well.”
Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus meet in the other semifinal. Buzarnescu, seeded 14th, fought off a determined challenge by qualifier Olga Govortsova, 6-2, 7-6 (3) and will face a very well rested Azarenka. The top seed has lost only eight games in four matches, and today she played only seven games total when doubles partner Marina Erakovic retired 5-2. Erakovic had suffered a back injury in her victory Thursday over Vania King and was unable to play doubles later in the afternoon. The unfortunate injury to Erakovic dashed Azarenka’s hope of winning all four Grand Slam doubles titles in 2005.
For complete draws, including doubles action, see usopen.org
For more photos see ustaboys.com