Tuesday, September 27, 2005

USA Win Thriller Over Spain:: ITF Tennis - Juniors

ITF Tennis - Juniors - USA Win Thriller Over Spain

Let's forgive Eleanor Preston her unfamiliarity with Wil Spencer's preferred moniker and for reversing Kellen Damico's first and last names, because we aren't going to get Junior Davis Cup coverage from anyplace else, and she does provide liberal quotes from U.S. coach Mike Sell. Plus, the ITF is doing a fine job of posting all the information necessary to follow the event (except maybe how they seed teams, but that's another story.)

As I mentioned in the preview , Spain is a mystery in junior tennis, and Damico has to be wondering where Abraham Gonzalez came from, as he beat the Top 30 American 6-3, 6-0. But then maybe Spain is wondering where Wil Spencer came from, as he is ranked a lowly 189, having only begun playing ITFs regularly this year. Serving as the last-minute replacement for world number one Donald Young, Spencer cruised to 6-1, 6-2 victory in the first singles match, which gave the U.S. a chance to take the doubles point and the victory over the defending champions.

Having seen Spencer play some terrific tennis at the USTA Clay Courts in suburban Washington DC this past July, I'm not surprised he showed he can hold his own, even on the European red stuff. But winning the first match decisively, on the defending champion's soil, shows some serious mettle.

And Dennis Lajola and Damico also came up with the goods in the doubles, winning the last three games when Spain was serving for the match.

Sell rightly emphasizes what a great experience such an event is for his players, but he knows how much sweeter it is when the result is a win.