©Colette Lewis 2006
Kristy Frilling provided one of the few bright lights in what was a dark day for U.S. juniors at the Open Monday, when she defeated fifth seed Kristina Antoniychuk of the Ukraine 7-6 (3), 6-3 in the first round.
Partly cloudy skies couldn't dispell the gloom created by the combined record of the American juniors. Although the girls won three of nine matches they competed in, the boys could manage only one victory in eight tries.
Frilling, a qualifier, believes her two lengthy three-set qualifying matches helped her, as she was short of match play due to an injury.
"I didn't have a great Hard Courts after being off four months," said the 16-year-old from Sidney Ohio, who was nursing a bad back most of the summer. "It was good that I got in some matches in the qualifying."
A lefty who hits two-handed from both sides, Frilling cited her groundstrokes and serve as the keys to handling the Ukrainian, ranked seventh in the ITF's world junior rankings.
"I was hitting through the ball well today, and I got a lot of first serves in," said Frilling, who is ranked 164. "It was my biggest win in my career, the first time I've ever beaten anyone in the Top Ten."
Frilling was not the only qualifier to prove the value of match-toughness. Gail Brodsky, the 15-year-old from Brooklyn, also advanced to the second round with 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 win over Bolivian Maria Fernanda Alvarez Teran. Mary Gambale of the U.S., the 15th seed, was eliminated by qualifier Katarina Tuchimaa of Finland 6-3, 6-4, while Austrian qualifier Melanie Klaffner defeated Mallory Burdette 6-1, 4-6, 6-3. Americans Kim Couts, Lauren Embree, Christina McHale and Veronica Li also lost Monday.
Julia Cohen, the sixth seed, was the other American girl to advance, with a 7-6(4), 7-6(7) victory over Tereza Mrdeza of Croatia.
The only American boy to win on Labor Day was wild card Mike McClune, a 6-1, 6-4 winner over Ricardo Urzua of Chile. Brennan Boyajian, Nate Schnugg, Clint Bowles, Rhyne Williams, Jason Jung, Jamie Hunt and Jarmere Jenkins were sidelined Monday.
Five was the unlucky number for seeds, as Kei Nishikori of Japan, who held that position in the boys draw, also was upended. He lost to Italy's Daniel Lopez 6-3, 6-2. Artur Chernov (8) of Russia, Pedro Sousa (14) of Portugal and Jeevan Nedunchezlyan (15) of India were other seeded boys ousted on Monday.
The first round will be completed on Tuesday, with three U.S. boys and four U.S. girls still yet to take the court. Second round matches will also begin Tuesday.
Doubles started Monday, and the U.S. success was limited there as well. The only American team to advance was Jarmere Jenkins and Austin Krajicek, who won a third set tiebreak. Lena Litvak (with New Zealand's Sacha Jones) and Mateuz Kecki (with Lebanon's Bassam Beidas) were the only other U.S. players to win.
For full draws see usopen.org.
For photos of Monday's action visit ustaboys.com.