©Colette Lewis 2006--
Jessica Ren and Laura Robson of Great Britain will meet in Friday morning's girls 12 final, while Liam Broady will represent the Union Jack in the boys 12 final against Mitchell Krueger of the U.S.
Ren, a No. 1 seed, defeated No. 1 seed Ilone Kremen of Belarus 6-2, 6-2; the unseeded Robson started poorly against No. 1 seed Julia Jones of the U.S., but survived 1-6, 6-4, 6-2.
"I changed tactics, and I also thought about how to win the next point, instead of thinking how I was losing," said Robson, 12. "I tried to hit more topspin to her backhand, and then step in when she hit a short ball."
Ren, also 12, has breezed through the draw, never dropping more than two games in any of her six matches, but she admitted to a few nerves on Friday. "Once I got loose I relaxed a bit, it was fine. I quite like my forehand down the line and it worked quite well for me today."
As two of the top players in England, Robson and Ren have met often. "We've got a little thing going," said the left-handed Robson, who has been working recently with Nick Saviano on her serve. "She's won the last two or three, but I think I'll win tomorrow."
Broady, another British lefty, battled fellow No. 1 seed Edward Nguyen of Canada for over an hour and 15 minutes, just to reach a conclusion to the first set. After winning that in a tiebreak, eight points to six, Broady revised his strategy in the second and closed out Nguyen 6-2.
"I made a few more balls, I was the most consistent I've been in a while," said the vocal 12-year-old. "He has a very big forehand, but I started hitting to it, and he made some errors there."
Broady was relieved to escape with a victory. "He beat me in a practice match like 6-0. I knew it would be tough."
Krueger started very slowly against Johan Skattum of Norway, like Krueger a No. 1 seed. Down early, he righted himself to take a 6-4, 6-3 decision.
"I was nervous, just pushing it," said Krueger, 12, of Aledo Texas. "But then the pressure went off and I just played."
The boys and girls 12s doubles were decided on Friday, with the U.S. team of Thai Kwiatkowski and Joseph DiGiulio defeating the Japanese team of Kazuma Kawachi and Yu Okuda 6-4, 6-4.
After her semifinal singles win, Ren teamed with Ukrainian Sophia Kovalets to take the doubles championship. Ren and Kovalets downed the U.S. pair of Victoria Duval and Jones 6-4, 6-3.
In the girls 18s, top seed Julia Cohen was ousted by No. 14 seed Katerina Kramperova 6-3, 7-5. The No. 9 seed Madison Brengle of the U.S. was also eliminated, dropping a 1-6, 6-1, 7-5 decision to No. 6 seed Nicola Hofmanova of Austria. The only U.S. girl remaining is No. 13 seed Kim Couts, who upset No. 3 seed and U.S. Open Junior semifinalist Katerina Vankova of the Czech Republic 6-0, 4-6, 6-1.
Last year's girls 14s and 16s champions, Tamaryn Hendler and Michelle Larcher de Brito continued to advance through the 18s, although in decidedly different fashion Thursday. The unseeded Hendler, from Belgium, won the first set 6-2, and the match when her opponent Katarzyna Piter of Poland retired before starting the second set.
Portugal's Larcher de Brito, also an unseeded wild card, and fellow Bollettieri student Jasmina Tinjic of Croatia staged a high quality demonstration of power ground strokes in front of a large and divided crowd Thursday morning. Larcher de Brito, who seems to hit even harder and more accurately when playing from behind, dropped the first set 6-2, but didn't waiver after that, winning the next two 6-2, 6-3.
Nicolas Santos of Brazil, the boys 18s top seed, found himself tested on a isolated back court by Harry Heliovaara of Finland, but advanced to the quarterfinals by a 6-1, 6-7 (6), 6-4 score. He will face No. 5 seed Roman Jebavy of the Czech Republic, who avenged his quarterfinal U.S. Open Junior loss to Canada's Peter Polansky 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Qualifier Jeff Dadamo remains the lone U.S. hopeful with his 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-1 victory over No. 8 seed Daniil Arsenov of Russia. It was a contentious match, with numerous roving umpires, the tournament referee and the trainer all making appearances. But by the end, a dispirited Arsenov, who had also lost to Dadamo recently at the ITF Grade 2 in South Carolina, was making no attempt to win points, or even return shots. Dadamo will meet another left hander, Rasid Winklaar of Curacao, who upset No. 3 seed Petru Luncanu of Romania 5-7, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4).
In the boys 16s, unseeded Alex Domijan, a boys 14s finalist last year, and No. 10 seed Devin Britton are the U.S. representatives in the round of 16. Domijan defeated wild card Michael Davis of Great Britain 6-3, 6-4, while Britton upset No. 5 seed Borut Puc of Slovenia 6-2, 4-2, ret. inj. Top seed Alex Llompart of Puerto Rico was upset by No. 14 seed Gilad Ben Zvi of Israel 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3.
Half the girls 16s quarterfinalists call the U.S. home. Lucky loser Marianna Milchutske, unseeded Ester Goldfeld and wild cards Mary Clayton and Nicole Bartnik advanced, with only Milchutske having a straight set win. The others came from a set down to earn their victories.
In the boys 14s, No. 2 seed Dennis Kudla is the lone U.S. player in the boys division. He ended the run of U.S. qualifier Billy Pecor 6-4, 6-2. The girls 14s quarterfinals, like the 16s, feature four Americans. JoJo Sanford, Jenny Falcone (who won a 22 point third set tiebreak to advance), Sloane Stephens and Kayla Rizzolo were winners on Thursday.
For complete draws, including doubles, see eddieherr.com.
Thursday, November 30, 2006