Sponsored by IMG Academy

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Eddie Herr Draws Appreciative Fans Tuesday

©Colette Lewis 2006--
Bradenton FL--

The crowds were out in full force Tuesday on the 31 courts at the IMG Bollettieri Academy, and from the 12s in the morning to the boys 18s and girls 14s in the evening, there were matches to entertain everyone.

Drawing a huge audience in the morning was the girls 12 battle between Yulia Putintseva of Russia and Ilona Kremen of Belarus. Putintseva lets loose a high decibel grunt on every shot and displays an attitude that makes Lleyton Hewitt look laid-back, so it's not surprising that she draws the curious. In Tuesday's Round of 16, she was facing her second No. 1 seed in as many days, and when she took the first set 6-0, it looked like she would bag another upset. But Kremen fought back, winning the next two 6-4, 7-5, and after nearly three hours of entertainment, the spectators could grab a bite of lunch before settling on another of the myriad matches still to be played.

The girls 12s quarterfinals on Wednesday morning will feature five U.S. girls, three of them unseeded. Jacqueline Crawford, Yuki Chiang and Jessie Pegula join No. 1 seeds Julia Jones and Sachia Vickery in the final eight.

Five U.S. boys are also still alive in the 12s, with Mitchell Krueger
Justin Butsch, Thai Kwiatkowski, TJ Pura and Joseph DiGuilio earning quarterfinal berths Tuesday morning. Krueger and DiGuilio are No. 1 seeds; the other three were unseeded.

When the boys 18s took the courts in the mid-afternoon of a warm and breezy day, much of the attention was focused on the match between wild cards Philip Bester of Canada and Giacomo Miccini of Italy. Miccini, a finalist in the 12s at the 2004 Eddie Herr, won his wild card in a tourament for Bollettieri students, while Bester, a veteran of the Academy, faced the pressure of playing a 14-year-old with nothing to lose. Miccini took leads in both sets, including a 4-1 lead in the second set, before falling to the 2006 French Open Junior finalist 7-6 (5), 6-4.

There were a host of dramatic matches in the boys 18s. Second seed Kellen Damico came back to down qualifier Attila Bucko 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 in a match that finished after the sun went down on a court with lights. Wild card Rhyne Williams rolled his ankle during the final point of the second set tiebreak in his match with Dimitris Kleftakos of Greece, but despite his injury and the move to the indoor courts due to darkness, the 15-year-old from Knoxville prevailed, 7-6 (7), 6-7 (9), 6-4. Jarmere Jenkins, also a wild card, needed three hours to subdue lucky loser Cristian Tanase of Romania 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in a match that also finished under the lights.

Seeded U.S. boys falling in the first round were No. 10 Dennis Lajola, who lost to 14-year-old Bernard Tomic of Australia when he retired ill at 4-6, 6-4, and No. 16 Johnny Hamui, defeated by Rasid Winklaar 6-4, 7-6 (2).

Qualifier Jeff Dadamo continued his excellent play, taking out 11th seed Rupesh Roy of India 6-3, 6-4. The highest seed to lose in the first round was No. 6 Jose Roberto Velasco of Bolivia, who was eliminated by Graeme Dyce of Great Britain 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Julia Cohen, the top seed in the girls 18s, played her first round match late Tuesday afternoon and had no trouble with qualifier Charlotte Rodier of France, taking a 6-2, 6-0 decision.

For complete draws, see eddieherr.com.