©Colette Lewis 2006--
The junior players are usually the stars at the Eddie her, but Wednesday was Grand Slam champions Day at the IMG Bollettieri Academy site.
I was introduced to 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda, who has been a frequent visitor to the tournament this week. Later in the morning I saw eight-time Grand Slam singles champion Ivan Lendl taking in some of the action. Lendl's daughters are golfers training at the Academy. In the afternoon, I spotted 18-time Grand Slam singles champion Chris Evert and her brother John watching Brooke Bolender, who trains at their Boca Raton academy. Since she is the publisher of Tennis magazine, I thought I should introduce myself, and we chatted briefly, but then who should arrive but Martina Navratilova! So if my math is right, that was 45 Grand Slam singles titles on the premises today. Inspiration, I hope, for all the juniors still in the draws.
Early Wednesday morning matches decided the 12s semifinalists, and despite five U.S. players in both the boys and girls quarterfinals, only one from each division advanced. Mitchell Krueger, a No. 1 seed from Texas, dominated unseeded Floridian Justin Butsch 6-3, 6-2. He will face another No. 1 seed, Johan Skattum of Norway, who outlasted unseeded Thai Kwiatkowski of the U.S. 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-5. As the match ended, neither player could hold serve reliably, but Skattum finally took his second chance to close it out. Kwiatkowski is often emotionally volatile on the court, but it rarely carries over from point to point, and his ability to snap back to attention must baffle his opponents as much as it does spectators. Skattum kept his wits about him but after two three-setters in succession, he'll be at a disadvantage on Thursday.
The other two matches in the 12s were less dramatic, with No. 1 seed Edward Nguyen of Canada defeating No. 1 Joseph DiGiulio of the U.S. 7-5, 6-2 and No. 1 Liam Broady of Great Britain taking a 6-2, 6-4 decision over unseeded TJ Pura of the U.S.
I didn't see much of the girls 12s semifinals because they were played a great distance from the boys (and at the same time), but I did watch a little of Great Britain's Laura Robson's 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 win over Jacqueline Crawford of the U.S. Robson has been training with Nick Saviano recently in Sunrise, and he was optimistic about her chances of winning the tournament, despite being unseeded. She'll face No. 1 seed Julia Jones of the U.S., who scored a tense 7-5, 7-6 (5) victory over Yuki Chiang of the U.S. In the other half of the girls 12s, Great Britain's Jessica Ren, a No. 1 seed, will face No. 1 Ilona Kremen of Belarus. Ren rolled over Jessie Pegula of the U.S. 6-0, 6-0, while Kremen took out No. 1 Sachia Vickery of the U.S. 7-5, 6-3.
There were a few surprises today in the older divisions, but I'm not sure unseeded wild card Philip Bester's 6-3, 6-3 victory over 18s second seed Kellen Damico of the U.S. fits that description. Bester, who decided to play the Eddie Herr only a couple of weeks ago as the last tournament of his junior career, can dominate when he's on, and he was firing at his best Wednesday.
Qualifier Jeff Dadamo of Tampa is the only U.S. boy to make the round of 16. Dadamo struggled with lucky loser Deni Zmak of Croatia, but prevailed 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Another qualifier, Milos Raonic of Croatia also advanced to the round of 16, defeating No. 12 seed Ricardo Urzua of Chile 6-4, 6-4.
Top seed Julia Cohen got a scare from qualifier Nina Pantic in girls 18s, but rebounded to take a 4-6, 6-0, 6-2 decision. The entire top half of the girls draw went according to form, and No. 9 seed Madison Brengle was one of the eight seeds to advance, blitzing U.S. wild card Mallory Burdette 6-1, 6-2. In the bottom half, No. 13 Kim Couts rolled past Jamina Toljan of Austria 6-1, 6-1 to join Brengle and Cohen as Americans moving into the third round.
The boys 14s lost its top seed with No. 1 Rodney Carey of the Bahamas losing to Yahor Yatsyk of Belarus 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
In girls 14s, No. 2 seed Noel Scott of the U.S. lost to Maryna Zanevska of the Ukraine.
In the boys 16s, Alex Domijan and Devin Britton of the U.S. advanced to the round of 16, as did JT Sundling, Ty Trombetta and Bryan Swartz. In the girls 16s, the U.S. can claim more than half of the players in the round of 16, with Erin Vierra, Ester Goldfeld, Mary Clayton, Malika Rose, Hannah Berne, Carling Seguso, Nicole Bartnik, Anna Chkhikvishvili and Marianna Milschutske moving on Wednesday.
For complete draws, see eddieherr.com.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
©Colette Lewis 2006--