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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Grand Slam Champions Everywhere at Eddie Herr

©Colette Lewis 2006--
Bradenton FL--

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.


Anonymous said...

Dennis Kudla won. I wouldn't trust the draws -- they've posted several mistakes this week.

Colette Lewis said...

You're right--I'll correct it. It was a mistake on the draw boards posted here onsite, but I guess it was corrected earlier on the website.

Anonymous said...

14 Americans were in the Boy's 18's draw, I'm counting Bucko also. Only 1 remains, Jeff Dadamo. Way to go Jeff...proof that UF will be THE dominant force in college tennis. Go Gators!

AndrewD said...


I see Tomic went down, as expected, to Peter Polansky. Did you get a chance to see any of that match and, if you did, how did Tomic perform?

Oh, and what chance do you give Polansky for the tournament? I think he's been runner-up at his last two major events (Canadian and US Opens)so his form must be reasonable.

Anonymous said...

Who's playing better right now, Polansky or Bester?

Anonymous said...

Good luck Devin--win it all!

Anonymous said...

The problem is that UF recruits all these guys who are going to school for 1 year at most. It ends up biting them in the butt because it screws up their scholarship situation. Guys usually leave in mid summer and leave Jackson hanging. Levine and Dedamo will prob do the same. UF (and UGA) should be # 1 every year with their very low admissions standards, in state scholarship opportunities, and resources but are rarely in the top 5. Weird.

gatorfan said...

Who has left mid summer and left Jackson hanging, Florida GRADUATED 5 guys last year!! Jackson has to be so happy... ultimate coup to get the best recruiting class in the country.

Anonymous said...

gatorfan has to wonder why the average ranking for UF over the past 5 years is at # 10.8. Not even top 10 average for a school like that. they will be ok for the one semster they have levine but then back to the drawing board. a perennial decent team that under- performs their recources. look at their women's program that is in the top 2 or 3 every year.