©Colette Lewis 2006
I spent most of the day wandering over the vast IMG/Bollettieri grounds, watching a game or two on one of the 31 courts before moving on. With a record 1750 participants, every court was in constant use all day.
I caught some of TJ Pura's second round match in the 12s, which he won 6-0, 6-0 and saw Maxx Lipman, Ryan's younger brother, early in his 3-6, 7-5, 6-0 second round 12s victory. Victoria Duval, the 10-year-old from Delray Beach that I had heard about earlier this month, was playing a court away from good viewing, making it difficult to watch her second round match without distractions. Although she played erratically in the few games I saw, it didn't faze her and she won easily, 6-1, 6-2.
Around noon, when the 18s qualifying began, clouds moved in, but only high, harmless ones that made for better playing conditions.
I was able to see parts of three of the matches featuring U.S. junior boys, because by a stroke of luck, they were scheduled for adjacent courts.
In an error in the draw, Attila Bucko was shown as losing his second round qualifying match on Saturday, but he had actually won it, so the Baylor-bound Floridian was facing Jared Pinsky for a spot in the main draw. Bucko managed to outlast his fellow left-hander 7-6 (9), 6-3 in a very tense match.
Jeff Dadamo, a quarterfinalist as a lucky loser in the 16s last year, didn't need any luck Sunday in qualifying for the 18s. I wasn't keeping stats, but the left-hander from Tampa seemed to hit about five winners for every unforced error, defeating Artem Gramma of the Ukraine 6-2, 6-3. Wil Spencer, playing in his first junior tournament since his ankle injury in Kalamazoo in August, dropped a 6-3, 7-5 decision to Ilya Belyaev of Russia. Spencer, with his ankle still in a brace, wasn't moving as quickly as usual and couldn't get his forehand on track.
I didn't see any of future UCLA Bruin Ahmed Ismail's 6-1, 6-4 victory over Davide Della Tommasina of Italy, but he was the third U.S. boy to advance through qualifying.
Four U.S. girls made it through qualifying: Joanna Mather, Christina McHale, Whitney Byrd and Nina Pantic. I didn't see any of those wins, because I was watching Daisha Hill-Hurtado of New Mexico and Charlotte Rodier of France. There was very little difference in the games of the two 15-year-olds, but it was Rodier, a No. 1 seed in qualifying, who prevailed, 7-6 (4), 6-4.
Due to the heavy match load, the Parade of Nations Opening Ceremony, usually held on Sunday afternoon, was cancelled.
I'm apologizing in advance for not having photos of many of the players I will be writing about this week, but most of the courts are caged, making it difficult for the casual photographer.
For complete draws see eddieherr.com.
Sunday, November 26, 2006