©Colette Lewis 2006--
Key Biscayne, FL--
We drove from Bradenton to Miami this morning via US 41, avoiding Alligator Alley and the snarl of traffic where it empties, north of Miami. The drive was a perfect antidote to the "controlled chaos" of the Eddie Herr, which is how Tournament Director Rick Workman describes it. Once we finally got beyond the ever-expanding housing developments of Naples, there was nothing but wilderness, punctuated by an occasional airboat concession. There was no traffic to speak of (yes, in Florida!) and plenty of birds along with an alligator or two. After a lunch of a Cuban sandwich and black bean soup, we headed over the Rickenbacher Bridge to Key Biscayne--one of my favorite drives on the tennis circuit.
No sooner had we arrived than we saw Wil Spencer, very excited at having just upset No. 6 seed Roman Jebavy of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-4, 7-5. Spencer had lost in the final round of qualifying at the Eddie Herr, but was given a wild card into the Orange Bowl and certainly made good use of it. A quarterfinalist last year, Spencer seems comfortable on the Crandon Park courts.
Chase Buchanan also pulled out a big win before we arrived, upsetting No. 7 seed Jose Roberto Velasco of Bolivia 7-6 in the third.
I did watch most of the second set between Jamie Hampton of the U.S. and No. 2 seed Ksenia Milevskaya of Belarus, and Hampton served very well during that set, giving the world's fourth-ranked player fits with her aggressive play. But Milevskaya showed how she earned that ranking in the third set, coming away with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-0 victory.
Milevskaya is now the favorite to win the girls 18s, as top seed Ayumi Morita of Japan was ousted by Kai-Chen Chang 6-2, 7-6 (2). Morita, ranked third in the ITF junior rankings and 182 in the WTA rankings, couldn't hold off the 15-year-old from Taipei, who is herself ranked 540 by the WTA.
On Tuesday, the first round in 18s singles will be completed, and the 16s second round will begin. For complete draws see usta.com.
Also, the current edition of the Inside Junior Tennis podcast is now available here.
Monday, December 4, 2006