©Colette Lewis 2006--
Key Biscayne, FL--
Although no U.S. boys made it through to the third round in the 16s, there are plenty of American players still representing the Stars and Stripes at the Orange Bowl.
The girls 16s lead the way, with five of the eight quarterfinalists from the U.S.
No. 14 seed Allie Will of Boca Raton had the biggest win in Wednesday's round of 16, taking down No. 1 seed Valeriya Solovieva of Russia 6-2, 6-2. Joining Will in the quarterfinals is Kristie Ahn of New Jersey, who will play Brooke Bolender, a student at the Evert Academy. Both are unseeded.
The other All-American quarterfinal in the girls' 16s features No. 6 seed Sarah Guzick of South Carolina against the 2006 Girls 16s Hard Court Champion Lauren Embree of Florida. The unseeded Embree followed her upset of No. 2 seed Olivia Bennett of Trinidad & Tobago in the second round with a gritty 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 win over Tatiana Bua of Argentina Wednesday.
In the girls 18s, there are five U.S. girls in the round of 16, including all three seeded ones. No. 4 Julia Cohen had little trouble with Texan Ashley Weinhold, winning 6-3, 6-3, and Madison Brengle, No. 12, lost only three games to Gail Brodsky of New York. Reka Zsilinszka, No. 10, produced a similar result in her win over Julia Glushko of Israel, but, as is her custom, it took a long time to get there. During an exceptionally lengthy game that opened the second set, Zsilinszka could be heard talking to herself and the umpire, requesting a prize for the longest game ever. When she finally won it, the floodgates opened, and she didn't lose another game in the match.
Two wild cards from the U.S. also advanced. Melanie Oudin easily defeated Romanian qualifier Irina Begu 6-2, 6-2, and fellow Georgian Mallory Burdette took out Sung-Hee Han of Korea 7-5, 6-3.
Perhaps the biggest news of the day was that Eddie Herr girls 18s champion Urszula Radwanska lost a set for the first time in the eight matches she has won during the Florida junior swing. Kristy Frilling of the U.S. took the first set 7-5, but Radwanska snapped back to take the next two 6-2, 6-1.
The boys 18s round of 16 has five Americans still standing too. With half of the players unseeded, identifying a favorite is difficult, but No. 1 seed Nicolas Santos and No. 2 Donald Young both picked up straight set wins on Wednesday.
Wild card qualifiers Brennan Boyajian and Jordan Rux are now both on five match winning streaks at the Orange Bowl Boyajian defeated Jarmere Jenkins 6-4, 6-1 and Rux upset No. 12 seed Roberto Maytin of Venezuela 6-4, 6-4. Wild card Wil Spencer, an Orange Bowl quarterfinalist in 2005, remains in the mix; he took a 6-3, 6-4 victory from Ivan Endara of Ecuador that wasn't as simple as the score might indicate.
"I played pretty well," said Spencer, who recently returned from Chile, where he played several Futures events on clay. "I'm working on being consistent. I've been up and down, going for too much or not enough. It's a fineline, but today I was moving him around well."
At 4-4 in the second set, Endara was serving and the game went to five or six deuces before Spencer broke through. It was a critical break for Spencer, who was optimistic he could finish it off, knowing he hadn't been broken in the match.
"Even if he had held there, I was pretty confident that I could hold the next game," said Spencer, who allowed Endara many break chances, only to snatch them away.
One of the most competitive matches of the day in the boys 18s was between Chase Buchanan and Mateusz Kecki, both of the U.S. When they had last played two months ago in the Tulsa ITF Closed, it was a three-set victory for Kecki, and he duplicated that outcome on Wednesday, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. (Despite what the draws say, that is the correct score.) But it was a long strange ride to get there.
Kecki was up 4-1 and two breaks in the third when Buchanan came back to level the match at 4-4. But he was immediately broken by Kecki in his next service game, and when it was critical, the 16-year-old from Sacramento held for the victory.
"We just kept breaking back and forth, so it really wasn't much of an advantage to be serving," said Kecki, now sporting bright orange hair. "We both were returning better than we were serving. He's extremely talented, a year younger than I am, and I had to stay solid and consistent to beat him."
Due to the rain on Tuesday afternoon, the boys doubles first round wasn't played until Wednesday. For complete draws see usta.com.
Wednesday, December 6, 2006