©Colette Lewis 2007--
Seventeen-year-old Donald Young reached his first professional singles final on Saturday with a dominating 6-1, 6-2 performance against Conor Niland of Ireland. The women's finalists were also decided under Saturday's balmy skies, with Olga Blahotova and Alina Jidova earning a chance at the year's first Pro Circuit title.
Young, whose previous best result in a Pro Circuit event was the semifinals at last January's Futures in Boca Raton, has yet to drop a set in his four victories this week.
"I've been playing really well all week," said Young, the tournament's No. 8 seed. "A lot of good wins. First time I ever beat Kryvonos was yesterday, and Ruben Gonzales (in the first round), I got revenge on him. He beat me when I was like 13, my first ever ITF. I qualified into Kentucky and he beat me 1 and 1, so it was good to get him."
Niland, who was unseeded, had taken out top seed Benedict Dorsch of Germany in the first round, but he had no answer on Saturday for the consistency of Young.
"He missed a lot of shots, but I think he felt because I wasn't missing a lot, he had to go for more," Young said. "The first tournament of the year, to make the finals is pretty good, especially when I lost here in the first round last year, to (Marcus) Fugate."
Young's opponent in Sunday's final will be No. 3 seed Michael Lammer of Switzerland. Lammer once again required nearly an hour per set to complete his victory over unseeded Adriano Biasella, eliminating the Italian 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 in a battle of the one-handed backhands. At this time last year Lammer, 24, was in Australia, having qualified for the main draw of the Australian Open, where he lost in the first round to Andy Roddick. He has one Futures title to his credit, in 2005, and reached the finals of another in October of 2006.
Less than two years ago, Jidkova was No. 51 on the WTA tour, but her ranking had fallen so dramatically that she was forced to qualify for this Futures event. The 29-year-old Russian displayed some of the grit required to start that climb, when she overcame a 4-1 deficit in the third set to defeat No. 7 seed Julie Ditty of the U.S. 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.
In Sunday's final Jidkova will face fellow unseeded veteran Olga Blahotova, who won her fourth consecutive three-set match with a 6-3, 0-6, 6-3 decision over No. 6 seed Andrea Petkovic of Germany. The 30-year-old from the Czech Republic also reached the women's doubles final, but she and partner Andrea Hlavackova fell to Angelika Bachmann of Germany and Tetiana Luzhanska of the Ukraine 7-5, 6-2.
The men's doubles final saw amateurs Somdev Devvarman of India and Treat Huey of the U.S. take the title with a 6-0, 7-6 (6) victory over James Cerretani of the U.S and Antonio Ruiz-Rosales of Mexico. The University of Virginia teammates saved four set points in the second set--two at 4-5 and two in the tiebreak; down 4-6 in the tiebreak, they swept the final four points of the match.
The Florida Designated 18s tournament's first two rounds were also played on the City of Tampa courts at the Hillsborough Community College Saturday, and the top three seeds in both boys and girls divisions reached the round of 16.
Joey Burkhardt (1) and Joseph Cadogan (2) each lost only five games in two matches, and No. 3 seed Zach Hunter also advanced in straight sets. No. 4 seed Jeffrey Morris fell to Dilip Kamath in the first round.
Top seed Monica Arguello dropped only one game in her two matches, but second seed Jamie Mera struggled in her second round match against Kaysara Mandry before pulling out a 0-6, 6-0, 6-3 win. No. 3 seed Holly Johnson and No. 4 seed Jordan Jenkins advanced in straight sets. Olivia Janowicz (6) was ousted by Kendra Higgins and Cassandra Herzberg (7) fell to Malika Rose in first round action.
For complete draws, see the TennisLink website.
Saturday, January 13, 2007