©Colette Lewis 2007--
The weather was just as delightful on Tuesday as it has been the previous two days at the USTA 18s Spring Nationals, but for several of the top seeds, there was a definite change in the atmosphere. After routine wins in the first two rounds, it was time to overcome some staunch competition to earn a place in Wednesday's round of 16 for Asia Muhammad, Jordan Rux and Nick Meister.
Nevada's Muhammad, the No. 3 seed, and No. 17 seed Morgan Frank of Florida had the misfortune to draw the court nearest the new court construction. I couldn't take the noise of the backloaders and the bobcats, but the two girls didn't have the option of moving across the street like I did, battling for over two hours before Muhammad prevailed 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-2.
Only two other girls' matches went three sets. Unseeded 14-year-old Christina McHale fought back to take out Nelly Radeva, also unseeded, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 and Alison Riske, the No. 9 seed ,went the distance for her 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 decision over Stephany Chang, a No. 17 seed.
No. 1 Melanie Oudin had another monotonous 6-1, 6-0 victory, with Lyndsay Kinstler, a 17 seed, the victim. Next up for Oudin is unseeded Nadja Gilchrist, who along with McHale, is one of only two unseeded players remaining in the girls final 16. Gilchrist eliminated No. 12 seed Lauren Megale 7-6 (0), 6-1.
With all the activity, it was difficult to settle on one match, and I kept circulating in hopes of happening upon the day's big upset. At first it looked as if that might be the Brennan Boyajian - Andrew Kells contet, a rematch of the 16s Clay Court final last year, but Boyajian, seeded sixth, survived the Kells forehand onslaught to take a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory. Nick Meister, the No. 4 seed, also dropped the first set but recovered in time to take a 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4 decision from Drew Courtney, a 17 seed.
Tyler Davis, the No. 7 seed, wasn't able to avoid the upset however, as he fell 6-4, 7-5 to 15-year-old Alex Domijan, a 17 seed.
Jordan Rux, the No. 2 seed, found himself in a third set when he dropped serve at 5-6 in the second against Jonathan Wolff, a No. 17 seed. I decided to sit still long enough to watch a match until its conclusion. With both players holding serve to reach 3-3 in the third, the match was decided when Wolff went down 0-40, crawled back to take the next two points, but couldn't handle a Rux shot that landed on the baseline. When Rux held for 5-3, he looked to have the match in hand, but two double faults when serving for the match at 5-4 made it interesting. At 40-30, the big Texan cranked a big first serve that Wolff couldn't handle, earning a 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 victory and a berth in the round of 16 against No. 12 seed Dennis Nevolo.
The round of 16 doubles action consumed most of the afternoon and early evening with the top four boys' teams and the top three girls teams reaching the quarterfinals.
For complete draws, see the TennisLink site.
For additional coverage by Marcia Frost, visit collegeandjuniortennis.com.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007