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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spencer Takes Down Top Seed Carleton, Riske Upends Bartlett at Spring Nationals

©Colette Lewis 2007--
Mobile, AL--

Top seed Reid Carleton couldn't hold on to a set and a break advantage Wednesday afternoon, allowing Wil Spencer, a 17 seed, to pull out a 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory in boys round of 16 action.

The girls lost their No. 2 seed, as Alison Riske of Pennsylvania, the ninth seed, defeated Tennessee's Claire Bartlett 6-4, 7-5, the third time in three months that Riske has gotten the better of Bartlett.

The streak of ideal weather ended on Wednesday, when mid-afternoon showers disrupted play, leaving two boys' main draw matches unfinished. All the girls' quarterfinalists are set however, with only two fourth round matches going three sets. Top seed Melanie Oudin, a 6-3, 6-0 winner over unseeded Nadja Gilchrist, will meet No. 15 seed Stacey Lee, who beat Elizabeth Epstein, a 17 seed, 6-2, 6-2. Third seed Asia Muhammad gained the quarters with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Megan Broderick, a 17 seed, and faces No. 7 seed Keri Wong, who overcame No. 14 seed Stefanie Nunic 6-1, 4-6, 6-2. No. 8 seed Carolyn McVeigh took out 11th seed Shannon Mathews 6-4, 6-2 to earn a spot against No. 4 seed Lauren Embree, a 6-3, 7-5 winner over unseeded Christina McHale. Chelsea Preeg, the fifth seed, outlasted No. 13 Shinann Featherston 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-2 to advance against Riske.

The Spencer - Carleton match was widely considered the marquee match of the day, but the first set gave no indication that it would be a tight battle, when Carleton broke Spencer twice, and Spencer had trouble keeping the ball in play. Spencer was having difficulty with his string tension; at one point early in the first set he took to standing on his racquet in an attempt to loosen the tension.

"I actually switched after the first set, from tight to loose," said Spencer, "but he went up 4-2 in the second. Then, I finally started getting a rhythm, but he had game points to go up 5-2. I broke him there, started switching it up, going a little higher, cause he doesn't seem to like the heavier ball."

At 5-6 Carleton was serving to reach a second set tiebreak, but at 30-40, after an exchange of several serious groundstrokes, Spencer hit a crosscourt backhand winner, and just like that, the match was even.

"Normally I would not be able to do that," said Spencer, who is known to be more effective off the forehand side. "My backhand has not been that reliable. But I've been working so much on it to make it more of a weapon."

In the third set, Spencer got an early break and managed to hang on, but although Carleton was talking to himself throughout and received a point penalty for racquet abuse after the match, Spencer had nothing but praise for his opponent's play.

"I can't take anything away from him," said Spencer. "He played great the whole match. My hat's off to him."

Spencer's next opponent is No. 8 seed Will Guzick, who had a comeback story of his own in taking a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 10 seed Luke Marchese.

The other boys' quarterfinal that is set will feature Eric Quigley, a 17 seed, against No. 9 seed Stevie Johnson. Quigley eliminated unseeded Marc Powers 6-1, 1-6, 7-5, while Johnson upset No. 3 seed Ryan Lipman 6-3, 6-4 before the rains came.

Nick Meister, the No. 4 seed, again got off to a slow start but came back to take a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 decision over a No. 17 seeded Kayvon Karimi. Alex Domijan, a 17 seed, continued his excellent play with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over No. 13 seed Chris Madden. Johnson and Domijan are the only two players who have yet to lose a set on the boys side.

The Ryan Kim - Brennan Boyajian and Jordan Rux - Dennis Nevolo matches are expected to be finished this evening. Boyajian is up a set, with the second set even at 5-5, while Rux and Nevolo has split sets with Nevolo up a break, 1-0, in the third.

UPDATE: 10 p.m.

Boyajian took the court at 5-5 deuce and won the next six points for a 6-4, 7-5 win over Kim, the No. 15 seed. Nevolo, the 12th seed, was nearly as efficient, losing just one game to upset No. 2 seed Jordan Rux 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-1.

"I served very well," said Nevolo of the third set, "stayed calm, I just played really solid." After a roller coaster of a first set, where he squandered a 4-1 lead, losing four straight games, yet battled back to get into a tiebreak, Nevolo changed his thinking.

"I told myself to have some fun, play the way I way," he said. "I looked at the second set a little bit differently."

Nevolo will face Domijan in the quarterfinals, a rematch of the Florida National Open semifinal last month, which Nevolo won in three sets. Boyajian and Meister last met in the consolation semifinals of the Winter Nationals, with Meister winning in straight sets.

Rain is in the forecast for Thursday, and doubles are now a round behind, so the schedule will be evolving depending on the rain's timing and duration.

For complete draws, see the TennisLink site.

For additional coverage by Marcia Frost, visit collegeandjuniortennis.com.


Anonymous said...

What's w/ the "USTA team" at the Banana Bowl, they all lost in the first rd?

squeak said...

it was a poor decision for the usta to go to play cosat, those are tough tournaments on red clay which we all know we are not spectacular on, and thats all they play on down there...better choice would have been to take them to asia, fast hard courts, plus a much weaker field.

Anonymous said...

Ty Trombetta reached the semis, beating 3rd ranked Roman Jebavy in the process. So one American did very well. But yeah, the rest went out in the first round.

The USTA probably wants them to get some good experience on clay. That's the only way you get better, right?

Anonymous said...

Great for TY but he is not on team USTA. Seems that another arguement for USTA high performance to widden its support to be more inclusive instead of exclsive.