©Colette Lewis 2007--
Rancho Mirage, CA—
A day after the top three seeds in the girls 18s were eliminated, the boys field lost two of its favorites on a warm and calm day in the desert, when Reid Carleton defeated No. 1 seed Kellen Damico 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-2 and Bradley Cox outlasted International Spring Champion Ryan Thacher 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-4, both on Rancho Las Palmas’ Court Two.
Although Cox was seeded 14th and Thacher unseeded, most considered the big left-hander to be the favorite, given his victory in Carson and his 46-match winning streak. Even Cox himself admitted that he was a little bit of an underdog coming in. And when he was unable to convert six set points in the opening set, it looked as if Cox would have nothing more than a moral victory.
But the right-hander from Duluth, Ga., has a game style that few juniors see on a regular basis, and his commitment to serve-and-volley disrupted the quick and consistent Californian.
"I watched him a little bit last week," said Cox, who just signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Kentucky in the fall. "He doesn’t miss a ball, so I was able to come in a lot and take him out of rhythm."
Cox, who didn’t drop serve in the entire match, pointed to that as the difference.
"My biggest key was just my serve today," Cox said. "I was serving big and he was having a lot of trouble returning it , and if he did, it was normally an easy volley."
Carleton’s upset of Damico was less of a surprise, if only because he is one of the top juniors in the USTA rankings, who doesn’t play many ITF events due to his high school academic commitments.
Carleton also possesses one of the most fluid one-handed backhands in the junior ranks, and Damico, who is temporarily using one due to a wrist injury, knew that his wasn’t of that caliber. In fact, after Damico made a backhand error, he loudly commented in Carleton’s direction: "Maybe after the match you can teach me how to hit a one-hander," Damico said.
Damico saved a match point with a forehand winner serving at 5-6, and had the momentum when he took the tiebreak, but Carleton wasn’t discouraged despite that lost opportunity.
"It kind of affected me in the tiebreaker," said Carleton, who has committed to attend Duke in the fall. "But in the third set I tried to calm back down, thinking everything’s even now. I just tried to stay solid, not give him any points, make him work for everything."
Only two other seeds fell in boys 18s first round action, with Dennis Nevolo taking out No. 10 seed Adam El Mihdawy 6-4, 7-5 and Daniel Moss ousting No. 9 seed Ryan Lipman 6-2, 7-6 (4).
After all the shockers in the girls 18s second round, the third was tame by comparison. Christina McHale, who took out top seed Reka Zsilinszka on Monday, beat Emily Fraser 6-0, 6-0, and her older sister Lauren silenced the crowd gathered to watch local favorite Coco Vandeweghe with a 6-1, 6-3 win. Unseeded Allie Will defeated 10th seed Chloe Jones, and Hilary Davis took out Stephanie Vidov, the 12th seed, leaving only four seeds in the round of 16, and just one in the bottom half.
In one of the day’s longest matches, Asia Muhammad and Shannon Mathews played for three hours before Muhammad emerged with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory. And in another three-hour-plus marathon, this one in girls 16s, Mary Clayton bested Priscilla Annoual, 6-7, 7-5, 6-3. Annoual had beaten top seed Lilly Kimbell on Monday.
For complete draws in the 18s, including doubles, click here.
For 14s and 16s results, click here.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007