©Colette Lewis 2007--
Flushing Meadows, NY--
Today was Ryan Thacher day at the U.S. Open Junior Championships. After the Boys 18 National finalist defeated No. 7 seed Stephane Piro of France, there was a gaggle of reporters waiting to talk to him, and usopen.org's video crew was on the scene at Court 4 immediately to get his story.
Charlie Bricker of the Sun-Sentinel and Greg Garber of espn.com were impressed with Thacher's commitment to his Harvard-Westlake curriculum--school starts tomorrow, and he won't be there, which seemed to cause him some anxiety. But his performance today against his fellow left-hander, ranked sixth in the ITF world rankings, assured that he'll be around until Thursday, when his third round match is likely to be scheduled.
Thacher started slowly, and was down a break in the first, but at 4-3, Piro serving, Thacher broke him at love, won his next service game and then broke Piro at love again to take the first set, winning 12 of 13 points during that stretch. Thacher said after the match that he was surprised how often Piro came in, and decided to counteract that by playing more aggressively himself. He said he didn't think his backhand was particularly effective, but his serve and his speed made up for any deficiencies there. One point was particularly demoralizing to Piro, as he hit a perfect drop shot with Thacher behind the baseline. But Thacher reached it, and hit a winner, while Piro could only stare in disbelief. To read Charlie Bricker's valentine to Thacher, click here.
Another highly regarded French player, Jonathan Eysseric of France, seeded No. 6, also was sent packing Tuesday albeit in a much closer match. Andrew Thomas, formerly of Australia, but now playing under the Cyprus flag, came back to take a 5-7 7-5 6-4 decision from the big left-hander. The only other boys seed to fall on yet another day of perfect weather was Guillermo Rivera Aranguiz of Chile. A finalist in the Canadian ITF Grade 1 last week, Rivera Aranguiz was playing a first round match today, and he was defeated by Russian qualifier Vladimir Zinyakov.
Also playing first round matches today were Bo Seal and Alex Domijan. Seal drew the on-form Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis, last week's Canadian ITF champion, and although Seal hung tough in the first set, Bernakis wore him down with his pace and depth. Domijan, in the same section of the draw as Seal, lost a first set tiebreak to Takanyi Garanganga of Zimbabwe, but shortly thereafter Garanganga began to cramp. Domijan was up 5-2 in the second set when Garanganga lunged for a volley and aggravated his condition, and he retired, although he had recovered sufficiently to play his doubles match later in the day.
I didn't see any of Ashley Weinhold's 6-4, 6-3 win over Slovakian Romanan Tabakova, but the wildcard from Texas was the only U.S. girl to advance. Melanie Oudin fell to top seed and defending US Open Junior champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-2 and Alison Riske dropped a 6-1, 6-4 decision to No. 16 seed Katarzyna Piter of Poland. Sacha Jones of New Zealand, like Thacher, the champion of the ITF Grade 1 in Carson in April, also took down a seed in the second round. Jones, a quarterfinalist last year in the U.S. Open Juniors, came back to defeat No. 5 seed Ksenia Pervak of Russia, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3.
Qualifier Frank Carleton's run came to an end at the hands of Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia 7-5, 6-4. Carleton was trailing 4-0 when I arrived at Court 10, but he kept battling, earning back one of the two breaks and pressuring Bedene until the last point.
Austin Krajicek had a late afternoon Grandstand court contest with No. 2 seed Matteo Trevisan of Italy. Down 4-0 in the first set, Krajieck pulled his game together to push Tevisan into a third set before falling 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. After the completion of that match, I hiked back over to Court 10, where wildcard Jeff Dadamo and Peerkiat Siriluethaiwattana were at 5-5 in the third set. Dadamo had won the first set 7-5, despite the Thai's having served for it at 5-4. At 5-5 in the second set, with Dadamo serving, Siriluethaiwattana had his chance at 30-40, and he took it, stroking a backhand down the line for a winner to earn the break, and he held to send it to a third, at which point I checked in on the Krajicek match.
When I returned, Dadamo was serving, and though down 0-30, he won the next four points to put the pressure on Siriluethaiwattana. But the left-hander from Thailand won four straight points himself after a double fault to start the game, and we were in a the third set tiebreaker. Siriluethaiwattana had some vocal Thai fans supporting him, and I overheard one say that the match was over when their boy crushed a forehand to take a 5-2 lead in the breaker. But Dadamo immediately cracked one of his own on the next point, and seemingly had brought it back to 5-4 with an ace, but it was called out by the chair umpire. Although Dadamo protested, the call stood, and when he was passed at the net by Siriluethaiwattana, he was staring at three match points. Dadamo held firm, won the next three points, but doublefaulted at 6-6 and on his fourth match point, Siriluethaiwattana prevailed with a forehand approach that hit the line.
For complete draws, including today's doubles action, see usopen.org.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007