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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Bolender Upsets Guarachi; Sandgren Overcomes 5-1 Deficit in Third at Pan-American ITF

©Colette Lewis 2007--
Tulsa, OK--

A perfect day for tennis, with temperatures in the upper 70s and no wind, produced upsets, drama, and some impressive performances by seeded players.

The big upset was Brooke Bolender's 6-4, 6-2 win over No. 4 seed Alexa Guarachi. The girls 16s Clay Court champion was impressive in the few games that I saw, moving Guarachi, who had some success of her own on clay courts in Tunisia and Egypt this summer, off the court with her precision and pace. Next up for Bolender is No. 16 seed Mallory Burdette, who won the 18s Clay Courts last year, and is back playing after an injury.

Nadja Gilchrist, the No. 13 seed, was playing her first tournament after sustaining an ankle injury, but the pain flared up again today in her match with Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada and she was forced to retire up 3-2 in the first set. Other seeded girls who fell in Tuesday's second round were No. 8 seed Alejandra Granillo of Mexico, who dropped a marathon match to Alexandra Anghelescu of the U.S. 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, and No. 13 seed Krista Damico, who stumbled against Katerena Palivets of Canada 6-2, 7-6 (6).

Top seed Melanie Oudin of the U.S. and second seed Gabriela Paz of Venezuela both advanced easily by identical 6-1, 6-1 scores.

The top two seeds in the boys' side also won in straight sets, with No. 1 Jarmere Jenkins taking a 6-4, 6-2 decision over Mousheg Hovhannisyan and Devin Britton, the No. 2 seed, getting past Blake Davis 7-6 (3), 6-3, despite getting himself in a 5-2 hole in the opening set.

But that was nothing compared to Tennys Sandgren, who trailed 6-4, 4-0 against No. 11 seed Christian Saravia of Guatemala. The 2007 Kalamazoo 16s champion came back to take the second set 7-5, but then once again reached the precipice of defeat, trailing 5-1 in the third set. Sandgren worked his way back to 5-5 when Saravia, serving, went up for his toss and came down with a cramp. Unable to walk, he received treatment and was able to finish the game, which he won, but he wasn't able to move as freely as the tiebreaker loomed.

In the tiebreaker, both players had opportunities to win the match--Sandgren had the first match point of the contest at 6-5 in the tiebreaker--but neither could take charge with the advantage. Saravia, who had several double faults before his cramping began, but once he could no longer use his legs, his serving accuracy actually improved although the pace was nonexistent. Sandgren, who was also tired after an arduous match on Monday against Waylon Chin, didn't punish the Saravia serve and many of the points in the tiebreaker were exercises in patience, and in getting one more ball over the net. I lost count of the match points, but in a 11-9 tiebreaker, there were a few and eventually Sandgren completed his amazing comeback.

On the next court, Bob Van Overbeek was also engaged in a long and difficult contest with No. 8 seed Alex Llompart of Puerto Rico, but Van Overbeek managed to avoid a third set tiebreaker, taking the match 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.

Maryland's Patrick Daciek however did go the distance, defeating No. 7 seed Sam Garforth-Bles of Canada 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6). Number 12 need Julen Uriguen also was eliminated by former ITF Top Ten-ranked Jose Velasco of Bolivia 7-6 (3), 6-1.

The day's marquee matchup was No. 13 seed Chase Buchanan against Alex Domijan, and many of the boys awaiting their doubles matches stopped by court three to check out the action. The level of tennis was extremely high, with both boys hitting ground strokes that resembled those I saw during last week's ITF All-American college championships. But it was Buchanan that closed the net and finished the points, and he also used short angles and drop shots to keep the 6-foot-6 Domijan off balance in his 6-3, 6-2 victory. After a lackluster spring and summer, Buchanan had recently qualified and won a round at a Futures in California and he brought that game with him to Tulsa. It was definitely the best tennis played on the University of Tulsa courts Tuesday.

The doubles first round was played Tuesday afternoon, but the top seeds received byes into the second round Wednesday.


david said...

Buchanan also had a couple of solid wins at the Kentucky International Tennis Derby. And he beat Robert Yim easily in the Futures match you referred to. He might be turning things around. Judging by your description, it certainly sounds like he's capable of playing some good tennis.

Anonymous said...

it's good to have Chase Buchanan back in the mix. he fits the criteria of the new generation in the ATP: tall and athletic with lots of racket head speed. the 88s in the Top 100 are Gulbis at 6'3, Del Potro at 6'5 and Korolev at 6'1. the Top 100 87s are Djokovic at 6'2, Murray at 6'3 and Querrey at 6'6. There are no guarantees but Chase has the physical prerequisites. I might add, Rhyne Williams does too.

Anonymous said...

I am very glad to see chase crush domijan. there was alot of questioning going on about who the top americans are.

my list... rhyne williams, chase buchanan, and devin britton.

Anonymous said...

i think we've all known that men's tennis is getting taller at the top level. these facts just confirm the suspicions. however there is more to tennis than winning grand slams and reaching the top 10 or whatever. just as in basketball, there is a lot of room for the smaller, but still very talented, tennis players in good college programs.