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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Domijan and Buchanan Oust Jebavy and Berankis; Six of Eight 12s Semifinalists are from United States

©Colette Lewis 2007--
Bradenton, FL--

Sixteen-year-old Americans Alex Domijan and Chase Buchanan scrambled the Eddie Herr 18s picture on Wednesday by taking out the No. 3 and No. 2 seeds. Domijan, a qualifier, eliminated Roman Jebavy of the Czech Republic 6-4, 7-6(5) and Buchanan, a wild card, outlasted U.S. Open Junior champion Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (3).

I was fortunate to see the late stages of both matches, and although both concluded with tiebreakers, the similarity ends there. Domijan and Jebavy could not hold serve in the second and final set, although both did manage crucial holds at 5-5 and 5-6.

In the tiebreaker, Domijan took a 5-3 lead with two serves coming, but Jebavy evened it with two line calls that certainly didn't give Domijan any benefit of the doubt. On the next point, at 5-5, Jebavy hit a ball long, Domijan called it out, but Jebavy claimed that the score was 6-5 in his favor, not Domijan's. A roving judge was requested on the court and had witnessed the last three points, so when Jebavy's recounting of them didn't match hers, Domijan was the player who emerged with the match point, and converted it for the win.

When I arrived at the Buchanan - Berankis match, Buchanan was up a set, but down 5-2 in the second. He held and broke, but couldn't pull even and a tense third set ensued.

The tennis wasn't of the highest quality, with errors ending points much more frequently than winners, but both players held their serves throughout the third set and kept their composure even in the face of their uneven play. Berankis faced two break points serving at 4-4, saving one of them with an ace, and then two more at 5-5, but Buchanan blamed himself for not converting his opportunities.

"I played too tentative, and I knew it," Buchanan said. "He gave me my chances, I just didn't take them."

He did seize an important one at 4-2 in the tiebreaker when he was pushed way off the court but still flicked a cross court passing shot by Berankis who had come in to put away the expected floater. When Berankis hit a backhand long on the next point, Buchanan had four match points to work with, and converted the second when Berankis's forehand found the tape.

"I don't know if he was tight or not," said Buchanan, who lost to Berankis in their only previous meeting in the finals of the Junior Orange Bowl 14s in 2004. "Maybe in the breaker he was, but I was still too tight in the breaker, and that's not going to work."

Next up for Buchanan is Wil Spencer, who took a close two-setter from him in the semifinals of the ITF Closed in Tulsa last month. Spencer defeated No. 14 seed Marcus Willis of Great Britain 6-1, 6-4 Wednesday. Domijan will meet another American 16-year-old, wild card Tennys Sandgren, who rolled past unseeded Vladimir Zinyakov of Russia 6-1, 6-3. Number 11 seed Ryan Harrison survived a spirited battle with qualifier Juan Spir of Columbia, taking it 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 to earn a shot at wild card Filip Krajinovic of Serbia. No. 16 seed Bradley Klahn advanced over Russian Alexey Grigorov and No. 8 seed Rhyne Williams took out lucky loser Tim Van Terheijden of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-2.

The girls' 18s draw went much more to form today, with No. 3 seed Madison Brengle, No. 5 seed Melanie Oudin and unseeded Julia Boserup easily reaching the third round. Lucky loser Alexandra Anghelescu won again, and No. 10 seed Mallory Cecil survived four match points in squeezing by wild card Carling Seguso 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(1).

The 12s semifinals are set, and it has been a good year for American boys and girls. No. 1 seed Joe Di Giulio continued his strong play with a straight-set win over No. 1 seed Pylyp Kekercheni of the Ukraine and will meet unseeded Elio Livi of the U.S. in one semifinal. The other pits No. 1 seed Roy Lederman of the U.S. against unseeded Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy. Quinzi beat No. 1 seed Filip Obucina of Canada, while Lederman took out No. 1 seed Hyeon Chung of Korea.

The girls 12s quarterfinals had their own dramatic contest, which I unfortunately didn't see, with No. 1 seed Madison Keys of the U.S. getting past No. 1 seed Louise Kwong of Canada 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(3). For some reason, tiebreakers are rare in girls 12s and third set tiebreakers are even more unusual, so I'm disappointed that I missed that one. I did catch a few games of No. 1 seed Sachia Vickery's 6-1, 6-2 win over Ayaka Okuno and the Floridian looks extremely confident as she blitzes her way through the draw. She will face Su Jeoung Jang, a No. 1 seed from Korea, in one semifinal, while Keys meets surprise semifinalist Alexandra Kiick of the U.S. Kiick managed to survive a 6-0 drubbing in the first set by No. 1 seed Tina Jiang, also of the U.S., to earn a 0-6, 6-4, 6-3 decision.

Bradenton's Sekou Bangoura, the No. 6 seed, did the same in his boys' 16 contest, spotting Dino Dell'Orto of Hong Kong a 6-0 first set, before coming back for a 0-6, 6-4, 6-2 win. The top seed in the boys' 16s, Julen Uriguen of Guatemala, was knocked out by Jose Silva Jr. of Brazil. In addition to Bangoura, the U.S. has Raymond Sarmiento, William Parker and No. 16 seed Junior Ore still in the running for the boys' 16s title.

For complete draws, including doubles, which began today in the 14s, 16s and 18s, see eddieherr.com.