©Colette Lewis 2008--
Rancho Mirage, CA--
Frank Carleton was coming off a stress fracture and in his first tournament back, the International Spring Championships in Carson last week, he lost in the first round. His expectations weren't high for the Easter Bowl, but in Thursday's third round the 17-year-old from Naples had one of his biggest wins, taking down top seed and International Spring winner Bradley Klahn 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.
"I was definitely fresh coming into the tournament," Carleton joked. "I am not mentally or physically fatigued. I'm moving well and playing solid."
Carleton, who had battled back from a 4-1 third-set deficit in his second round match Wednesday, was down 2-0 in the third set against Klahn, but the 16th seed kept his composure, which hasn't always been the case in the past.
"It's definitely something I've been working on a lot," said Carleton. "It doesn't help and it just wastes energy. When I'm in a tough match like this I definitely don't want to do that."
With warm temperatures and barely a whisper of a breeze, the afternoon conditions were challenging for both players as the third set got underway. Carleton got up a break, but serving at 4-3, he was broken, and Klahn held easily to move to within a game of victory. Carleton steadied himself, holding for 5-5, and in the next game, Klahn had two game points, but each time, Carleton's backhand came through, once on a serve return, and once on a clean down-the-line winner. After the fifth deuce and a backhand wide, Klahn faced another break point. His first serve had pace and depth, but it came back off Carleton's racket even faster, and Klahn's backhand went just deep to give Carleton the 6-5 lead.
Carleton went down 0-30 in the next game, but an ace and a Klahn backhand error brought him even. Carleton then hit a volley winner to earn his first match point, and he had only one thought in mind.
"I just thought I had to make my first serve," Carleton said. "I've got to make my first serve and I'm in good territory." He did, and when Klahn's return didn't make it over the net, Carleton was pleased and relieved. "I was kind of cramping at the end, so it was good that it ended without a long point."
Carleton's opponent in Friday's quarterfinal match is No. 10 seed Harry Fowler, who also had a draining three-set win, defeating Daniel Nguyen 6-3, 1-6, 6-4.
The girls are through to the semifinals, and only one of the four quarterfinals on Thursday went to three sets. Christina McHale, the No. 15 seed, dropped the first set to Nicole Gibbs, easily won the second, then held on for dear life in the third to take a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 decision.
Up 5-0 in the third set, and playing near-perfect tennis, McHale failed to put away the feisty Gibbs serving for the match at 5-0 and 5-2, and when Gibbs picked up her level of play, cracking a forehand winner to make it 5-4, an improbable comeback seemed almost inevitable.
With McHale trying to end it for the third time on her serve, she executed a confident forehand putaway for 40-30, but two forehand errors, which produced an "oh my gosh" from the usually serene 15-year-old, gave Gibbs a point for 5-5. But another forehand putaway by McHale brought it back to deuce and on the next point, a long groundstroke rally that featured pace and depth from both girls, Gibbs tried to change the pace with a slice but failed to control it, giving McHale another chance to end it. After Gibbs missed a backhand, McHale and her older sister Lauren, who was urging her on throughout the match, could finally relax.
McHale now faces top seed Melanie Oudin, who downed No. 6 seed Nicole Bartnik 6-1, 6-1. The other semifinal will feature Lauren Embree, a 6-0, 6-2 winner over Ester Goldfeld and Aeriel Ellis, who defeated McCall Jones 6-4, 6-4. Neither are seeded.
The boys and girls 14s have also reached the semifinals, and top seeds are still alive in both divisions.
Michael Rinaldi will face No. 6 seed Reo Asami and No. 5 seed John Richmond will meet unseeded Austin Smith.
Girls top seed Kyle McPhillips will take the court against No. 13 seed Ronit Yurovsky and Julie Vrale, the No. 3 seed, takes on Sachie Vickery, a No. 17 seed.
For complete results for the 18s, click here. For complete results for the 14s and 16s,click here.
For complete draws and results for the 16s and 14s,
Thursday, April 10, 2008