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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Clayton Dumps Raykova, Stephens Sidelines Burdette in International Spring Championships Third Round Action

©Colette Lewis 2008--
Carson, CA--

Three-set matches were scarce Thursday at the International Spring Championships, with none of the girls 18s and only one of the boys 18s contests going the distance.

That two of the top four seeds were ousted in straight sets was more surprising, with unseeded Missy Clayton of Florida earning a 6-4, 7-6(1) victory over No. 2 seed Tanya Raykova of Bulgaria and unseeded Sloane Stephens eliminating No. 4 seed Mallory Burdette 6-2, 6-4.

Joining Stephens and Clayton in the quarterfinals are Jacqueline Cako, who defeated No. 12 seed Pamela Montez of Mexico 6-4, 6-1, and Danielle Lao, the qualifier from Arcadia, Calif., who defeated Monica Yajima 6-1, 6-2. Lao has surrendered only six games in three main draw matches, and when I got my first look at her today, I was impressed with the simplicity of her game and the poise she displayed. None of these four winners in the bottom half are seeded, assuring an unseeded finalist on Sunday.

In the top half, No. 1 seed Melanie Oudin had no trouble with unseeded Beatrice Capra, taking a 6-2, 6-1 decision, and her quarterfinal opponent, Valeria Solovieva of Russia, also cruised past No. 11 Tara Moore by the same score. No. 3 seed Gabriela Paz bounced unseeded Polina Vinogradova 6-1, 6-1 and will face unseeded wild card Stacey Tan, who defeated Alexandra Anghelescu 6-2, 6-2.

Unlike Lao, another Southern Californian qualifier couldn't extend his impressive run to the quarterfinals, as Steven Henderson fell to Raymond Sarmiento 6-2, 6-2. Sarmiento's opponent on Friday will be No. 5 seed Jarmere Jenkins, who eliminated No. 12 seed Jason Zafiros 6-3, 6-2. Top seed Alexei Grigorov of Russia downed wild card Denis Lin 6-2, 6-3, and will meet Chase Buchanan, the No. 10 seed, in Friday's quarterfinals.

Buchanan topped No. 7 seed Devin Britton 6-1, 7-5, in a match that wasn't the contrast in styles I had anticipated. In the first set, Britton had difficulty finding the court with his ground strokes, and was down 5-0 very quickly. He eventually clawed his way back into the match, but it wasn't with his usual serve-and-volley style. He stayed back and traded ground strokes with Buchanan, who fell behind 3-1 in the second set. But Britton was getting no free points on his serve, the second straight match that Buchanan had negated his opponent's advantage in that regard, and Britton was broken at love twice in a row, giving Buchanan a 5-4 lead. Serving for the match, Buchanan earned three match points, but Britton denied them all, and two forehand errors by Buchanan gave Britton new life at 5-5. But he was broken immediately, and Buchanan didn't waste his second chance to serve it out, taking it at love.

The 18s only three-setter saw unseeded Nikoloz Basilashvili come back from a 3-6, 1-4 deficit to win 11 of the next 12 games from No. 9 seed Tennys Sandgren for a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory. Basilashvili, from Georgia, won last week's Grade 4 in College Station. His quarterfinal opponent will be No. 4 seed Borut Puc of Slovenia, who beat No. 14 seed Denis Kudla 6-3, 6-4.

Eighth seed Milos Raonic of Canada served his way past unseeded Michael Davis of Great Britain 6-3, 6-0, and on Friday will face his doubles partner, Bradley Klahn, the No. 2 seed. Klahn came back from a deficit in the first set against Matthew Kandath to take it 7-5, and took a 5-2 lead in the second, but Kandath fought back to force a tiebreaker in the second set. In the tiebreaker, Klahn found his form, and put away the unseeded New Yorker, 7 points to 2.

The 16s, who are a day ahead, completed their quarterfinal round today. Top seed Christian Harrison advanced with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 win over No. 8 seed Dane Webb, in a match that saw points end more often with inexplicable errors than with well-earned winners. Harrison meets unseeded Sahak Bazrganian in the semifinals. Bazrganian, who is probably the only player in the 16s field smaller than Harrison, defeated unseeded Michael Grant 6-1, 6-1.

No. 2 seed Shane Vinsant blew past unseeded Andrew Korinek 6-0, 6-0 to earn a meeting with unseeded Dante Terenzio. Terenzio overcame No. 4 seed Jacob Jung 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

The girls 16s semifinalists are all seeded, but only No. 1 seed Chanelle Van Nguyen was projected to go this far. Van Nguyen had no trouble with No. 10 seed Whitney Kay, taking a 6-0, 6-2 victory, to earn a spot against No. 8 seed Jennifer Kellner. Kellner defeated Joanna Smith 6-3, 6-2. No. 14 seed Amelia Herring dropped unseeded Nicole Koehly 6-2, 6-3, and will face 2007 ISC 16s finalist Gabrielle Desimone. Desimone beat unseeded Breaunna Addison 6-2, 6-2.

The doubles quarterfinals were completed on Thursday, with the 2,3,and 4 seeds eliminated in the boys 18s. For complete draws, see the usta.com website.