©Colette Lewis 2008--
Rancho Mirage, CA--
Gabriel Flores was advised to think of his first round boys 18s match with No. 2 seed Jarmere Jenkins as a "practice match."
"When I saw the draw, I was like, whoa, Jarmere Jenkins," said the 16-year-old from Puerto Rico. "But I talked to my brothers and they said, 'hey man, just forget about it, think of it as a practice match. If you win, you win, but you have nothing to lose.'"
Flores did win, 6-2, 6-4, when a right shoulder rotator cuff injury Jenkins suffered early in the match led to a dramatic reduction in the power of his serve and forehand.
"Mostly when he hit forehands, he sliced it because it hurt," said Flores. "He's very fast and even though he was injured, it was a tough match, because he could run and he could put the ball back in the position he wanted."
Once Jenkins lost the first set and did not retire, Flores knew he had to keep his focus.
"I heard his dad's comment, he wanted him to retire," said Flores. "But he said to his dad 'no, I'm going to fight, I want to win this.' So I knew I would have to work. He can push, he can drop shot me, he can come to the net on every point. Jarmere Jenkins has a lot of weapons, he's a very good overall player."
Jenkins did take a 3-1 lead in the second set, but Flores broke back.
"When he was serving, we had like eight deuces, he had like five game points, I had like three or four break points, and finally I broke," said Flores. "If he had gone 4-1 up, he would have been mentally relieved; it was a big game, the key to my winning the set and the match."
Jenkins was not the only seed to fall in Tuesday's first round boys action. No. 5 seed Bob Van Overbeek lost to Daniel Moss, 7-6(4) 0-6, 6-2 and No. 6 seed Jason Zafiros went out to Daniel Nguyen 6-4, 6-1. One of the best matches of the day saw Alex Brigham defeat Matthew Kandath 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(3) in a contest that took place on three different courts. They were moved from the court they were originally assigned when high winds blew dust from the adjacent clay courts, then were moved from a second court to a lighted one as dusk settled in.
In girls 18s second round action, none of the remaining top eight seeds lost, although four lower seeds did go out to unseeded opponents.
Top seed Melanie Oudin got by the impressive Alexandria Walters, who will joining UCLA in the fall, by a 6-3, 7-5 score. Walters hit with power and depth, and never allowed Oudin to feel comfortable with her own game.
The most contentious girls 18s match of the day saw No. 5 seed Lauren McHale defeat International Spring finalist Jacqueline Cako 7-5, 7-6(3) in a match that took over two and a half hours to complete. An umpire was called to the court early in the first set, and the vocal McHale celebrated key points with "c'mons" and "vamoses" throughout. Cako, who was playing her eighth match in eight days, hung tough throughout, but McHale's ability to get one more ball back eventually wore her down.
For complete results in the ITF 18s, click here.
Although he wasn't seeded in the 16s at the Easter Bowl, it still counts as news when Christian Harrison loses, and he did in Tuesday's second round to No. 17 seed Chidi Gabriel 6-3, 1-6, 6-2.
The No. 1 seeds in the boys and girls 16s and 14s are all still in the running for the Easter Bowl titles. For complete results, click here.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008