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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Only Six Seeds Reach Third Round in Girls 18s Action in Carson

©Colette Lewis 2008--
Carson, CA--

Although the rain promised for Wednesday afternoon didn't materialize, half of the seeds remaining in the girls division washed away in second round action. The upsets were not major ones, however, as the top four seeds, Melanie Oudin, Tanya Raykova, Gabriela Paz and Mallory Burdette, all earned straight-set victories Wednesday morning. Oudin dispatched Nicole Gibbs by a clinical 6-2, 6-1, while Raykova overcame Courtney Dolehide 7-5 6-4. The third-seeded Paz had all she could handle from Lauren Embree before the Venezuelan prevailed 6-4, 7-5 and Burdette took a 6-1, 7-6 (4) decision from Danielle Mills.

Although I watched a few games of the girls matches, I primarily concentrated on the boys matches on courts 7 and 8, where No. 7 seed Devin Britton faced Max Stevens and No. 10 seed Chase Buchanan was taking on Alex Domijan. Britton didn't allow the left-hander from Texas any rhythm and although Britton didn't play brilliantly, he did manage to serve well enough to earn a 6-4, 6-4 victory.

Buchanan had comprehensively defeated Domijan last October in Tulsa's ITF B1 event, and he continued his mastery of the 6-foot-6 Floridian today, winning the first five games, and taking the match by a 6-1, 6-3 score. Domijan didn't hit his forehand with his usual precision, and got almost no free points on his serve, allowing Buchanan to control most of the points.

Britton and Buchanan, who are doubles partners this week, will play Thursday, a repeat of their third round encounter in Tulsa, which Buchanan won, 7-5. 6-1.

After those two matches were completed, I settled in to watch No. 15 seed Evan King take on his doubles partner, Raymond Sarmiento. King was up a break in the first set, but Sarmiento broke back, and the first set would be decided in a tiebreaker. King took a 5-3 lead when Sarmiento missed a couple of forehands, but he couldn't hold it, and at 6-6, Sarmiento teed off on a forehand that gave him a set point, which he converted when King missed a backhand. Both players were hitting the ball with great pace and depth; sitting close to the Stadium court 4 action, I had difficult turning my head quickly enough to follow the ball back and forth across the net.

King called for the trainer after the first set, and received treatment on his left shoulder. Sarmiento was up a break in the second set, serving for the match at 5-4, but couldn't put King away. Sarmiento kept his composure, however, broke King in the next game, and with his second chance, finished off the 7-6 (6), 7-5 victory. A few hours later, they were back on Court 4, teaming to upset the No. 7 seeded doubles team in straight sets.

I missed several exciting endings. No. 14 seed Denis Kudla was down and nearly out to Artem Ilyushin but he managed to eke his way past the Russian 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(5).

In the girls 16s, top seed Chanelle Van Nguyen was pushed to the limit before taking down No. 13 seed Haley Dixon 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (3) in third round action. Boys 16s top seed Christian Harrison was also given a stern test by unseeded Reo Asami, in a battle of former Junior Orange Bowl 12s champions. Harrison was up 4-1 in the first set, before Asami came back to tie it. Serving at 5-6, Asami saved two set points, and came back from a 5-2 deficit in the ensuing tiebreaker to earn a set point of his own at 6-5, but it was Harrison who held steadier in the final three points of the tiebreaker to take it 8-6. The second set's tennis wasn't the quality displayed in the first, and Harrison took control midway through the set to finish it 6-2. Second seed Shane Vinsant had a much easier time, taking out No. 14 seed Harry Seaborn 6-1, 6-2.

This is the first tournament I've attended that is using the no-ad, tiebreaker in lieu of the third set doubles scoring method. It is universally loathed, but so far it hasn't resulted in many upsets. The No. 2 seeded team of Rebecca Marino and Katarena Paliivets fell to Jessica Alexander and Lauren Embree, but that was by a 6-2, 6-0 score. In boys doubles, the top four teams have reached the quarterfinals.

For complete results, visit the usta.com website.