©Colette Lewis 2008--
The weather in Philadelphia can vary a lot this time of year, and after last year's cool spell, we were probably due for a heat wave. When the final round of qualifying for the ITF Grade 3 tournament began Sunday at the Philadelphia Cricket Club, the thermometer was approaching the mid 90s, with the heat index several degrees warmer still.
The four girls qualifiers all got out of the heat, which was mitigated by the expanse of grass and a refreshing breeze, relatively quickly. Philadelphian Anna Mamalat and New Yorkers Manuela Velasquez, Blair Seideman and Jennifer Kellner all earned their main draw spots in straight sets.
The boys matches were much closer, with two of them going the distance. Taylor Cohen, a local player who will be attending Clemson in the fall, defeated Dan McCall 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 and Jonathan Cypers of Chappaqua, New York downed Michael Zhu 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. Including the ten-minute heat breaks between the second and third sets, both matches took nearly two and a half hours to complete, even with the relatively short points that are the norm for grass. Harry Seaborn advanced to the main draw with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Adam Donaldson and Coby Kramer-Golinkoff, another local player, took a 6-0, 6-3 decision from Nicholas Minkner.
Both McCall and Donaldson were drawn as lucky losers, the final two to fill out the main draw.
Grass Court tournament director Ian Crookenden, who will retire from his position at PCC at the end of the year, spoke at the players meeting, reminding the participants of the various eccentricities of grass court tennis, including predominently white clothing and shoes. For some, this was a reminder, but for many of the youngest players, it was their first exposure to the tradition-laden expectations of a club more than 150 years old. Members provide housing to players requesting accommodations, and after Sunday evening's buffet dinner, several families were introduced to their players, who will be house guests throughout the week.
The weather forecast shows a continuation of the heat through at least Tuesday, so the air-conditioned players area will be a popular place to wait for and between matches, and those who can quickly win early round matches will earn an advantage as the week wears on.
Ryan Lipman, a finalist here last year, was not seeded, and so he was the floater no seed wanted in the first round. As it turned out, Lipman drew 14-year-old Christian Harrison, also unseeded, to start this year's event. Another high-profile youngster, Sachia Vickery, plays No. 2 seed Nicole Bartnik in the first round.
For complete draws, see the TennisLink site.
At the French Open Sunday, unseeded Tsung-Hua Yang of Taipei defeated No. 12 seed Jerzy Janowicz of Poland 6-3, 7-6(5) and No. 9 seed Simona Halep won the battle of Romanians, taking out No. 10 seed Elena Bogdan 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-2. The boys doubles champions are Henri Kontinen of Finland and Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia; the girls title went to Polona Hercog of Slovenia and Jessica Moore of Australia. For details of the singles finals, see the ITF junior website.
Sunday, June 8, 2008