I spoke to Ryan Lipman at the Grass Courts about his decision to attend Vanderbilt and that interview is available today at the Tennis Recruiting Network.
I didn't watch much Wimbledon today (just as well given the Blake and Roddick losses); instead I went to Stowe Stadium for the finals of the Midwest Outdoor Closed 12s and 14s, held this year for the first time in Kalamazoo.
In all four finals, the lower seed defeated the higher one, although the upsets, if you can call them that, were hardly of the Kudryavtseva over Sharapova magnitude. In the girls 12s, second seed Sierra Stone of Ohio downed top seed Cassie Mercer of Huntington, W. Va., 7-5, 2-6, 6-1, and it was also No. 2 over No. 1 in the boys 12s. Aron Hiltzik of Illinois defeated Hunter Tubert, also of Huntington, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Both 12s finals were very close and well-played. It was rare when a moonball rally surfaced, and when it did, it didn't last long, as the boys particularly were constructing points and hitting the ball hard.
The boys 14s title went to second seed Tyler Gardiner of Michigan, who won the USTA boys Clay Court and Hard Court gold balls in the 12s last year. Gardiner beat top seed Zachary Mueck of Ohio 7-6(5), 6-4, and showed some grit and opportunism in the win. In the first set, Gardiner was down three set points, one serving at 4-5 and two serving at 5-6, but he held off Mueck. In the tiebreaker, Gardiner cashed in on his first set point and in the second set, broke Mueck three times to earn the championship.
The only No. 2 seed who didn't win Thursday afternoon was Jerricka Boone of Chicago, who fell to No. 3 seed Brooke Austin 6-4, 6-4. For Austin, it was her twelfth tournament win in the first six months of 2008, and after watching the 12-year-old from Indianapolis, I can see why. Although she is much smaller and lighter than Boone, Austin played much more aggressively throughout the match, taking the ball on the rise and standing well inside the baseline for every serve, not just the second. She went for the lines and made most of them, and her swinging volley was fluid and confidently struck time after time. She was on offense so much that it was difficult to assess her defensive skills, but I think at age 12, that's an amazing statement.
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