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Monday, June 9, 2008

Vickery Upsets Bartnik at Grass Courts; All Boys Seeds Advance to Second Round

©Colette Lewis 2008--
Philadelphia, PA--

The temperature stopped one degree short of the all-time record for the date, reaching a mere 97 degrees, but the competitors at the International Grass Courts were thinking only of survival as they battled in the midday sun at the Philadelphia Cricket Club.

The eight boys seeds all came through with victories, and only No. 7 seed Junior Ore needed three sets. Wild card Emmett Egger took the first set from the Maryland lefty, but Ore began to return better in the second, putting balls at Egger's feet that led to many popped-up volleys, and ultimately to Ore's 3-6, 6-0, 6-3 win.

One of the day's longest matches--nearly three hours in the heat and humidity--pitted qualifier Harry Seaborn, who won three matches over the weekend, against Mikhail Titov of Russia. Seaborn dropped the first set against the extremely tall (6-foot-5 or 6-foot-6) right-hander, but kept his drive and focus in the wilting heat and came through with a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory.

Ryan Lipman, the unseeded 2007 finalist, had little difficulty with 14-year-old Christian Harrison, who couldn't pressure Lipman enough with his own serve to concern the Tennessean, who took it 6-1, 6-2 in under an hour.

Sachia Vickery, who has now won every match she's played since becoming ITF age-eligible when turning 13 last month, got her biggest win late Monday afternoon, when she defeated No. 2 seed Nicole Bartnik 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-5. I wasn't able to follow the entire match, which was played five courts down from the two show courts, but I did see Vickery scrap back from 4-5 down in the third to take the last three games. Bartnik may have realized that it wasn't going to be her day when Vickery desperately lunged for a ball, sending it high in the air and just over net. Bartnik was there, but the ball had so much spin on it that it kicked sharply back to Vickery's side of the net, giving Bartnik no opportunity to put a racquet on it. Vickery won her first ITF tournament, a Grade 5 in Costa Rica two weeks ago, and now has beaten her first ITF Top 100 player in Bartnik, who is ranked 87th.

Bartnik wasn't the only girls seed to lose. No. 5 seed Jacqueline Cako fell to Beatrice Capra 6-3, 7-5 and Fidan Manashirova took out No. 7 seed Monica Yajima 6-2, 6-3. No. 4 seed Brooke Bolender had a difficult time against the hard-hitting Arianna Colffer, but overcame the Californian 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the day's last match.

For complete draws, visit the TennisLink site, where the doubles draws are now also posted.