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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Robson Upsets Oudin in Second Round of Wimbledon Juniors

With Andy Murray not playing until Wednesday, the big buzz today at Wimbledon was 14-year-old Brit Laura Robson's 6-1, 6-3 pounding of top seed Melanie Oudin. Click here for one of the typical stories about her, this one from the Guardian, with John Evert inviting comparisons to his sister, although I don't see it. But it was a great win for Robson, as our London junior tennis expert Guy McCrea highlights in his daily dispatch, which features a second conversation with Robson, including her feeling about visiting the main press room at the All-England. Don't miss his interviews with Bradley Klahn, Bernard Tomic and Johanna Konta either. Konta answers Guy's question on her nationality, which came up in the recent disagreement in Australia between Craig Tiley and Jason Stoltenberg. Now on to Guy's report:

(NOTE: Quicktime, a media player available via a Free Download, is required to hear the audio clips.)

The second Tuesday of Wimbledon 2008 and there were a plethora of junior matches to interest the packed crowds on another beautifully warm day in South-West London.

Let’s look at some of the day’s big stories from the singles events, starting with the girls competition. Most attention was focused on court 7, and the meeting between top seed Melanie Oudin and Britain’s Laura Robson. Their second round clash was a repeat of last week’s Grade 1 Roehampton final which Oudin won in three sets – but this match could not have been more different. Robson snared three breaks of serve to win the opener and followed it with one more in the second to set up a crushing 6-1, 6-3 victory over the out-of-sorts American in just under an hour.


Robson is joined by another Brit in round three after Naomi Broady again defied the ITF rankings to beat world number 42 Zarina Diyas of Kazhakstan in three sets. Second seed Arantxa Rus was also in dominant form. The Australian Open champion dropped just three games and will play Hungary’s Zsofia Susanyi next. Much-feted Belgian Tamaryn Hendler beat Italy’s Nastassya Burnett in a strange contest on court 6 that featured ten breaks of serve. Elsewhere, 10th seed Johanna Konta is also through thanks to a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Britain’s Jade Windley. Konta served beautifully throughout and drew many compliments from those watching in the Press Centre Restaurant, which overlooks court 14.


In the boys’ singles, Bernard Tomic had to come from a set down to reach the third round. He was involved in a real battle with Christopher Rungkat on court 19. The Indonesian broke the top seed’s big serve twice to win the opener 6-2, but Tomic then started to make more inroads with his forehand to take the second 6-3. The decider was a tense affair, as the Australian held from love-thirty down in game seven before finally breaking through in the next game. Tomic is just happy to still be in the tournament.


Tomic’s next opponent, British number one Marcus Willis, was in fine form – particularly on his leftie serve and forehand up the line – as he got past Hiroyasu Ehara. The Japanese player just did not hit the form he had shown in beating America’s Devin Britton in the opening round. More good news too for another of the British boys over on court 6, as Dan Evans upset last week’s Grade 1 Roehampton titlist Guillaume Rufin of France in three sets.

Meanwhile, there were mixed results for the American boys left in the draw. Seventh seed Ryan Harrison and fourteenth seed Chase Buchanan both surprisingly crashed out in straight sets. But Ty Trombetta is still involved after beating Australia’s Mark Verryth. Trombetta’s groundies were particularly impressive – he only hit nine unforced errors in the contest. The American is joined in round three by compatriot Bradley Klahn, who came through a high-quality encounter with Britain’s Dan Smethurst 7-6(4), 6-4. The American clearly has the game to do very well here, and the greater penetration on his leftie serve and off the ground proved just a bit too much for Smethurst to handle in the end.


Elsewhere, the second and third boys’ seeds Tsung-Hua Yang and Cesar Ramirez were both in an aggressive mood on Wimbledon’s ever-hardening grass courts as they reached round three with straight sets victories.

For complete draws, visit Wimbledon.org.

And a special thanks again to Guy McCrea of Radio Wimbledon for his perceptive and knowledgeable coverage of this week's junior championships.


AndrewD said...

Craig Tiley's rebuttal (to the Stoltenberg claims) can be found in
this article.

He does mention that Johanna Konta has been in England for the past 4 years, since her father was transferred there for work. While some people might think a change of allegiance is opportunistic they do need to consider that citizenship laws don't allow for an immediate change in status. I'm under the impression that it takes 4-5 years qualification period before you can apply for UK citizenship which is why Konta is still classified as an Australian even if she doesn't consider herself one.

If I had to hazard a guess I'd say that Stoltenberg believes Konta's change in allegience could have been prevented if Tennis Australia had provided her with funding when she relocated to the UK. Tiley would, no doubt, counter by saying that they couldn't fund her (not that he was in office then). Possibly a case where both sides have a point but neither one of them is entirely correct.

Of course, that is just a guess.

J Rod said...

Just a quick question. How many pros has Stoltenberg developed and how many has Tiley developed? If I'm not wrong, Tiley has developed a lot of players that made it inside of the top 500 in singles and top 100-200 in doubles. Granted, they were good juniors, but he took them to the next level. I have no idea how many Stoltenberg has developed. I'm sure Tiley has a bit of an ego, but it seems to be a case of jealousy and envy from Stoltenberg. If the state of Australian tennis isn't better after 5 years, then make a change...but, let Tiley implement his system first.

AndrewD said...

j rod,

You could argue, very convincingly I would think, that Tiley has never 'developed' a single player. He took some athletic junior players and got them up to scratch for college tennis but not beyond that level (which was Stoltenberg's argument - players being trained to that level when they need to be trained professionally).

If you're at all interested, read
this article.

I do firmly believe that hiring Craig Tiley was a huge mistake. The idea was right (hiring outside the system) but the choice of person couldn't have been worse.

Of course, if you're an American you shouldn't be at all worried. Tennis Australia has turned its back on guys like Stoltenberg and Todd Woodbridge so that means a pro-active organisation (possibly even the USTA) could snap them up. Who in their right mind wouldn't want the most successful doubles player in our game's history and a coach with a proven record at the elite level working with their players? Oh, that's right, Tennis Australia wouldn't.