The weather was as good as it gets for Memphis in July, with blue skies, a refreshing breeze and tolerable humidity to go with the 90 degree temperatures. Although three sites are used for the first four days of the USTA Girls 18s Clay Court Championships, I stuck to the main site, The Racquet Club of Memphis, where many of the top seeds played this afternoon.
Most of them breezed into the round of 32, and I managed to catch some of top seed Beatrice Capra's 6-2, 6-2 win over Sabrina Santamaria, No. 3 seed Lauren Embree's 6-1, 6-1 pounding of Julie Kirkland and No. 7 seed Alexandra Cercone's 6-2, 6-2 win over Rachel Decker-Sadowski, despite the relatively brief match times. Both Embree and Cercone were swinging away on the forehand side, and playing next to each other, the two Florida girls seemed to be competing to see who could punish a short ball with more force. Although it was played at the Racquet Club, I missed No. 2 seed Alexa Guarachi's 6-2, 6-0 dismantling of Caryssa Peretz, and saw only a few points of No. 5 seed Kristie Ahn's 6-0, 6-0 win over Mary Hill.
But there were a few engaging matches. In stark contrast to the majority of the top seeds' victories, No. 12 seed Monica Chow was put to the test by Nida Hamilton before emerging with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 win. The match, which began a few minutes before its scheduled 2:30 p.m. start time, didn't end until after 5:45 p.m., with long points, long games, as well as score and line disputes, contributing to the marathon length.
Only two top 16 seeds failed to make Wednesday's round of 32. Jennifer Kellner's 7-5, 2-6, 6-1 win over No. 15 seed Courtney Dolehide was at another site, but I did see the second set of Kate Fuller's 6-2, 6-4 decision over No. 14 Kate Turvy.
Fuller, fresh from clinching the Southern section's Intersectional Team Championship in Shreveport in the mixed doubles match, played aggressively against Turvy, but made sure that she was ready for any and all of her shots to come back. Turvy would scramble and dig and get one more ball back, but Fuller was always prepared to try another placement, and another, if necessary. In the second set, Fuller broke at 3-4 and took a 30-0 lead when serving for the match, but a couple of her errors and Turvy's winners gave Turvy four straight points and the game, putting them back on serve. Fuller didn't show any frustration however, and after the changeover, put the pressure right back on Turvy, who couldn't summon her best in the final game.
There were no doubles matches played today, but they will resume on Wednesday with the round of 16 in the afternoon.
For complete draws, see the Tennis Link site.
For coverage of the 14s, 16s and 18s clays in Florida, please check out Marcia Frost's collegeandjuniortennis.com.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008