The first day of qualifying at the U.S. Open is nearing completion, although Ken Thomas of radiotennis.com is still webcasting his final match of the day. Thomas started this morning at 11 a.m. with the first match on Court 11 between Robert Kendrick of the U.S. and Dusan Vemic of Serbia. He probably got the feeling that it would be a long day after Kendrick needed three sets for the victory. I caught the end of that match, then listened to the entire play-by-play of 15-year-old wild card Sloane Stephens' 6-3, 7-5 win over No. 7 seed Melinda Czink of Hungary. Czink, who is ranked 110th, didn't play well, from Thomas's perspective, but that's still an impressive win for Stephens.
Aside from Stephens, five other wild cards were in action on Tuesday. Sixteen-year-old Kristie Ahn won in straight sets over Ukraine's Yevgenia Savranska, while U.S. Open junior champion Kristina Kucova of Slovkia needed a third to get past Naomi Cavaday of Great Britain. Kim Couts lost in three to fellow American Lauren Albanese. Travis Helgeson fell in three to Caio Zampieri of Brazil and Chase Buchanan dropped a third set tiebreaker to Ricardo Hocevar, also from Brazil.
The remaining 12 wild cards will play their first round matches on Wednesday, and Ken Thomas will be back doing free over-the-internet webcasts from Flushing Meadows.
Other notable winners Tuesday were Americans Alex Kuznetsov, Ryler DeHeart and Ryan Sweeting. Portugal's Michelle Larcher de Brito and Urszula Radwanska of Poland also posted victories Tuesday.
For complete draws, visit usopen.org.
The New York Daily News covered Adam El Mihdawy's first round match at last week's Bronx Challenger, and posted this story about the New York resident. If I understand the NCAA rule correctly, El Mihdawy will forfeit a year of collegiate eligibility even if he retains his amateur status, for each calendar year he competes in "organized competition" past his 19th birthday, which is next month.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008