Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday's Qualifiers Complete Junior Open Fields

©Colette Lewis 2008--
Flushing Meadows, NY--

The travel gods did smile on us (the credential gods did not, but that's a story for a different time) so we made the final round of junior qualifying in time to see the end of some of the boys matches and all of the girls. Heavy rains had fallen in New York overnight, but the skies cleared midday, leaving a blazing sun and considerable humidity.

Devin Britton worked his way through qualifying for the second year in a row, and his 6-0, 6-2 win over No. 5 seed Francis Alcantara of the Phillipines was one of two quick victories for U.S. players, as wild card Beatrice Capra also earned a main draw berth with a 6-2, 6-0 blitzing of No. 6 seed Paula Ormaechea of Argentina. I saw none of Britton's win, but Capra had only to play smart, consistent tennis to beat Ormaechea, who dissolved into a puddle of unforced errors and negative body language after the first set.

I missed the exciting end to the Nathan Pasha - Harry Fowler match, won by Fowler 0-6, 6-4, 7-6(4), but I did catch the last few games of the Alex Llompart - Matt Kandath contest. I learned that Llompart had had three match points serving at 5-4 in the third set, with Kandath hitting two great returns on the first two. On the third, Llompart had a backhand pass that Kandath guessed correctly on, then stretched for a reflex volley winner.

"I had to commit," Kandath said of the instinct that led him to the right place when he needed it most. "I got lucky."

Kandath was up 3-1 in the second set, lost seven games in a row, and was down break point trailing 1-3 in the third. But he fought back, and in the tiebreaker that decided the match hit winner after winner: a service winner, an ace, a volley, a drop shop-lob combination. After that last point, his seventh, Kandath let out a roar, both hands at his sides.

The 16-year-old from upstate New York didn't know until Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. that he had gotten a wild card into qualifying and had a 10 a.m. match the next morning, but said he played extremely well in that opening match and it carried over into Saturday's encounter with Llompart, where he said he was "lacing" the lines in the first set.

Bo Seal, who lost his match to Takanyi Garanganga of Zimbabwe in three sets (the draw score is incorrect) made the main draw as a lucky loser, giving the U.S. four male players in the main draw from qualifying.

In the girls qualifying, long matches were again the rule, with three of them going the distance. Alexa Guarachi dropped a 5-7, 7-5, 6-0 decision to Monika Tumova of the Czech Republic, and Allie Will and Lauren McHale also had a long roller coaster match. McHale was up a set and a break at 6-3, 4-3, but then lost four games in a row, before stopping the skid at 1-1 in the third. Will never held serve again after that hold in the first game however, and untimely double faults ultimately proved her undoing.

The final spot in qualifying was still undecided at 5 p.m., when the player meeting was scheduled to begin, with Brooke Bolender and Bistra Otashliyska of Bulgaria fighting out the third set. Bolender lost the first set 6-4, but began to find her rhythm in the second set, taking a 4-1, two-break lead, losing it, but winning the final two games to take the set 7-5. Bolender fell behind 3-0 in the third set, and was down 0-40 serving in the fourth game, but she battled back, and the rail-thin Otashliyska knew then that the final set would not be easy. Bolender got the break back to make it 4-3, and at the changeover, the Bulgarian got her left ankle re-wrapped. In the next game, Bolender had two ads to pull even, but she couldn't convert either, and although she again broke Otashliyska, to make it 5-4, Bolender got down 0-40 on her own serve. Two shaky forehands by Otashliyska gave Bolender hope, but at 30-40, she sent a forehand long, sending the Bulgarian on to the main draw.

In years past, my husband has been taking photographs of all the U.S. players and posting them to ustaboys.com, but credential problems have made that much more difficult this year. I will try to post more photos on zootennis, probably via a slide show, than I have in previous years, but do check out ustaboys.com for photos beginning Sunday.

For additional coverage, see Marcia Frost's collegeandjuniortennis.com.

For complete qualifying draws, click here. For Sunday's schedule, see usopen.org.


Anonymous said...

A bad draw for Sloane Stephens in the Juniors. Jessica Moore first round is unfortunate.

love-tennis said...


If it is not too personal of a question, what credential issues did you have? I was curious because when we went one time, it was a real hassle.

Anonymous said...

Christian Harrison lost to Alex Llompart 4-6, 6-3, 3-6. How impressive is that? I questioned this wild card myself, but he proved that he can indeed compete at this level. Perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise. He did, after all, beat Adrian Puget (current ITF #52) at the Orange Bowl last year. Llompart is hardly an elite junior, but still, to play a close match against an Easter Bowl finalist who's four years older than you is a feat.

I do not envy the juniors in Harrison's age group who will have to contend with him a couple years from now when he's not the size of an 11 year old.

Anonymous said...

to David,

Taking nothing away, but Harrison did indeed get lucky to get an 11th hour lucky loser, Llompart. Disagree with the Wild Card allocation as it would have been more telling to see how Christian would fare in the qualies, to see if could have actually won one or two rounds. Also, all the pressure was on Llompart, and again Christian has yet to win a level 4 or 5 ITF. I know it is about player dwevelopment (haha) but that would have been served with Christain in the Jr. Open qualies and give the main to a player more ready for that. The USTA has to look at player development with a broader group of players than just the few they focus on.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure your name is not Pat Harrison? The result just shows that C.Harrison should not have gotten the WC and it should have gone to a deserving junior who has earned it. Hopefully the USTA will learn from this one. I saw the match, and the kid was simply out of his league out there. The talk about his agent etc. is simply embarrasing to the game itself.

love-tennis said...

Alex Llompart is no slouch. He made it to the finals of the 18's Easter Bowl ITF. He almost made it through qualifying here too. I'd not discount his ability.

Go Christian. It was so funny to see he and Alex on TV today; just cracked me up!

love-tennis said...

made it to the finals of the 18's Easter Bowl ITF. He almost made it through qualifying here too. I'd not discount his ability.

Go Christian. It was so funny to see he and Alex on TV today; just cracked me up!

Anonymous said...


The US Open (and all it entails)is American in a way that can be genuinely unsettling for players from other countries. That being the case, although I do think that Grigor Dimitrov will win the boys over Tsung-Hua Yang, I wouldn't be overly surprised to see an American in the final this year. I know everyone has been talking about Ryan Harrison, but I'm quite a fan of Bradley Klahn and think he could do a bit of damage.

love-tennis said...

I agree that it is a tournament entirely filled with an "Americana" experience. That is a good point and very valid. However, having been there with a junior, I can tell you that it is a very unsettling experience for anyone that has never been there before. You don't know what you are doing, whether it be with credentials or signing up for practice courts, or even taking the subway from the hotel. People are lined up all over watching you practice. While it is exhilarating and just a blast entirely, it still is an extreme learning experience for anyone from any country.

Anonymous said...

I also on many occasions believe that Pat Harrison uses different names to put a rather transparent veil on his remarks- however I can not prove such allegations -just my belief!!

The score of a match, any match, might inspire parents, fans, etc to make comments good or not so good about players.

I can guarantee that the player will only gain real confidence with a WIN.

Losing 0 and 0 or 4 and 4 in the world of tennis at the end of the day means a loss.

Yes, everybody but the player feels better about 4 & 4.

If you talk or know a top player - it isn't much solace because he lost 4 in the third- the player will say he learned from the loss, of course - but real confidence (emphasis added) comes from the WIN.

Harrison (Chris) should have been in the quallies!!

Anonymous said...

Realist. Someone loses 6-3 in the 3rd and you make a comment that they were out of their league. Somehow your name seems way off base. You beyond a shadow of a doubt are the parent of another junior player and the jealousy is so blatant you ought to be embarrased. I don't recall the Harrison boys or parents asking for the attention. Who is talking about an agent and who says he doesn't deserve it as much as the next guy. Get a grip on yourself and relax. Much like Donald Young they didn't ask for all the attention. Let them be kids and watch their progress.

Anonymous said...

man in the moon,

That's a load of garbage. I've played professional sport and I know, without any doubt whatsoever, that you can take an enormous amount of confidence (yes, 'real' confidence) away from a loss, irrespective of the score. Hell, you don't even need to have played professional sport to know that. Anyone who has ever played any kind of sport will be aware of it.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Andrew's comments. For 'Moon' to suggest that it feels the same to lose deep in the third vs. 0 and 0 is absolutely insane. Yes, it hurts to lose. But, a player knows when they are purely outmatched and when they belong on the same court. Christian clearly belonged on the same court. Now, having said that, I think it did help him that he got to play a player he hits with all the time. That probably helped his confidence and helped him not be awed by the situation (although mitigated somewhat by the fact the found out 5 min before).

Yes, he probably should have been in the qualies. I agree with that The point is to let him get some match experience at this level. But for all the people who were basically cheering for him to get blown out to prove their point that he didn't deserve a wild card and couldn't play at this level - sorry, you didn't get what you were looking for, win or not.

Too bad about Jenkins.

Good start by the Americans. Hopefully they can keep it going.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with realist. I think it was in bad taste to bring up about the agent. Looks like another Donald Young. That is another disgrace. Great Job USTA. They really look desperate.

Anonymous said...

What are people referring to with the talk about the agent? I missed it.

Anonymous said...

Brent & andrewd,

First and foremost,I am not going to resort to comments such as garbage or any other name calling.

Andrewd I don't know what pro sport you played nor at what level, so I don't know if that is relevant.

I do know that I have been around many, many ATP players, top collegiate and top international and national juniors on more than a casual level. And no I am not a coach, agent, etc.

And I do know that real confidence (emphasis added) comes with the WIN -- I am not saying the player doesn't learn from his mistakes / loss I am talking about real confidence.

I did not see the Harrison match, so I don't really know any of the particulars. Did you see it?

I did see the Querrey / Nadal match - and Sam played a really good match, he has improved his movement quite a bit - however, the set that Nadal lost and the following set -had absolutely nothing to do with Sam- absolutely nothing - I have followed as I am sure you have -Nadal for the past 4 years and that was surely the worst set and 1/2 that Nadel has played in 4 years. Over 40 unforced errors more that 25 on the forehand side, plus his serving was dreadful- His second serve was in the low 80's which is pathetic and he had more double faults in a set 1/2 than I can remember.

So even though Sam took a set off Nadel and that is big, however if he looks at the tape he will certainly gain some (emphasis added) but not REAL confidence in my book.

The above is based on years of being around the high level game of tennis --
So -- you can have your thoughts on the subject and so can I --the difference is I am not so emotional about my response.