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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

McHale Upends No. 8 Seed in Second Round Action at US Open

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

It was another sunny late summer day at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and when it was over, there were four U.S. girls preparing to battle each other in the third round.

Christina McHale, the 16-year-old from New Jersey, kicked things off with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over No. 8 seed Ksenia Lykina of Russia, in one of the few upsets of the day in the girls draw. McHale trailed 5-3 in the first set, but won nine straight games, taking a 5-0 lead in the second set before Lykina finally held serve. Next up for McHale is another unseeded U.S. player, Madison Brengle who survived Silvia Njiric of Croatia 7-6(1), 6-3. No. 2 seed Melanie Oudin defeated Nastassya Burnett of Italy 6-4, 6-1 and will face wild card Asia Muhammad, who had the honor of the Grandstand Court today, where she downed Romana Tabakova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-4.

Three U.S. girls in action on Tuesday were playing their first round matches. Gail Brodsky, the National 18s champion wild card, got off to a slow start against No. 15 seed Linda Berlinecke of Germany, but survived 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, much to the delight of the substantial crowd at Court 4, there to support the Brooklyn 17-year-old. Mallory Burdette fell to No. 7 seed Kurumi Nara of Japan 6-2, 7-5. Nara won the Grade 1 in Montreal on Saturday, defeating Nicole Gibbs in the final. Gibbs also was given the delayed start, playing her first round on Tuesday, but unlike Nara, she didn't advance, losing to Yana Buchina of Russia 5-7, 6-3, 6-2. Gibbs, who won a special exemption into the main draw with her results in Canada, showed her characteristic fight when she broke Buchina serving for the first set at 5-4, then again at 5-6, but she couldn't hold off the 16-year-old from Moscow.

The only U.S. boy playing the waiting game for a first round match was Evan King, and despite a brilliant start against Great Britain's Dan Smethurst, the 16-year-old from Chicago couldn't serve out the match in either the second or third sets, resulting in a 1-6, 7-5, 7-5 loss.

King was dominating with his serve in the opening set, and got an early break in the second, but at 5-4, a couple of loose points gave Smethurst a 15-40 opening, and despite getting it to deuce twice, King couldn't get any closer. The third set started out the same as the first two had, with King taking an early break, but serving for the match at 5-4, he couldn't convert four match points, losing that game and the next two for a disheartening finish to his first U.S. Open Junior match.

Wild card Alex Domijan fell to No. 11 Cedrick-Marcel Stebe of Germany 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in a match that completed in remarkably quick fashion considering the three sets. I saw only a few games of the first set, which is how most of the coverage of the first few days has to be given the concurrent matches everywhere, but Domijan stayed on the baseline, not moving forward to put away balls, and Stebe, a quick left-hander moved him from side to side, retrieving until Domijan missed.

Chase Buchanan had no trouble with No. 14 seed Juan Vazquez-Valenzuela, blitzing the Argentinian 6-0, 6-1 in one of the day's quickest matches. The battle of the two U.S. qualifiers went to Devin Britton, who came out firing in the first set and held on to beat Matt Kandath 6-1, 6-4. In the second set, Kandath was trailing 4-1, but broke Britton to get back in the match, and had his chances to even the second with Britton serving for it at 5-4. Britton, who had lost in straight sets to Kandath last week in Canada, served his way out of trouble, recording six service winners and an ace in the six-deuce game, and converted on his fourth match point to advance against another U.S. player, Bradley Klahn.

Klahn, the No. 13 seed, overcame Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. At 3-3 in the third, Klahn broke, held and broke, and a very close match was his.

One match that I did see from start to finish, since it was the last singles match of the day was No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov's 7-5, 6-1 win over Ty Trombetta. Trombetta hung with he Wimbledon Junior champion, who had beaten him 6-0, 6-1 in the third round at Wimbledon, and there were no breaks until the final game of the first set. Dimitrov seemed to find another gear at that stage of the match, taking a 5-0 lead in the second set while displaying his usual quotient of "wow" shots.

In doubles, the exodus of U.S. boys teams continued with Buchanan and Ryan Harrison, the No. 3 seeds, losing to Borut Puc of Slovenia and Juan Spir of Columbia 7-6(5), 6-4. King and Raymond Sarmiento lost, as did Harry Fowler and Bob van Overbeek. Wild cards Kandath and Ryan Lipman did prevail, in a 10-point tiebreaker, which was also how Britton and partner Jordan Cox recorded their victory.

The top seeds in the girls doubles are out, with Christina McHale and Julia Boserup eliminating Romania's Elena Bogdan and Elena Chernyakova of Russia 6-3, 6-2. The Americans will play Mallory Burdette and Sloane Stephens, who won in a 10-point tiebreaker over Buchina and Zarina Diyas. Alexa Guarachi and Lauren McHale were defeated in straight sets.

For complete results, see usopen.org.

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


Austin said...

Madison Brengle should be seeded. One thing I dont understand is why she is playing the juniors here, but didnt play the Girls 18's.

Everyone ready for Mardy Fish's four set upset over Nadal tomorrow?

Colette Lewis said...

Brengle was playing Vancouver the week prior to Berkeley but there is nothing going on in the U.S. this week. New York is close to her home in Delaware, and she wanted to play her final junior slam.