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Friday, October 17, 2008

Domijan Meets Lipman, Capra Faces Montez in Finals of Pan-American B1

©Colette Lewis 2008--
Tulsa, OK--

No. 10 seed Beatrice Capra avenged her loss in this year's 18 Clay Court finals, downing No. 2 seed Lauren Embree 6-4, 6-1 in the most compelling match of the singles semifinals at the ITF Grade B1 Pan-American Championships.

Capra and Embree played four games in the late stages of the first set that were as fiercely contested as they were high in quality. After taking a 3-0 lead to open the match, Capra was in danger of losing her fourth straight game after her 40-0 lead melted away when she was serving at 3-3. Embree won four straight points but could convert on neither of the break points she earned, and Capra took a 4-3 lead with a rare ace.

The six deuce game that followed was filled with punishing groundstrokes, swinging volleys, confident overheads and multiple twenty-stroke rallies, with neither player showing any signs of fatigue or nerves. Embree held for 4-4 and yet another deuce game followed, when Capra dug herself out of a 15-40 hole to take a 5-4 lead. But given the duration of the three previous games, the set ended quickly, with Embree broken after only one deuce, when she made a rare unforced forehand error on Capra's first set point.

Embree was broken at love in the second game of the second set, and although she had two chances to get it back in Capra's next service game, she couldn't seize either opportunity. Capra took a 4-0 lead with yet another break, her fourth straight, and was able to close out the always tenacious Floridian three games later.

"I felt like I was playing a lot more agressive than I was at the Clay Courts, handling her ball a lot better" said Capra, who lost 6-4, 6-2, on a Memphis Sunday as hot and hazy as the Tulsa Friday was crisp and blue. "On clay, she can run down anything, it's like playing a ball machine kind of. On hard courts, I was able to hit a lot more winners."

One of Capra's most effective shots was her overhead, and even though she missed a few, it was important for her to keep Embree on the defensive.

"I was focusing on what I needed to do, attacking the ball," said the 16-year-old Capra, from Ellicott City, Maryland. "I knew if I kept doing that, I was going to be fine. Either way, if I won or lost, it was okay, because I'm improving my game."

Neither Capra nor her opponent in the finals, No. 1 seed Pamela Montez of Mexico, has lost a set in the tournament, but Montez, who easily handled No. 6 seed Sachia Vickery 6-2, 6-1, isn't entirely satisfied with her play this week.

"I've been playing okay, better as the tournament goes along," said Montez, who said she wasn't aware just how young the 13-year-old Vickery was. "I was just more consistent than her, and that was pretty much the main thing, keeping the ball in play."

Vickery again struggled with her serve and even her court speed failed to produce any errors from Montez. The drop shot that Montez has displayed this week would normally not be considered a great tactic against Vickery, but the young Floridian couldn't do anything creative with the ball when she got to it, making errors when retrieving that seemed to spill over into her usually lethal ground game.

Errors also played a major role in No. 4 seed Ryan Lipman's 6-1, 6-0 rout of No. 11 seed Denis Kudla, but not many of them were Lipman's. Kudla failed to hold his serve even once in the first set, while becoming increasingly frustrated by Lipman's high standard of play.

"I think I got under his skin a little bit with the way I played," said Lipman, who needed less than an hour to dispose of the Junior Davis Cup hero and Kalamazoo 16s finalist. "And then he just kind of didn't know what to do, he just kind of fell apart, which helped me a lot."

No. 12 seed Alex Domijan also breezed through his first set with qualifier JT Sundling, jumping out to a 5-1 lead in a matter of minutes. After losing the first set 6-2, Sundling was broken the first two times he served in the second, falling behind 3-0, but he got back in the set with a break of Domijan, at love, in the next game. After holding for 3-2, Sundling had a chance to put pressure on the 6-foot-6 Floridian, but he couldn't sustain any momentum.

"In the second set he started changing and coming into the net," said Domijan, who will play in his second Grade 1 final on Saturday. "He had me at 3-2, it was 0-15, and he kind of fell back a little bit, I thought."

Domijan won the next four points and broke Sundling for the fifth time in the match to take the second set 6-3.

Lipman and Domijan have not played in over three years, but they are well aware of what to expect from each other.

"I imagine he's going to slice everything because I'm so tall" said Domijan. "But if I can handle that, I think I can do pretty well."

"They'll be a pretty good bit of slicing going on," Lipman agreed. "I'll try to mix it up. He does really well side to side, but I don't know how well he does up and back. So we'll find out tomorrow."

Capra and Montez have never played. "I've never even heard of her," said Capra. "I'm just going to wing it tomorrow."

The doubles titles will be decided Saturday, with the top two seeds in the boys reaching the final. Both needed tiebreakers to get there, however; No. 1 Matt Kandath and Lipman won the last four points of their tiebreaker to take a 6-2, 4-6, 10-6 decision from unseeded Sekou Bangoura Jr. and Nathan Pasha, while No. 2 seeds Jordan Cox and Evan King stopped No. 4 seeds Mauricio Astorga and Jose Gerardo Meza Paniagua of Mexico 6-1, 2-6, 10-2.

No. 2 seeds Cierra Gaytan-Leach and Montez barely survived the unseeded pairing of Ester Goldfeld and Ellen Tsay 6-4, 4-6, 11-9. After trailing 8-5 in the tiebreaker, Gaytan-Leach and Montez won the next four points, but Tsay saved the first match point with a forehand winner in the alley. At 9-9, Montez broke a string early in the point, and Tsay and Goldfeld each hit a shot to her, but Montez somehow controlled two touch volleys to earn her team a second match point, which they converted when Goldfeld netted a backhand. Gaytan-Leach and Montez will face No. 6 seeds Jessica Alexander and Embree, who dispatched No. 7 seeds Kate Fuller and Monica Yajima 6-2, 6-1.

For complete results, visit the TennisLink site.


analyst said...

Lipman has some of the best results of any US junior over the past 6 months. Too bad he was passed over for a WC into the US Open. It would have been nice to have been represented by our best US players, even if they are 17 or 18 years old, rather than using those precious WC's to give some younger, not-yet-ready future hope the "experience" of a Grand Slam.

tennisjunky said...

Don't agree with the US Open Wild Card or that Pipman is one of our BEST US players. Not taking anything away from Lipmann's wins but he is among the oldest in these level US ITFs. In Tulsa there was only one other solid 90s player and the rest were a year to four years younger. Now its time for Lipman to see how he can compete in futures etc, where his peers are mostly playing. He has yet to have the results that place him among the best "US" players for his age. So what that he beat Kulda, who is two years younger, does not indicate much of anything. How would he do aghai8nst Bradley Klahn? Jemere Jenkins? Those are his peers. Good luck to him as he has a nice game but now its time to move onto the next level of play.

junior said...

completely agree with analyst. Tennisjunky, just because someone stays behind,maybe to mature ect. Does not mean he doesn't have the goods. He is under more pressure by staying behind and having to deal with the pressure of losing to a younger opponent. There is no pressure on the young ones playing up, but it does get interesting when the young ones play their on age groups and possibly take a loss to their own age. Anyone who stays a little bit longer not playing futures i applaud, they are dealing with more mental then the younger ones.

tennis said...

to junior, lipman was at this same point 2 years ago, he got semis of tulsa and he was one of the best 90's in the country. 2 years later, he reaches the finals. he needs to be moving up, as he probably wont do as he has already committed to Vanderbilt. so do not waste a WC on somebody who is already committed. if somehow he becomes amazing after college, good for him.
i agree totally with tennisjunky.

McLovin said...

Well Lipman surely deserved a WC over Sean Berman, Emmet Egger and Chritian Harrison and would have won more matches. I am againt the "if you commit to college, we drop you as a serious player who wants to be a pro" bias by the USTA.

tennis said...

berman got a qualifying, egger got a qualifying LAST year, and harrison got a main draw this year. and i agree these three players should not have recieved wildcards, but i think that another 92 or 91 should get the Wc before a 90 who has already committed. and harrison has a better shot of being great than lipman so why not give him a WC

love-tennis said...

Christian is a fantastic player, great kid, and sponsored by IMG.

(I don't know if this is true, but a few people have told me that if you are sponsored by IMG, you have a greater chance of getting a wildcard because they control so many events. I had not realized that). But anyway, he will be good, he just needs to get older, bigger, and stronger. Has a very strong work ethic. Wait til he gets as big as Ryan.

love-tennis said...


Someone told me that the USTA had dropped Emmett Egger from the National Team. I was not sure what that exactly meant? I know that he was training down in Florida, I think possibly at that new High Performance Tennis Academy at the C.Evert Academy? Does that mean that he was dropped from the High Performance Academy when they did their reevaluations?

D.Roditi (National Coach) told us that only 10 per year were picked for that H.Performance Academy and that a reevaluation was done every year, so it made me think that was possibly what the person meant?

Colette Lewis said...

The boys at the USTA High Performance Academy (there is no national team) now are: Tyler Gardiner, Alexios Halebian, Evan King, Spencer Newman, Nathan Pasha, Michael Rinaldi, Raymond Sarmiento and Spencer Simon. Jeremy Efferding and Justin Butsch train there but don't live there. It's my understanding that Egger wasn't extended an invitation for a second year there.
Sorry, but I don't have a complete list of girls there now.