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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Indoor Tennis Suits Southern California Boys Just Fine at Pan-American ITF

©Colette Lewis 2008--
Tulsa, OK--

For the second consecutive day, the six indoor courts at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center saw continuous action when overnight rain in Tulsa again left the outdoor courts unplayable.

But for Campbell Johnson, Denis Lin and JT Sundling, all Southern Californians who have little experience with indoor tennis, it proved no problem. All three advanced to the quarterfinals, with Lin overpowering No. 2 seed Jose Hernandez of the Dominican Republic 6-4, 6-1, while qualifiers Johnson and Sundling will meet each other for a berth in the semifinals.

"This is like the third time I've ever played indoors, and the last couple of times I kind of let it effect me," said Sundling, who defeated No. 8 seed Julien Uriguen of Guatemala 6-3, 7-6(3) after trailing 5-0 in the second set. "I tried not to think about it today. I knew my serve is an advantage indoors, and I ended up playing well."

Sundling admitted that he and Johnson talked about how unlikely it was they would be meeting in the quarterfinals, especially since this is the 16-year-old Johnson's first ITF Grade 1 event, but when Johnson defeated a tiring Ed Nguyen of Canada 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, their first duel was set.

"I've know JT for a long time, we're good friends," said Johnson. "He's older, bigger--it's going to be tough to come through. My return will be really important. He serves really well, he's a lefty and his out wide is really big. I'll just have to keep a lot of balls in play and keep it to the backhand as much as possible."

Sundling knows he can't take Johnson lightly.

"He has really good feel, he plays pretty smart," said Sundling. "He's really crafty. But if I go out and play as I have been, I have a pretty good chance of winning."

The other quarterfinal in the top half will put No. 3 Bo Seal, now the highest seed remaining, against No. 12 seed Alex Domijan. Seal, who has been rolling through his first three matches, downed No. 15 seed William Parker 6-1, 6-1, while Domijan avenged his Clay Court semifinal loss to No. 6 seed Evan King 6-3, 6-3.

No. 4 seed Ryan Lipman had no trouble with No. 13 seed Mauricio Astorga of Mexico, taking a 6-0, 6-3 decision to set up a quarterfinal encounter with No. 7 seed Bob Van Overbeek, the only quarterfinal that developed as predicted. Van Overbeek prevailed in a lengthy struggle with No. 11 seed Matt Kandath 7-6(5), 1-6, 6-2.

The fourth quarterfinal will feature Denis vs. Denis, as the unseeded Lin takes on No. 11 seed Kudla. Kudla ousted No. 5 seed Harry Fowler 6-4, 6-1.

Unlike the boys final eight, the girls quarterfinalists include the top two seeds, with No. 1 Pamela Montez defeating Chanelle Van Nguyen 6-4, 6-3, and No. 2 Lauren Embree downing Blair Shankle 6-2, 6-4. Next up for Montez will be 16-year-old Rachel Kahan, who beat her second seed in a row, taking out No. 7 seed Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-4, 6-1. Embree's quarterfinal opponent is unseeded Monica Turewicz, who earned her spot with a 6-2, 7-5 win over No. 8 seed Monica Yajima.

Although she is seeded only 10th, Beatrice Capra has posted the most impressive results this week, losing only two games in three matches. In today's third round, No. 5 seed Monica Puig was unable to get a game from Capra, who is fresh from a Pro Circuit doubles championship in Southlake Texas last week. Capra's quarterfinal opponent is No. 3 seed Ester Goldfeld, who beat unseeded Fidan Manashirova 6-4, 6-4.

And the last girls quarterfinal is yet another battle between Madison Keys and Sachia Vickery, who have already established a formidable rivalry although both are only 13 years old. The unseeded Keys earned her quarterfinal berth with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Breaunna Addison, while No. 6 seed Vickery prevailed in the only three setter in the girls draw Wednesday, taking out No. 9 seed Gina Suarez 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-0. Keys and Vickery met in the Eddie Herr 12s final last year, with Keys winning a grueling battle in three sets and it was Keys again emerging the winner in three sets when the two girls played in the third round of the Junior Orange Bowl a few weeks later.

The doubles have also progressed to the quarterfinals. The boys second round matches were played indoors, and the top two teams--Kandath and Lipman, No. 1 and Jordan Cox and King, No. 2, easily advanced. The girls played outdoors despite temperatures in the upper 50s and a cold breeze blowing, although three matches had to be brought indoors when it began to rain again late in the afternoon. The top four seeded teams are through, with the No. 1 team of Bouchard and Nicole Smith of Canada needing a ten-point tiebreaker in lieu of a third set to get past Alexandra Leatu and Haley Martin.

For complete draws, visit the TennisLink site.