©Colette Lewis 2008--
Key Biscayne, FL--
The four-hour drive from Bradenton to Key Biscayne this morning meant a short first day at the Orange Bowl at Crandon Park, but we arrived in time to see some of the U.S. juniors continue to rack up wins during the year-end Florida swing.
Matt Kandath was in the third set with No. 1 seed and French Open junior champion Tsung-Hua Yang, having lost the first set in a tiebreaker and won the second. Those who were there throughout said that Kandath had played extremely well in those first two sets, but couldn't sustain that level in the third, and he fell 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-2 to the 17-year-old from Chinese Taipei.
Wild card Ryan Noble of North Carolina produced the only upset in the 16 boys' 18s matches played today, taking out No. 14 seed Shuichi Sekkiguchi of Japan 6-1, 4-6, 7-6(2). Down an early break in the third, Noble came back to even the match and force a tiebreaker, which he dominated, winning every point on Sekkiguchi's serve. Noble was one of five U.S. boys to advance to the second round, with No. 9 seed Ryan Lipman also winning a third set tiebreaker, No. 15 seed Tennys Sandgren winning in three, and unseeded Harry Fowler and JT Sundling taking straight-set decisions.
At No. 5, Mallory Burdette is the highest seeded U.S. player, and she had a chance to avenge her second round loss in the Eddie Herr to Stephanie Cornish in a first round match in the Orange Bowl. Trailing 0-3 in the third set, Burdette looked to be in jeopardy of a second consecutive three-set loss to the 17-year-old from Great Britain. But Burdette, who conveyed a ferocious determination to win, took six of the next seven games, using forced errors and outright winners to post a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory.
Alison Riske is playing her first ITF junior tennis tournament of the year, and with the Vanderbilt recruit exiled to Court 16, the most remote corner of the Crandon Park facility, very few spectators saw much of it. I got there for the third set between the wild card from Pennsylvania and No. 7 seed Richel Hogenkamp of the Netherlands, and stayed until Riske had secured a 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-3 win.
Riske broke Hogenkamp at love for a 4-2 lead in the third set, but needed to survive a break point serving for the match at 5-3 to prevail. Riske's backhand down the line was her money shot in the third set, and she painted the lines with it on the big points.
Also recording an upset was another wild card, Julia Boserup, a 6-4, 6-3 winner over No. 10 seed Valeria Solovieva of Russia.
In addition to Burdette, Riske and Boserup, six other U.S. girls reached the second round: Sachia Vickery, Ester Goldfeld, Brooke Bolender, Sloane Stephens and Beatrice Capra.
In the 16s, the tough back-to-back matches in different tournaments on consecutive days didn't bother Eddie Herr champions Raymond Sarmiento of the U.S. and Euguenie Bouchard of Canada, both of whom won handily. Finalist Christina Dinu of Romania also was able to advance after making the trip from Bradenton last night, but Jack Carpenter of Great Britain, who lost to Sarmiento in the Eddie Herr final, was beaten by Junior Ore of the U.S., who played the 18s at the Eddie Herr tournament.
Andrew Labovitz of the USTA is writing daily wraps for usta.com, and complete draws and results are available here.
Monday, December 8, 2008