©Colette Lewis 2008--
Coral Gables, FL--
Today I split my time between the Biltmore Tennis Center, site of the girls 14s, and Salvadore Park, seven blocks due north, where the girls 12s play on Har-Tru clay.
The day began with overcast skies and temperatures in the low 70s, and virtually no wind, which made for excellent playing conditions. I started with the girls 14s and saw portions of most of the first sets in the eight matches. Ashley Dai, a No. 17 seed, and qualifier Hannah King, both from the U.S., were blasting balls to the corners in the games I saw, with Dai eventually taking a 6-4, 7-6(3) decision. Dai will play another American, Vicky Duval, a No. 9 seed, who eased past Korea's Su Jeong Jang, the 2007 Junior Orange Bowl 12s finalist, 6-2, 7-5.
The second all-American matchup in the 14s puts unseeded Sachia Vickery against qualifier Jan Abaza, also of Florida. Abaza hasn't dropped a set in her seven wins (she got a walkover in the second round), beating No. 2 seed Maria Paul Deheza of Bolivia 7-5, 6-1 yesterday and No. 17 seed Ilona Kremen of Belarus 6-4, 6-3 today. Vickery earned her place in the quarterfinal with a 6-2, 6-0 win over unseeded Anita Husaric of Bosnia.
The fifth U.S. girl to make the final eight is No. 3 seed Kyle McPhillips, who downed qualifier Lou Brouleau of France 6-3, 7-6(3). When I returned to the Biltmore, I was surprised to see that So Ra Lee had won her contest with Anna Mamalat of the U.S. When I left, Mamalat was in complete control, having taken the first set 6-1, with Lee not striking the ball well and making frequent errors. The Korean qualifier, who has beaten three seeds in succession, won the next two sets 6-3, 6-1 to have her chance at McPhillips.
In the only quarterfinal match that doesn't include an American, No. 4 seed Ganna Poznikhirenko of Ukraine will face Christine Kandler of Austria. The unseeded Kandler, who screams loudly every time she strikes the ball, looked on the verge of emotional collapse when she lost the first set to Riko Shimizu of the U.S., but she turned it around in the next two for a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 win.
At Salvadore Park, I watched two of the three matches featuring U.S. girls. Unseeded Alexandria Stiteler disposed of her opponent Sarah Boevska of Belarus so quickly (6-0, 6-0) that I missed her entirely, but I did watch U.S. No. 1 Brooke Austin and unseeded Taylor Townsend earn quarterfinal spots.
Austin took care of unseeded Katie Boulter of Great Britain 6-4, 6-2, and seemed just as comfortable on the green clay as on the indoor hard courts of Indianapolis, where she lives. Next up for Austin is Indy de Vroome of the Netherlands, who took a tough battle with Eddie Herr semifinalist Domenica Gonzalez of Ecuador, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. De Vroome is rail-thin and has changed very little from last year's Junior Orange Bowl, when I saw her for the first time, but she knows where and how to hit the ball for maximum results.
Townsend didn't play as well as she did when I saw her earlier in the week, but her opponent Dahye Kim of Korea, had something to do with that. In the end, Townsend had too much power for the unseeded Kim, who fell 6-4, 6-3.
The girls 12s will play both quarterfinal and semifinal matches on Sunday, with a Monday final scheduled.
By the time I arrived at the University of Miami, all the boys 14s main draw matches were finished. Reo Asami, a No. 9 seed, battled back from 5-1 down in the final set before falling to No. 8 seed Julien Cagnina of Belgium 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(3). No. 9 seed Ed Nguyen of Canada came from a set down against an American for the second day in a row, this time defeating No. 6 seed Trey Strobel 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Nguyen will play his third straight U.S. opponent in Sunday's quarterfinal when he meets qualifier Alexander Ritschard, who cruised past No. 2 seed Pedro Guimaraes Dumont of Brazil 6-3, 6-1.
Harrison Richmond earned his quarterfinal berth with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over qualifier Jathan Malik of Great Britain, and will face fellow No. 9 seed Filip Veger of Croatia.
Americans Sean Karl and Roy Lederman bowed out in the round of 16 Saturday. Filip Peliwo of Canada beat Karl 6-2, 6-2 and Liam Broady of Great Britain downed Lederman 6-1, 6-3.
Top seed Moos Sporken of the Netherlands lost his first set of the tournament, but came back to beat Martins Podzus of Latvia 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
In the boys 12s, two unseeded Americans remain in contention, with New Yorkers Noah Rubin and Daniel Kerznerman advancing to the quarterfinals with wins Saturday. Rubin rolled past No. 1 seed Andrev Rublev of Russia 6-3, 6-1 and Kerznerman also earned his win over a No. 1 seed, but with more difficulty, defeating Ryotaro Matsumura of Japan 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Qualifier Tommy Paul's run came to an end at the hands of No. 1 seed Borna Coric of Croatia, 6-1, 6-0, Christian Garay lost to Kukeon Kang of Korea 6-1, 6-1 and U.S. No. 1 seed Toshiki Matsuya lost to No. 1 seed Silas Cerqueira of Brazil 6-0, 6-2.
For complete results, including the consolation draws, visit the TennisLink site.
Saturday, December 20, 2008