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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

U.S. Girls Dominate in Wednesday Action at Orange Bowl

©Colette Lewis 2008--
Key Biscayne, FL--

Wednesday started with Grace Min's 6-1, 6-1 win over No. 2 seed and Eddie Herr finalist Christina Dinu of Romania and for the U.S. girls, that was just the beginning. By the time the 16s and 18s singles matches were completed on a warm and humid day at Crandon Park, there were 17 U.S. girls still in contention for an Orange Bowl title, with 11 in the round of 16 in the 18s and six of the quarterfinalists in the 16s.

Although the final score doesn't indicate a close match, it did take nearly 90 minutes to complete, and Min admitted that she didn't take control until the second set.

"It was a long one and one match," said the 14-year-old from suburban Atlanta. "It was actually much closer than that. In the first set, basically all the games went to deuce. I stayed with her--I wanted to see what her breaking point was, and sure enough, I put enough balls in play. A couple of calls by the umpire kind of ticked her off, and she started slowly getting into that snowball effect."

Min's opponent in Thursday's quarterfinal is also an unseeded American, Chanelle Van Nguyen, who took out No. 8 seed Emi Mutaguchi of Japan 6-0, 6-2 in another match that was closer than the score. A U.S. girl is guaranteed to be in the final, with four of the six Americans in the bottom half. Unseeded wild card Lauren Herring is among them, having beaten No. 4 seed Marianne Jodoin of Canada 7-5, 6-0, and will face Californian Guiliana Olmos, who received a special exemption into the Orange Bowl draw, when she reached the quarterfinals of the Eddie Herr. Olmos defeated unseeded Caitlyn Williams of the U.S. 6-4, 6-4.

Top seed Eugenie Bouchard of Canada will meet Monica Turewicz of the U.S. in the quarterfinals, and No. 3 seed Madison Keys, the 13-year-old from Boca Raton, will play Natalia Kostic of Serbia.

In the 18s, Nicole Gibbs kicked off the upsets with a 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 3 seed Kristina Mladenovic of France, and before the afternoon was over, six unseeded U.S. girls had taken out seeded players.

Maryland's Beatrice Capra, the No. 14 seed, fell behind 6-1, 4-1 to Amandine Hesse but outlasted the hard-hitting right-hander from France to post a 1-6, 7-5, 7-5 victory. The match, which was nearly three hours long, featured just about every imaginable change of momentum. Capra fell behind 4-2 in the third set, won three straight games and had three match points with Hesse serving at 4-5, 0-40. But Hesse, who had double faulted twice in the game, changed racquets and served much better. Capra got another match point in that game, but couldn't convert that either, and it was 5-5.

If Hesse's serving improved with the racquet change, her returning did not, and Capra held easily at love, when Hesse failed to get a return in play. Serving at 5-6, Hesse's lethal forehand suddenly went awry, and again it was 0-40. Again Hesse dug herself out of the hole with a forehand winner, an ace and a forced error, and again Capra got a fourth chance in the game. On her eighth match point, Capra finally got an error from Hesse, when the French girl's forehand went just wide.

Despite the heat and the mental challenge of coming back from so far down, Capra looked fresh and focused as the match neared its conclusion. Her opponent in the round of 16 will be No. 2 seed Laura Robson, who defeated qualifier Courtney Dolehide 6-2, 6-1. Other U.S. girls advancing to the round of 16 are Ester Goldfeld, Sloane Stephens, Christina McHale, Asia Muhammad, ChiChi Scholl, Lauren Embree, Allie Will, Alison Riske and Julia Boserup.

The U.S. boys have also done well, although not as spectacularly as the girls. In the 16s, No. 1 seed Denis Kudla, No. 2 seed Raymond Sarmiento, No. 12 seed Mitchell Frank and unseeded Shane Vinsant have reached the quarterfinals. Kudla took a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 decision from Nick Jones of Great Britain, primarily by attacking the tall right-hander's second serve. Sarmiento finally put an end to the run of qualifier Alexander Petrone, taking down the 15-year-old from Staten Island 6-2, 6-3.

In the 18s, six U.S. boys are through to the round of 16, led by Eddie Herr champion Alex Domijan, who defeated Jordan Cox for the second time in two weeks, this time by a 6-3, 6-0 score. Domijan's win earned him the opportunity to face Tsung-Hua Yang of Chinese Taipei, who was this week crowned the ITF World Junior champion for 2008, in the third round Thursday.

Doubles partners Jarmere Jenkins and Devin Britton will be on opposite sides of the net in their contest Thursday. Jenkins downed Eddie Herr finalist Julen Uriguen of Guatemala 6-2, 7-6(5), while Britton saved a match point in his 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-3 win over No. 15 seed Tennys Sandgren.

Evan King will have an opportunity to avenge his recent Eddie Herr loss to Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia in a third set tiebreaker, as both downed seeds Wednesday. King came back for a 3-6 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 12 seed Blaz Rola of Slovenia and qualifier Basilashvili eliminated No. 5 seed Jose Pereira of Brazil 7-5, 6-1. No. 6 seed Chase Buchanan and wild card Ryan Noble also reached the third round with straight-set wins on Wednesday.

For complete results and Thursday's schedule, see the usta.com Dunlop Orange Bowl page.


northeast tennis said...

mitchell frank all the way.

Anthony said...

domijan will prove he will someday become a top 100 professional by beating the #1 player in the world.

Predicted score: 6-4 7-5

Matt said...

Colette do you know anything about Nikoloz Basilashvili?
Is he trained in California?

pdb1991 said...

mitchell frank is probably the most underrated player in usta tennis. He has had a great last couple of months, quarters in south carolina, quarters at the yucatan cup and now quarters at orange bowl

AndrewD said...


I was talking to a couple of our national coaches the other day and they both nominated Beatrice Capra as the player they believe will be the pick (on the pro tour) of America's current crop junior girls. Do you know if she'll be coming to Australia for the Open and who else the USTA will be sending?

The Dude said...

Domijan hits such a clean penetrating ball, maybe the best of any U.S. junior. The only question to him making it on the tour is his movement. He should also do more work coming into net to close off points because the jack rabbit baseline grinders can work him. If you can return his monster serve you have chance of beating him by running him. He should learn from Roddick's developmental shortcomings. Novello beat him in last spring nationals by returning serve well and making him move.

Colette Lewis said...

Basilashvili trains at the Gorin Academy near Sacramento. Capra is planning on playing Australia.