©Colette Lewis 2009--
Top seed Beatrice Capra and No. 2 seed Hanna Mar reached the quarterfinals as expected, posting straight set wins on a warm and sunny Wednesday, but there were plenty of surprises too, with four unseeded players advancing along with them.
Fifteen-year-old Chanelle Van Nguyen led the way, with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over No. 4 seed Courtney Dolehide, who had lost only five games in her first three matches. Although with 16 matches being played at once, I couldn't watch more than a few games of any one, in the two or three games I saw, Van Nguyen was playing at a very high level, comparable to how she played in winning the Orange Bowl 16s title last December. When Dolehide gave her an opening, Van Nguyen found it, and finished the point at the first opportunity. Next up for the Miami native is 16-year-old Chichi Scholl of Pompano Beach, another unseeded player, who took out No. 8 seed Ester Goldfeld 6-3, 6-4.
A third unseeded Floridian cruising through the draw is Mary Clayton, who had little difficulty with No. 12 seed Caryssa Peretz, especially in the first set, recording a 6-0, 6-4 victory. The fourth unseeded quarterfinalist is Monica Turewicz, 16, who eliminated 14-year-old Grace Min, the ninth seed, 6-3, 7-5. Again, I saw only a few games, but Min wasn't able to capitalize on her opportunities late in the second set. Turewicz served for the match at 5-4, but Min broke her with some aggressive shotmaking. At 5-5 however, Min was broken--her overhead seemed to let her down late in the match--and Turewicz didn't falter with her second chance to close out the match.
Turewicz will play second seed Mar, who had her hands full with No. 14 seed Danielle Collins in the opening set. With Mar serving for the first set at 5-4, they two girls played a long, tough game, and Collins had a point to pull even. But her return of serve didn't find the court when she really needed it, and on set point, Mar brought Collins into the net and passed her. Collins went quietly in the second set, with Mar taking a 6-4, 6-0 decision.
Top seed Capra downed No. 13 seed Kate Turvy 6-3, 6-0 and will meet No. 10 seed Alexandra Anghelescu, who defeated No. 7 seed Stephanie Hoffpauir 6-3, 6-3 in match of long points and long games. The only girls match to go three sets was Alina Jerjomina's 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 16 seed Kristin Norton. Jerjomina, a No. 17 seed, hits hard and flat, and Norton is also accomplished at that kind of baseline slugging. Many of the points I saw in the third set cleared the net by mere millimeters, although the margin for error was so small I was always anticipating one would catch the tape. Jerjomina, who jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the third set, immediately found herself back on serve with some sloppy play in the fifth game, but Norton couldn't get back even. She took a 30-0 lead serving at 3-2, but lost four straight points to make it 4-2 and Jerjomina kept pounding away until Norton relented.
The boys quarterfinals featured only two three-setters, with No. 4 seed Jack Sock going the distance with No. 15 Billy Federhofer before posting a 7-5, 1-6, 6-1 win. Next for Sock is the surprising Max Ando Hirsh of Austin Texas, who rolled past Harry Seaborn, also unseeded, 6-1, 6-1. Ando Hirsh lost the first game of his first match, but has been impressive since then, taking straight-set wins over Jadon Phillips and Shaun Bernstein Tuesday.
In the other three-set match, Christopher Mengel downed fellow 17 seed Daniel Whitehead 7-6(5), 2-6, 6-1. Mengel will play No. 2 seed Connor Smith, who posted a 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 17 Daniel Kreyman. Smith, who is willing to hit an approach shot and finish the point with a volley, had trouble closing out Kreyman in the final game, but eventually secured his fourth straight-set victory of the week.
Spencer Wolf, who had upset top seed Ian Chadwell on Tuesday, reached the quarterfinals with a 7-5 6-3 win over Brian Alden. Wolf will face No. 13 seed Sekou Bangoura Jr., who beat No. 7 seed Zachary Leslie 6-1, 7-5.
Perhaps the day's most impressive performance was turned in by No. 11 seed Frederick Saba, who obliterated No. 8 seed Filipp Pogostkin 6-0, 6-1 in less than 45 minutes. Saba will play unseeded 15-year-old Dennis Novikov, who had a considerably longer match against No. 17 seed Jamin Ball, but also got through in two sets, 7-6(3), 7-6(2).
The doubles are still not quite caught up from Sunday and Monday's rain, with some teams through to the quarterfinals and others still in the round of 16.
For complete results, see the TennisLink website.
And for a story from the Mobile Press-Register about Grace Min and Lauren Herring and their longtime friendship and doubles partnership, click here.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009