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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Van Nguyen Among Four Unseeded Girls in 18s Spring Nationals Quarterfinals

©Colette Lewis 2009--
Mobile, AL--

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.


the old pro said...

colette, regarding your patrick mcenroe post: i share your impression of phillip simmonds' talent as a junior. my belief is he did not really understand what he needed to do to fully develop his talent or, perhaps, it wasn't a commitment he was able to make.

KeepSawingWood said...

Colette and "the old pro"- In an earlier post, Colette compared Andy Murray and Phillip Simmonds. Have you considered what might have happened had Simmonds trained in Spain for two years at 16 and 17 like Murray did?

the old pro said...

keepsawingwood has an interesting point. why hasn't the US had one player emerge that has sniffed the top-10 or threatened in a slam since serena williams, an '81, or andy roddick, an '82? i find it hard to believe that there has been a TOTAL lack of world class talent for the past 8 to 10 years in the US. this really points to the development process in the states versus the process in europe.

seen it all too often said...

Old Pro and Others, As long as we keep telling our up and coming top juniors to go to college Europe will continue to dominate us. As has been stated recently, college tennis is not what it used to be for training future pros. If the U.S.T.A. is encouraging this route it will set us back even further as will the whole new emphasis of playing on clay so much. American juniors are simply given too much too soon and feel like they have all ready made it before they even make a dent on the pro tour. The work ethic and satisfaction with mediocrity attitude are also other factors that have crippled the American kids and why they have developed the reputation for being soft and not developing into REAL pros.

the old pro said...

"seen it all too often": that is a great discussion point on the development tension of college versus pro. they are really the same track until the eligibility clock for college starts ticking. it is a tough call to give up college eligibility for the potential of professional success. playing tennis and getting a degree at a good college can provide such a valuable foundation for life. however, as you note, college tennis is probably not the ideal track to top level professional success. perhaps the USTA could work with the NCAA and get waivers for our top juniors so they can test the professional ranks as amateurs for two or three years without losing eligibility. then if it's clear it's not going to happen professionally, the college option is still alive.