©Colette Lewis 2009--
The rain forecast for the Los Angeles vicinity on Wednesday didn't materialize, but even so, there were challenging conditions for the second round of the 18s singles. It was chilly, it was windy and yet a couple of the younger players in the 18s draw handled it well.
Jeremy Efferding came into Carson having won last week's Grade 4 in College Station, so confidence wasn't a problem. The 15-year-old from Florida had recently played Swedish No. 1 Robin Soderling, ranked 24th by the ATP, in qualifying for the recent Challenger in Sunrise, Fla., so taking on reigning 16s Kalamazoo champion Jordan Cox today may not have been quite as daunting as usual. Efferding won the first set 6-1 against the No. 6 seed; Cox won the second set 7-6(8) and when I arrived at the upper level Court 9, it was 5-4 Efferding in the final set, with Cox serving. In that game, it took Cox five ads to finally take the game, although he didn't face any match points then, nor when serving at 5-6.
The tiebreaker that would decide the match began with a couple of clean winners, but the unforced errors began to accumulate, especially on Cox's end. With Efferding leading 4-2, Cox missed an overhead; on the next point Efferding executed his overhead to give himself four match points. The first match point, on Efferding's serve, got away from him as he just missed another overhead wide. On the second, Cox got into position to putaway a routine backhand volley, but he missed it wide, ending the three hour and thirty minute battle.
No. 2 seed Tennys Sandgren escaped in three sets for the second consecutive match, defeating Nathan Pasha 3-6, 6-0, 6-4; No. 3 seed Harry Fowler outlasted Shaun Bernstein 4-6, 6-4, 6-2; No. 5 seed Bo Seal escaped with a 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 win over 2008 ISC 16s champion Christian Harrison and No. 8 seed Matt Kandath got by Joshua Tchan 7-5, 3-6, 6-1. Top seed Denis Kudla, No. 4 seed Evan King and No. 7 seed Japan's Yasutaka Uchiyama, the only non-U.S. player in the final 16, had much less difficulty advancing to the third round.
In the girls 18s singles action, 14-year-old Grace Min took out USTA Spring Nationals champion Beatrice Capra 6-2, 6-4. Capra, the No. 2 seed, had faced Min only once before, winning in three sets last summer in the Grade 3 ITF US International Hard Courts, but Capra wasn't at her best today, and Min's variety can give anyone headaches when she's playing with confidence.
The points were long throughout the second set and that's just what Min wanted.
"She gets a lot of balls back, so it's really important to be patient against her," Min said. "I hung with her, I didn't get impatient, and I played my game. I let everything else take over."
Breaks were more common than service holds throughout the match, so when Capra, who turned 17 two days ago, was broken at 4-4 in the second set, there was no assumption that Min would serve it out. But Min took a 40-15 lead and wasn't rattled when, on the first match point, Capra got to her drop shot and put it away. At 40-30, Capra, who seemed to struggle more than Min in the increasingly windy conditions, saw her forehand sail long, giving Min the victory.
On Thursday Min will face 15-year-old Jessica Pegula, who has lost only three games in her first two matches. It will be their first meeting in formal competition, but Min knows what to expect.
"She comes to Boca and plays sets with us," said Min, who trains at the USTA High Performance Center in Boca Raton. "I know her game real well. She's sort of the opposite of Trice (Capra). She hits everything flat and hard--I don't think she's much of a grinder."
Sixteen-year-old Monica Turewicz was the only other unseeded player to oust a seed Wednesday, beating No. 5 Ester Goldfeld 6-4, 6-2. (Correction: Danielle Lao also beat a seed on Tuesday, defeating No. 11 Alexandra Cercone 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.) Top seed Lauren Embree advanced to the third round by defeating Chanelle Van Nguyen 6-0, 6-4, and No. 3 seed Valeria Solovieva of Russia quickly disposed of Brittany Augustine 6-1, 6-1.
The quarterfinal matches are set for the 16s, with the top two seeds--Shane Vinsant and Spencer Newman--still in the running for the boys title. In the girls 16s third round, top seed Breaunna Addison edged past unseeded Kiah Generette 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(3), while second seed Caitlyn Williams reached the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 14 Shayne Austin.
For complete results, including doubles, see the TennisLink site.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009