It was almost complete reversal of Saturday's results--U.S. juniors won seven of the eight first round singles matches they played today (one was suspended due to darkness), but Melanie Oudin's run came to an end at the hands of Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska. The 11th seed didn't dominate Oudin, but she played the big points more steadily and her experience and court savvy earned her a second consecutive Wimbledon quarterfinal appearance. For Oudin's comments after the match, see the Wimbledon website.
Thanks again to Guy McCrea, we have coverage from the Junior Championships at Wimbledon, although his obligations this year (you can hear him providing commentary on Radio Wimbledon all week) don't allow him as much leeway in watching matches as last year.
He did get to see a bit of Devin Britton's 6-4, 6-0 win over No. 7 seed Shuichi Sekiguchi of Japan, and noted that Britton had far too much for his opponent. McCrea thought Britton unlucky to lose four games in the opening set, and said he was "very impressed."
McCrea wasn't the only one. Tennis magazine's Peter Bodo, maverick that he is, didn't focus on any of the 16 men's and women's matches played today. He instead went out to see Britton, and although he tempered his comments by comparing Britton to Phillip Bester, another Bollettieri-trained player who has more talent than his pro results have shown, he says this in his tennis.com post about Britton:
His volleys are superb - I don' t believe I've seen a player with such superb touch and placement at a comparable stage in his career since the young Edberg, or Pat Cash. Today, Britton hit numerous drop volleys and acutely angled touch volleys, stretching the court with wisdom beyond his years. And at one point, he took a volley on the backhand side, while approaching, and cut both under and inside the ball in such a way that thing bounced, stopped in mid-air, made a right turn, changed its mind and went back the other way.
I've seen that shot enough to know that it's part of the repertoire, not a fluke. Anyway, Bodo can be seen in the picture that Guy sent (click on photo to enlarge) in the upper left, (I think that's Jon Wertheim in front of him in the shades) as well as National Coach Mike Sell in the blue long-sleeved shirt, and tennis blogger Marc Lucero next to him in the t-shirt with writing on it. Lucero wrote a post on the junior action today as well. His observations can be found in this post on his blog Luch by Marc Lucero. And of course, Britton is blogging this week for usta.com and he is dead-on about Evan King's father Van in his update today.
McCrea also saw a few games of Harry Fowler's match, which if you read my re-tweet on Twitter, you already know. McCrea mentioned again in an email that he was very impressed by the sportsmanship displayed in a two-and-a-half-hour match that went 9-7 in the third, and described the crowd that had gathered by the end as "massive." It was Fowler who came out on top of course, beating Italian qualifier Emanuele Molina 7-6(2), 5-7, 9-7. Fowler was down 5-1 in the second, brought it all the way back to 5-5, lost the next two games, then got out to a 3-0 lead in the third. That didn't last, but he held steady the next ten games to earn the win.
Fowler wasn't the only American that needed three long sets to advance. Fourteen-year-old Sachia Vickery was up 5-3 in the second set and 4-1 with two breaks in the third against fellow qualifier Luksika Kumkhum of Thailand, and although she lost the second set and was periously close to letting Kumkhum pull even in the third, she held on for a 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-3 win. McCrea saw a few games of her match and commented on the maturity of her game for one her age. He hopes to see her play again on Tuesday, when she takes on top seed and French girls champion Kristina Mladenovic of France. Mladenovic, who also won Roehampton on Saturday, was cruising along against qualifier Eugenie Bouchard of Canada when things suddenly went awry, and she was fortunate to escape with a 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 win. No. 2 seed and defending champion Laura Robson was also not at peak form Monday, but she beat Canadian Katarina Paliivets 6-3, 6-2. Wimbledon.org had this story on Robson's opening match.
Beatrice Capra got by qualifier An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-5, to advance to the second round, needing four match points before finally subduing the 15-year-old. Serving for the match at 5-3 in the third, Capra couldn't convert on her match point at 40-30, had another with Mestach serving at 4-5 which she didn't get, and a third with Mestach serving at 5-6 that she didn't seize. But Mestach's luck ran out on match point No. 4, much to Capra's relief, I'm sure.
Sloane Stephens, the No. 7 seed, had an uneventful 6-4, 6-3 victory over British wild card Joacelyn Rae, and Jordan Cox, who qualified, also reached the second round, taking out Australian Open Junior finalist Alexandros-Ferdinando Georgoudas of Germany 6-4, 7-5. Alex Domijan struggled with 15-year-old British qualifier Liam Broady before emerging with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win. Who Domijan will play on Tuesday has yet to be determined. It will be an all-American encounter if Bob van Overbeek can overcome No. 13 seed Cheng Peng Hsieh of Chinese Taipei. They are currently tied at 6-4, 6-7, 9-9 and the last four games of that match were played after they had already suspended for darkness the men's doubles match still out at the time. Van Overbeek was up 4-2 in the third and lost the next three games, but had little difficulty holding serving from behind the rest of the way. Maybe his big serve was especially effective in the dusk of the last several games.
All second round singles matches are scheduled for Tuesday, with only some of the first round of doubles. For complete draws, see wimbledon.org.
Monday, June 29, 2009