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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Qualifiers Reach Semifinals at International Grass Courts

©Colette Lewis 2009--
Philadelphia, PA--

The top seeded boy and girl plus two qualifiers have advanced to the semifinals of the ITF Grade 3 International Grass Court Championships at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Under mostly cloudy skies and comfortable temperatures, No. 1 seeds JT Sundling and Brooke Bolender posted routine wins in quarterfinal matches; qualifiers Lauren Davis and Michael Zhu also made their way to the final four with victories.

The 18-year-old Sundling eased past unseeded Dan McCall 6-2, 6-2, keeping his vow to himself to play aggressive, serve and volley tennis as he made his way through the week's matches. The left-hander from Thousand Oaks, Calif., who will be joining the NCAA champion USC Trojans this fall, will face qualifier Michael Zhu of nearby Princeton, New Jersey in Friday's semifinals. Zhu, 16, has already won six matches since Saturday, and today dropped his first set of the tournament when he lost the opening set in a tiebreaker to Texan Dane Webb. But Zhu began to return so well in the next two sets that Webb, who was committed to serving and volleying, was popping up or netting most of his first volleys. Webb's returns were much less effective, and Zhu coasted to a 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-1 win.

The other semifinal features No. 4 seed Raymond Sarmiento, who defeated wild card Hunter Harrington 6-4, 6-4, against Emmett Egger, a 7-6(2), 6-4 winner over No. 8 seed Alex Golding of Great Britain. Egger served for the first set at 5-4, and although he couldn't hold, the 16-year-old from Washington continued to play aggressively in the next two games. He took control of the match in the ensuing tiebreaker and although he saw his 3-0 second set lead evaporate, he continued to pressure Golding by coming in at every opportunity. It paid off soon enough, as Egger held for 5-4 in the second set, and broke Golding to claim his berth in the semifinals.

Bolender had played two long grueling matches in the first two rounds, but on Wednesday she had an easier time, defeating No. 6 seed Annie Mulholland of Florida 6-4, 6-0. Bolender had more difficulty holding than she did breaking in the second set, but Mulholland was not able to keep her error count low enough to challenge Bolender. Bolender, who trains at the USTA Center in Boca Raton, will face unseeded Chanelle Van Nguyen, who also trains at Boca, in the semifinals. Van Nguyen defeated unseeded Lauren Herring 7-6(3), 6-4 in a very entertaining match that featured lots of sliced approaches, crisp volleys and velvety drop shots. Herring fought off five set points serving at 4-5 in the first set, broke Van Nguyen in the next game, but couldn't earn a set point of her own serving at 6-5. Van Nguyen played an error-free tiebreaker to get the lead after over an hour of play. She fell behind 3-1 in the second set, but won four straight games, including a very long and tense one at 4-3, and after Herring held for 5-4, Van Nguyen served it out at love.

USTA 16s National Champion Lauren Davis is playing in only her third ITF junior event, but the 15-year-old qualifier from Ohio has yet to drop a set on the lawns of the Philadelphia Cricket Club. She handed unseeded 14-year-old Breaunna Addison a 6-4, 6-2 loss Wednesday, earning a semifinal spot against unseeded Rio Kitagawa of Japan, the only non-U.S. player remaining in either singles draw. Kitagawa eliminated Fausthyara Pietersz of the Netherland Antilles 6-3, 7-6(2) Wednesday.

With the singles semifinals scheduled for Friday, it is doubles that takes center stage on Thursday, with four semifinal matches being played. The top-seeded boys team of Nathan Pasha and Sarmiento defeated Mitchell Polnet and Alex Robles 6-2, 6-4 Wednesdsay afternoon and will face unseeded Shaun Bernstein and Campbell Johnson, who beat unseeded Bjorn Fratangelo and Alexander Petrone 6-1, 6-3. The team of Hunter Harrington and Matthew Savran, playing together for the first time, reached the semifinals with a 6-1, 2-6, 10-3 victory over unseeded Harry Seaborn and Zhu. Awaiting them there will be Egger and his partner Andrew Korinek, another unseeded team, who earned their spot with a 2-6, 6-2, 10-8 win over unseeded Sundling and Ryan Cheung in the 6 p.m. match, a scheduling tradition that allows for more Cricket Club members to view some junior competition.

The only seed remaining in the girls doubles is No. 4 Ellen Tsay and Monica Turewicz, who downed Herring and Grace Min 3-6, 6-2, 10-5. Tsay and Turewicz will play Addison and Bolender, who defeated top seeds Kate Fuller and Monica Yajima 6-3, 4-6, 10-7 Wednesday afternoon. Bolender is defending the doubles title she won with Beatrice Capra last year. Skylar Morton and Pietersz handled unseeded Kerrie Cartwright and Karen Hernandez 6-3, 6-2 to set up a meeting with Kyle McPhillips and Van Nguyen, who rolled past No. 2 seeds Rachel Kahan and Mulholland 6-1, 6-4.

For complete results, see the TennisLink site.


Eric said...

i've never seen either of these players, great to see new names coming up. Do you have any clips of them?

Colette Lewis said...

There is a video of Lauren Davis from the Spring Nationals on the tenniskalamazoo YouTube channel. Search on her name.