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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tomic and Watson Capture US Open Junior Titles

©Colette Lewis 2009--
Flushing Meadows, NY--

Heather Watson had a secret weapon when she took the court Sunday against Yana Buchina of Russia in the championship match of the U.S. Open Juniors--her nail polish.

"I did my nails the same color, because I thought it was good luck," said the first British girl to win the girls title in New York, presenting her navy blue nails for examination. "No one believed me, but it did work."

It wasn't just luck that led the No. 11 seed to the title, however. It was a dominating performance of three matches in two days that culminated in a 6-4, 6-1 victory over the hard-hitting Buchina.

"My first round, I think was my only three-setter, and after that I've just been playing really, really good tennis," said the 17-year-old Watson, who is from the island of Guernsey, but currently trains at the IMG/Bollettieri Academy in Florida.

Watson pointed to her decisive quarterfinal win over Wimbledon girls champion Noppawan Lertcheewakarn as the match that propelled her to the title.

"I felt really solid that game. I was stepping in and hitting everything, and I (had confidence) I could keep it going."

Against the unseeded Buchina, Watson fell behind early, but quickly adapted to the ferocious pace of the powerful 17-year-old from Moscow, using top spin to Buchina's backhand to force errors. In her semifinal match against Watson's compatriot Laura Robson Saturday, Buchina was able to recover from the loss of the first set, but the six sets and five hours of tennis she played took their toll Sunday.

"I had cramps in my legs and it was hard way to move around the court," said Buchina. "Yesterday was too tough matches and now I don't feel anything, you know. I'm not sad, I'm not happy, I'm just a little bit shocked."

In the second set, Watson got an early break, and Buchina simply couldn't keep enough balls in the court to challenge her. Buchina's signature inside out forehand was erratic, and Watson refused to give her any short balls that might increase her confidence. It was a very assured performance by a girl playing her first junior slam singles final, but Buchina was not impressed.

"She's not doing something fantastic, not so strong shots, not so good serve," Buchina said. "She's playing just normal, nothing special and for me that's no problem to play against such good players like Robson, Capra, Tomljanovic. They have very good shots and I had tough matches with them, but today I just couldn't do a thing because of my health, because of everything."

In the boys final, Bernard Tomic of Australia added a second junior slam title to his list of accomplishments, defeating unseeded wild card Chase Buchanan of the U.S. 6-1, 6-3.

Tomic, the No. 3 seed, saved four break points serving at 1-1 in the first set, but some effective slicing and unforced errors by Buchanan got the 16-year-old from Queensland out of trouble.

"It was the turning point of the match, I think," Tomic said. "You know if he had got that game, it would be totally different. I hit the right shots at the right time and got that game...he wasn't really serving big, and I figured out what I had to do...and after that I cruised through the first set and it gave me big confidence."

Hitting the right shot at the right time is an apt description of Tomic's style, and although he can put pace on the ball, he appears to prefer winning points with placement not power.

"That's my game, the way I'll play anyone," Tomic said. "I tend to hit hard and then soften it up for a bit. It works a lot against these guys because they don't like the low sort of bounce on these surfaces, which I don't mind really."

In the second set, both held serve until 3-3, when Buchanan, who got very few first serves in that seventh game, was broken. He couldn't dent Tomic's confidence after that, and the match ended when Buchanan was broken for a second time, hitting yet another forehand long.

"He honestly did what I expected him to do," said Buchanan, who had defeated top seed Yuki Bhambri and No. 8 seed Gianni Mina in the quarterfinals and semifinals on Saturday.

"I just didn't do what I needed to do. Once you get your chance and get the right ball, you pin him to a corner and run him side to side. But I didn't hit my shots, I missed them, and I definitely got a little flustered. I felt it was so within reach and I was so capable of doing it, but I was missing so much. I don't really know what happened."

Tomic was aware of Buchanan's strategy and sensed frustration when he was unable to execute it.

"He was going into the phase of rushing a lot and trying to hit winners," Tomic said. "I think that was his plan--to move me and just go for a big winner. I think I handled it pretty well."

Tomic wasn't sure how he would celebrate his second junior slam title, but he said several times that it would be his last junior match and he was committed to shifting his focus to his professional ranking, now at 324.

"It definitely will be in my head for a few weeks and I'm definitely happy to win it. I had a bad exit last year, I was disappointed," said Tomic of his first round loss to qualifier and eventual finalist Devin Britton. "But I really worked hard for it, and I got it in the end."

Both the doubles finals were decided in match tiebreakers. The unseeded girls team of Valeria Solovieva of Russian and Maryna Zanevska of Ukraine surprised 2009 French Junior champions and No. 3 Elena Bodgan of Romania and Noppawan Lertcheewakarn of Thailand 1-6, 6-3, 10-7. Lertcheewakarn was defending her Open title, won last year with Sandra Roma of Sweden.

The boys doubles champions are Marton Fucsovics of Hungary and Cheng Peng Hsieh of Chinese Taipei, who defeated another unseeded team, Julien Obry and Adrien Puget of France 7-6(5), 5-7, 10-1.


blighty said...

Wow, I can't work out who was the worst loser, Buchanan or Buchina.

Maybe next time you should wait longer before interviewing the loser so they can get some perspective and realise that they just weren't good enough to execute the game plan they were talking about and their opponent was too good to let them.

steven s said...

Why cant every player have the tenacity, talent, and modesty of Clijsters and Wozniaki? What a pleasure to not only watch them compete, but to hear their comments afterwards. Realize some people may say, "if everyone was the same, then you might as well have androids or robots playing", however, IMO that would be better than watching the Williams sisters, and many others never giving credit to the opponent after getting their butts whipped!

Amtex said...

I agree Steven S. I enjoyed watching Clijsters and Wozniaki. Totally different syles, different people, one being a tomboy type and the other being glamorous. But both played hard and are great sports win or lose. No excuses, no nonsense before, during, or after the match. Serena lost a long time fan this weekend, especially with the lame statement a day later offering no apology or even realization of how awful her words and actions were to a tiny little lines lady just doing her job.

nonsense said...


Chase just won Kalamazoo and lost in the finals of the US Open Jrs. Chase may not have played well in the finals but give the guy a break.

Send me your resume so I can smother it with nonsense.

Chase is finally healthy and turned around his game and playing better. Are you going to rip Kudla and every other american junior for not winning the title?

Look in the mirror before sending out critizing blogs.

McLovin said...

nonsense, blightly isn't commenting on Chase losing the final. I think he's commenting on Chase's comments after the loss and not being gracious to the winner. What do you expect nowadays when Serena Williams set the example.

ron said...

I saw Heather Watson at the IMG Bollettieri Pendleton Academy back at school today -

Can you imagine - winning the US Open and going to high school the next day! (between television interviews).

Congratulations to Heather!

nonsense said...


Great point on the example of Serena and thanks for helping clarify what blightly meant.

I'm just so used to reading negative comments on here.

Sorry Blighty

Man in the Moon said...

steven s
on the $$$$

Amtex said...

I see Serena issued another statement just now finally apologizing to the lineswomen. Better late than never I suppose.

justthefacts said...

Re Serena latest apology. Does anyone believe she would have done this, had she not thought there was a chance that further penalties may be assessed?

I doubt we would have heard another peep from her, except for more fake smiley press conferences and interviews.

blighty said...


you want to smother my resume in yourself? that's just creepy.

Either way, before you start criticising people you should take a deep breath and read what they've written two or three more times. Everyone else got what I meant and it just needed basic reading skills.

Either way, Chase should have been more gracious. I don't blame him entirely though. I think the kids (and not just this generation) have had their heads filled with so much psycho babble that they just can't admit when they were outplayed and out hit. They've been conditioned to think that the entire match revolves around them and their ability to execute X, Y and Z, so when they lose they can't see that it was probably because their opponent's shots were too good to let them do what they wanted. They think it was just bad execution on their part or just a bad day at the office.

Chase wasn't in the same class as Tomic, it's that simple. For him to say that it was within reach and he was capable of doing it is just a complete lack of reality and a total diss on Tomic. Great effort to get to the final but a really poor way to finish.

Colette Lewis said...

Did you see the match or the previous quarterfinals or semifinals? If not, I think you should defer to those who did. If you were there, you should provide more specifics on how Buchanan was "outclassed."

There is no question that Tomic outmaneuvered and outplayed Buchanan in the final. The score indicates that. Had they both played their best, as I believe they did in their quarterfinal matches, Tomic may still have won, but it would have been a very close and competitive match.

The Dude said...

As recounted in Marshall Fisher's new book, "a Terrible Splendor," when Budge beat (2 time French Champion and 2 time Wimbledon Finalist to Fred Perry), Gottfried von Cramm for the '37 Wimbledon Title, he spoke at the ball,"I do appreciate this chance you give me to pay tribute to a great-hearted gentleman. For when it comes my turn to lose, I hope I may lose with half the gallantry, half the graciousness, and with something of the fine spirit of sportsmanship shown by Baron Gottfried von Cramm yesterday afternoon." It brought down the house.

blighty said...

I dont know whether the blog owner actually sees all the matches she writes about, I just take it for granted that she does and assume she wouldnt be commenting unless she had. So why not extend the same courtesy to me?

My comments are based on having watched the matches in the flesh.
What I saw was one kid hitting a higher quality ball than the other, having more mental versatility and having much greater control of pace, depth and spin. What I saw was the other kid lacking all of those things. When it came down to playing the game mano a mano he was outclassed by someone who had way more options and way better execution. Maybe you need someone to get blasted off the court before you recognise 'outclassed' but I sure dont'.