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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Top Two Girls Seeds Fall as Rain and Indoor Tennis Continue at Pan-American

©Colette Lewis 2009--
Tulsa, OK--

It was the girls who provided the upsets and drama at the ITF Pan-American B1 Wednesday, and again it was indoors at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center, with drizzle and cool temperatures continuing in the Tulsa area.

Second seed Madison Keys was defeated in a second round match by unseeded Blair Shankle 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and in marathon third round contest, unseeded Rachel Kahan beat top seed and defending champion Beatrice Capra 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Keys got off to a slow start against Shankle, dropping her serve twice to go down 3-0 in the 8 a.m. match. Shankle, who at age 15 was the senior player on the court, returned well and stayed steady in the face of Key's superior power.

"I just tried to get in position and get as many serves back and make her play the point," said the freshman from Texas. "I didn't want to give her free points all the time. I thought I played pretty well, pretty consistently most of the time and I served well when I needed to."

Keys seemed to find her form in the second set, but the 14-year-old, playing her second competitive match since May due to illness, couldn't shake Shankle. Serving at 4-5 in the third set, Keys double faulted and made two unforced errors to give Shankle three chances to grab the win. A netted pass attempt and a let cord in Keys' favor made it 30-40, but Shankle's sliced backhand, short and perfectly angled, ended it. Shankle went on to win her third round match against Jessica Wacnik 6-3, 6-1 to reach her first Grade 1 quarterfinal. She will play No. 7 seed Ester Goldfeld, who beat Vicky Duval and No. 12 seed Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada in her two matches Wednesday.

Capra knew she was in for a long afternoon when Kahan, a senior from Connecticut, jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first set, with Kahan's pace and depth keeping the top seed in a defensive position. Capra won the final five games of the first set, when Kahan began to make errors and Capra started to eliminate hers.

In the second set, Kahan quickly found her rhythm again, keeping Capra under pressure by taking the ball early and putting away short balls so quickly that Capra couldn't use her patented defensive skills. Kahan got an early break and a late one to take the set, giving her the advantage of serving to open the third set.

After two and a half hours the match was still all even, with nearly every game going to deuce. Serving at 3-3, Kahan saved two break points, but in the next game Capra failed to convert a game point. Two futile drop shot attempts and a tired looking backhand wide gave Kahan the opportunity to serve out the match, and she did so quickly, ending the three hour and twenty minute match on her first chance.

Capra was playing her second match of the day, having defeated Breaunna Addison 6-4, 6-3 in the morning, while Kahan played her second round match on Tuesday, but Kahan did not detect any fatigue in her opponent.

"She played fine," said Kahan, when asked if she felt she had an advantage in playing just one match. "Advantage, I don't know. I had trouble warming up, because of the situation, so it works both ways. But it was a good match. I played really well--I needed to to win. She's a really good player."

Kahan's opponent in the quarterfinals, eighth seed Eugenie Bouchard of Canada, also played two matches on Wednesday. She defeated Hai-Li Kong 7-5, 6-4, then won a contentious match with No. 9 seed Sachia Vickery 6-0, 5-7, 7-5. There were line calls disputed regularly, a roving official near the court at all times, vocal objections from Vickery's coach on her being overruled and, at the match's end, Vickery's refusal to approach the net for the customary handshake. It was not junior tennis's finest hour.

In addition to Kahan and Shankle, two other unseeded girls have reached the quarterfinals. Oklahoma's Mia Lancaster, a qualifier, defeated Jacqueline Crawford 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-4, for her third straight three-set win and will play Katarena Paliivets of Canada, who is the highest seed remaining at No. 4. Wild card Kaitlin Ray reached the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 7-6(5) win over No. 14 seed Marianne Jodoin of Canada. Her opponent will be Monica Puig of Puerto Rico, who beat Elisabeth Abanda of Canada 6-3, 6-3.

By contrast, there is only one unseeded boy in the quarterfinals, Nick Chappell, who earned his quarterfinal berth with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over No. 14 seed Campbell Johnson. Chappell will play another left-hander, No. 5 seed Junior Ore, who beat unseeded Bjorn Fratangelo 6-4, 7-6(7).

Top seed Denis Kudla continues to breeze through the draw, beating No. 13 seed Nikolai Haessig of Canada 6-2, 6-1. He will meet No. 9 seed Sekou Bangoura Jr., who posted a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over unseeded Emmett Egger. No. 4 seed Raymond Sarmiento used one break in each set to overcome unseeded Dane Webb 6-4, 6-4 and will face No. 6 seed Dennis Novikov, who beat No. 10 seed Darian King 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.

No. 3 seed Mitchell Frank got by unseeded Zachary Leslie 7-6(3), 6-1 to set up a quarterfinal contest with No. 7 seed Bob van Overbeek. Van Overbeek defeated unseeded Shane Vinsant 7-6(7), 6-4.

For complete results, including doubles, see the TennisLink site.