©Colette Lewis 2009--
The weather was perfect for the final rounds of qualifying in the 14s, 16s, and 18s divisions at the Eddie Herr International Sunday, with blue skies, temperatures in the mid-70s and light breezes delighting the large crowds at IMG/Bollettieri Academy nearly as much as the tennis.
The 18s played two rounds of qualifying, with morning and afternoon matches determining who would take the eight spots in the main draw. As it turned out, none of the 16 seeds in the girls qualifying draw managed to make the main, and only two of the 16 boys seeds survived.
Mary Clayton, a wild card, had survived match points in her opening round on Saturday, but today had a much easier time of it, taking down Russian Aida Golman 6-1, 6-0 and Hungarian Blanka Szavay 6-1, 6-1. Two other Americans--Maria Belaya and wild card Danielle Collins--also made it through by winning all four sets they played on Sunday. Belaya, who has recently committed to Clemson University, defeated Renata Arshavskaya 6-2, 6-1 and Elizabeth Begley 6-4, 7-5 for her spot. The 15-year-old Collins took out No. 15 seed Veronika Zavodska of the Czech Republic 6-4, 7-5 and in the afternoon breezed past No. 8 seed Ellen Allgurin of Sweden 6-3, 6-0.
The fourth U.S. girl to advance to the main draw got there the hard way. Belinda Niu needed three hours and forty-five minutes in the day's final singles match, finished under the lights on distant court 7, to prevail over Santa Shumilina of Russia 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4. Niu had also needed three sets in her morning match, so she will undoubtedly sleep well tonight.
Another marathon match in the 18s saw wild card Fred Saba save two match points in the third set tiebreaker to defeat No. 11 seed Tom Farquharson of Great Britain 6-7(5), 6-2, 7-6(6) in the morning match, which extended into the afternoon. When Saba hit a forehand into the net at 4-5 in the tiebreaker, Farquharson had two chances to end it, but he missed two backhands, and the match was again all even. Saba took control of the next point with his forehand, forcing an error from Farquharson, and another backhand error gave Saba the victory.
Saba had only a couple of hours to recover before his match with Great Britain's Nick Jones, who had had a much easier morning win, but it was Saba who dominated, taking it 6-3, 6-1. Saba was the only American boy to qualify, with Nathan Pasha falling in his second match.
There were no U.S. boys qualifying in the 16s division, but five U.S. girls advanced to the 64-player main draw: Brittany Lashway, Skylar Morton, Wan-Yi Sweeting, Kate Vialle and Ashley Kitchen.
In the boys 14s, Daniel Kerznerman, Karim Arem, Matthew Cravinhos, Daniel Shebshayevich and Sebastian Beltrame earned their way into the main draw with wins on Sunday.
The girls 14s qualifiers from the U.S. are Rianna Valdes, Kristin Wiley, Kim Kermet and Nikki Kallenberg. Kallenberg's 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-4 win over Anna Pomyatinskaya of Russia drew quite a crowd, more for who was watching it than for who was playing it. Pomyatinskaya's vocal cheering section included three-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova and her coach, Michael Joyce. Sharapova's calls of "davaj" were sincere and frequent, but unable to get her 13-year-old cousin past the Floridian, who is also 13.
In the second round of 12s Sunday, the three boys No. 1 seeds from the U.S. advanced with routine wins. Tommy Paul, Yancy Dennis and Stefan Kozlov lost eight games between them. In the girls 12s, the three girls No. 1 seeds from the U.S. also had little difficulty, with Julia O'Loughlin, Ndindi Ndunda, and Anastasia Nefedova taking straight set wins.
There will be no boys 16s or 18s matches until Tuesday, but main draw for the girls 14s, 16s and 18s, and the boys 14s, will begin Monday.
For complete draws, see the tennisinformation site. For more photos and news from the tournament, see eddieherr.com.
Sunday, November 29, 2009