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Monday, December 7, 2009

Davis Defeats US Open Finalist Buchina in First Round Orange Bowl Girls 18s Action; Eight Other Americans Advance to Second Round

©Colette Lewis 2009--
Key Biscayne, FL--

I was disappointed when Monday's Orange Bowl schedule was released, because it looked as if I wasn't going to be able to see much of what I considered the match of the day between wild card Lauren Davis of the U.S. and No. 9 seed Yana Buchina of Russia in the girls 18s. They were the third match on Court E, and with the four-hour drive from Bradenton to Key Biscayne, I'd need some luck to see it.

Fortunately, there was a long three-setter in boys 18s on their court, so Davis and Buchina were still in the first set when I made my way back to the outer reaches of Crandon Park. The ninth-seeded Buchina, a finalist at the U.S. Open juniors this year, was up a break at 4-1, and her shots, especially the big forehand, had all their customary zip. Davis was doing a lot of retrieving, and although she broke Buchina to bring it back on serve, Davis lost her next service game, and Buchina held to take the first set 6-3.

I left to go check on other scores and get some water (it was sunny and in the low 80s), and when I returned to the court, at least twenty minutes later, the second game of the second set was still in progress. Buchina won that, and then broke Davis, and it looked like there might be a repeat of the first set. Buchina was not only driving the ball, she was also displaying some nice touch with drop volleys, leaving even the speedy Davis helpless. Buchina saved three break points to take a 4-2 lead, and it was looking bleak for Davis. But with Buchina serving at 4-3, she was broken at love, and Davis looked to be back in the match. She fell behind 0-30 in the next game however and all the effort to get even was on the verge of being wasted. Davis won the next four points to take a 5-4 lead, and after each girl held, it was 6-5 Davis.

Buchina, who was physically present at the Eddie Herr, but did not play due to illness, began to lose a tiny bit of crispness on her shots, and did not dig the balls out of the corners as she had done in the first set and a half. Serving at 5-6, Davis had a set point at 30-40 and she immediately took advantage of the opportunity, forcing Buchina into a backhand slice that failed to clear the net. After more than two hours, the match was all even.

Looking increasingly distressed and pleading in Russian to her supporters on the sidelines, Buchina fell behind 3-0 in the third set, with more and more errors emanating from her racquet. She called for a trainer on the changeover, and because he was attending another player on an adjacent court, it was nearly 15 minutes before she received treatment. Davis didn't seem bothered by the delay and won the next two games, and an indication of her competitiveness was revealed with Buchina serving at 0-5, 40-0. Davis could have let it up, knowing that she had several opportunities to finish the match on her own serve. But instead, she played each of the next four points as if she was match point down, winning them all, and when Buchina double faulted, Davis had her first Orange Bowl victory.

After the three-hour match, Davis pointed to her BELIEVE bracelet and said she plays better when she's down, because she really doesn't like losing. Davis also felt she was mentally tougher than her opponent, and was almost expecting the injury timeout.

"I kind of knew she would do that," said Davis, who reached the quarterfinals of the US Open juniors in September. "Because I've seen her play before and she does all that kind of mental stuff."

Davis came into the Orange Bowl with her confidence high after winning the ITF Grade 1 Yucatan Cup late last month.

"When I went to the Yucatan tournament my confidence was lower, because I hadn't been playing well, and in my first match I played so bad," Davis said. "Then in the rest of the tournament I just played out of my mind...it was good to win that and come into this tournament, because I had a lot of confidence, knowing I was playing well."

Davis, who said she doesn't really look at her draw, only at her next opponent, will play the winner of the match between Grace Ysidora of Indonesia and Nour Abbes of Tunisia, who play on Tuesday.

Other U.S. girls advancing to the second round are: Madison Keys, who defeated No. 11 seed Zsofia Susanyi of Hungary 6-2, 6-3; Noel Scott, who upset No. 7 seed Camila Silva of Chile 6-0, 6-4 and wild card Rachel Kahan, who beat Polina Pekhova of Belarus 6-1, 6-3.

Three seeded U.S. boys advanced to the second round with wins on Monday: No. 12 Junior Ore, a 6-2 7-5 winner over Pavel Krainik of Canada; No. 11 seed Raymond Sarmiento, who beat Tomas Hanzlik of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-3 and No. 13 seed Sekou Bangoura, who defeated Cedrick Commin of France 6-4, 6-3. Bob van Overbeek downed No. 12 seed John Morrissey of Ireland 7-5, 6-2, wild card Nick Chappell earned a 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(3) victory over Roberto Quiroz of Ecuador and Dennis Novikov defeated Bartosz Sawicki of Poland 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

Tuesday's Matches of the Day are No. 2 seed Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France against wild card Jack Sock and No. 2 seed Timea Babos of Hungary versus Eddie Herr finalist Di Zhao of China.

Due to rain disrupting qualifying over the weekend, there are still 16s matches being played at Biltmore Tennis Center.

For draws, stories and the order of play for Tuesday, see the Orange Bowl website. Joshua Rey is writing the daily recaps for the website.