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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Three Americans and a Qualifier Reach Junior Orange Bowl Girls 12s Quarterfinals; Silva Escapes Lederman's Upset Bid

©Colette Lewis 2009--
Coral Gables, FL--

Winter arrived a day early in Miami, with temperatures in the upper 50s and chilly winds making the usual South Florida wardrobe inadequate. I moved from site to site and back again in an attempt to stay warm, spending a couple of hours at Salvadore Park for the girls 12s for the first time this tournament. In the morning third round matches in the girls 12s, one of the two U.S. girls given a seed, Californian Kenadi Hance, fell to unseeded Valentini Grammatikopoulou of Greece 6-3, 6-3. The other, Eddie Herr champion Mariya Shishkina, got through a tight second set against unseeded Kellyn Abbanat of the U.S., winning that morning match 6-0 7-6(2).

Unseeded Julia O'Loughlin of Boca Raton has been among the most impressive performers in the 12s, dropping only five games in her two matches today to reach the quarterfinals. The third American girl to reach the quarterfinals is Eddie Herr finalist Tornado Ali Black, who is unseeded. Black downed Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic, a No. 1 seed, 6-3, 6-3 this morning and defeated unseeded Sandra Samir of Egypt 6-3, 6-4 in the afternoon's last match.

Black's opponent in the quarterfinals will be a familiar one, qualifier Yi Jia Shao of China. Shao, who towers over most of her opponents, won three rounds to reach the main draw and with four victories there has earned a rematch with Black, who beat Shao 6-2, 6-3 in the second round at the Eddie Herr. Although Shao has plenty of power, Black can match her in that department; it will be interesting to see if the move from hard courts to clay has any impact on the outcome.

The winner of that match will play the winner of the O'Loughlin - Ana Konjuh quarterfinal in Monday afternoon's semifinal. The unseeded Croatian earned two straight-set victories today.

Shishkina will face Francoise Abanda of Canada, also a No. 1 seed. Abanda breezed by Anastasia Nefedova of the U.S. 6-2, 6-1 in the afternoon match, but Shishkina needed three sets to get past Grammatikopoulou 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. There was a large crowd watching the match on court 1 and a roving umpire on the court for the entire third set, which was all I saw of the match. Shishkina took control early in the third, going up 4-1 with two breaks. Grammatikopoulou broke Shishkina at love when she was serving at 4-1, but even that setback and several overrules of her calls by the umpire couldn't dent her determination or focus. She broke Grammatikopoulou back in the next game, then served it out, showing no sign of fatigue after five sets of tennis.

The other quarterfinal will feature two No. 1 seeds--Great Britain's Lana Rush against France's Mathilde Armitano. Armitano has lost only six games in her four wins, and only one in her two victories today.

At the University of Miami, I spent the better part of three hours watching top seed Frederico Silva of Portugal battle Roy Lederman of the U.S., a 17th seed. Lederman took the first set 6-4, but the left-hander survived by claiming the second and third sets by 6-3 scores. Neither boy was playing his best, probably due to the swirling winds, but some of the points were ended by spectacular winners. On one, the top seed hit a Nadal-like passing shot from eight feet behind the baseline, turning his defensive position into a winner just that quickly. Silva had some difficulty with his forehand early in the match, netting a fair share, but he ironed that out, took a big lead in the third set, and held on for the win. Lederman had trouble finding the ball on overheads in the second set, and yelled in frustration often, but he continued to play committed tennis until his return sailed long on match point.

There are six U.S. boys in the round of 16, four from California, with No. 6 seed Thai Kwiatkowski and No. 7 seed Joseph Di Giulio breezing into Monday's fourth round. North Carolina's Kwiatkowski, who was up 1-0 before the match began due to the tardiness of his opponent, beat qualifier Ryan Frankel of Great Britain 6-3, 6-0. Kwiatkowski spent time with eight-time Grand Slam champion Ivan Lendl after his match; Lendl was watching several of the Americans with the USTA's head of men's tennis Jay Berger and coaches David DiLucia and Andres Pedroso. Di Giulio beat Toshiki Matsuya of the U.S. 6-2, 6-0. Mackenzie McDonald, a No. 9 seed, defeated Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy 7-6(3), 7-5 and Gregory Garcia, also a No. 9 seed, outlasted Justin Butsch 4-6 6-3, 6-1. Nikko Madregallejo, a No. 17 seed, got past Canadian Hugo Di Feo, a No. 9 seed 7-5, 7-5 in a very entertaining contest on Court 3. The only unseeded American still in the mix is Mac Roy, the heavy-hitting Texan, who downed No. 17 seed Jason Peter Platzer of Austria 6-1, 6-7(2), 6-4.

I was at the girls 14s site, the Biltmore Tennis Center, only briefly, watching No. 3 seed Daria Lebesheva of Belarus take the first set from 2008 Junior Orange Bowl 12s finalist Alexandria Stiteler of the U.S. 6-3. She went on to win the second set 6-1. Eddie Herr champion Spencer Liang, the No. 6 seed, has reached the final 16, defeating lucky loser Daria Chernyshkova of Russia 6-0, 6-4. Brooke Austin, the top seed, advanced in straight sets, while Yuki Chiang upset No. 2 seed Carolina Costamagna of Argentina 6-4, 6-2 in a second round match played today.

Not making the trek to Tropical Park, the site of the boys 12s, I missed a big upset. U.S. No. 1 Tommy Paul was defeated by Cameron Klinger of California 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. Klinger is the only U.S. boy in the bottom half of the draw; the other four--Spencer Furman, Eduardo Nava, Francis Tiafoe and No. 1 seed Stefan Kozlov--are in the top half, with Tiafoe and Kozlov playing in the fourth round tomorrow.

There will be two rounds played on Monday, after which the tournament will finally be back on schedule after the rain on Thursday and Friday.

For complete results, see the TennisLink site. For more stories from the tournament, see the Junior Orange Bowl site.


tennisacademy said...

did you say "several overrules" in a game or set? trained at IMG?

Texastennis said...

My thought on Shiskina exactly - what terrible behavior (even several overrules in a set!) that requires an umpire to be permanently present in the deciding set. A really bad omen. Collette, I'd just say that your phrasing that as she didn't allow it to throw her off is entirely too generous ie she didn't allow her own egregious behavior to lead her to lose it? Seems like she may have lost it already!
In her defence (?), I would say the ridiculous overhyping of her the last couple of weeks (Bodo's blog on www.tennis.com followed by her photo on the espn tennis homepage with a story there too):
a) Creates a ton of unhelpful pressure for her
b) May give her an overinflated sense of herself.

When was the last time one of these overhyped u12s actually became a big time pro? In 30 years of watching tennis, I can think of only a handful. Most of them go nowhere...