©Colette Lewis 2009--
Key Biscayne, FL--
The two-week grind of Eddie Herr/Orange Bowl is always tough for those going deep in the draws (and many players competed in the Yucatan Cup the week before). This year, the heat and humidity in Miami have created an even bigger challenge. Eddie Herr Boys 16s champion Hunter Harrington has somehow managed to navigate all the perils to reach the Orange Bowl quarterfinals, but both 18s champions and the girls 16s champion fell today on the steamy courts of Crandon Park.
Sachia Vickery, the 16s Eddie Herr girls champion, was the first to be eliminated. The third seed, Vickery was down 4-0 in no time to unseeded Breaunna Addison, the 14-year-old from Boca Raton, and she never recovered her form, falling 6-2, 6-4.
Next to go was girls 18s winner Daria Gavrilova of Russia, who lost to Madison Keys 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in a long, tough battle that drew dozens of interested spectators to Court 1. Keys, up a set and 3-0, appeared to have the match in hand, but No. 5 seed Gavrilova took a medical timeout, then came back to win the next four games.
"I just kind of lost my focus for a game and a half or two games," said Keys. "After that, she started getting on a roll."
Gavrilova, a year older than Keys at 15, is an uncanny defender does her best work when avoiding a baseline slugfest. She was at a definite disadvantage on the serve, which is truly a weapon for Keys, but it may have been uncharacteristic errors by Gavrilova that cost her the most.
With Keys serving a 4-3 in the third set, Gavrilova quickly took a 40-0 lead, but three straight unforced errors brought it back to deuce. Gavrilova had three more chances to get the final set back on serve, but Keys came up with three impressive winners- on a second serve, an overhead and a forehand. Two Gavrilova errors on slice backhands gave Keys the game, and a chance to end the match by breaking Gavrilova.
The final game featured three deuces, and Gavrilova had three game points that would have forced Keys to serve it out, but she couldn't convert them, and Keys played aggressively, forcing errors to win the final two points of the match.
Returning for the first time to the court where she lost the 16s final to Chanelle Van Nguyen last year, Keys described her memories of that match as "mixed."
"I was definitely thinking I got to the finals, yes, I was in the finals here, but, I lost. But I knew if I played my game today, everything would be okay."
The last Eddie Herr champion to go out had to be carried to the training room, when cramps left him unable to continue. Boys 18s Eddie Herr champion and No. 7 seed Denis Kudla began cramping late in the second set, and by the time he was down 2-0 in the third set against unseeded Justin Eleveld of the Netherlands, he could no longer stand, let alone play. Eleveld took the match by a score of 3-6, 7-5, 2-0 ret. inj. Kudla, who was partnering Raymond Sarmiento, was unable to play doubles later in the day.
Eleveld will play Bob van Overbeek in Friday's quarterfinals, after van Overbeek outlasted unseeded Jack Carpenter of Great Britain, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5. In the other top half quarterfinal, Junior Ore, the No. 12 seed, will face No. 1 seed Gianni Mina of France. Mina cruised past wild card Slim Hamza of Tunisia 6-2, 6-1, while Ore picked up one of his best wins in international junior play, defeating No. 6 seed Guilherme Clezar, 4-6, 6-2, 3-1, ret. inj.
No. 8 seed Arthur De Greef of Belgium will face No. 15 seed Sekou Bangoura, Jr. after they each pulled through two marathon matches. De Greef beat unseeded Jannick Lupescu of the Netherlands 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, and Bangoura saved a match point in his 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(6) win over qualifier George Morgan of Great Britain.
The U.S. made it a sweep of the British boys when No. 5 seed Mitchell Frank posted a 7-5, 7-5 victory over Oliver Golding. Frank will play unseeded wild card Jack Sock, who downed Dennis Novikov 7-5, 6-1 in an all-American contest. Five of the boys 18s quarterfinalists are from the U.S.
Keys, one of only two U.S. girls remaining in the 18s, plays top seed and world No. 1 junior Kristina Mladenovic of France, who defeated No. 14 seed Valeriya Solovieva of Russia 6-4, 6-1. No. 3 seed Heather Watson of Great Britain was able to overcome a hiccup in the second set to put away No. 13 seed Saisai Zheng of China 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. Watson will face No. 6 seed Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia, who beat No. 10 seed Yulia Putintseva of Russia 5-7, 6-0, 6-1.
There is only one seed left in the bottom half of the draw, No. 8 Nastja Kolar of Slovenia. Kolar defeated Yucatan champion Lauren Davis 6-2, 6-3 and will face another American, wild card Robin Anderson, in the quarterfinals. Anderson, a 16-year-old from New Jersey, surprised Nicole Gibbs, who had beaten No. 2 seed Timea Babos on Wednesday, 6-2, 6-3.
"I tried to use my slice a lot, keep her moving, keep her in the point," said Anderson, who agreed she was an underdog in the match, even though neither she nor Gibbs was seeded. "I felt like I had no pressure, all I had to do was play my game."
As for being in the Orange Bowl quarterfinals, Anderson was still getting used to the idea after the match.
"It's really exciting, I feel really good about it, now that it's starting to sink in a little bit."
In the other quarterfinal in the bottom half, Adriana Perez of Venezuela will play Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada. Dabrowski rolled past wild card Ellen Tsay 6-1 6-2, and Perez came back to defeat Luksika Kumkhum of Thailand 0-6, 6-4, 6-3.
While the two top seeds in the 18s have survived, not so for the 16s. Melis Sezer of Turkey was put out by No. 14 seed Vicky Duval 6-4, 6-3, and Hernus Pieters of South Africa was beaten by Julien Cagnina of Belgium, also a No. 14 seed 6-3, 6-3.
Duval knew that she needed to keep Sezer moving and on the defensive as much as possible, because with time to unleash her shots, Sezer could blast winners.
"I had no idea who she was," said Duval, who has been playing ITF junior events for less than a year. "I watched her a couple of games yesterday and I thought she hit really hard. She doesn't move that well, but she can move. So I thought I had to be really focused and really determined, and I really wanted the match."
Duval is one of five U.S. girls in the 16s, and she plays one of them, No. 10 seed Kelsey Laurente in the quarterfinals. Laurente defeated unseeded Stephanie Nauta 6-1, 3-0 ret. Catherine Harrison takes on Giuliana Olmos in the other quarterfinal in the top half in a battle of qualifiers. Harrison beat Kyle McPhillips 7-6(4), 6-4 and Olmos defeated Eddie Herr 16s finalist Caitlyn Williams, the No. 8 seed, 7-5, 6-2.
Addison will play Molly O'Koniewski, another qualifier, who earned her spot in the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Hyojung Yea of Korea. The bottom quarter features No. 7 seed Marcels Zacarias of Mexico against qualifer Estelle Cascino of France. Zacarias beat No. 11 seed Denise Staff 6-1, 6-1, and Cascino beat Viktoriya Lavrentyeva of Russia 6-4, 6-3.
In addition to Harrington, who defeated lucky loser Andrew Adams 6-4, 6-4 in today's third round, there are four other U.S. players who have reached the quarterfinals. Eddie Herr finalist Alexios Halebian came back for a 4-6, 6-0, 6-2 victory over Gregoire Barrere of France and will play Cagnina Friday. Harrington will play qualifier Karue Sell of Brazil who beat No. 3 seed Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-4, 6-3.
The only all-American contest will pit unseeded Dan McCall against unseeded Marcos Giron. Giron rolled past Terrell Celestine 6-1, 6-4 and McCall also beat an American, taking out Jeremy Efferding 6-3, 7-5.
Unseeded Dennis Novak of Austria defeated Chase Curry 7-6(3), 6-1 to book a place in the quarterfinals against Harrison Richmond, who defeated No. 2 seed William Kwok of Australia 5-7, 7-6(6), 4-1 ret.
This was an exceedingly close and hard-fought match with a highly unusual ending. The emotional Kwok, who is frequently heard celebrating winners several courts away, had not converted either of his two match points serving at 5-4, 40-15 in the second set, and then came back from being down 6-0 in the subsequent tiebreaker, winning six straight points, only to lose that.
Kwok had been given a warning and a point penalty for a time violation, and when the chair umpire gave him another point penalty for a third time violation on game point when he was down 3-1 in the third set, Kwok, who had been treated for cramps, lost his temper. He maintained that he was looking for a ball that had disappeared and could not be cited for a time violation under those circumstances, but when the assistant referee was called to the court, he upheld the chair's call and announced the score as 4-1 and a changeover.
Kwok's father, who was courtside throughout the match, became incensed and loudly argued with three of the officials on the court, with most of his wrath directed at the chair umpire. While the father was ranting, his son began packing up his racquets and his bag, and told the assistant referee he wasn't playing anymore. "Are you retiring?" he was asked, and he replied, "Yes, I'm retiring." and the chair called the match in Richmond's favor. The two players shook hands, and Kwok was whisked away in a golf cart by two trainers, presumably to receive treatment for his cramping.
Due to the rain during the qualifying, the 16s singles finals will be played on Sunday instead of Saturday, with the doubles finals scheduled for Saturday. For complete draws, including results for the doubles quarterfinals this afternoon, see the tournament website.
Discussion with Brad Taylor, Tournament Referee, regarding the altercation Tuesday night
I did speak with Brad Taylor today, and he clarified that as tournament referee, his authority regarding the incident is confined to preventing players from continuing play in the tournament, and his judgment is that regard is not subject to appeal. Since Rodney Carey and Shaun Bernstein were not still in singles, they could not be defaulted, and Taylor made it clear that a doubles team is defaulted if one of the two players is defaulted. He cited privacy issues, since it is a junior tournament, for the lack of a statement, and said that it was now up to the ITF and/or the players' federations to investigate and take action if they deem it warranted.
Thursday, December 10, 2009