©Colette Lewis 2010--
The weather stayed the same, but the intensity increased in second round action Monday at the 18s Spring Nationals. On another sunny, cool and breezy day, girls No. 4 seed Emina Bektas and boys No. 5 seed Justin Shane were upset victims, the highest of the 11 seeds to lose.
It's still too early in the tournament to station myself at one place and watch a particular match, but I did manage to see two dramatic endings. I missed Mississippi's Ellie Yates' 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 win over Bektas because I was watching the end of a three-hour marathon between No. 17 Katie Goepel and Jacqueline Crawford, which Goepel won 5-7, 7-5, 7-5. Goepel was up 5-3 in the first set, she told me afterward.
"I think I lost 12 or 13 points in a row, so that's three games there," said the 17-year-old from New Jersey. "I think I was being a little bit tentative there and I went into the second set thinking, I don't care if I lose the set, I have to be aggressive. I'm going for it."
Goepel's strategy worked, but late in the third set, she found her own advice difficult to take.
Serving at 4-4 in the third set, Crawford, 15, lost the first three points, saved one break point with a backhand on the line, but lost the next when Goepel hit a forehand winner.
With the match on her racquet, Goepel double faulted to open the game, did it again at 15-30, and although she brought the game back to deuce, she threw in two more double faults, the last one bringing Crawford back to even.
Crawford didn't take advantage of Goepel's nerves however, dropping the next game on a double fault of her own at 15-40, so the alphabetically seeded Goepel had another chance to end it.
She got first serves in on the first two points, hitting an overhead winner and a forehand pass to make it 30-0. On the next point, Goepel's first served missed, but she sliced a second serve ace past a lunging Crawford to earn three match points. Goepel didn't get a first serve in on the first of those, but Crawford went for the second serve return, hitting it well long to give Goepel a hard-earned victory.
"I was very nervous to close it out," Goepel said of her first attempt at serving for the match. "I went into it at 6-5 thinking I can't do that again; I have to pretend I'm not up 6-5, that it's not the end of the match. I knew I had to change my attitude."
While Goepel survived, five other seeded girls, including Bektas, did not. Julia Fellerhoff, a No. 17 seed, lost to Sherry Li, while Jenny Hois, also a 17 seed, lost to Samantha Adams. Mara Schmidt defeated No. 12 seed Hanna Yu and Noor Judeh downed No. 9 seed Britney Sanders.
I saw the second set of Andranik Khachatryan's 6-3, 6-0 win over Shane, and as is evident from the score, Shane wasn't able to do much right against the Californian. As Shane began to miss--often not by much, but with balls finding the tape or landing an inch or two beyond the lines--he became more frustrated, and Khachatryan needed only to keep the ball in play long enough for another error from Shane. At the desperation stage late in the match, Shane even resorted to a serve and volley, but nothing worked. He was broken again, and Khachatryan was through to round of 32 a few points later.
In contrast to that swift and decisive ending, the match between Nick Papac and Andrew Adams took nearly four hours to play and was decided in a third set tiebreaker. Papac, who had taken out No. 12 seed Jackson Withrow Monday, won the battle, 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(3), over a cramping Adams.
Adams showed his first sign of distress late in the third set, and with Papac serving at 5-6 15-15, Adams crumpled to the court. Unlike the new ITF rules, the USTA regulations still allow treatment for cramping, and a trainer was called to the court. After a few minutes, Adams got up and continued play. He lost the next three points, and didn't move well, but during the tiebreaker, the effects of the cramping were less noticeable. Papac, a left-hander, never trailed in the tiebreaker, but Adams had two serves down 4-3. He wasn't able to win either point, and when his volley went long down 5-3, Papac had three match points. He only needed one, as Adams put a backhand into the net to end the three-hour and 45-minute contest.
Aside from Shane, five other boys seeds fell including Evan Song, the No. 11 seed, who lost to Gregory Scott. Four alphabetical seeds went out in the second round: Mesa Mei, who was beaten by Jeremy Efferding; Zachary Katz, who lost to Jose Martinez; Quoc Daniel Nguyen, who lost to Justin Crenshaw; and Winston Lin who was beaten by Casey Kay.
The first installment of the daily tournament video report produced by Dave Kozlowski and Bob Gray can be found by clicking this link at indietennis.com. The video is approximately eight minutes long.
For the complete results of the day's action, see the TennisLink site.
Monday, March 15, 2010