First Round Completed in 18s, 16s Seeds Will Square Off in Third Round at International Spring Championships
©Colette Lewis 2010--
The skies over the Home Depot Center in Carson were clear all day, with only an occasional pass by the Goodyear blimp obscuring the sun for even a second during Tuesday's action at the ITF Grade 1 International Spring Championships.
After the rain Monday morning, followed by the exodus of seven boys 18s seeds, there was much less drama during the second day, which was also calmer when it came to wind velocity. With near perfect conditions, boys top seed Raymond Sarmiento and girls top seed Katarena Paliivets of Canada advanced in straight sets, although Sarmiento's 7-5, 6-4 win over Mackenzie McDonald was far from easy.
Sarmiento and McDonald were mirror images of each other, with the same Nike outfit: blue shirt, white shorts and blue shoes. Nearly the same build, the pair hit with same velocity, got to every ball and played solid, if not spectacular tennis. Ultimately, Sarmiento's age and experience was the difference.
At 5-5 in the first set, several questionable line calls by the chair umpire unnerved McDonald and he was broken. Sarmiento capitalized on his 14-year-old opponent's dip in concentration and served out the opening set. In the second set, Sarmiento got the only break at 3-3. Serving at 3-5, McDonald saved three match points with some excellent serving, and got a break point to get back on serve with Sarmiento serving for the match. McDonald hit two impressive running cross court forehand passing shots in succession to get to 30-40, but Sarmiento brought it back to deuce with an emphatic down-the-line backhand winner, and reached his fourth match point with a difficult overhead winner on a good McDonald lob. McDonald wasn't able to test Sarmiento again, with his forehand floating just long to end the match.
Paliivets posted a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Dhanielly Quevedo, and No. 2 seed Grace Min, the 2009 ISC finalist, advanced with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Jacqueline Crawford. Min is writing a blog for usta.com for this tournament and during next week's Easter Bowl.
After losing only one seed on Monday, the girls 18s saw four more fall Tuesday. Last year's 16s champion Krista Hardebeck, a wild card, took out No. 13 seed Rachel Kahan 6-1, 6-1, and wild card Emina Bektas defeated No. 16 seed Julia Elbaba 7-5, 6-4. No. 14 seed Denise Starr was beaten by lucky loser Sarah Lee, who received her place in the draw when Kaitlyn Christian withdrew with an injury.
Caroline Price was in excellent form in a 6-1, 6-4 win over No. 9 seed Brooke Bolender. The six-foot left-hander was serving well and hitting her forehand with great depth and precision, a combination that helped her win the 16s Easter Bowl title in 2009.
Three more boys 18s seeds lost on Tuesday, leaving only six seeds in the second round, five of them in the top half of the draw. No. 3 seed Dane Webb, a 6-4, 6-3 winner over Nikko Madregallejo, is the only seed remaining in the bottom half. Qualifier Daniel Ho beat No. 8 seed Mitchell Krueger 6-4, 6-1; Mac Styslinger defeated No. 15 seed Marco Nunez of Mexico 4-6, 6-0, 7-6 (4) and qualifier Rickey Baylon downed No. 11 seed William Kwok 7-5, 3-1 retired. Four of the 8 wild cards are still in contention, along with four qualifiers and a lucky loser, Henry Steer. In a strange twist of fate, Steer replaced the player who had beaten him in the final round of qualifying, Ace Matias, who did not check in for his first round match Tuesday. Steer then beat Austin Smith 6-0, 6-1.
In the girls 18s, two qualifiers and all four wild cards have advanced to Wednesday's second round.
In the 16s, boys top seed Tyler Gardiner came back to record a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 over Stephen Watson, who lost the final game of the match on a game penalty for ball abuse. Number two seed Anthony Tsodikov defeated Aaron Meltzer 6-2, 6-3. In Wednesday's third round, there will be only three unseeded boys: Tyler Pham, wild card Luca Corinteli and Jonathan Hammel.
Brooke Austin and Alyza Benotto Wood, the top two girls 16s seeds, both advanced in straight sets. They are among 11 seeds advancing to the third round. Wild card Jennifer Brady, qualifier Kiah Generette, Jana McCord, Christina Makarova and Taylor Townsend moved on Tuesday without the benefit of a seed.
Due to Monday's rain, only half of the 18s boys and 18s girls doubles first round was played. The No. 2 seeded boys team of Mitchell Krueger and Dane Webb fell to Jeremy Efferding and Bjorn Fratangelo 3-6 7-6(6) [10-7]. In the 16s, the top five seeded teams had byes in today's first round.
For complete results, see the tournament web page.