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Monday, June 7, 2010

Polnet Defeats Second Seed at International Grass Courts; 2009 Finalist Ousted In Opening Round

©Colette Lewis 2010--
Philadelphia, PA--

Mitchell Polnet lost in the first round of qualifying last year at the the ITF International Grass Court championships, but his debut in the main draw this year was much more successful. A resident of nearby Bucks County, Polnet, who turned 16 yesterday, won the last six games of the third set to upset No. 2 seed Alexis Carlos of Mexico Monday afternoon 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.

"I wanted to win so bad," said Polnet, who was playing Carlos for the first time. "He's Top 100 in the world, so it's really good for my confidence."

Trailing 3-0 in the final set, Polnet made good on his goal of running down every ball and keeping the ball low. Even though all the momentum seemed to be on Carlos' side, Polnet kept calm.

"I had confidence that I could break him, and I just kept fighting," said Polnet, who broke Carlos the last three times he served.

There were other surprises at the Philadelphia Cricket Club on the partly cloudy and cool opening day of play.

Michael Zhu, the No. 4 seed and a finalist in 2009, was beaten by qualifier Richard Del Nunzio 6-1, 6-4. Del Nunzio was one of three qualifiers to advance to the second round, with Anthony Delcore and Thai Kwiatkowski also winning their opening matches. Joining them in Tuesday's second round is lucky loser Tyler Gardiner, who defeated Rodney Carey of the Bahamas 6-1, 6-7(4), 6-2, and will play Del Nunzio on Tuesday.

Emmett Egger, a semifinalist at the Grass Courts in 2009, was thisclose to joining Zhu on the sidelines, but he survived a match point against Alexander Petrone serving at 3-5 in the second set, coming back to post a 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 victory. Petrone had a backhand passing shot lined up, but sent it wide, and although serving for the match in the next game, didn't get another. Egger began returning much better after that, and eliminated most of the unforced errors that had put him in such a precarious position, and he broke Petrone in the fifth game of the third set. Unlike Petrone, he showed no nerves serving out the match, hitting a perfect backhand volley to seal the win.

Top seed Bjorn Fratangelo didn't have an easy time of it against qualifier Vikram Hundal, but the Easter Bowl champion did escape in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.

Girls top seed Lauren Herring cruised past wild card Madeline Lipp 6-1, 6-2, the same score that No. 2 seed Kelsey Laurente posted against wild card Ammu Mandalap. No. 4. There were a couple of upsets in the girls draw however. Unseeded Brooke Austin downed No. 4 seed and 2009 quarterfinalist Fausthyara Pietersz of the Netherland Antilles 6-1, 5-7, 6-4, and Zoe Scandalis fought back to record a 3-6, 6-2. 6-2 win over No. 5 seed Hai-Li Kong. Qualifiers Leighann Sahagun and Maci Epstein won their first matches in straight sets, as did lucky loser Madison Cohen.

The round of the 16 will be played Tuesday, as will the first round of doubles. For complete results and the doubles draws, see the TennisLink site.