©Colette Lewis 2010--
She may not have much experience with clay or with the heat and humidity plaguing Memphis this week, but 13-year-old Gabrielle Andrews proved in her 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 4 seed Kyle McPhillips that she is a title contender under any conditions.
Seeded eighth, Andrews, from Pomona, Calif., came into the match between the two reigning Easter Bowl champions (Andrews in 14s, McPhillips in 16s) with confidence, having beaten McPhillips in the Claremont, Calif. ITF this spring. But that was on hard courts, on Andrews' home turf; this match was on green clay, against the 2009 girls 16s Clay Court champion.
"We don't have a lot of clay courts in California," said Andrews, whose father grew up in Memphis and whose grandmother and aunt still live here. "And before this tournament I didn't hit on clay at all. But once I got to Memphis, I hit on clay a couple of times and I got used to it."
McPhillips started well, breaking Andrews to open the match, but she was broken right back and lost four straight games. Usually a very precise shotmaker, McPhillips was making errors of every kind--Andrews said she "caught her on a bad day today."
Andrews was able to keep McPhillips off balance, mixing in a forehand slice with her usual array of powerful backhands. In the second set, serving at 3-2, Andrews survived one break point in a five-deuce game and another serving at 4-3, with her serve helping her on key points. McPhillips couldn't dent Andrews' composure in the final game, and she calming served out the match to reach her first semifinal in an 18s National.
"I didn't know if I'd make it this far actually," Andrews said. "I knew I was going to play a lot of big girls who are used to playing on clay."
Andrews will meet top seed Whitney Kay in Saturday's semifinal. Kay spotted unseeded Californian Ashley Dai the first set but went on to take control late in the second to earn a 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-1 victory.
Kay had difficulty closing out sets yesterday against Meghan Blevins, and against Dai today she was also unable to serve out the first set with a 5-4 lead. In the tiebreaker, Kay, of Alpharetta, Ga., had a 3-1 lead, but lost the next six points, mostly on her unforced errors.
Down 2-0 in the second set, Kay rallied to win the next two games, and both players held serve until Dai was broken serving at 5-6. Kay's serve was effective throughout the match and her forehand was frequently putting Dai on the defensive, but it wasn't until Dai started making unforced errors that Kay was able to take control. Down 5-0, Dai managed one game on serve, but when it came time to serve out the match,
Kay had no difficulty, taking it at love.
Local favorite Catherine Harrison needed five match points to subdue No. 9 seed Ronit Yurovsky 6-1, 7-6(9), who had two chances to put the match into a third set.
Harrison came out very strongly, with her depth and pace giving Yurovsky problems, but Yurovsky, from New Kensington, Pa., adjusted in the second set, and took a 3-0 lead. Harrison won the next three games, and broke Yurovsky to take a 5-4 lead. She had two match points in that game, but didn't convert, and the set went to a tiebreaker. There were not a lot of scintillating points, with more errors than winners, but Yurovsky managed to save a match point at 6-5, and earn set points at 7-6, and 8-7. At 9-8 Harrison had another match point, but hit a forehand long; she earned her fifth and final by forcing an error after a long rally. Yurovsky missed her first serve, then her second, and an engrossing tiebreaker came to an anticlimatic end.
I've seen very little of No. 13 seed Caroline Price this week, as she has not played on Stadium Court, and today the daughter of former NBA player Mark Price was not on Court 5 very long. Price, from Duluth, Ga., defeated unseeded Oklahoman Whitney Ritchie 6-2, 6-1, her fourth straight two-set match. Price and Harrison will play Saturday's first semifinal on Stadium Court.
The doubles finals are set, with No. 7 seeds Katie Goepel and Blair Shankle meeting unseeded Breaunna Addison and Kelsey Laurente for the gold balls. Goepel and Shankle defeated the unseeded team of Elizabeth Begley and Alecia Kauss 6-2, 6-0 in one semifinal, while Addison and Laurente beat the unseeded team of Mara Schmidt and Tina Tehrani 6-4, 6-1 in the second.
Both Addison and Laurente are still in the consolation tournament, so the time for the doubles final will depend on their morning results.
And speaking of the consolation tournament, it's worth noting that after losing in the second round on Monday, Emina Bektas, the No. 2 seed, has played and won eight singles matches in four days of oppressive heat and humidity.
For complete results, see the TennisLink site.
Friday, July 23, 2010