©Colette Lewis 2010--
The upsets may have abated on Wednesday, but the heat certainly didn't. With temperatures climbing into the mid-90s and the heat index well over 100 degrees most of the afternoon, no one was interested in staying out on the court one moment longer than necessary. The misting sprinkler (pictured above) that was installed for cooling off overheated players, spectators and college coaches was a popular spot by late in the day.
Only three matches went the distance, with the top seeds remaining in the draw, No. 1 Whitney Kay and No. 4 Kyle McPhillips, avoiding any prolonged time on the court. Kay defeated No. 17 seed Shayne Austin 6-0, 6-3 and McPhillips breezed past unseeded Katie Klyczek 6-1, 6-2. Each will play an unseeded player in the round of 16 Thursday, with Kay taking on Meghan Blevins, who beat No. 17 seed Sherry Li 7-6(5), 6-3 and McPhillips facing Amber Li, who beat unseeded Erin Stephens 6-1, 6-4.
No. 5 seed Catherine Harrison looked very strong while playing at her customary time, 8 a.m., on her customary court, Stadium. Harrison, from the Memphis suburb of Germantown, just had too much depth and pace for unseeded Lynn Chi, and the 16-year-old with the two-handed forehand advanced with a 6-2, 6-3 win. Her next opponent is likely to present a very serious challenge however. Although unseeded, Breaunna Addison, the 2009 16s Orange Bowl champion, is playing outstanding tennis in Memphis, and in her first match at the Racquet Club of Memphis site, she blitzed No. 16 seed Haley Driver 6-2, 6-0. Those courtside at 8 a.m. will need to be wide-awake to follow the blasts from each player Thursday morning.
One of the closest matches of the day was No. 17 seed Skylar Morton's 7-6(0), 7-5 victory over unseeded Rachael Reed, who had beaten No. 3 seed Danielle Collins on Tuesday. Reed served for the opening set twice, at 5-4, and 6-5, but in a set that saw eight service breaks, it wasn't exactly a surprise that the first set went to a tiebreaker.
Reed simply could not make a shot in the tiebreaker and seemed to lose interest and concentration as the errors mounted.
"She had some easy balls, that's the thing," said Morton, 16. "She missed a swinging volley, and some other shots. But even if she made some of those, I was fighting harder than her."
When Morton took a 3-0 lead in the second set, it looked as if Reed was still feeling the effects of that dismal tiebreaker, but she fought back, and actually led 5-4 before Morton won the final three games of the match.
Staying focused and composed while watching Reed's big shots sail by her was key to Morton's win.
"I tried to stay mentally tough," Morton said. "I just say good shot, and if I actually say it, it helps me. There's nothing I can do, so I can't get mad at myself. She was hitting a lot of winners."
Morton, who trained for the tournament on clay in the heat and humidity of Maryland, was working on making the transition from grass, after reaching the finals last month at the ITF International Grass Courts in Philadelphia.
"It's a totally different game style," Morton said. "Grass is serve and volley, coming to the net a lot, points are really short. But here, points are really long, you have to keep the ball higher over the net. I guess it's whoever's more fit on clay."
Morton's opponent on Thursday is No. 13 seed Caroline Price, who defeated unseeded Mary Jeremiah 6-2, 6-3. The two have never played.
The round of 16 does not feature a single match that was anticipated when the draw was released. In addition to Blevins, Li and Addison, there are four other unseeded players in the final 16, playing each other: Ashley Dai, who plays Lindsay Graff, and Riko Shimizu who plays Whitney Ritchie.
Katie Goepel and Nicole Long join Morton as No. 17 seeds remaining, with 13-year-old Gabrielle Andrews (8) and Ronit Yurovsky (9) joining Price, Harrison, Kay and McPhillips as Top 16 seeds still in the hunt for the championship.
The round of 16 doubles were still incomplete when I left the site, but results can be found soon at the TennisLink site.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010