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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

August Aces; Harrison Upsets Ljubicic at U.S. Open; Querrey Beats Klahn; Sock Loses to Chiudinelli

The August edition of the monthly feature I write for the Tennis Recruiting Network is up today, and for his performance during the qualifying Ryan Harrison is one of the 11 aces. He's likely to make the September edition too, after his 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4 win today over No. 15 seed Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia.

I saw most of the Harrison-Ljubicic match, although I admit that I was switching between that and the Louis Armstrong contest between Sam Querrey and NCAA champion Bradley Klahn. Harrison played extremely well, while Ljubicic looked the more passive player, and a couple of early lob winners by the 18-year-old seemed to keep the Croatian from trying to win points at the net.

Ljubicic later said he struggled in the heat, calling it a perennial problem for him. Harrison, on the other hand, looked very fresh even deep into the fourth set. After dropping the second set in a tiebreaker, Harrison showed frustration for the first time, but after that outburst, which included a long-range racquet heave, he kept his emotions in check, even after losing his serve in the fourth set, up 4-3. Talking with Patrick McEnroe and Darren Cahill after the match on the ESPN2 set, Harrison gave credit to Ljubicic for playing a good game to break. He broke right back, and as he said, "stayed composed and served it out." On match point, there was a close call on the baseline, and a bit of hesitation before the umpire called game set and match.

"For a second there, I was in disbelief," Harrison said. With the win, Harrison becomes the first American teenager to record a slam win over a top 20 opponent since Andy Roddick beat No. 11 Alex Corretja of Spain at the 2001 U.S. Open.

In this AP story, Harrison talks about being the next American hope, while Ljubicic believes that playing the qualifying and not getting a wild card was a plus for Harrison. There is video of Harrison available at espn.com, along with Greg Garber's story.

In the Querrey - Klahn match, neither played well in the first set, with the sparse morning crowd on Louis Armstrong a sharp contrast to the packed Court 11 for the Harrison - Ljubicic contest. Klahn found his form in the second set however, and despite getting drilled in the groin by Querrey (here's Querrey's account of that) went on to even the match. Klahn began to cramp in the third set however, and received treatment on several different changeovers. The crowd got bigger, and started to become more involved in the match when it became clear that Klahn had a chance to push Querrey. Ultimately the 20th-seeded Querrey posted a 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory, but Klahn had made an impression.

In his post-match chat with ESPN2, Querrey revealed that he and Klahn had been practicing together all summer in Southern California, so he had a pretty good idea of what to expect from his friend, although obviously not with the stakes so high.

The third match I watched on the usopen.org stream was Jack Sock taking on Marco Chiudinelli of Switzerland. An obviously nervous Sock was down 5-0 before he started to move his feet, but once he began to find the court with his forehand the match was basically even. And not only could he consistently hit forehand winners against Chiudinelli, Sock demonstrated superior volleying skills when he got into the net. Often however, he was too far behind the baseline to do anything other than defend, and Chiudinelli was not missing very often. After losing the first set 6-1 and the second 6-4, Sock put together a string of five consecutive games to take the third set 6-1. It was the first set in the Open that the Kalamazoo wild card had won since Donald Young took the opening set from Novak Djokovic back in 2006.

But Sock lost his opening service game in the fourth set when he hit a routine putaway long, and was down 5-0 before he got on the board. It was the first time Sock had played four sets in a match, and he displayed signs of fatigue-double faults and forehands missed by a few inches. Sock held for 5-1, but Chiudinelli finished the match off with little difficulty.

Speaking of Donald Young, the 21-year-old wild card went out quickly to Gilles Simon of France today. He was on the court only 78 minutes before absorbing a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 loss.

NCAA women's doubles champions Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette of Stanford lost to No. 14 seeds and Wimbledon doubles finalists Elena Vesnina and Vera Zvonereva of Russia 7-5, 6-3.

The boys 18s National doubles champions Sekou Bangoura Jr. and Nathan Pasha lost to Michael Kohlmann of Germany and Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-3, 6-1.

The girls 18s National champions Lauren Herring and Grace Min will play on Thursday, as will 18-year-old wild card winner Beatrice Capra, who plays No. 18 seed Aravane Rezai of France on the Grandstand. Herring and Min play Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of women's doubles.

The New York Times produced this video look at Lauren Herring's experience at the U.S. Open through the eyes of her father.

For complete results and scores, see usopen.org.


tennismom said...

Congrats to Ryan! He has believed in himself and had that confidence from the 1st time I saw him play, he was 5 then ... that's half the battle! Good luck next round!

Texastennis said...

Excellent effort from Harrison.
Nice piece on the USO site about it from Matt Cronin who notes - as does Harrison - that it really helped him to play qualifying. So USTA made a good call there about earning a slot instead of proffering a wc since it all likelihood he would have lost this match if it had been his fist on a wc.