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Sunday, September 5, 2010

King Overcomes Court Jinx to Beat Sixth Seed Kubler as U.S. Open Juniors Get Underway

©Colette Lewis 2010--
Flushing Meadows, NY--

Evan King had memories from Court 7 that he didn't care to recall. Back in 2008, playing in his first U.S. Open match, King held match points against Great Britain's Dan Smethurst. He lost that match 7-5 in the third, but today there was no faltering. After a tight first set, the University of Michigan sophomore coasted to a 7-5, 6-1 victory over No. 6 seed Jason Kubler of Australia.

"Honestly during the match I didn't think about it," said King. "But when I was warming up, I thought hmmm, I had match points on this court two years ago. It's great to just get over that hump, because I think I lost singles and doubles there that year. I guess I don't have an unlucky court here anymore."

The first set was very close, with King having several chances to break early. On one, at 3-all, Kubler appeared to have double faulted, but the serve was not called out, and Kubler won the point and then the game. In the next game, King came back from 0-40, saving the only break points he faced in the match, and at 5-5 broke Kubler and held to take the set.

Although the wind was decidedly less of a factor than on Saturday, it occasionally required adjustments, while the level of tennis remained very high. King was hitting his forehand deep and making very few errors, while also defending extremely well. Kubler had no difficulty with the pace, and was able to rely on his serve when he needed it in the first set. But when he was broken in the opening game of the second set, King took control of the match.

"I thought the early break in the second was key," said King. "To keep the momentum going. There was only one break in the first, and then he gave me another one a bit later in the set, and I was really excited about that. I've been serving well for the last couple of months, and I was able to hold pretty smoothly throughout."

Having played only one other junior tournament this year--Kalamazoo--King admits to having set high goals for his last U.S. Open as a junior.

"Coming into it this year my expectations are pretty high," King said. "Taking it point by point and match by match, hopefully I can make a nice little run here."

King is joined in the second round by three other U.S. players. Mitchell Frank, the No. 16 seed, beat Darian King of Barbados 6-4, 6-1. Denis Kudla, the tenth seed, struggled in the opening set, and was down 3-1 in the third against Chuhan Wang of China, but pulled out a 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory.

Wild card Dan Kosakowski, the UCLA freshman playing in his first U.S. Open, took out Hugo Dellien of Bolivia 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. I watched the third set of the match, which was tight and well-played. Kosakowski had break chances with Dellien serving at 1-2 and 2-3, but his failure to convert them characteristically didn't bother him. At 3-4, he got the break he needed, with his forehand doing its usual damage, but there was still more work to do. Serving for the match at 5-3, Kosakowski had to fight off two break points, but after saving the second one with a service winner, he put Dellien away with a blistering forehand winner and, on his first match point, another service winner.

Dane Webb, Bjorn Fratangelo, and wild cards Mitchell Krueger and Michael Redlicki of the U.S. lost their opening matches.

The two marquee matches on the Sunday schedule in the girls draw proved disappointing, with top seed Daria Gavrilova of Russia beating 2009 quarterfinalist Lauren Davis 6-3, 6-1. Davis was unusually erratic, and neither girl looked entirely comfortable on the court throughout the match. Puerto Rico's Monica Puig, the fifth seed, did look on top of her game against wild card Madison Keys, earning a 6-4, 6-4 victory. Puig was returning well, and by putting a lot of pressure on the Keys serve, Puig was able to keep Keys on defense. She also hit with depth and pace, and her errors were far fewer, leading to a reversal of the result of their previous meeting, which Keys had won 6-3, 6-3.

Gavrilova's opponent on Tuesday will be wild card Caroline Price, who beat 28th-ranked Zarah Razafimahatratra of Madagascar 6-3, 6-3 in her U.S. Open debut. Three more wild cards also posted wins on Sunday. Sachia Vickery, who has been out with a knee injury most of the summer, defeated No. 12 seed Saisai Zheng of China, the Youth Olympic Games silver medalist, 6-2, 6-3. Ellen Tsay beat Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway 7-5, 6-0, and Kyle McPhillips came back from 4-2 down in the second set to defeat Miho Kowase of Japan 6-4, 6-4. Sloane Stephens, seeded 15th on the basis of her WTA ranking, won over Silvia Njiric of Croatia 6-1, 6-3.

Ester Goldfeld, Grace Min and wild card Nicole Gibbs lost their first round matches.

For those who missed the tweet, Beatrice Capra did withdraw from the junior event and Gabrielle DeSimone of the U.S. took her place in the draw as a lucky loser.

For the first time that I can remember, all first round matches are scheduled to be completed on Monday, with the Canadian finalists getting just the one day of rest, not the two they were previously granted.

The doubles draws have been posted, with Denis Kudla and Raymond Sarmiento the only seeded U.S. boys team, at No. 7. Sloane Stephens and Hungary's Timea Babos, who have won the last two junior slams, are the No. 3 seeds. Monica Puig and France's Caroline Garcia are seeded No. 4.

For draws, schedules and results, see usopen.org.


CommonSenseIsntSoCommon said...

I really believe the people who distribute the US Open Junior wild cards should WATCH the matches at Kalamazoo. If Kalamazoo doesn't matter, then what is the purpose of playing any USTA tournament? I asked one of the Kalamazoo 18s Finalists if he would be playing the US Open Junior. He said his ITF ranking dropped while he was in college but he was really hoping to receive a wild card because his game was really coming together and he thought he had a shot to win it if he got in.

facts said...

Common Sense

Are you assuming that he entered the tournament? Are you assuming that he applied for a wildcard? Before writing a blog on here critisizing others, I would have found the answers to those two questions.

I am assuming Kalamazoo does matter as does all the other tournaments this year, even clay courts. The people who distribuate the WC's were at Kalamazoo because I saw them there.

The USA is having a great US Open so far, lets hope it continues!!

CommonSenseIsntSoCommon said...

Dear Facts, I was not making the assumptions you suggested. I was stating my opinion that the matches at Kalamzoo looked like the results. One assumption i did make was that nearly everyone shows up to play this event. Another assumption was that most American juniors target this event with the goal of playing their best at that time. Another assumption was that it certainly is a pressure cooker. Both Finalists earned their spots in the Finals with quality wins in their runs through the draw. My last assumption was that if someone watched these matches they would want them both to represent the USA at the US Open Junior. Having more of our big guns playing gives a better chance of success.

Bernie said...

Here are my two cents. Think about the word wildcard. It is not about who would be the most likely next player to get in to a tournament. If that were the case you would look at the rankings and pick the next in by ranking. While that sometimes happens it is not the rule.The idea of a wildcard is giving a player an opportunity to play an event that they didn't qualify for. There can be many reasons for failing to qualify.I don't think it is ever a good idea to expect to get a wildcard based on one tournament. There has been a discussion around the US Open this year if Mahut should have received a wildcard based on what he did at Wimbledon. I don't think it would have made sense based on that one match. It might have made for a good story for the media but I don't think that was what the wildcard committee was thinking when they came up with their picks. You can always second guess who gets picked. In the golf world Ryder Cup is on the horizon and Captain Corey Pavin is about to make the wildcard picks for his team.I would be surprised if he looks at the ranking and picks the next players from that list. That would defeat the purpose of a wildcard. I am sure there will be some very good players who feel that they deserve to be on the team.I am sure he has been thinking long and hard on who he will pick. Will he be second guessed? Bet on it.

justatennisdad said...

Common Sense: Calm down. The USTA did exactly what you suggested they should do.

Facts: The USTA is no longer a rigid, hidebound bureaucracy that would try to find technicalities to keep obviously deserving young men out of their showcase event.

I believe the player in question is totally focused on doing what he needs to do to succeed at the next level in a big way. And I believe the USTA will do everyting they can do to help him get there.

Be Factual said...

"Higueras shared story that Argentine coach said getting a wildcard is a bad thing. It means you are not good enough." Look at the tournaments in Argentina and see who gets the wildcards and then tell me that.

Not True said...

For the Copa Telmex ATP event in Buenas Aires the 3 wildcards went to Eduardo Schwank(ARG) Gaston Gaudio(ARG) and Carlos Moya(SPAIN). OOPS the Argentine coach may want to make sure of what goes on in his country before saying something about wildcards in this country. Jose Higueras may want to know that before repeating it as well.