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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Seven American Boys Reach Round of 16 at U.S. Open Juniors

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

With straight-set victories on a warm and windy Wednesday, wild cards Jack Sock and Daniel Kosakowski gave the United States two more boys in the round of 16, bringing the total to seven.

Sock defeated unseeded Peter Heller of Germany 6-1, 6-3, and has drawn a lot of attention from the media after his matches, but told a group of radio, video and news reporters that it wasn't affecting his approach to his tennis.

"I felt very good out there actually," said Sock. "I feel like I have a lot of energy, am well-prepared, well-rested and ready to go."

Sock looked particularly confident against Heller, and as he had done in his opening match, came out in dominating fashion. He rifled forehands past the German with regularity and made few errors. Sock did not play as cleanly in the second set, losing his serve once, but he finished the match before there was any really stressful situation. Sock will play No. 5 seed Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia on Thursday. Dzumhur won the Grade 1 Canadian Open last week.

Kosakowski gave his serve much of the credit for his 6-3, 6-2 win over Joris De Loore of Belgium.

"I served really well," said Kosakowsi, who had eight aces. "I don't think I faced a break point."

The UCLA freshman, who starts school in two weeks, has played only eight ITF matches this year and has won them all. After winning the Grade 1 International Spring Championship in April, Kosakowski didn't play another until Sunday, when he took the court at a junior slam for the first time.

"I just told myself when I went out on the court not to look around," Kosakowski said. "I'd be overwhelmed. So I just thought stay focused, remember that it's just a tennis match and play my game."

Kosakowski said he was happy to have received the wild card and to have an opportunity to play at the top junior level.

"I've always had belief, but I haven't had the chance to show my game, and now I'm getting a chance. The USTA gave me a chance to play, and I'm grateful for that."

Kosakowski will play No. 8 seed Agustin Velotti of Argentina, the Roland Garros boys champion, on Thursday.

Other U.S. boys in action on Thursday are No. 10 seed Denis Kudla and Evan King, who play each other on Louis Armstrong Stadium, Dennis Novikov against Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan, Andrea Collarini against Filip Horansky of Slovkia, and No. 16 seed Mitchell Frank against Wimbledon boys champion Marton Fucsovics.

In girls play on Thursday, No. 15 seed Sloane Stephens joined Sachia Vickery and Robin Anderson on the U.S. roster of second round winners, along with Puerto Rico's Monica Puig, the No. 5 seed.

Stephens defeated Ran Tian of China 6-3, 7-5, avoiding a third set with a break at 5-6. Tian matched Stephens' pace and hit several shots that had the 17-year-old Californian exclaiming "too good," but Tian didn't serve well on crucial points. It could have been the gusty wins, nerves or a lack of experience on the big stage that led the 16-year-old to fail to execute in that final game. Stephens will play Roland Garros girls champion Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, the No. 4 seed, who beat wild card Ellen Tsay 7-6(3), 6-0.

On an adjacent court, Krista Hardebeck was serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set against No. 9 seed Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada, but she was broken at love. Dabrowski came up with the winners in the last two games, hitting an ace to save a break point at 6-5, and then hitting two backhand winners at 30-30 to take a 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 decision over the 15-year-old wild card from California.

Puig got off to a slow start, but recovered quickly for a 6-3, 6-0 win over Anastasiya Vasylyeva of Ukraine. Puig will play Dabrowski Thursday.

Other U.S. players in action Thursday are Sachia Vickery, who plays Caroline Garcia of France, and Robin Anderson, who plays No. 8 seed Laura Robson of Great Britain.

There were several more second round upsets on Wednesday, with Yulia Putintseva of Russia defeating No. 2 seed Timea Babos of Hungary 7-5, 6-3, and Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay taking out No. 10 seed Jana Cepelova of Slovakia 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

The upsets continued in doubles as well. Anderson and Monica Turewicz advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-5, 7-6(5) win over No. 6 seeds Cepede Royg and Christina Dinu of Romania, and Nicole Gibbs and Kyle McPhillips beat No. 8 seeds Dabrowski and Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-3, 6-2.

Boys top seeds Fucsovics and Mate Zsiga of Hungary were upset by Guilherme Clezar and Tiago Fernandes of Brazil 6-3, 6-7(6), 10-4.

Sock and Collarini are the only Americans left in the boys doubles. Trailing 8-5 in the match tiebreaker against France's Mathias Bourgue and Great Britain's George Morgan, Sock and Collarini used a combination of good play and good luck to win the final five points of the match. At 8-8, Morgan hit an excellent second serve to Collarini, who mis-hit a return that ended up being a lob winner on the baseline. Sock then hit an unreturnable second serve to claim the victory.

For the complete results and schedule, see usopen.org.


thecolornotthebird said...

Kalamazoo Rocks!!! King and Kudla reach round of 16 and semis at the Zoo and 3 weeks later they are playing a televised match at Louis Armstrong with Jimmy Connors commentating. 'Nuff said about Kalamazoo.

CommonSenseIsntSoCommon said...

Kudos to the USTA on the wild card to Jack Sock. While it's obviously disappointing that we didn't get our 8 best horses into the race, we still have three young men in the final eight. Go Kudla! Go Novikov! Go Sock! Go USA!!!