Makarova Upsets No. 2 Seed and 2009 Finalist Ester Goldfeld in Third Round Action at Pan American Closed
©Colette Lewis 2010--
Fourteen-year-old Christina Makarova isn't the youngest player at the ITF B1 Pan American Closed; that distinction belongs to 13-year-old Francoise Abanda of Canada. Yet you might expect that after losing eight straight games in the middle of a round of 16 match with No. 2 seed and 2009 finalist Ester Goldfeld, Makarova's lack of experience would surface. Instead, she won six of the last eight games to earn a 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 victory and a place in the quarterfinals.
"Actually I didn't realize I lost eight straight games until you just told me," said an excited Makarova. "It never crossed my mind."
Part of the reason Makarova didn't dwell much on losing all those games was simple: she was too busy trying to figure out how to play in the gusty winds that made their first appearance at the tournament.
"It took such a long time to get used to it," said the San Diego native, who barely took a breath as she recalled her trouble with the conditions. "You only had two games to get used to hitting with the wind, and then you had to get used to hitting against the wind. I couldn't hit a single lob, because with the wind it would just keep on going out, and against the wind it would keep on going too short, and she would just kill it. I wasn't sure what to do, so I didn't make as many lobs, but in the third set, the wind calmed down a little bit."
Makarova can't match Goldfeld in the power department, so losing a shot in her arsenal could have cost her, but Goldfeld also made a slew of unforced errors. At 3-2 in the third set, Goldfeld had two break points to take a 4-2 lead, but Makarova saved them. At 3-3, Goldfeld saved four break points, but Makarova got the fifth to make it 4-3.
"I easily won my serve because I was so pumped up, wanting to win because it was 5-3. We had three or four deuces on her service game, but I never got a match point."
That changed in the final game, when Makarova had more matches points than she wanted.
"The last game was a complete battle," said Makarova. "She saved five match points--when I was up 40-15. I was kind of pushing because I didn't want to lose the game; I pushed every match point, and she finally missed."
Makarova, who is playing in her second ITF Grade 1 event, will play No. 9 seed Gabrielle DeSimone, another player from the San Diego area, in the quarterfinals. DeSimone defeated No. 8 seed Ashley Dai 6-2, 6-4.
In another upset in the bottom half of the draw, unseeded Stephanie Nauta downed No. 6 seed Annie Mulholland 6-3, 7-5 to set up a quarterfinal encounter with No. 4 seed Monica Turewicz. Unseeded Whitney Kay was serving for a 5-3 lead over her doubles partner in the final set, but she lost that game and the next two to give Turewicz the 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 decision.
Top seed Lauren Davis won her seventh match in seven days after flying from Williamsburg, Va., where she won the Pro Circuit title, to compete in Tulsa without so much as a day off. Davis showed no signs of fatigue in a 6-2, 6-1 victory over No. 13 seed Vicky Duval. Davis will take on another recent tournament winner, Elisabeth Abanda of Canada, in Thursday's quarterfinal. The unseeded Abanda, who won the Grade 3 ITF last week in Canada, beat No. 12 seed Yuliana Lizarazo of Colombia 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.
No. 11 seed Kyle McPhillips prevented another meeting of longtime Florida rivals Madison Keys and Sachia Vickery by eliminating the fifth-seeded Vickery 6-3, 6-3. Keys, the No. 3 seed, had too much power for No. 16 Carol Zhao of Canada, taking their match 6-2, 6-4.
For the second straight day, Anthony Delcore played the most dramatic boys match, but this time he came out on the wrong side of a 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(5) decision to No. 12 seed Filip Peliwo of Canada. After three and a half hours, Delcore was in the position he wanted, having broken Peliwo at 5-5, but serving for the match, the 16-year-old from Omaha, Neb. double faulted to open the game, then tried an unsuccessful drop shot. Whether it was understandable physical or mental fatigue, Delcore wasn't as aggressive on the next two points, and at 15-40, Peliwo put away an overhead to send the match into the deciding tiebreaker.
The 16-year-old Canadian had a 5-2 lead in the tiebreaker, but lost both of his service points to give Delcore hope at 5-4. But a badly executed surprise serve and volley tactic by Delcore gave Peliwo a 6-4 lead, and although he didn't convert his first match point, Peliwo got the second when Delcore netted a backhand.
Peliwo meets unseeded Thai Kwiatkowski, who has not let up since beating top seed Dennis Novikov in the first round. Kwiatkowski beat unseeded Wyatt Mcoy 6-0, 6-3 on Wednesday.
The other top half quarterfinal has No. 15 seed Alexios Halebian taking on unseeded Michael Redlicki. Halebian outgunned No. 4 seed Mitchell Krueger 6-3, 6-4, while Redlicki managed his third consecutive three-set victory, defeating unseeded Chase Curry 1-6, 7-5, 7-5.
Maxx Lipman and Shane Vinsant, who met in the final of the International Grass Courts in June, will play again on Thursday, with No. 3 seed Vinsant hoping to avenge his loss in Philadelphia. Vinsant defeated unseeded Austin Smith 7-6(5), 6-0, while the unseeded Lipman rolled past No. 11 seed Morgan Mays 6-3, 6-0.
Second seed Bjorn Fratangelo struggled to put away No. 16 seed Robert Livi, failing to serve out the match at 5-4 and 6-5, but he did avoid a third set in his 6-4, 7-6(5) victory. He will play No. 8 seed Marco Nunez of Mexico, who defeated No. 10 seed Evan Song 3-6, 6-1, 7-5.
In the doubles quarterfinals on Thursday, there are only two seeded boys teams still in the hunt for a title--top seeds Emmett Egger and Vinsant and No. 2 seeds Krueger and Daniel McCall. In the girls doubles quarterfinals, three seeded teams remain among the eight still playing, including top seeds Keys and Mulholland.
For complete results, see the TennisLink site.
For the order of play for Thursday, see the usta.com player development ITF site.