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Friday, December 17, 2010

2009 Semifinalist Gonzalez Survives Opening Round Test in Junior Orange Bowl Girls 14s


©Colette Lewis 2010--
Coral Gables, FL--

I split my day between the two 14s sites today at the Junior Orange Bowl, starting and ending at the University of Miami, the headquarters for the boys. Although wet courts, from dew and from sprinklers, confined play to just a few courts at 8 a.m., I did seed top seed Joshua Sapwell of Great Britain cruise past Terrell Whitehurst of the U.S. 6-1, 6-1.

Wanting to catch what I had thought would be a good match between girls 14s top seed Barbara Haas of Austria and Ivana Jorovic of Serbia, I headed to the Biltmore Tennis Center. As it turned out, I saw only the last game of the match, a 6-0, 6-1 win for Haas, and it was a long and well-played game. But given that Jorovic took Haas to 6-4 in the third last week in semifinals of the Nike Masters, it was a disappointingly short rematch.

Next up on court 1 was No. 5 seed Domenica Gonzalez of Ecuador, who had reached the semifinals of the Girls 14s last year as a 13-year-old. Playing mostly ITF events this year, Gonzalez earned a Top 200 ranking, winning two Grade 5 tournaments on clay, her favored surface, this fall. Gonzalez's opponent in Friday's first round match was Ching Wen Hsu of Taiwan, a qualifier. Gonzalez got off to a quick start in the first set, but this would be no routine win. It was nearly three hours before Gonzalez advanced with a 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory.

"I was 3-0 up, and I get like, yeah, this is easy," said Gonzalez. "Then she picked up and I lost the first set. Then I started to move, play my tennis, and I won."

The stamina developed on the clay definitely helped Gonzalez in the third set, as Hsu, who is very thin, looked to be tiring as the match hit the two-hour mark. Although Hsu could stay with Gonzalez on the ground from the start--neither player ventured to the net unless forced--she began to make more errors as the match progressed.

Gonzalez didn't take Hsu lightly, knowing that a qualifier who had won four matches would likely be a tough opponent.

"She won four matches to get to the main draw, so it's not that easy. I expected a girl that plays," Gonzalez said.

Asked why she decided to go back down to the 14s, after stepping up to the 18s this year, Gonzalez had a patriotic answer.

"I played the Orange Bowl last year, and I play it again this year, because I want to win it," Gonzalez said. "From Ecuador, nobody has won the Orange Bowl, girls."

Despite the scare in the first round, Gonzalez believes she is among those in contention for the title.

"There are four girls, that play very well that I know, maybe there are more," Gonzalez said. "Last year I made semifinals, and I want to win it this year. It's my year."

Not all of the girls 14s first round matches were completed Friday, as evening dew made the courts too slippery for play.

The boys 14s first round was completed, with No. 4 seed Daniel Kerznerman of the U.S. the only seed to lose. Kerznerman cramped after dropping the second set to Bogdan Bobrov of Russia and was unable to continue play.

The girls 12s lost three No. 1 seeds Friday, according to the posted results, all of them in the top quarter, with Usue Arconada and Sofia Kenin of the U.S. falling, along with Patricia Muamba of Canada.

In the boys 12s, Guilherme Scarpelli of Brazil and Semen Lomakin of Russia were the only No. 1 seeds to lose in the first round.

For complete results, see the TennisLink site.

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