Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Frenkel, Bryzgalova Will Decide Girls 12s Junior Orange Bowl Title; Austin, Mmoh and Kusznerko Reach Semis


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

Nicole Frenkel trains in Manchester, Massachusetts, so it's no surprise that the 12-year-old names fast indoor hard courts as her surface of choice. But at the Junior Orange Bowl tournament at Salvadore Park, she is doing just fine on the Har-Tru green clay, reaching the final with two convincing wins on Tuesday

The unseeded Frenkel convincingly defeated two No. 1 seeds with distinctly different styles, getting past the big-hitting Jasmin Plews of Great Britain 7-5, 6-1 in the morning quarterfinal and the more subtle style of Katarina Jokic of Bosnia 6-1, 6-2 in the afternoon semifinal.

"She started out hitting thirty of more lines," Frenkel said of Plews. "That got me a bit frustrated, but I got through it. Then I tried mixing up the pace so I wouldn't let her play with one rhythm, and it worked. Then I started playing better in the second set."

Against the Eddie Herr 12s champion Jokic, Frenkel didn't have to contend with the pace Plews threw at her, and she had a definite advantage in the composure department. Frenkel took a 5-0 lead in the opening set, and Jokic continued to make errors, which frustrated her to tears. With a game that relies on consistency and court sense, Jokic couldn't afford all the unforced errors against Frenkel, who was able to end points with her forehand if she got an opportunity.

"I went in thinking I just had to make her move, and be patient, but when the time is right, just smack it," said the left-hander. "Mostly, just play smart."

Frenkel didn't get caught up in all the emotion that was Jokic was displaying.

"It was definitely different, compared to other matches," said Frenkel. "I just tried staying focused on my part, my side, and just get through it."

Frenkel was broken serving for the first set, and then again serving for the match, but with Jokic holding serve only once in the match, there was no reason for concern. Frenkel broke a final time when Jokic made another unforced error and was in the final, after losing in the third round in last year's tournament.

"This is definitely an improvement," said Frenkel, who has been playing mostly 14s, as well as 16s and some 18s tournaments. "I think I just got smarter. My whole life, I've been playing really aggressive. Last year I played the same, but went for some ridiculous shots at times when I didn't have to. Now, I still go for them, but in the right times."

Frenkel, who has lost only one set en route to the final, will face her fourth No. 1 seed in the championship match, Yuliana Bryzgalova of Russia. Bryzgalova defeated fellow No. 1 seed Emmanuelle Salas of France 6-2, 7-5 in the quarterfinals and unseeded Julia Payola Sucarrats of Spain 7-6(5), 7-5. Payola Sucarrats served for the first set three separate times--at 5-2, 5-4 and 6-5, but was unable to hold. Perhaps lacking energy after saving a match point in her 0-6, 7-6(5), 6-1 win over Shilin Xu of China in the quarterfinals, Payola Sucarrats didn't have the same bounce or confidence that she had displayed earlier in the tournament, and Bryzgalova took advantage of the Spaniard's inability to finish.

The girls 12s final will be at 9 a.m. on Wednesday at Salvadore Park.

In the boys 12s, there are two U.S. players in the semifinals: Michael Mmoh, a No. 1 seed, and unseeded Michal Kusznerko. Mmoh will play fellow No. 1 seed and Eddie Herr semifinalist Mikael Wondwosen of Sweden, and Kusznerko meets unseeded Oh Chanyeong of Korea. Chanyeong reached the semifinal when Lee Duckhee, the Eddie Herr champion, also from Korea, suffered cramps and had to retire, giving Chanyeong a 0-6, 6-6, ret. victory.

In the girls 14s, 2009 finalist Brooke Austin advanced to the semifinals with two straight-set wins Tuesday, beating unseeded Russian Anastasia Komardina 7-5, 6-2 in the fourth round to set up a much-anticipated meeting with No. 2 seed and 2009 girls 12s Junior Orange Bowl champion Francoise Abanda of Canada.

I had hoped to see some of that match, but I was at the University of Miami watching the Joshua Sapwell - Noah Rubin quarterfinal, and when I arrived at the Biltmore Tennis Center, Austin was just wrapping up her 6-3, 6-4 victory of the Eddie Herr 14s champion. (All four Eddie Herr champions: Lee Duckhee, Katarina Jokic, Francoise Abanda and Peter Ashley, were eliminated today). And that match was the closest of the quarterfinals in girls 14s. Top seed Barbara Haas of Austria beat unseeded Mayar Ahmed of Egypt 6-0, 6-0, and will face No. 5 seed and 2009 semifinalist Domenica Gonzalez of Ecuador. Gonzalez defeated unseeded Mathilde Armitano of France 6-2, 6-0. Austin's opponent in the semifinals is qualifier Varvara Flink of Russia.

There are no Americans still alive in the boys 14s, with both unseeded Henrik Wiersholm and Noah Rubin falling in the quarterfinals. Wiersholm had outlasted Jordan Belga, also of the U.S. 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the fourth round, but had to retire to Belgian Clement Geens, a No. 9 seed, trailing 6-2, 2-0. Rubin also had to retire against top seed Joshua Sapwell of Great Britain with the score 1-6, 7-5, 4-1.

Having dominated the first set, Rubin broke Sapwell at 3-4 in a much tighter second set, but was unable to serve out the match. At 15-30, Sapwell showed some impressive net skills when he managed to end a bang-bang exchange with a backspinning touch volley. On the next point, Rubin hit a backhand long, and Sapwell was back on serve. At the changeover, Rubin called for a trainer but aside from some icing, not much more happened. Rubin returned to the court, but his movement hindered by what appeared to be leg cramps or a muscle pull, he lost four straight games, and the set. After the 10-minute break between sets, Rubin tried again, but he was resorting to drop shots and other point-shortening strategies that worked only occasionally. Once Sapwell realized he only needed to move Rubin more than once and he had an open court to hit to, the games went quickly and Rubin retired at the third change of ends.

Sapwell will play Chile's Christian Garin, the No. 8 seed, in the semifinals, while the other semifinal will feature unseeded Borna Coric of Croatia against Geens. Coric had defeated No. 3 seed Peter Ashley of Great Britain 7-5, 6-4 in the fourth round, and has not yet dropped a set in the tournament.

The semifinals of the boys 12s and the boys and girls 14s will be held at the University of Miami Neil Schiff Tennis Center Wednesday beginning at 10:30 a.m.
The girls 12s final will be at Salvadore Park at 9:00 a.m.

For complete results, see the TennisLink site.


Go Frenkel! said...

Great to see another young American breaking through (Frenkel)! Especially one from Massachusetts!