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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Giron's Winning Streak Reaches 18 After Claiming ITF Easter Bowl Title; Doyle and Brymer are 16s Champions

©Colette Lewis 2011--
Rancho Mirage, CA--

After winning his 18th straight match in the space of three weeks, claiming the Easter Bowl ITF Grade B1 with a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Mac Styslinger, Marcos Giron has given Thousand Oaks, California another local junior hero.

Back in 2005, Thousand Oaks' Sam Querrey won the International Spring Championships and the Easter Bowl in consecutive weeks, propelling him into the main draw of the summer's junior slams, an example that Giron is excited to emulate.

"That would be unbelievable," said the 17-year-old Giron. "To be 20 in the world (ATP) wouldn't be so bad. To do what Sam has done would be just a dream."

Playing with the confidence that comes with winning 17 matches in a row, beginning with the ITF Grade 4 in Claremont, Giron started quickly against the seventh-seeded Styslinger, who was playing in his first Grade 1 final.

Styslinger managed to hold in the first game, but that was the only game he got, as Giron, serving well and playing aggressively, took the next six games.

"He seemed a little nervous out there, not making too many first serves," said Giron. "And I ended up taking advantage of that. I think being in finals the last couple of weeks, I was a little more comfortable."

Styslinger, who is also 17 years old, ended Giron's six game winning streak by breaking him to open the second set, and although he was broken in the next game, he began to play much better.

"I started making more balls, trying to attack a little more," Styslinger said. "And by doing that, maybe he started to make a couple of more errors. I started serving a little better, but my serve was never on throughout the day though. I missed too many first serves I think."

The seventh-seeded Styslinger got a second break of Giron in the fifth game, and served for the set at 5-4, but a untimely double fault at deuce and a very errant forehand cost him a chance to take the match into a third set.

With the temperatures in the mid-90s, Styslinger was hoping that a third set would favor him, with Giron having played nearly every day for three weeks, with only three days off. But Giron found his serve in the 11th game, hitting three service winners to take a 6-5 lead.

Another untimely double fault proved costly to Styslinger in what turned out to be the final game, making it 30-30. Giron decided to press the action on the next point, approaching the net and finishing with a beautiful backhand volley.

"For a little while in the second set, I was a little flat in my game," said Giron. "I have to attack the ball, and when I go to the net, I'm playing great from there. He hit a nice solid shot, fairly low, but it was solid, so I had a good look at it and hit it very clean. It was floating a little bit and then it dropped, so I'm happy that went in."

Giron was also happy when Styslinger hit a forehand long on the next point, ending the match, like his five victories before it, in straight sets.

Asked what he would do next, Giron was quick to answer, "homework."

"I've got to finish my school before I go to the French and Wimbledon," said Giron, who is planning to play the Men's Open division in Ojai, which begins on April 28th.

And obviously satisfied with the state of his game right now, Giron added:

"I'll go play some Challengers right now. I'm so happy that I was able to do this back-to-back, Carson and Easter Bowl, such big tournaments, such great players."

In the girls 16s final that opened the day's action at Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa, Caroline Doyle collected her first USTA gold ball, defeating Kimberly Yee 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

Doyle, a 17 seed, dropped the first game of the match, but won the next four, and although she was unable to serve out the set at 5-3, the left-hander from San Francisco broke Yee to claim the first set.

Up 4-1 in the second set, Doyle appeared to be in complete control, but Yee, the No. 4 seed, lifted her game considerably. The unforced errors disappeared, her potent backhand produced a number of winners and she kept Doyle defending, not dictating.

"She definitely started playing really well, picking it up," said Doyle, 15. "I knew for the third set I really had to pick it up, because she was really being aggressive and taking all my balls and hitting winners or great shots, so I knew I had to do the same thing in the third set."

Doyle was broken to open the third set and fell behind 3-1, but she kept calm.

"I wasn't really worried," said Doyle, who hadn't lost a set in the tournament prior to the final. "I was just trying to go point by point, and stick to the game plan. It would have been easy to say, this isn't working, and go back to standing 20 feet behind the baseline, just getting it back. But I stayed with the game plan and believed it was going to work."

Doyle, who has trained at the USTA's Boca Raton center since January, won the final five games of the match, although the last three all went to deuce. Serving for the match at 5-3, Doyle got down 30-40, but a service winner saved that break point. Yee's normally reliable backhand let her down in the next two points, netting both to give Doyle the win.

Yee, the 2010 Easter Bowl 14s finalist, had needed three hours to defeat top seed Jamie Loeb in the semifinals, and that exertion took its toll.

"Two three-setters in two days in this heat is tough," said the 14-year-old from Nevada, who played Claremont, Carson and the Easter Bowl. "In the second set I felt it really bad. But I came back, and I'm really proud of myself. But I think in the end, I just ran out of gas. I'm tired from these last three weeks, and it hit me in the end."

Prior to winning the Easter Bowl, Doyle's only other USTA championship ball was a bronze, but later in the afternoon, she collected a second gold when she and partner Katrine Steffensen, the third seeds, won the doubles championship, defeating Olivia Sneed and Madison Westby, seeded ninth, 6-3, 6-2.

Doyle will also be traveling back home to the Bay area this coming weekend, when she will play on the USTA Junior National team that is competing in exhibition matches against California-Berkeley and Stanford.

"It's about 45 minutes from my house, and my family may come and watch, so it will be right at home for me."

The boys 16s final also went three sets, with No. 8 seed Gage Brymer defeating No. 2 seed Ronnie Schneider 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.

Schneider demonstrated his willingness to battle by saving four set points in the final game of the opening set, and that tenacity carried over to the second set.

Countering Brymer's powerful forehand, Schneider managed to coax a few errors from Brymer that were absent in the opening set, and he broke in the seventh and ninth games to earn a third set.

"I had to do everything I could to win that second set," said Schneider. "I felt I fought hard the whole time, but it just wasn't happening today."

Brymer, who lost his only set of the tournament in the final, put his level throughout the week at 9 on a scale of 10.

"I did what I wanted to do, and I felt I was focused and mentally steady on the court," said the 16-year-old Brymer, who trains with his father Chuck at the Woodbridge Tennis Club in Irvine, Calif. "I played my game really the way I wanted to play it."

After the 10 minute break between the second and third sets, Brymer came out and reasserted himself, winning the first eight points of the set.

"I felt confident after that, because I knew I was playing the same way as the first set," said Brymer, who collected another break to take a 4-1 lead.

Using his forehand to keep Schneider scrambling, Brymer kept the pressure on in the late stages of the match, and ended it with a perfectly placed forehand winner deep in the corner.

"I have to give him credit, he's got a really nice forehand," said Schneider, 16. "He wasn't really wanting to come in, but he was able to put balls away with his forehand."

Brymer, who won the 14s Winter Nationals in 2009, has been disappointed with his performance in big tournaments since then.

"I've been doing well locally, and in some of the Nationals, but in the super Nationals, I haven't been doing as well as I'd want to," Brymer admitted. "This tournament I did what I wanted to do, so there's a little bit of pressure to do well in the next couple of tournaments. But I like it, and I feel like I'm playing well, so I feel good about it."

The tournament's final point was won by Mitchell Krueger and Shane Vinsant, who won the boys 18s doubles title over Emmett Egger and Styslinger 6-2, 7-5. Krueger and Vinsant, the No. 2 seeds, who won the International Spring championships last week, collected their second straight Grade 1 title, but not without a few tense moments.

Serving for the match at 5-4 in the second, Krueger double faulted on this first match point, and couldn't come up with a first volley when Styslinger returned at his feet on the second, which was a deciding deuce point. At 5-5, Vinsant and Krueger broke Egger and went up 40-0 with Vinsant serving, but those three match points were brushed aside too.

Finally, on the deciding deuce point, which was their sixth match point, Krueger put away a forehand volley to claim the title.

"Anything can happen, and something was about to happen," said Krueger. "I could feel it coming. But I'm glad we could close it out."

"We hadn't been broken in the whole match until we were serving for it," Vinsant said. "And at that point it always gets tougher, you feel the pressure, and they step up. So I'm happy we could close it out."

Sunday's scores:

Boys’ 18s Singles Finals

Marcos Giron Thousand Oaks, CA def. Mac Styslinger (7) Birmingham, AL 6-1, 7-5

Boys’ 16s Singles Finals
Gage Brymer (8) Irvine, CA def. Ronnie Schneider (2) Bloomington, IN 6-1, 3-6, 6-2

Boys’ 16 Singles Third Place

JC Aragone (17) def. Gregory Garcia (4) 6-4, 6-4

Boys’ 16s Singles Consolation

Nikko Madregallejo (5) def. (3) Luca Corinteli 4-6, 6-3, 1-0(10)

Girls’ 16s Singles Finals

Caroline Doyle (17) San Francisco, CA def. Kimberly Yee (4) Las Vegas, NV 6-4, 4-6, 6-3

Girls’ 16s Singles Third Place
Jamie Loeb (1) def. Spencer Liang (2) 6-3, 3-6, 6-4

Girls’ 16s Singles Consolation

Olivia Sneed (17) def. Katrine Steffensen (3) 2-6, 6-3, 1-0(7)

Boys’ 18s Doubles Finals

Mitchell Krueger / Shane Vinsant (2) def. Emmett Egger / Mac Styslinger (4) 6-2, 7-5

Girls’ 16s Doubles Finals

Caroline Doyle / Katrine Steffensen (3) def. Olivia Sneed / Madison Westby (9), 6-3, 6-2

Girls’ 16 Doubles Third Place

Mariana Gould / Gabrielle Smith (9) def. Spencer Liang / Jamie Loeb (1) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4

The 18s TennisLink site is here.

The 16s and 14s TennisLink site is here.