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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hardebeck & Keys Face Off at Roehampton; Tomic & Harrison Advance at Wimbledon; Golf vs. Tennis

All four American juniors competing in singles at the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton won their third round matches today, meaning that Krista Hardebeck and Madison Keys will meet for a place in the semifinals. Hardebeck defeated No. 16 seed Ellen Allgurin of Sweden 6-3, 6-1, while Keys posted a 6-3, 6-4 win over unseeded Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus. The last time Hardebeck and Keys played was at the Girls 18s Nationals last August, with Hardebeck taking a 6-7(1), 6-4, 6-2 decision in the quarterfinals. No. 12 seed Vicky Duval beat No. 8 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-4, 6-4 today and will play No. 4 seed and 2010 US Open girls finalist Yulia Putintseva of Russia. Putintseva beat Duval in the first round at last year's US Open by a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 score.

Marcos Giron has reached the quarterfinals after a 7-6(3), 6-3 win over unseeded Mate Delic of Croatia and will face unseeded qualifier Aslan Karatsev of Russia, who beat No. 9 seed George Morgan of Great Britain in a third set tiebreaker today. It's the second time Karatsev has taken out a seed in a third set tiebreaker this tournament. It was a popular score for the boys today, as both Liam Broady and Oliver Golding of Great Britain also advanced by winning third set tiebreakers. Broady beat top seed and Australian Open boys champion Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic, who has not played well since returning to the junior ranks this spring after several months on the Futures circuit.

Grace Min and Stephanie Nauta are in the quarterfinals of the girls doubles. For complete results, see the LTA website.

The ITF Juniors now has a Facebook page, which features photos and video interviews, including one from Catherine Harrison, who qualified at Roehampton.

If you prefer to use Facebook rather than Twitter, you can get all the zootennis tweets as well as the link to my daily post by liking the Zootennis page.

Today at Wimbledon, which was thankfully without any rain delays, Bernard Tomic of Australia and Ryan Harrison of the United States, two of the 1992 birth years who have received the most attention during their teen years, reached the second round with victories over players ranked much higher. Tomic, still 18, defeated Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, the No. 29 seed, 7-5, 6-3, 7-5, in a match that was available on ESPN3. I watched quite a bit of it, and thought Tomic served very effectively, while Davydenko was not at his best, making more unforced errors than usual. I also noticed Tomic looked less casual than usual, and was interested to read Tennis.com's Steve Tignor saying the same thing.

From the start, he appears more focused, serious, and purposeful than I’ve ever seen him look in the past. He doesn’t force the issue in rallies, yet he controls them. Best are his passes and lobs when Davydenko moves forward; Tomic has that ability of the truly talented tennis player, to seem to hold the ball on his strings, like a man buttering toast. On match point, Davydenko approaches the net and Tomic sends the most delicate lob up and over him. The balls lands just beyond the service line, but the Russian is still nowhere near it. From the way he hit the shot, that’s exactly where Tomic wanted it to land.

Tomic is a tennis player, but is he a world-class athlete? And which is more important these days? We’ll find out.

For Tignor's complete report on the day's action, see tennis.com.

Harrison, a lucky loser, and 37th-ranked Ivan Dodig of Croatia were not on a televised court, but ESPN's Pam Shriver provided updates for Patrick McEnroe, who was calling John Isner's straight-set win over Nicolas Mahut of France. Harrison won the match 7-6(5), 6-0, 7-5 and will play No. 7 seed David Ferrer of Spain in the second round. Harrison's temper is not just a topic of conversation on this site, but obviously throughout the tennis world. In this article from ESPN W, Harrison talks about his struggles controlling his emotions, and even Andy Roddick was quoted on the topic today.

For the complete Wimbledon draws, see the tournament website.

With Rory McIlroy's impressive US Open golf victory Sunday, there have been a few parallels drawn to tennis, and one quote I found interesting was this from Sports Illustrated:
Maybe you're asking yourself, "What's up with you, American golf?" Ask it if you like, but the fact is, there is no such thing as American golf anymore, except for the week of the Ryder Cup. There's no Asian golf, there's no European golf. There's a global economy, there's a global water supply and there's global golf. Sir Nick Faldo, the English golfer who works for CBS and lives in Florida, watched Sunday's golf from a waterfront lodge in British Columbia. He traveled to China with McIlroy when Rory was 15 and has admired him ever since. "It's global golf now," Faldo said. "The players accept that. Where that hasn't been accepted yet is in the media."
I hope I've accepted that in both golf and tennis, but I also hope it doesn't preclude me from devoting the majority of my attention to the juniors who live and play in the same country I do.

Great Britain is trying to figure out why they have managed to produce the past two US Open champions in men's golf, but no grand slam men's singles champion since Fred Perry in 1936. The BBC investigates in this article entitled McIlroy and Murray: A tale of two 'middle-class' sports.