Crawford, Vickery Keep US Hopes for Orange Bowl Girls Title Alive; Top Seeds Bouchard and Thiem Reach Quarterfinals
©Colette Lewis 2011--
The weather changed from hot to brisk on Thursday, and the prospects of an homegrown Orange Bowl champion also chilled, with only two American girls remaining in the 18s competition. Unseeded Samantha Crawford and wild card Sachia Vickery advanced to the quarterfinals, but both US boys in action Thursday suffered losses on the Frank Veltri Tennis Center's Har-Tru courts.
Crawford was in control throughout her 6-3, 6-0 win over compatriot Nadia Echeverria Alam, a wild card who had battled through two long three-setters Tuesday and Wednesday. As is the case with any player across the net from Crawford when her serve and forehand are on, Echeverria Alam was hard-pressed to have much of an impact on the match. Although Echeverria Alam had survived a similar power onslaught from Maci Epstein on Wednesday, she was unable to make any inroads against the 6-foot-2 right-hander.
"I thought I played really well," said Crawford, who lives and trains at the USTA Center in nearby Boca Raton. "I thought I was moving well and was being consistent setting up points, and overall just played well."
Despite her classic big American hard court game, Crawford has no objections to playing one of the country's most prestigious tournaments on clay.
"Boca has clay and hard courts, so I play a good amount on clay," said Crawford, who is originally from Atlanta. "I think it's good to play on clay."
Next up for Crawford is Eddie Herr champion and No. 2 seed Yulia Putintseva of Russia who beat her 6-2, 6-1 in the second round of the US Open juniors at the South Shore Indoor courts. Puntintseva beat unseeded Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan 7-5, 6-3.
The other American in the quarterfinals is Vickery, who overcame a miserable start to beat No. 6 seed Zuzanna Maciejewska of Poland 0-6, 6-2, 6-2.
"It was one of those days when I don't even know what happened, I was so confused," Vickery said of her poor start. "I was just telling myself to try to find a way to comeback, because I didn't even know what was going on."
The 6-foot-3 Maciejewska, a foot taller than Vickery, initially was able to keep the 16-year-old Floridian defending rather than attacking.
"She doesn't give you any rhythm," said Vickery, who trains at the Mouratoglou Academy in France. "She has a big serve and it was either a winner or a mistake, and in the first set she was hitting winners off of everything. I just kept trying to put as many balls in corner to corner, knowing I'd have a chance if I did."
Vickery has been working with five-time Grand Slam winner Martina Hingis at the Mouratoglou Academy in recent weeks, and Vickery's genuine appreciation for the opportunity is obvious in her tone of voice.
"About a month ago I was practicing with her about two weeks, back to back," said Vickery, who is hoping to get her junior ranking high enough to play all the slams in 2012. "She's just great, such an inspiration. And she still plays unbelievable after everything she's been through. She's such a great person and I can't wait to work with her some more."
Vickery will play unseeded Varvara Flink of Russia in Friday's quartefinals, after Flink upset No. 4 seed Ilka Csoregi of Romania 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.
Top seed Eugenie Bouchard of Canada was the last player to reach the quarterfinals as darkness, as well as a few sprinkles of rain, began to fall. Bouchard's 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 13 seed Elizaveta Kulichkova of Russia earned her a quarterfinal match against No. 7 seed Donna Vekic of Croatia.
No. 3 seed Indy de Vroome of the Netherlands advanced with a tight 6-4, 7-6(5) win over No. 16 seed Taylor Townsend of the US late Thursday afternoon, and will play No. 5 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in the quarterfinals.
Top seed Dominic Thiem ran his ITF junior winning streak to 15 Thursday, defeating No. 16 seed Hassan Ndayishimiye of Burundi 6-1, 6-4. He will play No. 10 seed Kimmer Coppejans of Belgium in Friday's quarterfinals.
The Podzus twins continued their breakthrough(s), as the 17-year-old Latvian qualifiers both advanced to the quarterfinals. Janis upset No. 2 seed Liam Broady of Great Britain 7-6(5), 6-4, while Martins defeated unseeded Kevin Kaczynski of Germany 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. The only other ITF junior tournaments the pair have played this year were the European Championships, but they did compete in the Amelia Island Pro Circuit Futures tournament last month, only to face each other in the first round of qualifying. Janis went on to qualify, but lost in the first round of the main draw.
Janis will play No. 7 seed and Eddie Herr finalist Patrick Ofner of Austria, who beat wild card Noah Rubin of the US 6-2, 6-1, and Martins will play No. 12 seed Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan.
One of the most intense matches of the day was unseeded Filip Peliwo's 7-6(7), 6-7(6), 6-3 win over No. 13 seed Alexios Halebian of the US.
Peliwo owned two wins over Halebian in the past 19 months, beating him in May of 2010 with a spot in the Junior Davis Cup world competition on the line, and again last fall at the Pan American Closed in Tulsa. So despite Halebian's higher ranking, he was the player with something to prove.
Played on the Stadium court, the match attracted the attention of USTA Player Development General Manager Patrick McEnroe, Director of Coaching Jose Higueras and Stanford Boster, a USTA National Coach now working with Halebian in the Boca Raton National Training Center.
There was plenty of pace in the rallies and exceptional court coverage by both players, and only the slimmest of margins separated the two 17-year-olds in the first two sets. But Peliwo took control early in the third set and held on to again defeat the 2009 Orange Bowl 16s champion.
Peliwo's opponent in the quarterfinals is No. 6 seed Julien Cagnina of Belgium.
The 16s semifinals will kick off Friday's play, with two American girls still in the running for the title.
Unseeded Kimberly Yee got off to her usual slow start but again found her form in recording a 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Jessica Ho, also of the US. Yee will play No. 2 seed Katie Boulter of Great Britain, who beat No. 9 seed Josie Kuhlman of the US 6-4, 7-6(4).
The other semifinal will feature No. 13 seed Erin Routliffe of Canada against No. 14 seed Rasheeda McAdoo of the US. Routliffe beat Caroline Doyle of the US 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, while McAdoo overcame a early deficit to top unseeded American Lexi Borr 7-5, 6-2.
The boys semifinals feature two Canadians, but neither are Eddie Herr champion Tommy Mylnikov. Mylnikov lost to fellow Bollettieri Academy student Diego Pedraza of Colombia, the No. 12 seed, 7-6(5), 6-4. Pedraza will play No. 4 seed Hugo Di Feo of Canada in one semifinal, while No. 5 seed Brayden Schnur of Canada meets unseeded Hyeon Chung of Korea, who beat No. 3 seed Fedor Andreienko of Russia.
The 16s doubles finals are on Friday's schedule, with No. 5 seeds Charlotte Petrick and Erin Routliffe of Canada going against surprising finalists Hadley Berg and Mary Closs of California, who were unseeded and lost in the first round of singles qualifying and the first round of main draw singles respectively.
The boys 16s doubles title will be contested by No. 3 seed Alexander Sendegeya of Great Britain and Franz Sydow of the Netherlands against the unseeded Brazilian team of Lucas Meirelles Guitarrari and Marcelo Tebet Filho, both of whom qualified for the main draw in singles.
For the complete draws and order of play, see the tournament website at usta.com.