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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Qualifier Kwiatkowski Wins Twice Tuesday Despite Rain Delays at Wimbledon; Kiick Through to Third Round

Thai Kwiatkowski in action Tuesday

©Colette Lewis 2012--

Thai Kwiatkowski waited three days to finish his first match at the All England club, survived two rain delays, one of them overnight, but when another dreary and ostensibly summer day at Wimbledon ended Tuesday, the 17-year-old qualifier was into the round of 16.

When play was finally called due to persistent rain Monday night, Kwiatkowski and Max de Vroome of the Netherlands had played just three games and were on serve. The big-serving de Vroome, who has committed to play for the University of Southern California, is a dangerous opponent, and Kwiatkowski was playing his first match on the grounds, having gotten through two qualifying matches last week at the Roehampton grounds.

"Whenever you play a guy with that big of a serve you're never comfortable returning," said Kwiatkowski, who returned well enough to keep de Vroome's ace count to 13 in the 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 first round win. I just had to make as many returns as possible and make him play."

Max de Vroome falls to Kwiatkowski in first round

At 2-1 in the second, there was another rain delay, one of the countless  times the drizzle became heavy enough to cover the courts Tuesday, and Kwiatkowski was broken when they returned. Down a break in the third, with de Vroome serving at 3-2, Kwiatkowski was able to pull even at 3, and then held for a 5-4 lead.  De Vroome trailed 0-30 at 4-5, but won the next two points, the second on an ace, to reach 30-30. After a short rally, de Vroome hit a forehand long and Kwiatkowski had his first match point.

Bouncing around at the baseline as he waited to return serve, saying "c'mon, right here," Kwiatkowski got a look at a second serve on match point. He got it back, and de Vroome's forehand caught the tape and fell back on his side of the net, giving a Kwiatkowski the win. A perfect 3-for-3 on break points, Kwiatkowski was happy to get his second victory over de Vroome this year.

"I played him in Costa Rica in January," said Kwiatkowski. "Against him, I know I have to put one more ball in the court than he does. It's my third grand slam main draw, but of course playing at Wimbledon, the venue is just unbelievable, and it was tough to put that aside. But I think I did a pretty good job in the second match of focusing on what I had to do, and played much better."

Kwiatkowski waited through yet another delay before starting his second round match with qualifier Elias Ymer of Sweden. The 16-year-old Ymer had beaten No. 12 seed Joshua Ward-Hibbert of Great Britain 6-0, 2-0 in a match resumed from Monday, with Ward-Hibbert trying to play through a shoulder injury, but he was unable to do so. Against Ymer, Kwiatkowski wasn't facing the same kind of serving, and he was able to play more offensively on Ymer's serve.

Serving at 5-2, Kwiatkowski began to cramp, but he served out the match.

"After I broke to go up 5-2 in the second, I felt a little twitch in my leg," said Kwiatkowski. "Luckily I was able to serve that game out, otherwise it might have been tough from there. But I'm fine now."

Kwiatkowski doesn't yet know his opponent in the third round, as No. 6 seed Nikola Milojevic of Serbia and Matteo Donati of Italy were still on court when play was cancelled for the evening at 8 p.m.

Seven second round matches remain unfinished, and four of those were not even started.  The only seeded player to lose in the second round was No. 10 seed Matteo Martinez of Argentina, who lost to Nick Kyrgios of Australia 7-6(6), 6-4.  The 2011 finalist Liam Broady of Great Britain was given a scare by 14-year-old qualifer Stefan Kozlov, dropping the first set before returning from a rain stoppage to post a 6-7(3), 6-0, 6-4 win. For more on that match, see this article from the Wimbledon website.

Eighth seed Mitchell Krueger was trailing 2-1 in a second set tiebreaker with Borna Coric of Croatia when play was called for the night, with Krueger having won the first set 6-3.

Kyle McPhillips was also in a tiebreaker when play was called, but she must win it to stay in her second round match with No. 7 seed Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic. McPhillips, who won her first match of the day over Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 7-5, 6-1, was serving at 5-3 in the second set against Siniakova when the rain stopped play. When they returned to the court, McPhillips was broken, and they managed to play only three more games before the rain came again.

The only girl to advance to the third round was No. 13 seed Allie Kiick, and that was primarily because she was playing on Court 19, where play continued despite stoppages on other courts. Kiick defeated Aldila Sutjiadi of Indonesia 6-3, 6-4, saving two break points in her final service game, which finished just minutes before play was abandoned for the day.

Two other US girls lost their opening round matches.  Qualifier Catherine Harrison trailed Oleksandra Korashvili of Ukraine 5-4, 15-0 in the third set when play was called on Monday, and after only three points Tuesday, Korashvili had secured the 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 win, thanks to three big first serves.

"She was a really good player," said Harrison, who was released from her National Letter of Intent to Georgia Tech and will be joining UCLA in the fall. "Her backhand cross court was very good. I felt I could have played a bit better--my serve let me down a lot yesterday, which was unfortunate, because during qualifying it had really been a weapon. But I was a bit nervous yesterday--I was playing on a bigger court than I was last year--and I don't know, it's Wimbledon, you're going to be nervous. Everyone's nervous."

Jennifer Brady gave No. 2 seed Elizaveta Kulichkova of Russia a tough first round test before falling 6-4, 7-6(5).  Brady's massive forehand to Kulichkova's equally huge backhand resulted in many entertaining points including the last few in the tiebreaker.  Kulichkova got to 6-3 with a forehand winner, but double faulted for 6-4. Brady cracked another forehand winner for 6-5 and was back on serve, but she could not save the third, with her defensive slice floating just long.

Top seed Taylor Townsend and No. 7 seed Sachia Vickery had their second round matches cancelled earlier in the day Tuesday, and with Kiick, are the last of the eight US girls who made the singles field.

Doubles have not yet started, but are on the schedule again for Wednesday.

For complete draws, see the Wimbledon website.


Joey D said...

Did Catherine mention anything about her LOI release? In Bryan Shelton news, Amir Delic is the new men's assistant head coach for the men's team at Florida. They're going to be a force soon