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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Burdette into Third Round at US Open, Johnson and Klahn Get Victories, and Kalamazoo Champions Novikov and Redlicki Earn Doubles Win


Wednesday was a very good day for college tennis at the US Open, highlighted by Mallory Burdette's 6-2, 6-4 second round win over Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic.

I was able to watch the match via the usopen.org livestream, and the first set was all Burdette. Hradecka, ranked No. 69, but more known for her doubles play, didn't play well and Burdette didn't drop a point on serve in the first set. The second set was definitely more competitive and up a break 1-0 in the set, Burdette had to save three break points to keep her lead. Hradecka cut down on her unforced errors, but she couldn't come up with a really big shot when she needed it. Hradecka had three more break points with Burdette serving at 3-2 in the second, but didn't convert, and Burdette didn't give her another one. After Hradecka held at love, Burdette stepped to the line to serve it out, took a 30-0 lead, but then committed her first double fault of the match.  When she sent a forehand long, it looked as though nerves might be getting the best of her, but Hradecka's return went long to give Burdette her first match point. A net cord denied her, but she hit a world class forehand on the next point for match point No. 2. A good first serve forced a long return from Hradecka and the Stanford senior had reached the third round in her US Open debut.

Burdette was asked in the press conference after the match what she felt she did well.

"I think one of the biggest things I did well today was just managing my nerves, managing my thoughts out there. Yeah, every point I stuck to my rituals in between points and was just really focused on trying to be aggressive and playing my game style."

Burdette gave her developmental coach Nick Saviano a lot of credit for that game style.

"He's been working with me since I was 12 years old. He didn't care whether I played pro tennis or college tennis. He saw in me that I was an aggressive‑type of person when I got out there on the court and that that type of game style fit with my personality, and so he always pushed me to be more aggressive, to make use of my volleys, and be very comfortable putting away overheads and things like that.

That's just been a huge part of my game ever since I started working with him. Yeah, I love playing tennis that way. That's the way I like to play."

Burdette, who will not collect the $65,000 that goes to players who make the third round, as she signed in as an amateur, now gets No. 3 seed Maria Sharipova in her next match, and she sounded excited about the possibility.

"It's going to be quite an experience. I've always looked up to Maria. I remember sitting with my coach, Nick, when she won her first Wimbledon title and talking about her game and the way that she plays.I would certainly love to play more like her. It's going to be a lot of fun. I'm really looking forward to it."

Burdette and teammate Nicole Gibbs, who received a wild card after winning the NCAA doubles title, were not able to play their first round match against the Williams sisters due to an injury to Gibbs.

Two-time NCAA champion Steve Johnson picked up his first grand slam singles win today, defeating former Illinois star Rajeev Ram 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3. This match was not on a televised court, but from following it on live scoring, I can tell you Johnson saved three set points serving at 5-6 in the second set, before converting on his first in the tiebreaker.  Ram had his opportunities in the match, but converted only 1 of his 12 break points.  Johnson will play Ernests Gulbis of Latvia, who came from behind to oust No. 21 seed Tommy Haas 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 in just under four hours.

Novikov and Redlicki with Kalamazoo Doubles Trophy
 UCLA sophomore Dennis Novikov is having a memorable first year in the main draw of the Open. Today he and partner Michael Redlicki, the Kalamazoo doubles champions, saved four match points in the third set tiebreaker to beat fellow wild cards Michael Russell and Bobby Reynolds 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(7). Novikov and Redlicki trailed 6-3 in the tiebreaker, then 7-6, but managed to come away with the rare win for the junior champions.

In a day session match that finished at nearly 10 p.m, qualifier Bradley Klahn earned his first grand slam victory, defeating Austria's Jurgen Melzer 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4. The match, which was on televised court 17, started in daylight and ended three hours and thirty-four minutes later.

Klahn was behind 2-0 in each of the first three sets, but he never looked shaken or lacking in confidence as he came back to win the second and third sets.  In the fourth set, the 2012 Stanford graduate trailed 5-2, got the break back and made it 5-5, but lost his serve at love at 5-6, in one of the few poor games he had played since the opening set. Never having played five sets before--in his only previous US Open appearance in 2010, he lost in four sets to Sam Querrey--Klahn might have been discouraged by letting his chance at a tiebreaker to decide the fourth set get away, but he didn't show it.  After four straight holds in the fifth set, Melzer, the 36th-ranked player on the ATP Tour, was broken when his forehand approach went long, and Klahn consolidated with a hold at love. Melzer didn't get a look at a single break point in the fifth set, with Klahn hitting five aces, and Klahn closed out the match with more good serving, falling to his knees when he had claimed the final point.

Klahn will play No. 13 seed Richard Gasquet of France in the second round. If both he and Johnson win their second round matches, they will play each other, a rematch of the 2012 NCAA semifinal, as well as countless other junior and college matches the longtime friends and current roommates have played.

For complete draws and Thursday's schedule, see the tournament website.

9 comments:

College Tennis said...

I hope the Usta, Jose Higueras and All the foreign coaches takes college tennis more seriously because what an incredible amount of success coming from the college players. Excited to see Johnson, Klahn, Novikov, and Burdette doing so well.

Athens said...

What a terrific day (& tournament so far) for college tennis.

wondering said...

With her two wins, Burdette's ranking is now close to the 160s. With such good momentum, doesn't she almost have to play more pro events this fall & see where this run will take her?

Steve said...

Colette:

You mentioned that Burdette cannot collect the $65K for the win because she signed in as an amateur. Are you saying that the same thing applies to Novikov or do you know if he signed in as an amateur, too? If one qualifies for the US Open as a junior national 18 winner of a national or a NCAA champion, can they declare as professional and take the money?

Steve said...

Can girls or boys 18 winner declare pro at US Open and take the money? Same question for NCAA champs?

Colette Lewis said...

@Steve:
Yes, of course, any player can declare themselves a professional at any time. But when any player signs in, they designate whether they are a professional or an amateur and it can't be changed depending on their results.

get real said...

Anyone know when he signed in what did Novikov desginate pro or amateur

Austin said...

Amateur I assume because on ESPN he talked about still being at UCLA.

tennismom said...

Here is the link to the article posted at US Open website that has all the answers re Novikov's plans for the next 5 years:

http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/articles/2012-08-30/201208301346339300238.html