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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Quarterfinals Set at US Open Junior Championships; Trio of US Girls Move On

©Colette Lewis 2012--
Flushing Meadows, NY--

After two days of doubles play at Sound Shore Indoor Tennis Club in Port Chester, the juniors returned to Flushing Meadows for the second and third round of singles Thursday.  On a mostly overcast but humid day, top seeds Taylor Townsend of the US and Kimmer Coppejans of Belgium advanced to the quarterfinals with two straight set wins, while No. 2 seeds Yulia Putinseva of Kazakhstan and Filip Peliwo of Canada also kept their hopes alive for a title with two victories.

Townsend struggled in her second round match against Elise Mertens of Belgium, needing over two hours to record a 7-6(4), 7-5 win on court 17.

"Each of us were making a lot of unforced errors and exchanging breaks of serve," said Townsend. "There were a lot of switches in momentum. But the most important thing was that I played good tennis when I needed to and won the big points."

Townsend came out for her second match of the day against No. 16 seed Marcela Zacarias of Mexico with a bit more urgency, taking the first set 6-0 in 19 minutes. The second set was similar to the first two she had played against Mertens, with momentum changes and lost opportunities until she claimed the tiebreaker.

"Marcy started putting more balls in play and I started missing some returns," Townsend said. "And she was getting some shots back that she wasn't getting back in the first set, and I was kind of on my heels. But my serve helped me a lot, especially on ad points or when I was down 0-30 or something and I was able to get back in the game."

In the tiebreaker, Townsend took a 6-2 lead with an unreturnable serve, but wasn't able to close the door immediately. Zacarias hit a swinging forehand putaway and Townsend missed two returns to make it 6-5. Townsend didn't make her first serve on her fourth match point, but Zacarias went for the winner on Townsend's second serve and hit it long.

Townsend said she felt fine physically despite the four sets of tennis within eight hours time.

"I was actually really proud," said Townsend, who is also in the doubles semifinals on Friday. "After the first match, it was pretty tough, and I hadn't played a long match like that in a while. I was really glad I was able to come back out really focused and reset myself. I had good energy and didn't let a couple of points here or there get me down."

Townsend will face No. 12 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in the quarterfinals, whom she has beaten twice on hard courts earlier this year.

The second American in the top half is National 18s champion Vicky Duval, who got a big win in her second round match, taking out Wimbledon girls champion and No. 3 seed Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 2-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Duval, a wild card, said Bouchard "blew me off the court" in the first set, but she made adjustments, which is how she survives against the bigger hitters.

"I'm not the most powerful player out there," said Duval. "I do win a lot of my matches by thinking through it."

Bouchard was up 2-0 in the third set, but Duval won four straight games before Bouchard held for 4-3.  Duval had a match point with Bouchard serving at 3-5, but missed a second serve return by a wide margin, and Bouchard held, forcing Duval to serve it out.

It started poorly for the 16-year-old Floridian, with a double fault.

"I was nervous as a brick, I could not even breathe," said Duval. "Her missing the return at 0-15 definitely helped me relax, because I was like, maybe she's as nervous as I am. But going from 40-15 back to deuce was definitely not cool, but I'm glad I pulled through it."

After squandering those two match points with first a forehand, then a backhand long, Duval got her fourth match point when Bouchard again netted a second serve backhand return. On the final point, Bouchard and Duval had a long rally, exchanging powerful ground strokes until Duval found a cross court forehand angle for a winner.

"I kind of hit that forehand with my eyes closed," Duval said. "I was like, go over and be a winner already, because that was a super long point. And she was in it the whole time."

Duval was able to come back out a short time later, and although she said she was in pain from her long match with Bouchard, she put that out of her mind and dispatched Kathinka von Deichmann of Lichtenstein 6-2, 6-2.

"I physically struggled in the second match, because it was such an intense match with Genie," said Duval. "But I was just telling myself if I could go through this pain for just an hour, instead of trying to make the match longer, I'll be happy at the end."

Duval will meet No. 9 seed Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan, who beat wild card Caroline Doyle 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 in the third round.

The third American girl to reach the quarterfinals is Samantha Crawford, who overcame No. 11 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-5 in the second round and No.. 8 seed Sachia Vickery 0-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Against Bencic, Crawford led 3-1 in the final set, but Bencic got the break back and both players held until Bencic was serving at 5-6. Crawford stepped up her game to get two match points, but she sent a second serve return, which she had feasted on throughout the match, long to lose the first match point. Bencic couldn't match Crawford in the winner department, but she came up with a forehand winner to save the second match point. Crawford did not miss in the final two points though, hitting a backhand winner for match point No. 3 and closing it out with a forehand winner, in classic first-strike tennis fashion.

After such a close and tense battle, Crawford returned to the court against Vickery without her big shots dialed in and she dropped the opener in 23 minutes.

"The first set went by really quickly," said Crawford. "She played well and she wasn't really making any mistakes, and was forcing me to make mistakes, and I started making a lot. But the second set, I had nothing to lose, and my goal was to get one game, and from then on I just felt relaxed."

Crawford admitted that her fatigue helped her focus on making her usual short rallies even shorter.

"I was getting tired and kind of got lucky on a couple of shots," said Crawford, a wild card. "I was really taking control of the points and not trying to let the points go too long, because I didn't think that was going to end well for me if they were really long points."

Crawford will play No. 2 seed Putintseva in the quarterfinals. Putintseva, who won a tough 7-6(8), 7-6(3) decision from No. 14 seed Carol Zhao to reach the quarterfinals, has beaten Crawford in their two meetings as juniors--at last year's US Open juniors and at the Orange Bowl in December.

The other girls quarterfinal will see No. 4 seed Antonia Lottner of Germany takes on unseeded Ilka Csoregi of Romania.

The boys quarterfinals will feature no Americans after wild cards Stefan Kozlov and Harrison Adams both fell in the third round.  Kozlov failed to convert a match point in the second set of his second round match with Jordan Thompson of Australia and although he went on to take the third set in a 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3 win, he had no energy left against unseeded Wayne Montgomery of South Africa, losing 6-2, 6-3 as the sun set on the USTA Bille Jean King National Tennis Center.  Adams beat No. 11 seed Daniel Masur of Germany 6-3, 6-4 to reach the third round, but he fell to No. 8 seed Kaichi Uchida of Japan 7-5, 7-6(5) in the nightcap.

French Open boys champion Coppejans will play Uchida in Friday's quarterfinal, while Montgomery will face No. 13 seed Liam Broady of Great Britain. Peliwo, the Wimbledon boys champion, will play No. 7 seed Nick Kyrgios of Australia.  No. 3 seed Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy plays unseeded Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan in the final quarterfinal pairing set late Thursday night.

The doubles semifinals are also scheduled for Friday, with Townsend and Gabby Andrews, the No. 4 seeds, the only Americans still contending for the doubles title.

For complete results, see the tournament website.


USTA hitting Rock Bottom said...

absolutely embarrassing on jose higueras and the usta for benching taylor for her weight. there are plenty of women on tour that are in worse shape than taylor. this is her body type. Please read artcile from martina and lindsey. they are 100% correct.

Taylor is 16 not 23 - she still has some baby fat and this could kill her confidence. Look at Davenport, Bartoli, Serena, Seles and could go on and on!!!!!!

absolutely embarrassing

townsend fan said...

What is embarrasing is that people defend the idea of allowing a player to compete unprepared, whether it is overweight or out of condition. To compare Townsend to Davenport, Bartoli or Serena is not fair or accurate. These women do have a different body type but they worked or still work to the limit because they were or are motivated to do so. Townsend was given the opportunity and didn't rise to the challenge. If you pay the bills, you have the right to set the standards. Any Federation would do that and more.

Benching is a term used by the WSJ to be sensational. It sells newspapers. Taylor has all of the confidence she needs to compete at the junior and pro level. That is not going to be killed. Not even close. The hope is that she is getting a wake up call and get on with doing what she needs to do. People need to stop making excuses for her and trashing the USTA without proper knowledge. Taylor can be succesful.

Lavina Washington-Tyler said...

Taylor's management needs to get her into a sit-down with Casey Dellacqua. She's a girl who understands full well what it's like to have a body type that is prone to carrying excess weight but who has been able to trim down. Due to lack of finacial support it took Dellacqua until her early 20's before she was able to get it under control. We don't want Taylor to go through the same thing or suffer the same physical problems (ankle and knee issues) that Casey did because she was carrying too much weight. Neither one of them will ever have an idealised athletic physique but Casey has shown that through hard work you can get into the best shape for your physique.

Also, anyone who thinks Taylor is only carrying baby fat just doesn't know what they're talking about. And, as a mother of three girls with Black-Samoan heritage I can tell you straight, if you are prone to excess weight excusing anything as a little baby fat is just adding to the problem. Some of us just aren't naturally slim and pretending that we will be in time is damaging to our health and well-being. Taylor has a gift but that's not enough if someone don't take her in hand with her diet.

The Dude said...

Collette, will the juniors be playing at Sound Shore today?

Colette Lewis said...

No, I don't expect them to play indoors Saturday