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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Wild Cards Lead Way into Second Round at US Open Junior Championships


©Colette Lewis 2012--
Flushing Meadows, NY

Seven of the ten wild cards who took the courts on opening day of the US Junior Championships posted victories Sunday, five of them in the girls draw.

One of them, 16-year-old Caroline Doyle, cruised past No. 7 seed Petra Uberalova of Slovakia 6-1, 6-4, and despite experiencing her first junior slam, she felt playing a seed in the first round helped her.

"Since she was a top seed, she was obviously was expected to go very far, and that helped me relax a lot. So I just went out, gave it my best shot."

The left-hander from San Francisco could do no wrong against this year's European 18s champion.

"I thought I played really well, solidly," Doyle said. "I thought I was serving well, and my ground strokes were just solid today. My serve, I'm turning that into more of a weapon. And I'm not letting my opponents dictate the points. I'm stepping up and moving them around."

Another wild card picking up her first junior slam win was New Yorker Jamie Loeb, who served for the second set against Mayar Sherif of Egypt, lost that game and the subsequent tiebreaker badly, but regrouped quickly for a 6-2, 6-7(1), 6-0 victory.

National champion Vicky Duval, who received both a women's main draw and a junior wild card for her title in San Diego, found the going a bit easier when Kim Clijsters wasn't on the other side of the net. Duval defeated Varvara Flint of Russia 7-5, 6-0.  Samantha Crawford, who won three qualifying matches to reach the women's main draw before losing to Laura Robson, started her junior tournament with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Zuzanna Maciejewska of Poland.  Liz Jeukeng had considerably more difficulty, but the 16-year-old wild card came through against Camilla Rosatello of Italy 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

In addition to those five wild cards, three seeded girls won. No. 10 Chalena Scholl picked up a 6-2, 6-2 win over Dominika Paterova of the Czech Republic, while No. 8 seed Sachia Vickery posted a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Laura Pigossi of Brazil.  Top seed Taylor Townsend, who has been out of action since losing to Duval in the first round of qualifying for the Vancouver challenger in early August, got her campaign for a second junior slam singles title underway with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Laura Ucros of Colombia.

Townsend, who had a minor illness, said her reason for not playing the past few weeks was a "long story," but said she was just fine, not nursing any injury and feels well-rested.

"I was a little sick for a little bit of time, but I'm just glad to be here," said Townsend. "Honestly, this is as excited as I've been to play a tournament in a long time."

The US girls went 7-2 on Sunday, but the news wasn't as positive on the boys side, with only two wild cards, Stefan Kozlov and Harrison Adams, collecting wins, with five boys losing, including No. 15 seed Mackenzie McDonald. McDonald fell to Hyeon Chung of Korea 6-3, 3-6, 6-0.



Fourteen-year-old Stefan Kozlov had an extra confidence boost prior to taking on No. 10 seed Stefano Napolitano of Italy, serving as a practice partner for Roger Federer two days ago.

"It was crazy," said wild card Kozlov, who advanced to the second round when Napolitano retired trailing 6-3, 4-6, 4-2. "I think it was two days ago, I'm not sure. I got so much confidence hitting with him the first time. It was very exciting. Great guy."

Kozlov apparently impressed the Wimbledon champion, because he was asked to hit again later in the afternoon Sunday.

"I was hitting the ball well," Kozlov said. "I wasn't missing much, so I was pretty happy."

Harrison Adams, who has hit with both James Blake and Sam Querrey since arriving in New York, picked up a win in his junior slam debut, defeating Luke Bambridge of Great Britain 6-4, 6-3.

Top seed Kimmer Coppejans of Belgium struggled a bit early against Matteo Donati of Italy, but found his form for a 7-5, 6-2 victory.

In addition to McDonald and Napolitano, one other boys seed lost Sunday, with No. 6 seed Nikola Milojevic of Serbia dropping a 6-2, 6-1 decision to Maximilian Marterer of Germany.

Among the girls seeds, Uberalova was not the only one making a first-round exit. No. 5 seed Elizaveta Kulichkova of Russia lost to Ellen Allgurin of Sweden 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

The doubles draws have been released, with Kulichkova and Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan the top girls seeds, and 2011 US Open junior finalists Townsend and Gabby Andrews seeded fourth.  The top-seeded boys team is Filip Peliwo of Canada and Kaichi Uchida of Japan. McDonald and Mitchell Krueger of the US are the second seeds.

The first round of singles will be completed Monday, if there isn't any rain, and a few doubles matches are also on the schedule.

For the junior draws, see the US Open website.

3 comments:

Piedmont Fan said...

After his semifinal run at the Aussie Open Mackie Macdonald lost first round in every other Grand Slam. Too bad, I really thought he would go deeper in NY.

socalfanatic said...

Aussie Open is not always the best benchmark and can set up some false expectations as the distance causes the draws to be lighter than other slams.

Piedmont Fan said...

Good point @socalfanatic, I do recall many players skip the Aussie due to the tremendous expense and distance. It'll be interesting to see Macdonald's results next year and which college (if any) he chooses to attend.