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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Redondo Beach's Manasse Ousts No. 4 Seed in Second Round of ITF Grade 1 International Spring Championships; Dolehide Takes Out Top Seed to Reach 16s Quarterfinals

©Colette Lewis 2013--
Carson, CA--

Maegan Manasse has only played four ITF junior tournaments prior to this week's International Spring Championships, and all but one of those were in Southern California. Living just 15 minutes away from the Home Depot Center, the Redondo Beach senior has used the short commute to her advantage, as she upset No. 4 seed and ITF No. 42 Sandra Samir of Egypt 7-6(6), 6-4 in second round action Wednesday.

"It's really nice having home-cooked meals and sleeping in my own bed," said Manasse, who is joining the Cal Bears this fall. 

With such limited exposure to ITFs, Manasse hasn't played many of those in the draw, so she must figure out the best strategy on the fly.

"I always start out with the same thing, trying to control the points, go to the backhand," Manasse said. "Unless I realize that playing to the forehand is better. I'll play more angles, just see little things here or there."

Manasse trailed 5-3 40-0 in the first set, so she counted herself lucky to take the tiebreaker.

"I actually thought [about strategy] a little too late at the end of the first set, but I picked it up," Manasse said. "I was making too many errors in the beginning, but I was able to control the point with my forehand. In the second set, we just kept breaking each other, but I held one more time than she did."

Samir was the highest girls seed to fall in the second round, but hardly the only one, with eight seeds losing Wednesday. Qualifier Kimberly Yee, the 2012 16s national champion, defeated No. 7 seed Dasha Ivanova 6-1, 6-2, wild card Spencer Liang ousted No. 10 seed Usue Arconada 6-3, 6-1, and Nicole Frenkel came back to post a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over No. 9 seed Johnnise Renaud. Ines Vias rolled past No. 16 seed Cassandra Vazquez 6-4, 6-0, Adeliya Zabirova of Russia defeated No. 13 seed Marie Norris 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 and Ellyse Hamlin advanced when No. 15 seed Kaitlyn McCarthy had to retire with blisters at 5-5 in the first set.  

Unseeded Mayo Hibi celebrated her 17th birthday with a 6-1, 6-0 win over No. 6 seed Rianna Valdes. The match, the last of the day, featured quite a few close games, but Hibi obviously won them.

Top seed Christina Makarova trailed 4-1 in both the first and second sets against Ayla Aksu, but won the last five games in each instance to claim a 6-4, 6-4 victory that wasn't as routine as the score would suggest.

After losing six seeds in the first round, the boys draw saw only one exit on Wednesday, with No. 8 seed Martin Redlicki dropping a 7-6(5), 6-4 decision to Ciro Riccardi.

That's not to imply the seeds had an easy time however, as No. 2 seed Stefan Kozlov, No. 3 seed Mackenzie McDonald and No. 6 seed Spencer Papa all were taken to three sets.

After his long, physical win over Ernesto Escobedo on Tuesday, Kozlov was no doubt hoping for a less taxing contest against qualifier Stefan Doehler, but he didn't get it, and he again was on court for more than two hours before posting a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 win.

McDonald was up against fellow UCLA recruit Joe DiGiulio, a wild card, on the featured court, court 4.  McDonald, the 18s Easter Bowl champion in 2012, and DiGiulio, the 16s Easter Bowl champion last year, were evenly matched throughout the contest, but it was McDonald that maintained his focus in the later stages, taking a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory.

Papa also needed to rebound from a first set loss, but he kept calm as the afternoon breeze made its usual appearance, overcoming an erratic opponent in Diego Nunez Felix of Mexico 5-7, 7-4, 6-3.

Top seed Noah Rubin was challenged by wild card Gage Brymer, another UCLA recruit who was featured on court 4, but Rubin survived 7-6(6), 6-3. Rubin served for the first set at both 5-4, and 6-5, and neither time did he get to set point. Neither player had more than a one-point lead in the tiebreaker, with Brymer saving one set point serving at 5-6. But he netted a forehand on his next serve and Rubin cranked a forehand winner to take the set.

Brymer was up a break at 3-2 in the second set, but gave it right back, and in his next service game, at 3-4, Brymer threw in two double faults, including one on game point to give Rubin a chance to serve for the match.  After taking a 40-0 lead, Rubin couldn't convert on his first two match points, but he found a winner when he needed it, this time on the backhand side, on the third match point.

While Rubin and Makarova kept the hopes of the top seeds alive in the 18s, the girls 16s lost their No. 1 in the third round, with No. 14 seed Caroline Dolehide defeating Ally Miller-Krasilnikov 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.  

Dolehide, who is just 14 and lost in the first round of the tournament last year, was wearing warm clothing to begin her 8 a.m. match in the cloudy morning chill, but once she shed that after losing the first set, the match turned in her favor.

"I actually wore a sweat top and so I had to go to the bathroom and change into another shirt," said Dolehide, the younger sister of UCLA Bruin Courtney Dolehide. "But after that, everything was fine. I felt a lot more comfortable on court."

UCLA coach Stella Sampras Webster watched some of Dolehide's match, but while Dolehide noticed that, she hasn't given much thought to that next phase of her career.

"If I get good enough to play pro, I'd love to play pro," said Dolehide, who is from Hinsdale, Illinois. "But if not, I'd love to go to college. I don't really have a specific college in mind."

Dolehide is the only seed remaining in the top half of the draw, and she will play Angela Kulikov in the quarterfinals. 

Boys top seed William Blumberg fought off a serious challenge in the first set from No. 15 seed Connor Hance, then found his form in the second to take a 7-6(5), 6-1 decision. Blumberg is competing in his first tournament of the year after rehabbing an elbow injury.

Doubles quarterfinals in both age divisions are scheduled for Thursday.

For complete draws and results, see the tournament page at usta.com.


Aussielove said...

Collette are all these juniors there playing the same way? You know a bunch of baseline grinding. No big serving and nobody coming forward?