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Monday, July 14, 2014

Top Seeds Stay on Course in Sweltering Memphis

©Colette Lewis 2014--
Memphis, TN--

Seeded players, who went 32 for 32 in Sunday's first round at the USTA Girls 18s Clay Courts, didn't have quite the same gaudy record in Monday's second round of play, with eight seeds losing.

None were in the top 8 however, with four in the 9-16 range and four No. 17 seeds headed to the back draw.

Second seed Andie Daniell, who had played a mid-afternoon match on Monday, was scheduled first on show court 4, against 14-year-old Ellie Douglas.  Daniell prevailed, 7-5, 6-1, but every game was long and physical in the opening set, which lasted well over an hour, with Douglas serving for it at 5-4.

The young Texan saved two break points from 0-40 down, but an unforced error on the backhand side gave Daniell the break for 5-5.  Daniell held, then broke Douglas again with a return winner, and from then on Douglas was unable to match Daniell's level.

"She was playing really well that first set," said Daniell, a 17-year-old from Douglasville Georgia, who has committed to the University of Alabama. "If she would have won it, I would have just had to refocus, keep trying. I felt my game started to go up, so I felt pretty confident whether I won that set or not. I knew I could win it, so it was just a matter of playing solid at the big moments."

Although the heat and humidity had not yet reached their peak during their match, with the heat index over 100 degrees in the afternoon, the conditions were difficult, even for a Georgia girl.

"It's Georgia weather, it's how it is every day in practice," Daniell said. "It was nice though during that brief section when the clouds came in."

Daniell will play 2011 Clay Court champion Gabby Andrews, a 17 seed, in Tuesday's third round.  Andrews trailed doubles partner Kenadi Hance 2-0 in the final set, but came back for a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 victory.

Top seed Francesca DiLorenzo again rolled through her second round opponent, defeating Christi Woodson 6-1, 6-0.  No. 5 seed Katerina Stewart didn't allow a game for the second straight day, beating Kenya Williams 6-0, 6-0.

Only one seeded player is missing from the top quarter, with Mia Horvit defeating 2013 semifinalist Alexandra Letzt 6-2, 6-3. The two met last year in the same round, with Horvit, the 2012 16s Clay Court champion, retiring down 7-5, 3-0.  Horvit will play DiLorenzo in the third round, a rematch of the 16s clay final.

Unseeded Jada Hart defeated Jessica Golovin, a No. 17 seed, 6-3, 6-1; Rima Asatrian took out No. 9 seed Bianca Moldovan 6-4, 6-4; Erica Oosterhout defeated No. 11 seed Emma Higuchi 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 and Kristen Thoms downed Karina Traxler, a No. 17 seed, 6-3, 2-6, 6-1.  Dominique Schaefer defeated No. 17 seed Lauren Goodman 7-5, 7-5, and Ines Vias beat No. 12 seed Meghan Kelley 7-5, 6-2. Schaefer and Vias will play for a spot in the round of 16.

No. 13 seed Sarah Dvorak was involved in the only singles match still going on Monday when the rains came, and she didn't finish her 6-4, 5-7, 7-3 victory over Tiffany Chen until late Sunday evening.  On Monday, Dvorak lost to unseeded Maddie Pothoff 7-5, 6-2.

"She got off pretty late, I think she got off at around 10," Pothoff said. "So that's tough for her. But I just went out there and played."

Pothoff admitted that Dvorak's lefty serve gave her some trouble early in the match.

"It was throwing me off for sure. Her lefty serve out wide was really throwing me off, so I had to adjust, move over more," said Pothoff, a 16-year-old from Arizona who had played at the Intersectionals in Shreveport, Louisiana last week. "It was a matter of making more balls and adding more spin to my shots. I hit a lot of high balls later on in the match and I think that definitely helped."

Pothoff said she doesn't play much on clay, although she did have an extended training block on it last year.

"I trained at L'Academie de Tennis (in Boynton Beach Florida) for about six months and we trained on clay everyday," Pothoff said. "But for the past eight months, I've just been playing on hard. Intersectionals last week was a good warm up for this, but Inters and Clay Courts are pretty much the only tournaments that I play on clay throughout the year. But I love this surface, and I think it suits my game pretty well."

Another 4 pm thunderstorm disrupted doubles play, with many second round doubles matches, held over from Sunday night, still incomplete. All doubles matches were cancelled due to the rain, so the backlog in doubles is increasing.  Tuesday's forecast is for cooler temperatures, but a chance of rain remains.

Draws can be found at the TennisLink site.