Chen Survives Four-Hour Match at Eddie Herr ITF; Gordon Ousts 2013 Finalist Samir; Top Seeds Bellis, Chung Cruise in Openers
©Colette Lewis 2014--
It took an hour and a half to complete the first set, and nearly four hours to finish the match, yet Kelly Chen, who beat Olesya Pervushina of Russia 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(6) in the first round of the ITF Grade 1 Eddie Herr International, remembered a similar match in her recent past.
"It was last year, in San Diego, and I played Jessica Failla," said the 15-year-old from Cerritos, California. "On hard court. So I knew I could do it."
Pervushina, who is 14, saved a match point serving at 4-5 in the third set, with two of her shots in the rally clipping the netcord but staying in play as the crowd gathered around Court 6 held their collective breath. Chen eventually netted a backhand and a deft lob winner gave Pervushina a game point, which she converted by forcing a backhand error.
Chen was broken at love in the next game, with Pervushina hitting three winners, including another one via the lob. Serving for the match, Pervushina made an unforced backhand error, double faulted and missed a drop shot attempt badly. At 0-40, Chen hit a forehand winner, and three hours and 40 minutes from its start, a tiebreaker would decide the match.
With Chen leading 4-3 and serving in the tiebreaker, Pervushina broke a string early in the rally and came to the net, drawing Chen in with a volley. After a half dozen attempts by each girl to get the ball by her opponent, Chen finally put it out of Pervushina's reach and even indulged in some rare emotion, yelling "c'mon, let's go."
Chen then got a net cord winner on the next point, giving her three match points at 6-3, but Pervushina stayed with her, winning both points on her own serve when Chen made errors. Serving at 6-5, her fourth match point, Chen sent a backhand wide and Pervushina looked as if she might escape. But she sent a forehand approach wide to give Chen a fifth and final match point, with a Pervushina backhand going wide to end it.
"That girl's really good," said Chen. "I know she's younger than me and there's some pressure on my side, but overall, I thought I played well. In the second set I was a bit down, my hamstring started to get tight, and I was a bit slower. But I just kept telling myself to keep fighting."
Three other matches, all on the boys side, ended in third set tiebreakers. Sixth seed Mikael Ymer of Sweden defeated Ulises Blanch 2-6, 6-2, 7-6(3), Lian Yu Richard Lin of Taiwan defeated Aziz Dougaz of Tunisia 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(3), and Tung-lin Wu of Taiwan defeated Franco Capalbo of Argentina 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(5).
The top seeds had no difficulty in beginning their quest for an Eddie Herr title. Boys No. 1 Yunseong Chung of Korea beat wild card Jacob Hansen 6-0, 6-0 and girls No. 1 CiCi Bellis followed him on stadium court, posting a 6-1, 6-3 win over Canadian Charlotte Robillard-Millette.
Last year's finalist Sandra Samir of Egypt, the No. 8 seed this year, was defeated by 15-year-old Michaela Gordon 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. Gordon had also defeated Samir earlier this year at Wimbledon. No. 9 seed Raveena Kingsley and No. 12 seed Sonya Kenin advanced in straight sets, but the fourth seeded American girl, No. 11 Usue Arconada was beaten by 2010 Eddie Herr 12s champion Katarina Jokic of Serbia 7-6(5), 6-0. Wild cards Caroline Dolehide and Claire Liu were other US winners on Monday, with the US girls going 7-7 on the day. Seven more are in first round action on Tuesday.
The US boys were decidedly less successful, with a 3-10 record on the day. Number 13 seed William Blumberg and No. 16 seed Sameer Kumar won easily, as did unseeded Tommy Paul. Three US boys, Nathan Ponwith, Anudeep Kodali and Robert Levine, retired from their matches.
Tuesday's schedule has eight US boys in first round singles action, including No. 2 seed Michael Mmoh, who plays qualifier Christian Sigsgaard of Denmark.
Doubles will begin on Tuesday, with Chung and Seong Chan Hong of Korea the top boys seeds and Bellis and Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic the top girls seeds.
The first round of singles in the younger age divisions were played today, and the top seed in the boys 14s is already out. Texan Jaycer Calleros defeated No. 1 Marko Miladinovic of Serbia 6-0, 6-7(2), 6-2.
Draws and order of play are available at the tournament website.
For scores of the 12s, 14s, and 16s, posted throughout the day, see the TennisLink site.