Saturday, January 10, 2015

Gordon Sweeps Titles at Coffee Bowl; Lenz Reaches Plantation Final; LA Semis Rained Out

Michaela Gordon and Usue Arconada met twice in finals Saturday at the ITF Grade 1 Coffee Bowl, with Gordon coming out the winner both times.

The day began with the girls doubles final, with Arconada and her partner Evgeniya Levashova of Russia, the top seeds, taking on second seeds Gordon and her partner Claire Liu. Gordon and Liu came out on top in that contest 7-5, 6-4 and both girls had plenty of time to rest before the singles final tonight.

Gordon started out in control of the match, taking a 4-0 lead, but there was no sense that the conclusion would come quickly, and it was over two hours before she had claimed a 7-6(5), 6-2 victory.
At the start, Arconada was missing many of the shots she usually makes and only just on the big points; soon enough she was right back in the match, getting one of the breaks back to make it 4-1.  Gordon held on for 5-2, but all the games were close, and the rallies long. it was when Arconada saved two set points to hold for 5-3 that the match began to turn in her favor.  Serving for the set at 5-3, Gordon had a third set point, but missed a forehand wide, and Arconada finally broke on her fourth opportunity of the game.  Arconada held for 5-all and broke Gordon again to give herself a chance to serve for the set, but she didn't get any closer than 30-all, with two errors giving Gordon the game.

The tiebreaker started much as the set had, with Gordon taking the lead and Arconada fighting back. Down 3-0, Arconada got back to even at 4-4, but missed a second serve return badly for 5-4. When she sent a backhand long, Gordon had two more set points, and she finally converted on her fifth, with Arconada forehand going long.

The second set started as the first had, with Gordon taking a two-break lead. This time she held on, going up 5-1, but Arconada kept battling, holding for 5-2.  The final game was long and dramatic, with Gordon saving a break point at 30-40, then watching four match points come and go, two of them on double faults.  A forehand winner gave the 15-year-old Gordon her fifth match point and when Arconada went for a big forehand and just missed it, Gordon could exhale and enjoy her first Grade 1 title.

In the boys doubles final, No. 4 seeds Emil Reinberg and Oscar Janglin of Sweden won over No. 2 seeds Ulises Blanch and Marcelo Barrios of Chile 2-6, 6-4, 10-5.  The boys singles final is later tonight.

Rain in Los Angeles kept the semifinals of the $15,000 Futures from starting today, so both the semis and the final are scheduled for Sunday. Taylor Fritz plays No. 3 seed Jason Jung and No. 8 seed Mitchell Krueger faces No. 6 seed Dimitar Kutrovsky of Bulgaria.  The doubles final was played Friday night, with Kutrovsky and Dennis Novikov, the No. 4 seeds, beating top seeds James Cluskey of Ireland and Frederik Nielsen of Denmark 4-6, 6-1, 10-4.

At the $10,000 Plantation Futures, Baylor junior Julian Lenz advanced to his third career Futures final, beating No. 4 seed Gonzalo Escobar of Ecuador 6-2, 6-2.  The 21-year-old German will go for his first title against top seed Christian Lindell of Sweden on Sunday.  Lindell beat wild card Deiton Baughman 6-2, 7-5.

With all the tennis going on in North America, I neglected to mention the great run this week by Oklahoma sophomore Andrew Harris of Australia. Harris qualified for the $50,000 ATP Challenger in his home country and won three main draw matches before losing to No. 2 seed Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 6-4.  For more on Harris' performance this week, see the Oklahoma website.