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Monday, July 6, 2015

Brogan Upsets Girls Top Seed Vondrousova; Americans 9-0 Monday and 17-1 in Junior Wimbledon's First Round

©Colette Lewis 2015--

Losses by three of the top four girls seeds and a perfect day for US players made for a memorable Manic Monday on Day Two of the Wimbledon Junior Championships.

Wild card Anna Brogan of Great Britain took out World No. 1 and top seed Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-2,  while American juniors went 9-0 to give the US eight boys and nine girls in Tuesday's second round.

Brogan, who will be 18 next month, could hardly believe the result.

"It doesn't get much better than that," said Brogan, who is from Glasgow, Scotland and a protege of Judy Murray. "She's a very good player and that's why she's number one in the world, but I watched her play (at Roehampton) and felt like I had a good game plan going into the match. I knew what to expect, I got some good information from watching her last week, and I felt like I executed my game plan pretty much perfectly."

Closing out such an upset is not easy, and Brogan admitted to both butterflies and goosebumps.

"I know it's only juniors and all that, but I was playing at Wimbledon," said Brogan, who received four errors from Vondrousova in the final game. "I was up 30-15 and I messed up, missed a short ball. But I focused on each point, hit a good serve. I played a solid match."

Brogan said her serve is not always the most reliable part of her game, but it came through for her Monday.

"I think the biggest thing for me was how well I served," said Brogan, who plays qualifier Katerina Zavatska of Ukraine in the second round. "My serve can be a little in and out sometimes, but I felt like I served extremely well, and I knew I had to, because she has the good lefty serve."

Vondrousova had reached the semifinals of Wimbledon last year and the final at Roehampton last week, but she was not the only player with a grass pedigree to go out to an unseeded Scot on Monday.  Roehampton champion Dalma Galfi of Hungary lost to Maia Lumsden 7-5, 6-3.  No. 4 seed Anna Kalinskaya of Russia was beaten by qualifier Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia 7-6(4), 6-4.

The boys Roehampton champion Michael Mmoh managed to avoid Galfi's fate, beating Geoffrey Blancaneaux of France 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-5, despite a subpar serving day.

"I served awful," said Mmoh, who got only 58 percent of his first serves in and hit 10 doubles faults. "I didn't think I played that bad from the back, I just served horrendously, and I wasn't returning that well."

Mmoh did get a love hold to make it 5-5 in the third set, and Blancaneaux contributed two double faults, the final one on Mmoh's second break point.

"He definitely got nervous there," said Mmoh, who lost the first point in the final game but won the next four, getting all five of his first serves in. "I served well in the final game. I just tried to put all my energy into those first serves. If he hits a good return after one of my first serves that's just too good, but he'd been hitting really good returns off my second serves, so might as well try to get one of those first serves in."

Boys top seed Taylor Fritz faced his only break point of the match in the first game of his 6-3, 6-2 win over British wild card Jay Clarke, relieved that the sprained ankle he suffered in the second round at Roehampton had improved to the stage where he could push off on his serve.

"It's still bothering me, but the last two days, I've noticed a huge improvement," said Fritz, who made the semifinals here last year and considers grass his best surface. "I couldn't get up to serve, to push up off that back foot until yesterday. So when I was able to do it yesterday, it was a huge relief, because now I can actually serve well, and that's the most important thing. I'm still having a little bit of trouble moving my best, but I can play, which is good. Last week it wasn't looking too good."

French Open boys champion Tommy Paul, who beat Fritz in the Paris final, had no difficulty in his first match, defeating qualifier Benjamin Hannestad of Denmark 6-1, 6-1 in 44 minutes.

Paul, the No. 7 seed this week, lost in the third round at Roehampton, but believes he is beginning to get comfortable on grass.

"I went to Nottingham (the ATP 250 the week of Wimbledon qualifying) first and I didn't get into qualifying, I was the first person out, but it was really good that we came here that early," Paul said. "For me, it took me a while to get used to the grass. But now I'm finally timing the ball a lot better, which is awesome. When I first got here, it was my first time on grass, and I could not do anything. I was struggling, but the more I played on it the more comfortable I got. The way this grass is playing is nice. It stays in my strike zone, so I like it."

Ulises Blanch also kept his time on court to a minimum, defeating qualifier Charles Broom of Great Britain 6-1, 6-1.  That was in direct contrast to Reilly Opelka, who saved a match point in the third set of his 4-6, 6-3, 13-11 win over Australian qualifier Alex De Minaur.

Down 30-40 serving at 4-5 in the third, Opelka hit a big forehand to force an error from the quick and aggressive 16-year-old.  Opelka went on to hold, and got a break to take a 10-9 lead, but he was unable to serve out the match.

"I can't believe I lost my serve the first time," said Opelka, who benefitted from two net cord winners in the final two games of the match. "I shanked two short forehands and I was lucky I got another chance, to be honest.  Today was one of those days when you just have to get through it. It was ugly from the first point and it was ugly until the last point."

Opelka credited De Minaur for his good play, but couldn't find anything positive in his own performance.

"Usually there's a time in a match, especially in a long match, where you start to establish your game and it clicks, even if it's not a hundred percent, your best, you start finding something," said Opelka, who was credited with 48 winners but 72 unforced errors. "It just didn't happen, never happened today. I think he had a lot to do with it, because I was hitting the ball great, practicing well, I had a good week last week."

Opelka said he wasn't worried about the physical toll the match may have taken, which, despite the score, was only two hours and 23 minutes in length.

"Ideally I would like to win in straight sets, and if there's a third, not win it 13-11," said Opelka, who had never played in an advantage third set before today. "But I think for tomorrow, I can't get much worse than today, so that's how I'm going to go into it."

Qualifier Emil Reinberg also needed an extended third set to get his first junior slam victory, overcoming a 5-3 deficit in the final set to beat Federico Bonacia of Italy 6-4, 5-7, 8-6.

With Raveena Kingsley's 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 win over Australian qualifier Destanee Aiava and No. 9 seed Sonya Kenin's 6-3, 6-1 victory over Canadian Bianca Andreescu, the quest for a perfect day for Americans fell to No. 10 seed William Blumberg.

Blumberg trailed Djurabeck Karimov of Uzbekistan 4-1 in the final set, but reeled off the final five games of the match for a 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4 victory.  The match was moved from Court 9 to Court 19, which is adjacent to Court 1. With the light fading and the spectators gasping as the scoreboard showed men's top seed Novak Djokovic going down two sets to Kevin Anderson, Blumberg found his highest level. After failing to convert break points at 3-1, Blumberg simply stopped making errors, while playing aggressively from all positions on the court. Once he broke Karimov at 4-2, Blumberg's confidence grew, and the winners began to accumulate, while Karimov's game and his attitude deteriorated. Blumberg broke again and served out the match, celebrating his first Wimbledon victory with loud roar.

The boys draw had only two seeds go out in the first round, with No. 5 seed Seong Chan Hong of Korea losing to Canadian qualifier Denis Shapovalov 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 today, after No. 13 seed Nam Hoang Ly of Vietnam lost on Saturday. Seven of the 16 girls seeds lost in the first round.

The US players(in bold) in Tuesday's second round:

Yunseong Chung (KOR) [11] vs Ulises Blanch
Taylor Fritz [1] vs Sora Fukuda (JPN)
Tommy Paul [7]  vs Juan Jose Rosas (PER)
Olivia Tjandramulia (AUS) vs Caroline Dolehide
Fanni Stollar (HUN) [11] vs Kayla Day
Ingrid Neel vs Tereza Mihalikova (SVK) [10]
Pranjala Yadlapalli (IND) [15] vs Michaela Gordon
Nuno Borges (POR) vs Michael Mmoh [4]
Nathan Ponwith vs Mikael Ymer (SWE) [12]
Qualifier Viktoria Kuzmova (SVK) vs Raveena Kingsley
Corentin Denolly (FRA) [3] vs Reilly Opelka
Sonya Kenin [9] vs Jil Teichmann (SUI)
Usue Arconada [6] vs qualifier Lucie Wargnier (FRA)
Claire Liu vs Evgeniya Levashova (RUS)
William Blumberg [10] vs qualifier Alberto Lim (PHI)
Wild Card Tornado Alicia Black vs Maia Lumsden (GBR)
Qualifier Emil Reinberg vs qualifier Denis Shapovalov (CAN)

Junior draws are here. Tuesday's order of play, including the first round of doubles, is here.