Chen Defeats No. 3 Seed Mihalikova at Eddie Herr ITF as Ten US Girls Reach Round of 16; Top Two Boys Seeds Tested in Second Round
©Colette Lewis 2015--
The top two seeds in the boys and girls draws have reached Thursday's third round at the ITF Grade 1 Eddie Herr Championships, but Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas both needed comebacks, while Dalma Galfi and Sonya Kenin moved on with straight-set wins.
No. 2 seed Tsitsipas, playing on the Academy Park courts a tram ride away from the main tennis center, defeated Gabriel Decamps of Brazil 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, while top seed Ruud outlasted Bojan Jankulovski of Macedonia 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 on Court 1.
Jankulovski, a 17-year-old left-hander ranked 151, showed no fear against the ITF's fifth-ranked junior, breaking Ruud twice in the opening set. But Ruud, who made plenty of errors, both forced and unforced, in those opening games, broke Jankulovski serving for the set and held, which signaled the start of his comeback. Ruud went up 5-0 in the second set, adjusting to Jankulovski's pace, making fewer errors and employing his drop shot to maximum effect.
Jankulovski went up 2-0 in the second set, but Ruud immediately broke back and won six of the final seven games to end the two and a half hour match.
Defending champion Galfi defeated her second consecutive 14-year-old, beating Caty McNally 7-5, 6-1, while Sonya Kenin earned a quick 6-2, 6-0 over another 14-year-old Olga Danilovic of Serbia. Galfi will play No. 14 seed Jaqueline Cristian of Romania in the third round, and Kenin faces No. 16 seed Anastasia Detiuc of Moldova.
One 14-year-old did advance, wild card Amanda Anisimova, who defeated No. 7 seed and Yucatan Cup finalist Bianca Andreescu of Canada 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Anisimova, who won the Grade A Abierto Juvenil Mexicano two weeks ago, pulled out of last week's Yucatan Cup, so she arrived in Bradenton a bit fresher than her opponent. Although her confidence is high now, the young Floridian admitted that her performance in Mexico City was unexpected.
"I had some great wins," said Anisimova. "I really didn't think I could do that. But it has kind of changed my mentality."
Anisimova said she likes all surfaces and doesn't see a big difference between the red clay of Mexico and the Har-Tru green clay at the IMG Academy.
"The red clay was actually pretty fast, so it suited my game like a hard court," Anisimova said. "I just like playing aggressive and really fast."
Anisimova will play No. 11 seed Michaela Gordon, who beat wild card Ellie Douglas, the 2012 Eddie Herr 12s champion, 6-0, 6-4.
Gordon and Anisimova are one of four all-American matches in the round of 16, with No. 15 seed Alexandra Sanford and Kelly Chen the other match in their quarter.
Sanford defeated 14-year-old qualifier Sabina Dadaciu 7-5, 6-3, while Chen took out No. 3 seed Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia 7-6(7), 7-5.
Chen went down 3-0 to open the match, came back to serve for it at 5-4, but didn't convert either of her set points.
"She was missing a little bit more than me," Chen said of the subsequent tiebreaker. "I tried to take advantage of that, and also put pressure on her second serves, and that worked for me."
Chen went up 4-1 in the second set, but Mihalikova got the break back.
"I was expecting her to fight from 1-4 down," said Chen, a 16-year-old from California. "But I think I was just too relaxed and let her come back a little bit."
Chen was aware that Mihalikova likes to finish points at the net, but she managed to keep her from using that tactic effectively.
"I saw her first match and she was coming in, so I was anticipating that," said Chen, who didn't know that Mihalikova had won the Australian Open girls title back in January. "But she was just hitting too many short balls and I was hitting balls deeper and that allowed me to come in more. I think I was mixing it up more than I did in my first round match and my goal was to keep her moving most of the time."
A sloppy final service game by Mihalikova, who double faulted on match point, preempted another tiebreaker and Chen was happy to get it done in two sets, after a long three-setter in her first round win Tuesday. But Chen said an ice bath helped her recover and she's anticipating another one Wednesday night.
The third all-American match will feature Yucatan Cup champion Kayla Day, the No. 9 seed, against unseeded Claire Liu. Liu defeated No. 12 seed Ingrid Neel 6-2, 7-6(5), while Day beat Lamis Alhussein Abdel Aziz of Egypt 7-5, 7-5.
The fourth all-American match features Kylie McKenzie against qualifier Hanna Chang. McKenzie ended Sofia Sewing's quest for a third straight Eddie Herr title, beating the 14s and 16s champion 6-2, 6-4. Chang defeated No. 4 seed Charlotte Robillard-Millette of Canada 7-5, 6-3, her second Top 10 ITF win in three weeks, after beating Wimbledon girls finalist Anna Blinkova of Russia in the third round of the Grade A in Mexico City.
Chang, a 17-year-old from San Marino, California, said qualifying wasn't necessarily a bad thing.
"I feel the qualifying matches prepared me for these big players," Chang said. "It helped me stay focused and get ready."
Against Robillard-Millette, Chang said she felt "very energetic, pretty calm and mentally stable. I played aggressive, the way I should have played. I feel like I played pretty well over all."
Chang trains at San Marino Tennis Center with Paul Salvadore, her coach for five years, and she is also working with former USC player Peter Lucassen, who is coaching several other juniors, including Brandon Holt and Vanessa Streng.
"I feel like I am starting to mature as a player," Chang said of her recent success. "As for the difference in my game, I think I'm getting fitter physically, and that's important."
The tenth US girl in Thursday's round of 16 is Morgan Coppoc, who defeated lucky loser Taylor Russo 6-3, 6-4. She will play Oana Gavrila of Romania, who beat No. 13 seed Ines Ibbou of Algeria by the same score.
Three American boys have advanced to the third round. Qualifier John McNally won his fifth match in the past five days when Piotr Matuszewski retired with an injury trailing 6-1, 5-2. He will play No. 12 seed Ulises Blanch, who beat Lucas Koelle of Brazil 6-2, 6-2, assuring the US of at least one quarterfinalist.
Vasil Kirkov defeated Zeke Clark 6-1, 6-3 and will play No. 7 seed Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia. No. 9 seed Nathan Ponwith fell to Alexander Lazarov of Bulgaria 6-1, 7-5.
No. 10 seed Genaro Olivieri of Argentina, the Grade A Abierto Juvenil Mexicano champion, was beaten by Ryan Storrie of Great Britain in a three and a half hour marathon 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-6(4).
Top seeds Kecmanovic and Ruud advanced to the quarterfinals in boys doubles, as did Galfi and Mihalikova, the No. 1 seeds in the girls draw.
Thursday's order of play and updated draws for the ITF are available at eddieherr.com
Two of the top seeds in the younger age divisions lost in Wednesday's second round.
Boys 12s No. 1 Hamad Medjedovic of Serbia fell to lucky loser Credit Chaiyarin of Thailand 7-5, 6-2 and Girls 14s No. 1 Maia Haumuller of Argentina was beaten by Saara Orav of Estonia 6-3, 7-5.
Complete results can be found on the TennisLink site.