Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Top Seeds Osuigwe and Fenty Move into Quarterfinals at ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed; Schachter Eliminates Last Seed in Bottom Half of Boys Draw

©Colette Lewis 2017--
Tulsa, OK--

Top seed girls seed Whitney Osuigwe and top boys seed Andrew Fenty have advanced to the quarterfinals of the ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed, with each earning a straight-sets victory on a cool and sunny day on the campus of the University of Tulsa.

Osuigwe defeated No. 16 seed Peyton Stearns 6-2, 6-3, while Fenty beat doubles partner and friend William Woodall, the No. 15 seed, 6-4, 6-1.

Osuigwe will face fellow 15-year-old Katie Volynets, the No. 9 seed, who beat No. 5 seed Hurricane Tyra Black 6-3, 7-5.  Volynets trailed 4-1 in the second set, but won six of the last seven games to set up a meeting with the French Open champion and the No. 2 player in the ITF Junior world rankings.

"She started playing better in the second set and I made a few more errors in the beginning," said Volynets, who reached the quarterfinals of the US Open Junior Championships last month. "But I got my groove again and started playing better and that helped me to get back up."

Volynets and Osuigwe played in the round of 16 at USTA National Championships in San Diego in August, with Osuigwe winning 7-5, 7-6(3). Despite that recent experience, Volynets has yet to formulate her strategy for Thursday's match, although she said she is "super excited."

"I haven't really thought much about this match yet," Volynets said. "I will probably analyze more tonight, but I've just been focusing on each of my matches. No, I'll definitely analyze more tonight."

After making history last December by winning the Eddie Herr 16 and Orange Bowl 16s back-to-back, Volynets was determined not to lose sight of her ultimate goal, which has nothing to do with her performance as a junior.

"I remember that after one good spot, I'm closer to my ultimate goal, but I'm not there yet." Volynets said. "I still have a lot to do to get to the ultimate goal: to be a top pro player. I make sure I look at where I want to be."

The other quarterfinal in the top half of the draw features No. 10 seed Margaryta Bilokin of Ukraine against unseeded 14-year-old wild card Alexandra Yepifanova. Bilokin defeated Kylie Collins 6-4, 6-3, while Yepifanova defeated No. 13 seed Chloe Beck 6-4, 6-2.

The second unseeded girl in the quarterfinals is Abigail Forbes, who beat Malkia Ngounoue 6-1, 6-2. She will play No. 3 seed Natasha Subhash, who survived a nearly three-and-a-half-hour battle with Meg Kowalski before earning a 6-1, 6-7(5), 7-5 win.  Subhash faced a break point at 4-4 in the third set, after a great display of defense from Kowalski ended with a lob winner.  Subhash didn't get a first serve in on the break point, but she stayed aggressive in the long rally and ultimately won it with an overhead to take a 5-4 lead.  Both players held their next two service games, but serving at 5-6 down, Kowalski double faulted and then hit a backhand long to make it 0-30.  The Georgia recruit hit a forehand winner for 15-30, but Subhash made it 15-40 with a forehand that forced an error from Kowalski. Kowalski saved the first match point with a forehand winner, but Subhash converted the second, hitting a backhand return winner to close out the victory.

That wasn't quite the longest match of the day however.  That distinction went to No. 12 seed Niluka Madurawe's 6-7(5), 7-6(7), 6-3 win over Elle Christensen, which began at 11:20 a.m. and finished at 2:55 p.m.  Madurawe will face No. 14 seed Marlee Zein, who spent considerably less time on court in her 6-2, 6-2 win over Alexandra Vagramov of Canada.

Only one boys round of 16 match went three sets, with unseeded Noah Schachter defeating the last seed in the bottom half, No. 4 Brian Shi, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

"It was a really physical match," said the 18-year-old from Wesley Chapel Florida. "We had a lot of long points. I think at the end, I just took care of my serve really well and that was the difference."

Schachter did have to save a break point after Shi fought off three match points, but Schachter's serve again came through for him.

"I was up 40-0 and he got it all the way back to break point," Schachter said. "I was shaking in my legs, I did not want it to be 5-4."

Schachter said getting free points from his serve is a new development.

"It used to be my biggest weakness, but now it's become a strength," said Schachter, who will play in his first Grade 1 quarterfinal on Thursday. "I have been doing a lot of extra serves in practice, going to the gym, getting stronger and maybe a little bit because I've been growing too."

Schachter has trained at Saddlebrook for five years, and he said rubbing shoulders with the pros there has helped him improve.

"There's a bunch of pros there, Isner, Kudla, Smyczek, and also some that come for weeks at a time," Schachter said. "It helps you, because you're playing right next to them, you realize they are normal people, but you can copy some of the stuff they do, their routines. I've also had the chance to hit with some of them too, so yeah, I think it's great to see that every day."

Schachter's opponent in the quarterfinals is Jaycer Lyeons, whose ninth straight win was a 6-2, 6-3 decision over Cannon Kingsley.  Lyeons won the Grade 4 last week in Corpus Christi and has yet to drop a set in Tulsa.

Fourteen-year-old Aidan Mayo, playing in his first Grade 1, had a big win over No. 2 seed Trey Hilderbrand on Monday, and he has kept on rolling. He defeated Mark Mandlik 7-5, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals against Emilio Nava, who downed Anuj Watane 7-5, 6-2.

Fenty's opponent in the quarterfinals is No. 10 seed Govind Nanda, who beat Stefan Leustian 6-0, 6-2.  The only non-US player still in the boys draw is No. 3 seed Nick Hardt of the Dominican Republic. He beat No. 13 seed Tristan Boyer 6-4, 6-2 to set up a meeting with No. 5 seed Axel Nefve, who defeated Maximilian Wild 6-2, 6-0.

The top seeds in doubles took the court for the first time today after receiving first round byes.  Girls No. 1s Lea Ma and Subhash advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Kylie Collins and Meg Kowalski, while No. 2 seeds Black and Elli Mandlik blanked Dyane Barcena Del Bosque of Mexico and Raphaelle Lacasse of Canada.

Boys No. 1s Hilderbrand and Nanda beat Garrett Johns and Jose Galvez 6-3, 6-3 and No. 2 seeds Fenty and Woodall beat Kingsley and Sumit Sarkar 6-2, 7-5.


College Fan said...

Di Lorenzo had a good 3 set win over Collins in Sumter yesterday