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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Qualifiers Beck, Yatsuk Oust Seeds as ITF Grade 1 Eddie Herr First Round Ends; USTA National Indoor Champions Crowned

©Colette Lewis 2017--
Bradenton FL--

Six qualifiers advanced to the second round of the ITF Grade 1 Eddie Herr Championships Tuesday, with Chloe Beck and Ivan Yatsuk taking out Top 8 seeds on a warm and sunny morning at the IMG Academy.

Beck, who had cruised through her three qualifying matches on Saturday and Sunday, needed over two hours to get by No. 3 seed Lulu Sun of Switzerland 7-6(3), 7-5, while Yatsuk, who won all three of his qualifying matches in three sets, stayed true to form, beating No. 5 seed Tao Mu of China 6-7(2), 6-0, 7-5.

Beck, ranked 230, served for the first set against Sun, ranked 21, at 5-3, but was unable to close it out until the tiebreaker. Sun served for the second set at 5-3, but she too was unable to nail down her opportunity, although Beck's strategy had something to do with that.

"A lot of times I can be stupid on clay and just start slapping balls," said the 16-year-old from Georgia. "But before the match, my dad told me I needed to mix up slices and lobs and not give her a slap, because on clay courts it doesn't work. I played smart."

Beck described herself as a "nervous" player, but said her underdog status and her respect for Sun kept her from putting pressure on herself as she went to serve out the match after breaking for a 6-5 lead.

"I've been working on that lately, trying to put less pressure on myself and look at it in a different way," Beck said. "So I was just thinking of it as a practice match, it doesn't matter who wins or loses, as long as I play my best and give it all my effort."

Beck said that all the long points and close games took a physical toll, which ended up helping her as she went to serve it out.

"It helped me kind of to relax," said Beck, who closed out the match with a love hold. "I was tired, I think we were both tired, because we had a long first set, and I was really relaxed, because my legs were kind of burning and I just went out there and tried to stay loose, and that worked."

Beck was pleased with the result, but not surprised by it.

"I'm really happy with it, but I don't think it's something I couldn't achieve," Beck said. "I went into the match thinking I could win. I wasn't like, oh my gosh, it's so crazy that I won this match. I go out there thinking I can beat everybody and today it ended up going my way."

Yatsuk was not as successful as Beck in closing out his win, as he was unable to get to match point serving at 5-4 in the third in front of a large crowd on the porch overlooking the stadium court.

But he managed to break Mu, ranked 34 to his 821, at love to get a second chance and this time he converted it, with Mu netting two forehands to end the match.

"I thought I choked it for a second," said Yatsuk, a 17-year-old from nearby Sarasota. "But then I knew I could break him back right away because I was having chances in almost every game."

Yatsuk was confident in his ability to come back after going down 3-0, two breaks to open the match.

"I still got it back to 3-all," said the 6-foot-5 Yatsuk, who recently committed to University of South Florida. "And then I got to a tiebreak, and had chances to win it, so I had momentum. And after he went down 3-0 [in the second set], he took it a little easier to get ready for the third."

Yatsuk said playing on the show court, with South Florida head coach Ashley Fisher and assistant coach Jimmy Arias looking on, did not make him nervous.

"It helps me when a lot of people watch me," Yatsuk said.

As for his one-handed backhand, Yatsuk said he has always had one.

"It was just natural. I've always been comfortable with it."

Other girls qualifiers who advanced to Wednesday's second round are Ziva Falkner of Slovenia and Abigail Forbes. Two additional boys qualifiers also advanced: Allan Deschamps of France and Michael Heller.  Heller defeated No. 9 seed and last week's Grade 1 Yucatan Cup champion Juan Cerundolo of Argentina 6-1, 7-6(4).

The first round of doubles was completed today with top girls seeds Caty McNally and Whitney Osuigwe and No. 2 seeds Maria Carle of Argentina and Layne Sleeth of Canada advancing in straight sets.

In the boys first round of doubles, both the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds were pushed to match tiebreakers. Top seeds Nicolas Mejia of Colombia and Uisung Park of Korea prevailed over Tomas Kopczynski and Brian Shi, while Timofey Skatov of Russia and Aidan McHugh of Great Britain, the No. 2 seeds, got by Lleyton Cronje of South Africa and Sheil Kotecha of Kenya.

In the four 12s and 14s divisions, the top four seeds all advanced to Wednesday's round of 16. (The list of the Top 8 seeds is available here). The boys 16s are missing only top seed Sebastian Rodriguez, who qualified for the 18s, so was replaced by a lucky loser.  The girls 16s draw still has top seed Maria Rivera of Guatemala and No. 4 seed Hye Ran Yun, but No. 3 seed Savannah Broadus joined No. 2 seed Natasha Sengphrachanh of Canada on the sidelines today. See the TennisLink site for all the second round results.

The USTA level 1 National Indoor Championships, played this year for the first time since 1999, concluded on Monday at eight sites around the country.  I've added the singles and doubles champions to the Honor Roll at the left side of the Zootennis home page.  The complete results of all finals, including players hometowns, can be found in the release the USTA sent out today.