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Monday, October 8, 2018

Top Seeds Advance at ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed; Wolf Claims Ohio State's First ITA All-American Singles Title; Wang, Liang Lose in First Round of ITF Youth Olympics

©Colette Lewis 2018--
Charlotte, NC--

The opening day of the ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed ended with nearly half the girls first round unfinished, but the top two seeds in both the boys and girls draws advanced to Tuesday's second round.

No. 1 seed Hurricane Tyra Black defeated Ellie Coleman 6-4, 6-1 and No. 2 seed Elli Mandlik beat Michelle Sorokko 7-5, 6-0, but the top seeds in the boys draw both needed three sets.  Top seed Tyler Zink squeezed past Mark Mandlik, Elli's twin brother, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, while No. 2 seed Govind Nanda recovered for a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 win over qualifier Max Fardanesh.

Only two boys seeds failed to reach the second round, with No. 12 seed Brandon Perez of Venezuela retiring trailing Keshav Chopra 4-6, 7-6(8), 2-0, and No. 10 seed Andrew Dale falling to Matthew Che 7-6(4), 6-4.

As with many of the boys matches, Dale and Che played lengthy points and games, with their straight-set match taking over three hours to complete in the hot and humid conditions.

"It was tough conditions today, it was pretty hot. It was only two sets, but it felt like three sets," said Che, a 17-year-old from New Jersey, who trains at Smith Stearns Academy. "If anything, it felt like four sets."

Che had a point to go up 5-3 in the second set, but Dale ended up getting back on serve, only to drop serve in the next game.

"The second set was pretty different [from the first]," Che said. "There were a lot of breaks. Not really men's tennis, but it happens. I told myself I just need to break and hold once. Since I'd broken him multiple times in the set, I knew I could do it again."

Serving for the match at 5-4, Che had a match point at 40-30, but he sent a forehand well long and hit another errant forehand on the next point to give Dale a break point. But some good defense got Che back in control of that break point after Dale had what seemed to be an easy putaway, and when Dale hit a defensive lob long, the game was back to deuce. Che hit a backhand volley winner on the next point to earn his second match point, and he slammed a forehand winner for the win, letting out a big roar when he closed it out.

"Andrew is a great player, and I've known him for a while," Che said. "I played him back in the 12s or 14s. It was a super tough. I was excited because I was really tired and really did not want it to go three sets, or even 5-all. I wanted to finish there, and I was happy I did."

The girls were unable to finish their first round, with a light rain dampening the courts around 5:45 p.m. The 12-court facility at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte does not have lights, so several matches would probably not have been completed anyway, given the length of the boys matches earlier in the day. That left the girls draw with only 17 finished matches, but even with that, three seeds were eliminated including No. 15 seed Jada Bui of Canada, No. 12 seed Skyler Grishuk and No. 5 seed Natasha Subhash.  Emma Jackson defaeted Bui 6-3, 6-3; Elaine Chervinksy downed Grishuk 6-2, 6-3 and Ariana Arseneault of Canada beat Subhash 6-3, 6-4.

No. 4 seed Emma Navarro, who wasn't eliminated from the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit event in Charleston South Carolina until Saturday's semifinals, had just one day off before getting back on the court, in an entirely different competitive environment.

"It's tough coming off a $25K, where I don't have as much pressure," said Navarro, who beat qualifier Jenna Thompson 6-4, 6-1 today. "Here I'm the four seed, I'm expected to do well, it's tough. But my coach does a good job of keeping me grounded and getting me ready to play. I was a little tight at the beginning, coming off a really good tournament and the first match of the tournament is always kind of tight. So I was just working my way into the match, and in the second set I loosened up a bit and played well."

Navarro said she was debating pulling out of this week's tournament, but she realizes how important a good showing here is to getting into the junior slams next year.

"I'm trying to get into the slams, so I wanted to play to hopefully get some good points and play some good matches," said the 17-year-old from Charleston South Carolina.

The remaining girls first round matches will go on after the boys second round, which begins at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday.  The doubles first round is also scheduled for Tuesday, although boys top seeds Zink and Nanda have a bye. The girls top seeds are also the No. 1 and No. 2 singles seeds: Black and Mandlik.

The order of play, the doubles draws and all today's singles results can be found at the ITF Junior website.

The ITA Men's All-American Championships concluded today in Tulsa, with Ohio State's JJ Wolf, a 9-16 seed, defeating top seed Nuno Borges of Mississippi State 6-0, 7-6(3) to earn the Buckeyes first All-American singles title. For more on Wolf's win, see the Ohio State website.

The Baylor team of Sven Lah and Jimmy Bendeck won the doubles title, preventing a sweep by Ohio State with a 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 10-4 win over Kyle Seelig and Alex Kobelt.  Lah and Bendeck, who were qualifiers into the main draw, are the first team from Baylor to win an All-American doubles title.

Christian Sigsgaard of Texas won the consolation tournament for those who lost in the first round, beating John McNally of Ohio State 6-1, 6-2.

The ITA article on the finals is available here.

The ITF Youth Olympic Games produced a couple of surprising results today in Buenos Aires, with US Open girls champion Xiyu Wang of China, the top seed, and Australian Open girls champion En-Shuo Liang of Taiwan, the No. 2 seed, losing their opening round matches. Yuki Naito of Japan defeated Wang 7-6(3), 7-5 and Daniela Vismane of Latvia defeated Liang 7-5, 6-2.

Both American girls lost their opening round matches. Lea Ma fell to Kamilla Rakhimova of Russia 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 and No. 8 seed Alexa Noel was beaten by Diane Parry of France 7-6(4), 6-3.

In boys doubles, Drew Baird and Tristan Boyer lost their first round match to No. 2 seeds Nicolas Mejia of Colombia and Gilbert Soares Klier Junior of Brazil 6-3, 7-6(6).

Baird is on Tuesday's schedule for his second round singles match against Soares Klier and all four Americans will be playing in the first round of mixed doubles.