Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Heat, Rain Complicate Second Day of ITF Grade 1 College Park; Fifteen Americans Win in First Round Qualifying at US Open

©Colette Lewis 2019--
College Park, MD--

The heat continued Tuesday for the second round of singles and first round of doubles of the ITF Grade 1 in College Park Maryland, and several seeds wilted, with Nos. 3, 4 and 5 falling and top seed Flavio Cobolli of Italy barely surviving in a third set tiebreaker in the boys draw. Only two seeds exited today in the girls draw, with the six of the top 8 advancing to Wednesday's third round.

Kalamazoo 16s finalist Aidan Mayo came from behind for the second day in a row, defeating No. 3 seed Alejo Lingua Lavallen of Argentina 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, and at the Greenbelt site, Karlis Ozolins of Latvia beat No. 4 seed Hamad Medjedovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-4. No. 5 seed Kevin Chahoud of Sweden, who had saved match points in his first round win on Monday, lost a grueling two-and-a-half hour two-set match to Lorenzo Claverie of Venezuela 7-5, 6-4.

Cobolli, one of just six seeds remaining in the boys draw, defeated Oscar Weightman of Great Britain 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(6).  Weightman went up a break 4-3 in the third set, but Cobolli broke back immediately, and four more holds later, the match went to a tiebreaker. Cobolli, who looked to be suffering from a leg cramp late in the match, went up 5-2, but lost his next two serves, and then up 6-4 couldn't close it out, with Weightman playing some aggressive tennis to pull even at 6-all. Cobolli earned his third match point when Weightman missed an overhead long, and Cobolli converted it when Weightman's backhand went wide.

Cobolli will face unseeded Jackson Ross, who beat No. 14 seed Natan Rodrigues of Brazil 6-1, 6-4.

Andrew Dale also survived a tough three-setter in the heat of the day, beating No. 13 seed Arthur Pantino of the Philippines 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(5).

Murphy Cassone defeated No. 10 seed Roman Burruchaga of Argentina 6-3, 6-3 and the 17-year-old from Kansas said his handling of the heat was a key difference in the match.

"Overall I played smart and handled the heat well, which I don't think my opponent did," said Cassone, who at 321, is ranked more than 250 places below the Argentine. "He started to overheat at the end. He was bending over and gasping on changeovers."

Having never played Burruchaga before, Cassone figured out in the first few games that he needed to stay away from the forehand, which also helped in another way.

"His forehand was really good and clean so I just went high to the backhand, and he was wasn't good on that side. It's hard to hit that in the heat too; he struggled with that," Cassone said.

Cassone said he has always been confident he could play at this level, so he wasn't surprised by his best win on the ITF Junior Circuit.

"It's always been there, I've just caught a few unlucky breaks this year--I actually caught a lucky break today--but my game's been there, it's just been a couple of points here and there," said Cassone, citing his opponent's long match on Monday.

Cassone is now working with coach David Fox, and admits they are off to a auspicious start.

"It's actually our first tournament, so a pretty a high win, that's good," said Cassone, who plays unseeded Micah Braswell in the third round Wednesday.

The two girls seeds who lost were both from France: No. 12 seed Carole Monnet, who was beaten by Charlotte Chavatipon 6-2, 6-0, and No. 14 seed Aubane Droguet, who lost to qualifier Neha Velaga 6-4, 7-6(4).

Eleven of the 16 girls seeds have advanced to Wednesday's third round.

Doubles were in full swing Tuesday afternoon when a thunderstorm moved into the Washington DC area, and a dozen or so matches were decided on the JTCC's indoor courts.  Both top seeds lost, with girls No. 1 seeds Sada Nahimana of Burundi and Priska Nugroho of Indonesia going out to Ayana Akli and Elise Wagle 3-6, 6-1, 15-13 in a match completed outdoors before the rain arrived.  Boys No. 1 seeds Cobolli and Samuel Vincent Ruggeri of Italy lost to Bruno Kuzuhara and Victor Lilov 6-4, 6-3 indoors Tuesday evening.

Wednesday's order of play and complete draws can be found at the tournament website.

The second day of qualifying at the US Open saw the first round completed, with two more American men and nine more American women advancing to the second round.

Jenson Brooksby and Tommy Paul won on Monday and today Mitchell Krueger and Noah Rubin joined them in the second round.  Ann Li and Taylor Townsend were the US women who won on Monday. Today's winners were Christina McHale[4], Robin Anderson, Nicole Gibbs[24], Caroline Dolehide[WC], Sachia Vickery, Hailey Baptiste[WC], Varvara Lepchenko[11], Asia Muhammad and Katrina Scott[WC].

Quotes from teenagers Baptiste and Scott are available in this article from the US Open website.

All of the winners today get Wednesday off, with Brooksby, Paul, Li and Townsend the only Americans on the schedule.