Sunday, April 10, 2005

Querrey, King Win Inaugural International Spring Championship Titles

Querrey, King Win Inaugural International Spring Championship Titles--
©Colette Lewis 2005--
Carson CA--

Southern Californians Sam Querrey and Vania King did not need to travel far to capture their singles titles at the inaugural Grade 1 International Spring Championship in Carson.

Commuting from his home in Thousand Oaks, Querrey, 17, captured his first Grade 1 title by defeating Pavel Chekhov of Russia 7-5, 6-2. And the trophy King earned for her 6-4, 6-4 victory over top seed Alexa Glatch had an even shorter trip from the courts to her Long Beach residence.

Querrey, a six-foot five-inch right-hander with a powerful serve and forehand to match, started slowly in the tournament, dropping the first set in three consecutive matches before finally finding his stride in a straight set semifinal win over second seed Jesse Levine. Chekhov, seeded 14th, also played three matches that went the distance, including his third round win over top seed Kellen Damico. The sixteen-year-old Russian dispatched Jamie Hunt in two sets in Saturday’s other semifinal, and expressed confidence in his ability to beat the fifteenth seed.

And it wasn’t until five-all in the first set that he had reason to think otherwise. Querrey, relentlessly pressuring Chekhov’s second serve, broke, then served it out at love, cracking four straight first serves. When Querrey proceeded to break Chekhov in the first game of the second set, “he took control of the match,” the Russian admitted afterward.

Cheered on by a dozen friends and relatives, the usually even-tempered Querrey was buoyant when interviewed after the match. “I thought I played unbelievable today…. I served really well and returned really well.” Querrey is headed for Palm Springs and the Grade B1 Easter Bowl, while Chekhov is traveling to Europe for the Grade 1 in France.

Vania King returned home from Southeast Asia only a day before her first match, but she brought with her a Grade 1 title as the winner of the Thailand International. Her fellow finalist there was Alexa Glatch, who was unable to play due to heat stroke, so King could not avenge on the court her loss to Glatch the previous week in Malaysia.
But in Carson, each girl methodically advanced through the International Spring draw-- neither dropping a set --to meet in the finals for the third time in a month. On a cloudless Sunday, when the wind finally took a day off, King used her exceptional footwork and great defensive skills to vanquish her nemesis.

Down 3-0 in the first set, King pulled even, then won three of the next four games to take the set. In the second set, the sixteen-year-old found herself behind again, but wasn’t discouraged. “Even though I was down, except for maybe one game, I thought I was playing well,” said the third seed. “I played my same game, but I executed my shots better.”

So well in fact, that at 1-4, she won 14 straight points to turn the set in her favor.

Glatch, 15, gave King credit for the comeback. “In the second set, she put more pressure on me and she played a little bit better when she was down.”

The point she played at deuce when serving for the championship at 5-4 epitomized the concentration King displayed throughout the match. During an exceptionally long rally in a match that featured many of them, King scrambled so deep and quickly to the backscreen to retrieve the ball that she clipped a line judge with her racquet. After an audible “sorry,” she somehow managed to return the ball back over the net, and her focus snapped back to the point, which she won, getting her to the only match point she would need.

Due to a shoulder problem, King will not be playing the Easter Bowl, but Glatch is headed to the B1 ITF event in Palm Springs as the number one seed.


Anonymous said...

The pictures are excellent. You'll have to let me in on your secret.