Friday, December 2, 2005

Egger Tops De Coster for Eddie Herr Boys 12s Title; Orlik Captures Girls 12 Crown

Egger Tops De Coster for Eddie Herr Boys 12s Title: Orlik Captures Girls 12 Crown ~~~
©Colette Lewis 2005
Bradenton FL--

Emmett Egger and Mika De Coster of the United States played a marathon first set in the Eddie Herr boys 12 final Friday afternoon, and after nearly two hours, they had reached the first set tiebreak. Egger patiently waited for his high deep topspin strategy to tire the smaller De Coster and after saving a set point at 6-5 40-30, Egger broke to force a tiebreak, which he won seven points to five.

The spectators gathered around court eight, which included ATP star Xavier Malisse, were expecting more of the same in the second set, and had prepared with more chairs and extra sunscreen for the cloudless sky. But Egger, visibly more confident, made quick work of De Coster in the second, taking it 6-0, to keep the match time under three hours.

It takes a lot of mental energy to play a two hour first set," Egger said.

"But I started finding my groove with the midlevel heavy topspin ball," said Egger, the USTA's top ranked player in the 12s, who trains at the Newcombe Academy in Texas but commutes regularly to his home in Issaqua Washington. Asked to explain the match length, Egger gave a small laugh.

"We're both very consistent and track down a lot of balls and neither of us can hit a huge serve and crank up a forehand winner right away."

De Coster admitted that Egger's strategy was effective. "He's good hitting that high looping shot and then coming in to finish," said De Coster, who plays out of the Advantage Tennis Academy and also works with the legendary Robert Lansdorp. The blond Californian had treatment on a sore shoulder Thursday evening but said his injury was not a factor. "It was pretty good. It didn't make a difference today."

Egger, who has evened his record against De Coster at 2-2, anticipates he'll meet his friend often in the future. "We're both very good players I think. I expect to play him a few more times for sure."

The doubles champions in boys 12s were also crowned Friday. Ki-Su Jung and Jea-Moon Lee of Korea squeaked by Boris Bogomolov (USA) and George Tsivadze of Georgia 9-7.

Hanna Orlik of Belarus also needed to win a first set tiebreak in the girls 12 final, which frequently featured more pace than the boys match. Orlik kept her straight set streak intact, as she eliminated Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia 7-6 (6), 6-3.

Orlik's performance in the final mirrored that of her semifinal encounter with Sloane Stephens, which she took 7-5, 6-0.

"In the first set, I do a lot of mistakes," said Orlik, 12, who occasionally relies on her father Dmitri to interpret for her. "But in the second, I don't and I played more aggressive."

Asked what her plans were to celebrate her first major international title, her father said Orlik planned to do some swimming, and that he and his wife would go shopping for a special present for their only child.

"Maybe we'll buy a bottle of champagne," he said. "With just a little bit for her maybe."

Tomljanovic's day took a turn for the better Friday afternoon when she and partner Blazena Lukac also of Croatia defeated Stephens and Grace Min (USA) 8-3 to capture the girls doubles championship.