Monday, December 5, 2005

Orange Bowl Underway on Key Biscayne

Orange Bowl Underway on Key Biscayne ~~~
©Colette Lewis 2005
Miami FL--

Heading out to Key Biscayne's Crandon Park from Miami, usually one of the most picturesque drives anywhere, there were many signs of the recent visit of hurricane Wilma.

The tennis center is also full of evidence of the raging winds, with damaged trees and assorted debris marring the usually serene atmosphere that makes the park such a respite from the sensory overload that Miami proper presents.

The first day of a big tournament is one of the best--so many players and parents and coaches; so full of promise and possibility and suspense. And with the boys ITF World Championship riding on this one, the tension will increase with every match Donald Young, Marin Cilic and Ryan Sweeting play. Young was the only one of the three to take the court today, and after a few hiccups that were probably a result of a lack of recent match play, he advanced to the second round, defeating countryman Dylan Arnould 6-4, 7-6 (5), in a match that began in twilight and ended under the bright lights of the show court.

In another 18s matchup of two players from the U.S., Wil Spencer upset fellow sixteen-year-old and seventh seed Kellen Damico 7-6 (2), 5-0 ret. Serving for the set at 6-5, the often volatile Damico became unnerved by one of the chair umpire's line calls and never recovered his composure. A large group of players and coaches had gathered to watch the match, which featured several jaw-droppingly good points in the nip-and-tuck first set, but Spencer took all the suspense out of the battle when he played a nearly perfect tiebreak and then sustained that level to begin the second set.

It hasn't been a good tournament for tennis siblings, as Damico's younger sister Krista was also upset, and Holden and Carling Seguso both lost first round matches as well.

Sixteen-year-old Christopher Price of Texas fashioned the day's biggest upset, taking out the top seed in the 16s division, Daniel Sanchez of Mexico.

The first round in the 18s division continues Tuesday.