Friday, December 9, 2005

Top seeds Young and Radwanska Fall; No U.S. Players Advance to Weekend Play

Top seeds Young and Radwanska Fall; No U.S. Players Advance to Weekend Play ~~~
©Colette Lewis
Miami FL--

Leaving Miami as the ITF's 2005 world champion, Donald Young has demonstrated a year's worth of tennis excellence. But another loss in the Orange Bowl isn't how he wanted his year to end.

After clinching the title on Thursday, when Cilic--his only threat--lost, Young said that he wasn't satisfied.

"I've already been in the final," he said of last year's loss to Timothy Neilly, "so anything less is a disappointment."

The contest began auspiciously for the sixteen-year-old now living in Atlanta. Unlike earlier in the week, when Young started slowly and worked his way into the match, he came out quickly against ninth seed Robin Roshardt of Switzerland, taking the first set 6-3. But the match began to slip away in the second, and when Roshardt broke held and broke in the third for a 3-0 lead, he felt confident of the win.

"In the first set, I made too many mistakes," said the seventeen-year-old from Zurich. "In the second set, I began to fight to keep the ball in the court, and the result was good."

"If you have a chance to beat the number one," said Roshardt, who now holds a 2-0 edge on Young, "you have to do it."

In Saturday's semifinal, Roshardt will face 14th seed Ivan Sergeyev in a rematch of a Round of 16 encounter at the recent Eddie Herr Grade 1, won by the Ukrainian in an 18 point third set tiebreak.

Tampa's Timothy Neilly, the defending boys champion and fifth seed, also saw his tournament end early, playing for the first time on Court One, the scene of his triumph last year. Qualifier Paris Gemouchidis, who also shocked third seed Ryan Sweeting, added yet another upset to his string of them, defeating Neilly 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Down 4-2 in the third, Gemouchidis leading, Neilly called for a trainer.
"I knew he did it to break the rhythm. He had a small cut on his knee, that was all," said the seventeen-year-old from Greece, who stopped Neilly's nine game Orange Bowl winning streak and now, including qualifying matches, has put together a seven match streak of his own.

And though Neilly did hold and break to level the third set at four, he immediately gave back the break, double faulting on game point to give Gemouchidis an opportunity to serve out the match. He promptly did so, but Gemouchidis, ranked 173 by the ITF, didn't count it as his biggest win.

"The first round match was probably bigger," the Bruguera Tennis Academy student said when asked how his upset of Neilly compared to his win over Sweeting, the U.S. Open Jr. champion. "Because I started getting confident--I have a better feeling every morning."

On Saturday morning, that confidence will be tested by France's Kevin Botti, who saved eight set points in the first set against wild card Wil Spencer of the U.S. and edged the sixteen-year-old from Florida 7-6 (7), 7-5. Spencer served for both sets at 5-4, but the vocal and emotional Botti, obviously feeling more pressure than he had against world number two Cilic, battled back each time.

His coach, Alois Beust of the French Tennis Federation, described his pupil's win as a very important one. "He knew he had to back it up," Buest said, speaking of Botti's upset of Cilic. "It was harder to play against someone his same age, and it showed at the beginning of the match."

Spencer was disappointed to have lost after having so many chances, but did not feel that nerves played any role in his inability to convert the opportunities. "I really didn't think about it during the match" he said. "I didn't feel nervous or anything. But it was in my game plan to win one of those," he joked a few hours later.

On the girls side, eighth seed Mihaela Buzarnescu took out top seed and Wimbledon Junior Champion Agniezska Radwanska of Poland 6-2, 6-2, but the match was not as brief or decisive as the final score might indicate.

"At second set, 3-2 for me, my serve, that game lasted like twenty-five minutes," said the seventeen-year-old from Bucharest Romania, who reached the semifinals of the U.S. Junior Open in September. "It was always deuce, and it was very good that I kept focusing and I won that game, because afterwards she was a little stressed."

Buzarnescu now meets fellow Romanian and fourth seed Alexandra Dulgheru, who dispatched the last girl from the U.S. still in the draw, Missy Clayton, 6-1, 6-0. "It was pretty decisive," Clayton admitted, "but there were a lot of long points. She just won most of them."

In the other semifinal match in girls 18s, seventh seed Alisa Kleybanova of Russia will meet Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, who is seeded fifth. Kleybanova upset third seed and recent Eddie Herr champion Dominika Cibulkova of the Slovak Republic, while Wozniacki squeaked by unseeded Khrystyna Antoniychuk of the Ukraine 7-5, 7-6 (6).

In the girls 16s competition, the last U.S. girls were eliminated in Friday's quarterfinal round. Nelly Radeva lost to Oksana Kalashnikova of Georgia, and Kristi Frilling was defeated by third seed Charlotte Rodier of France.

None of the U.S. boys playing in the 16s division made it past the third round.

Due to the weather delays early in the week, doubles competition has been reduced to four-game sets with no-ad scoring, with a tiebreak in place of a third set if the sets are split. After three rounds of doubles today, the semifinals are scheduled for Saturday.


Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed your reporting of the Eddie Herr and now of the Orange Bowl tournaments. Don't be in too big of a hurry to get back to the Zoo as we just had 5-8 inches of snow overnight. I also noticed a new picture of you in your "About Me".