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Thursday, December 7, 2006

Boyajian Rolls On in Orange Bowl 18s; Will Survives Three-Hour Marathon in Girls 16s

©Colette Lewis 2006--
Key Biscayne FL--

Qualifier Brennan Boyajian of Weston, Fla. joins Donald Young as the only Americans remaining in the boys 18s singles at the Orange Bowl, while three U.S. girls advanced to the quarterfinals with straight set wins on Thursday.

Boyajian, who turned 17 in September, made quick work of fellow qualifier Pedro Zerbini of Brazil, needing just over an hour to put a 6-2, 6-2 win in the books.

"I just played really well; kept every ball deep, and converted my chances when I had them," said Boyajian, who won the Easter Bowl, Clay Courts and Kalamazoo in the 16s this year. "I love these courts--they're so slow and the balls get so fluffy and dead by the third game. It helps me a lot."

Boyajian's game doesn't have the raw power of some of his opponents, but he has figured out how to use his other talents to frustrate them.

"After the first four games, he just started trying to hit winners," Boyajian said of Zerbini, a finalist at the ITF Grade 2 in South Carolina last month. "I like when they get impatient, because if I just keep the ball deep, they are going for shots that are low percentage."

Boyajian's next opponent is top seed Nicolas Santos of Brazil, who advanced with a 6-2, 6-4 decision over Russian Vladimir Zinyakov. The other top half quarterfinal pits U.S. Open Junior finalist Peter Polansky of Canada against Russian Pavel Chekhov. The unseeded Polansky defeated No. 14 seed Rupesh Roy 5-7, 6-2, 6-0.

Young, seeded second, crafted his third consecutive straight-set victory, downing 16-year-old and No. 16 seed Gastao Elias of Portugal 6-3, 6-2. Young faces No. 10 Daniil Arsenov of Russia, who eliminated Mateusz Kecki 6-3, 7-6 (4). The fourth match features No. 9 seed Bassam Beidas of Lebanon against No. 4 seed Petru Alexandru Luncanu of Romania. Beidas earned a 6-4, 6-7(0), 6-1 victory over wild card Wil Spencer, while Luncanu, who has lost only seven games in three matches, continued rolling with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Fernando Romboli of Brazil.

The girls 18s quarterfinals features only one unseeded player, 15-year-old Petra Martic of Croatia, who easily defeated No. 16 seed and 2005 Orange Bowl 16s winner Oksana Kalashnikova 6-1, 6-2. Next up for Martic is Delaware's Madison Brengle, the No. 12 seed, who defeated Ksenia Pervak of Russia 6-2, 6-1 on Thursday. No. 4 seed Julia Cohen survived a stiff challenge from fellow American Melanie Oudin, taking the match 6-4, 6-4, and next faces the No. 9 seed Nikola Hofmanova of Austria. Hofmanova upset No. 5 seed and recent Eddie Herr finalist Sorana-Mihaela Cirstea of Romania 7-5, 7-5.

The third American remaining is Reka Zsilinszka, the no. 10 seed, who deflated No. 6 seed Katerina Vankova of the Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-1.

"The first set was tough, she was really trying" said Zsilinszka, who has committed to attend Duke next fall. "I was hitting really good passing shots, doing my thing, my serve was on. The second set, she did really not play well. I think I broke her down and she got really frustrated."

With her moonballs, change of pace, slices and defensive lobs, even Zsilinszka's easy wins take time. But she finished in plenty of time to watch the end of match that would decide her opponent, as No. 13 seed Tereza Mrdeza of Croatia and No. 3 seed Sharon Fichman fought through three sets before the Canadian won, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. Serving at 4-4 in the third set, Fichman won a long difficult game that featured rain-making moonballs and crisp volleys and everything in between. Exhausted by that effort, Mrdeza crumbled serving at 4-5, double faulting at 15-30 and approaching the net for volleys on the next two points. She won one of them, but netted the second, giving Fichman the victory.

"I don't know how it is to play against me," said Zsilinszka, who was pleased just to have won a round at the Orange Bowl, after falling in the first round or in qualifying in her previous four appearances. "I guess I'll find out tomorrow. Sharon plays a lot like me. You might want to schedule about five hours for that match," she said with a laugh.

The fourth match will feature No. 2 seed Ksenia Milevskaya of Belarus and No. 11 seed Anastasia Pivovarova of Russia. Milevskaya had no difficulty with U.S. wild card Mallory Burdette, winning 6-1, 6-1, while Pivovarova ousted No. 7 seed and Eddie Herr champion Urszula Radwanska 6-2, 6-2. Pivovarova was soundly beaten by Radwanska at the Eddie Herr last week, winning only three games against the Pole, but she made Radwanska's 16th birthday a less than happy one by dominating Thursday's match.

In the 16s, three U.S. girls have reached the semifinals, and only Kristie Ahn of New Jersey did so quickly. The unseeded Ahn took out Brooke Bolender 6-2, 6-2, but Lauren Embree and Allie Will's victories were of the three-set, three-hour variety.
As she had on Wednesday, the unseeded Embree dropped the first set, but turned it around against No. 6 seed Sarah Guzick, taking a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 decision.

Allie Will, who on Wednesday defeated top seed Valeriya Solovieva in straight sets, again was booked for stadium court, but her 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory over No. 7 Charlotte Rodier of France was a struggle. Playing in the hottest part of an unseasonably warm and windless day, the 15-year-old from Boca Raton gave credit to her coaches for preparing her for such a battle.

"My training at the Harold Solomon Tennis Institute has gotten me into the best shape I can be," said Will the 14th seed. "I couldn't have lasted this long without that. I think it was an advantage to me playing in these conditions, because she doesn't live here, but she did a great job of holding up during the rallies."

Will mentioned her serve and inside-out forehand as keys to taking the first set, but was pleased with all her shots during the three hours she spent on the court.

"Overall, everything today was a positive thing," she said.

While the Ahn-Will semifinal guarantees an American finalist, the other semifinal winner is guaranteed to be unseeded. Embree will meet Cristina Andreea Mitu of Romania, who has not dropped a set in the tournament, and on Thursday defeated No. 5 seed Adeline Goncalves of France 6-1, 6-0.

On of the most compelling matches of the day was in boys 16s singles, when top seed Cesar Ramirez of Mexico met No. 5 seed and Eddie Herr champion Grigor Dimitrov. During the latter stages of the two tiebreak sets, both won by Dimitrov, dozens of fans gathered to watch the very high quality tennis. Dimitrov is the only seeded player to reach the semifinals. He will face unseeded Lorenzo Papasidero of Italy, a 6-1, 6-1 winner over Rafael Camilo of Brazil. David Thurner of Germany meets Guido Pella of Argentina for the other berth in the final.

For complete draws, including doubles, see usta.com.


Anonymous said...

It is amazing how could usta possibly not give Boyajian a wild card , and here he is, in the quarters of OB . He's proven himself over and over , and yet, he doesn't get the respect and recognition that he deserves .

Anonymous said...

USTA is not stupid, I bet they'll help him out next year. But theres a couple of things you need to consider, did he ask for a w/c? Requests have to go in for everyone, no matter who you are. Also Brennan is an 89, and there aren't many 89's left and there's been restructuring with coaches, so thats an issue. Boyajian does deserve the respect, without question, he's had a big year.
Prediction - he will not win Winter's.

Anonymous said...

It is sad how Brennan Boyajian was not given a wildcard. He kicked everyone's butt all year long. I just looked at who got the wildcards and see that they are mainly kids from the 16's. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't he just finish dominating the 16's? What should he have done to prove he is more worthy of one? I just figured we would want to have our best kids playing in the most prestigiuos junior tournament in the world who actually have a chance to win it.

Anonymous said...

yeahh i know man. why is the USTA so mean to brennan

Anonymous said...

in their eyes, he does not have a game that can translate into the PRO's. That is all they care about.

Anonymous said...

i heard a rumor that boyajian is going to stanford?? is this true

Anonymous said...

el mihdaway, lipman, jenkins, klahn, spencer, cox, and williams have no shot either. brennan deserved that wildcard no matter what. the only young juniors with a chance at making it buchanan and thacher

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a Brennan fan club. Let's see what the usta does after the first of the year, usually it takes awhile to get on the radar screen.

Anonymous said...

Colette - was nice to meet you in Columbus at the ITA's. Do you or others know why Alexa Glatch didn't play singles at the OB? I saw where she did play doubles. Thanks.....

Anonymous said...

The whole point is not for the usta to give wildcards to people who have a chance to win the tournament always. Many times, they give WCs to people who cannot make the qualies, but still have shown their ability to compete at a high level. I agree that Brennan should have been granted a WC, but the other guys that got it would have likely not made the qualies. The usta should be keeping their eye on Brennan from now on!

Anonymous said...

boyajian obviosly didnt need a wildcard people. He got to quarters after qualifying and you are mad because he didnt get a wildcard. They gave wildcards to people that needed them. People that maybe couldnt get through qualifying.

Brennan played his age group the whole year wining every super national he has played. But the thing is that nobody else is playing there age group. If u want to impress the USTA you cant play with a bunch of kids younger than you. You need to play Itfs and 18s strictly. The best player he beat this year was who? thacher? a average 89 from socal? nobody cares. Go win a itf grade 3 or higher and maybe you will turn some heads. I dont think brennan is playing to become a top proffesional anyways. i think he strictly wants to go to college and then get a job and live a normal life. He has basically no shot at making it in the pros with his game. He has zero serve and no ral weapon. He is one of the most consistent players out there, but nobody cares because that is not going to help in the long run. You have to have something special and I dont think boyajian has anything special.

Anonymous said...

wow anonymous at 12/12 is retarded!! Nothing you said was valid. how could u say boyajian has no weapons?? you have to have weapons to get the the quarters of 18s orange bowl. He doesnt need to win a grade 3 itf to turn heads, he has already turned heads by winning 3 out of 3 super nationals this year. Now he has topped it off with this tournament. The kid is unbelievable at WINNING. Plus, him and thatcher are both top 89's. maby not 1,2,3...but are definately TOP.

Anonymous said...

I have only one thing to say, Thacher is one of the best player in the us period . He doesn't play a lot of itf because, he is a full time student, and a smart one !

Anonymous said...

To all those who think Boyajian is "amazing": Give credit where credit is due - he's a very, very good competitor and he knows how to play the game.

HOWEVER, he has little to no chance as a pro with his current game/playing style and, yes, his lack of weapons. To make it into the top 150 and stay there you have to have something exceptional and no, being a good competitor and knowing how to play the game doesn't qualify - everyone making a career out of the game has that. He has no weapons and his serve is, well, pretty damn weak. (Btw, a decent serve, at least one that can't be attacked, is required in the pro's otherwise you get pummeled.) When he comes up against players with real game he will be severely outclassed. Evidence the 1 and 0 beating he took from Santos at the Orange Bowl.

He has little control over the outcome of matches when playing solid players because he has nothing to hurt them with. He wins in the juniors because other juniors beat themselves - a strategy that works well in the juniors. The pro's rarely beat themselves. Surely not enough for someone like Boyajian to make a career of it. The USTA knows this.

He'll be a solid 4,5 or 6 player at any top D1 school which is great. And if he is planning on school, kudos to him for making the smart choice.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Jerry Maguire , Although Boyajian is a great player and competitor , he does not have a weapon ( big serve , forehand ) to make it in the big show ( pros ) . College tennis would be good for him though .