Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hamui, Li Fall in First Round at International Spring Championships

©Colette Lewis 2007--
Carson, CA--

It was another day of perfect weather in Southern California, with bright sun, cool breezes and no humidity. But for girls 18s No. 4 seed Veronica Li and boys 18s No. 5 seed Johnny Hamui it felt downright gloomy, as both lost in straight sets.

I didn't see more than a few points of the 8 a.m. match between Li of the U.S. and Zaruhi Harutyunyan, but the Armenian's 6-3, 6-3 win was impressive for its efficiency. Harutyunyan hasn't played much junior tennis since last year, but the 16-year-old has been competing on the Pro Circuit, winning some qualifying matches, including two last month in the $25K in Orange, California.

Fifteen-year-old Coco Vanderweghe needed a wild card just to get a qualifying spot, but she won three matches over the weekend and on Tuesday overpowered 16s Orange Bowl champion Allie Will 6-1, 6-3 in another early morning match. Vanderweghe controlled nearly every point with her pace and depth, sending Will into full defensive mode. And if Will didn't get a first serve in, the point was Vanderweghe's, as she rifled a second-serve return winners with alarming consistency.

I made my way over to the backcourts when I heard that Andrew Kells had taken a 6-4 first set from Johnny Hamui, and I stuck around to see if Kells would be able to close it out, serving at 5-4. Although the 16-year-old from Tiburon, California got down 15-30, his first serve came through when it mattered, earning him the final three points of the match.

Top seed Kellen Damico, a finalist here last year, is still struggling with a wrist injury that has required him to adopt a one-handed backhand. Although it is still a work in progress, and perhaps only a temporary stopgap, the forehand and volleying skills haven't suffered and he overcame Jason Lin 6-3, 7-6 (6). No. 2 seed Vlad Ignatic of Belarus had an easier time of it, defeating 14-year-old Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan 6-1, 6-2.

Boys seeds falling on Tuesday included Cesar Ramirez of Mexico, the ninth seed, who lost to Steve Johnson 6-3, 7-6 (4), and Ryan Lipman, the 13th seed, who was defeated by qualifer Andre Dome 7-5. 7-6 (2). In addition to Li, the girls draw lost No. 12 seed Krista Damico and No. 16 seed Olivia Bennett.

The 16s divisions are through to the round of 16, and boys top seeds Jordan Cox and Tennys Sandgren, and girls top seeds Noel Scott and Charlotte Calhoun advanced. Although Cox, Sandgren and Calhoun posted straight-set victories, Scott was on the verge of elimination before she battled back to defeat Jessica Harrow 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

For full draws, including doubles results in both divisions, see usta.com.


Anonymous said...

This is a great win for Kells , against a fine player like Hamui , who is ranked thirty in the ITF. He's proven himself, that the WD was not a fluke . Great job !