Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cercone Outlasts Embree in Marathon Grass Court Encounter; Kandath Ousts Kudla in Boys Action

©Colette Lewis 2008--
Philadelphia, PA--

When it's 97 degrees in the shade, playing tennis for over three hours in the midday sun isn't anyone's idea of fun. But Alexandra Cercone and Lauren Embree, two Florida girls who know a little about playing in heat and humidity, spent their Tuesday determining a winner, and it was the unseeded Cercone who ended up with that distinction, taking a 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(2) decision over the sixth seed.

When Cercone came to the desk to report the score, more than three hours after the match began, she didn't collapse from exhaustion, but she did have a little difficulty remembering the score, so much time had elapsed in between its start and its finish. She recalled that she had saved a match point in the third set, but the main focus was getting something to eat and cooling down in the air conditioning before her doubles match an hour and a half later. Both she and Embree did recover sufficiently to win their doubles matches, but it was a grueling day for everyone, with those two competitors topping the list. Cercone's opponent on Wednesday will be No. 3 seed Lauren McHale, who outlasted qualifier Manuela Velasquez 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.

Unseeded Fidan Manashirova and Sachia Vickery also persevered in lengthy three-setters to set up their quarterfinal encounter. Manashirova fought back to defeat Di Zhao 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, while Vickery lost a second set tiebreaker, just as she did on Monday, to prolong her match, but ended up beating Breaunna Addison 6-1, 6-7(6), 6-4.

Top seed Alexa Guarachi, a 6-2, 7-5 winner over Shinann Featherston, will meet No. 8 seed Gabriela Dabrowski, who downed Laura Slater 6-2, 7-6(1). In the fourth pairing, friends and doubles partners Beatrice Capra and Brooke Bolender face off for a semifinal berth. The unseeded Capra downed Polina Vinogradova 6-1, 6-3, while Bolender, the fourth seed, defeated Ester Goldfeld 7-5, 6-4.

There was one major upset in boys action, as unseeded Matt Kandath took out No. 3 seed and 2007 semifinalist Denis Kudla 7-6(2), 7-5. Kudla was up a break in the first but Kandath battled back, took control in the tiebreaker and was able to hold off any comeback by Kudla. Kandath will face Junior Ore, who defeated lucky loser Dan McCall 6-2, 6-4.

Ryan Lipman, a 2007 Grass Courts finalist, set up a showdown with top seed Alex Llompart Wednesday when he defeated No. 8 seed Raymond Sarmiento 6-2, 6-4. Llompart hit the shot of the tournament to date in his 6-1 6-2 victory over qualifer Harry Seaborn. Seaborn smashed a volley that Llompart, leaning the wrong way, somehow dove in the opposite direction with a diving stab volley. A startled Seaborn, who could never have expected the ball to come back over the net, did manage to return it back to Llompart, who by this time had scrambled to his feet. It took several more shots, but Llompart eventually won the point, and as he let out a well-deserved "vamos," the half-dozen spectators burst into applause, still shaking their heads at what they'd seen.

No. 2 seed Harry Fowler was tested by wild card Sekou Bangoura Jr. before regrouping for a 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-1 win, and will meet No. 5 seed Jordan Cox in Wednesday's quarterfinals. Cox took out wild card Dennis Novikov 7-5, 6-2. No. 4 seed Devin Britton, a 6-3, 6-4 victor over Ryan Noble, will take on No. 6 seed Frank Carleton. Carleton, a winner by retirement on Monday, also had a short match on Tuesday, defeating Mousheg Hovhannisyan 6-0, 6-1.

The first round of doubles produced no surprises on the boys side, as all four seeded teams had routine wins, but three of the four seeded girls teams were upset. Top seeds Guarachi and Monica Yajima fell to Eugenie Bouchard and Arianna Colffer 1-6, 6-3 6-2 and the fourth seeds, Goldfeld and Vinogradova, were beaten by Elianne Douglas-Miron and Slater 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Unseeded Jessica Alexander and Embree took out No. 3 seeds Jacqueline Cako and Dabrowski 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3. The only seeded team remaining, Featherston and McHale, the No. 2 seeds, needed three sets to get by Olivia Janowicz and Manashirova 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

For complete draws, see the TennisLink site.


Anonymous said...

I had asked this a day or two ago but didn't see any responses so thought I would post again. With Christian Harrison playing a national level 18s event as a 14 year old, I was trying to think of other juniors who have accomplished that. I think Sampras played 16s at Kzoo as a 12 year old, and 18s as a 13 year old, 14 for sure. I think Tommy Ho won National 18s as a 15 year old. Couldn't think of a lot of other examples though. Anybody else?

Colette Lewis said...

Bernard Tomic won three or four ITFs in a row at 13.

Anonymous said...

Donald Young was 14 when he won the Easter Bowl.

Anonymous said...

Michael Chang won the KZoo 18's at 15 against Jim Courier.

Anonymous said...

I believe Tomic won 4 I.T.F. tournaments in a row but you can hardly compare the level of competition of level 4 and 5 I.T.F.'s over in New Zealand and Australia with Kalamazoo or Easter Bowl or the level 3 grasscourts tournament in Philly.