Schedule a training visit to the prestigious Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, MD by clicking on the banner above

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rain Mars Second Day at Junior Orange Bowl; Sock and Harrison, Vandeweghe and Davis Play for Australian Wild Card Sunday

©Colette Lewis 2010--
Coral Gables, FL--

The heavy dew and humidity kept the courts unplayable this morning at three of the four sites of the Junior Orange Bowl, and the rain that settled over Miami Saturday afternoon complicated scheduling even further, but I managed to see the only main draw matches played today. The Salvadore Park Har-Tru courts were playable, and when I arrived around 8:30 a.m. consolation matches were underway.

As I mentioned in last night's recap, three No. 1 seeds from the top quarter were defeated, and two of them, Usue Arconada and Sofia Kenin of the U.S., won their consolation openers without the loss of the game.

A few sprinkles suspended play for mere minutes mid-morning, with the main draw scheduled to begin at 11:30. Although I didn't know the status of the other three sites, it was unlikely they had moved through their consolation matches, which were first on all schedules, so I stayed put.

Although they were put on the three least viewer-friendly courts, I did get to see three of the players I was hoping to watch, including the two who had defeated Arconada and Kenin on Friday. Describing Arconada as tiny doesn't begin to give a sense of how small she is. Zhanlan Wei of China, the unseeded player who beat Arconada in the first round, is big, and not just for a 12-year-old. Wei, who trains at the Evert Academy, was again on and off the court in a hurry today, beating Caroline Dolehide of the U.S. 6-2, 6-1. Wei moved well on the clay and simply hit with too much pace for Dolehide. Wei will play the winner of the match between Jaeda Daniel and Elizabeth Porter of the U.S. in the third round. Daniel, whom I had first seen at the Eddie Herr this year, where she reached the quarterfinals, won the first set, and Porter the second. There were lots of long rallies, and not a few errors, but both girls were hitting out and going for their shots. There was also none of the score disputes, mark questioning and emotional outbursts that frequently surfaced on several adjacent courts.

I didn't initially recognize the name of the unseeded Spanish girl who had defeated Kenin in the first round, but it may be because she is listed as Julia Payola in the draw, but her full name is Julia Payola Sucarrats. She was the No. 2 seed in the recent Nike International Masters 12s, losing to the eventual champion in the quarterfinals, but her body language said, loudly, that she doesn't lose often. Dressed in all black Fred Perry clothing, Sucarrats looked very comfortable on the green version of the surface I'm sure she grew up on. Sucarrats defeated qualifier Nadia Gizdova of the U.S. 6-1, 6-1 just minutes before the heavy rain moved in for the afternoon.

The other main draw match saw No. 1 seed Anastasia Nefedova of Russia, the Eddie Herr finalist, defeat Hada Chang of the U.S. 6-0, 6-1.

Draws can be found at the TennisLink site.

That was the extent of the tennis I watched today, but I followed the tweets of various spectators at the Racquet Club of the South where the semifinals of the USTA's Australian Open wild card tournament were taking place. The women's matches were fairly straightforward, with No. 1 seed CoCo Vandeweghe beating Beatrice Capra 6-1, 6-4 and Lauren Davis breezing past Krista Hardebeck 6-2, 6-1.

The bulk of the drama came in the men's semifinals. Jack Sock had a comfortable lead over Denis Kudla when he rolled an ankle, but Sock managed to finish out the win 6-2, 7-5. Ryan Harrison, the No. 3 seed, dropped the first set to former junior rival Rhyne Williams, but Harrison came back for a 4-6, 6-2, 9-7 victory. Williams broke Harrison at 6-6 in the final set (because they play out the final set in Australia, no tiebreaker was played), but couldn't serve it out.

For more on today's action, see Steve Pratt's story for the USTA.

The men's final will be best of five sets and will follow the women's final, which begins at 1 p.m. Both Harrison and Vandeweghe won this same tournament in 2009 and competed in the 2010 Australian Open main draw. Sock won a U.S. Open main draw wild card as the USTA 18s champion this year. Lauren Davis has not played in the women's main draw of any of the slams.


David said...

Harrison had some high praise for the American college players. See the link below.


wondering said...

About how big is Arconada? How old?

stephen said...

If I'm reading this right, which is far from certain, Julia's family name can be given as "Payola Sucarrats" or just "Payola", but never just "Sucarrats".

Colette Lewis said...

@wondering; Arconada is 12, but I can't even guess at a height. Under five feet, I'm terrible at estimating

@stephen: Thank you. I appreciate the tip. She will be Payola Sucarrats in my writing from now on.