Thursday, November 29, 2012

Haas Upsets Top Seed Townsend, Boys No. 1 Rubin Survives Third Set Tiebreaker to Reach Quarterfinals at Eddie Herr International

©Colette Lewis 2012--
Bradenton, FL--

Nearly six hours of intense competition took place on the IMG Bollettieri Academy Clay Court 1 Thursday, with one top seed surviving and another eliminated in third round action at the ITF Grade 1 Eddie Herr International.

No. 16 seed Barbara Haas of Austria picked up the biggest win of her junior career, defeating top seed and world No. 1 Taylor Townsend 7-6(6), 7-5 in the day's first match. Top boys seed Noah Rubin brought the drama to its peak in the afternoon, clawing past Yucatan Cup champion Filippo Baldi of Italy 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(5).

Haas kept Townsend away from the net with the pace and depth of her shot, and when Townsend did approach, Haas was ready with her passing shots.

"She started (coming in) in the first set, but I made all the points when she went to the net," said the 16-year-old right-hander. "So she didn't go to the net anymore because I made good shots, and that was important."

Townsend had a 3-1 lead in the first set tiebreaker, but began making errors, and also had a double fault. She saved one set point with a good first serve but Haas earned another with a backhand winner. Leading 7-6, Haas missed her first serve, but Townsend couldn't take advantage of the second, hitting a forehand way long to give Haas the set.

Looking determined to play more focused and aggressive tennis, Townsend took a 3-0 lead, breaking Haas twice and holding once. But when Haas got one of the breaks back to make it 3-1, Townsend began to lose that edge, and didn't hold serve the rest of the match. 

Townsend broke Haas enough to maintain her lead, and served for the set at 5-2, but was broken at love. Haas finally got her first hold of the set to make it 5-4, and Townsend was unable to get any closer than 30-30 in her second attempt to serve it out.

Haas held again for 6-5, with Townsend's errors alternately angering and baffling her. Serving to force a second tiebreaker, Townsend again reached 30-30, but again it was Haas who held her nerve, staying patient and waiting for the errors. Two points later, after a backhand and a forehand error by Townsend, Haas had her first ITF junior win over a Top 10 player.

"I've played against a lot of top ten players in the ITF and I've always lost the close matches," Haas said. "Now I'm really happy that I won my first match against the No. 1 in the world. It's such a great feeling. I'm so happy."

Rubin had already played two three-setters to open the tournament, so to see him in another wasn't a surprise, although in Baldi, Rubin had an opponent with momentum and confidence.

Baldi, who, like Rubin, is 16, took advantage of Rubin's errors to take the first set, and continued to keep his level high in the second set, when Rubin began to find his rhythm. 

Rubin says he likes tiebreakers, and he certainly enjoyed the second set tiebreaker. He eliminated his unforced errors entirely while Baldi made several key ones as Rubin took it seven points to two.

In the third set, after nearly two hours of play, Rubin finally took the lead in the match, serving at 2-1, only to give it back in a long game. Rubin recovered immediately, breaking Baldi again and with the help of two aces held for a 4-2 lead.  That lead didn't last however, as Baldi held and broke for 4-4, then held for 5-4, to put the pressure squarely on Rubin.

Down 0-30 after a couple of errors, Rubin got an early Christmas gift from Baldi. After sending Rubin scrambling from side to side, Baldi had an easy putaway of a floater while standing at the net. Casually aiming it into the service box, Baldi somehow put it in the net, inducing a groan from the large crowd that had gathered on the nearby porch. Instead of 0-40 and three match points, it was 15-30, and Baldi netted a backhand on the next point, possibly still shaken from his miss on the previous point. Rubin hit a good serve to earn a game point and he converted it when Baldi netted a forehand.

"Basically that was the match," Rubin said of Baldi's gaffe at the net. "You get lucky every once in a while and you gotta use it. I used it, got back out there. I just think I got in his head after a while. I was moving pretty well, tried to keep the pressure on him, and I hit some really big serves at big times."

Baldi recovered to hold for a 6-5 lead, and Rubin again was serving to stay in the match. He got up 30-15 with a clutch backhand winner down the line and earned two game points when Baldi hit a backhand wide. Rubin thought he had reached the tiebreaker on the next point, when Baldi broke a string on Rubin's serve and the return went out. Rubin went to the bench, but Baldi, after getting a new racquet, said that he had called a let on the serve. Rubin said he didn't hear it and wasn't going to serve again, but after a consultation with the official, who said another official nearby had heard Baldi call a let, Rubin did drop the argument and served again.

"Apparently he said let and I was really confused about that," Rubin said. "I came up with a tremendous out wide serve that hit the line and slid. Tennis is a tough sport like that. You shouldn't get upset to begin with, which I did, but you've got to not worry about it."

Because he won the game on that serve Rubin could be philosophical about the let call, but he admitted he would have a different perspective had he lost.

"I can talk about it now, because I won the match, but if I didn't, it would be a different story."

In the final tiebreaker, Rubin never trailed, but he had a few anxious moments when he netted forehands on the seventh and ninth points. With Rubin serving with a 5-4, Baldi hit a massive forehand winner into the corner to make it 5-5, but he couldn't get a Rubin second serve in play on the next point, and under the pressure of a match point, he netted a backhand to end the three-hour contest.

After three long matches to start the tournament, Rubin had only rest on his mind after Thursday's win.

"I'll just relax, do some Spanish homework and get ready for tomorrow."

Rubin will play No. 9 seed Elias Ymer of Sweden in Friday's quarterfinals. 

The United States has two other boys in the quarterfinals--No. 4 seed Mackenzie McDonald and No. 5 seed Spencer Papa.  McDonald came back from a break down in the third set against No. 13 seed Weiqiang Zheng of China to post a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 victory, while Papa eliminated the tournament's last qualifier, Poland's Jan Zielinski, 6-3, 6-4.

No. 14 seed Jennifer Brady is the sole US girl in the quarterfinals. Brady picked up the best win of her junior career, avenging two losses this year to No. 3 seed Elizaveta Kulichkova of Russia with a 6-4, 6-4 victory.

One of the younger age divisions also lost its top seed, with girls 16s No. 1 Ye Qiuyu of China retiring with an injury to Terri Fleming of the US, 3-6, 2-1. 

Top seeds Abigail Desniatnikov and Ysahi Oliel in the 12s, Usue Arconada and Orlando Luz in the 14s and Ku Keon Kang in the 16s all picked up straight-set victories to reach Friday's quarterfinals.

Today's singles results:

Boys 18s Singles
Noah Rubin (1), United States, def. Filippo Baldi, Italy, 3-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(5)
Elias Ymer (9), Sweden, def. Luca Corinteli, United States, 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-4
Brayden Schnur, Canada, def. Pedro Cachin (14), Argentina, 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-3
Laslo Djere (6), Serbia, def. Alexander Zverev, Germany, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0
Christian Garin (8), Chile, Luke Bambridge (11), Great Britain, 7-6(3), 6-1
Mackenzie McDonald (4), United States. def. Weiqiang Zheng(13), China,  6-2, 4-6, 6-4
Spencer Papa (5), United States, def. Jan Zielinski, Poland, 6-3, 6-4
Mazen Osama, Egypt, def. Henrik Wiersholm, United States, 6-2, 6-4

Boys 16s Singles
Jordi Arconada, Argentina, def. Mark Epshteyn-Losev, United States, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5
Alexandru Gozun, United States, def. Artur Dubinski, Belarus, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1
Soon Woo Kwon, Korea, def. Aleksandre Bakshi (16), Georgia, 1-6, 7-6(7), 6-4
Nicolas Alvarez (7), Peru, def. Eucleydes Marcondes Neto, Brazil, 6-1, 6-1
Walker Duncan, United States, def. Aswin Lizen (5), Great Britain, 6-2, 6-0
Carter Lin (3), United States, def. Alexander Knight, United States, 6-2, 6-3
Francis Tiafoe (9), United States, def. Dennis Uspensky (8), United States, 6-4, 6-3
Ku Keon Kang (1), Korea, def. Petar Conkic (15), Serbia, 6-0, 6-3

Boys 14s Singles
Gianni Ross (13), United States, def. Patrick Kypson, United States, 6-3, 6-7(9), 7-5
Connor Hance (12), United States, Jay Clarke (6), Great Britain, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4
Evan Zhu (4), United States, def. Louis Tessa (16), France, 6-4, 6-1
Chengze Lu, China, def. Genaro Olivieri , Argentina, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1
Liam Caruana, United States, def. Jose Carvajal (11), Colombia, 6-1, 6-1
Chanyeong Oh, Korea (3), def. Victor Krustef, Canada, 6-0, 6-1
Mbithi Mwendwa (9), United States, def. Chien Hsun Lo (5), China, 7-5, 6-3
Orlando Luz (1), Brazil, def. Pietro Rimondini, United States, 6-0, 6-4

Boys 12s Singles
Rudolf Molleker (16), Germany, def. Roscoe Bellamy (2), United States, 6-4, 6-2
Boris Kozlov (10), United States, def. Matthew Fenty, 6-3, 6-3
Alen Avidzba, Russia, def. Garrett Johns, United States, 6-1, 6-0
Jenson Brooksby, United States, def. Robert Hammond, United States, 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-1
Keenan Mayo (6), United States, def. Tomas Machac (12), Czech Republic, 6-4, 6-3
Nikolay Vylegzhanin (3), Russia, def. Nicolas Mejia (14), Colombia, 6-3, 7-6(1)
Andrew Fenty (9), United States, def. Brian Shi, United States, 7-6(2), 7-5
Yshai Oliel (1), Israel, def. Seonyong Han, Korea, 6-3, 6-2

Girls 18 Singles
Barbara Haas (16), Austria, def. Taylor Townsend (1), United States, 7-6(6), 7-5
Carol Zhao(6), Canada def. Elise Mertens (10), Belgium, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(5)
Jennifer Brady (14), United States, def. Elizaveta Kulichkova (3), Russia, 6-4, 6-4
Belinda Bencic (5), Switzerland, def. Sandra Samir, Egypt, 6-3, 6-2
Ana Konjuh (7), Croatia, def. Aldila Sutjiadi, Indonesia, 6-3, 6-1
Rebecca Peterson, Sweden, def. Jamie Loeb, United States, 6-4, 6-4
Fiona Ferro, France, def. Louisa Chirico, United States, 6-3, 7-6(6)
Katerina Siniakova (2), Czech Republic, def. Anastasiya Komardina (13), Russia, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4

Girls 16 Singles
Chloe Ouellet-Pizer, United States, def. Rebecca Weissmann, United States, 6-3, 6-2
Camila Wesbrooks, United States, def.  Jessica Golovin, United States, 7-6(7), 6-3
Marie Norris (4), United States, def. Jena Cheng, Canada, 6-2, 7-5
Ndindi Ndunda, United States, def. Raquel Pedraza, United States, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4
Maddie Pothoff (12), United States, def. Bianca Moldovan, United States, 6-3, 6-1
Carolyn Xie, United States, def. Amanda Atanasson, United States, 6-1, 6-2
Shiyu Xu, China, def. Teona Velehorschi, Canada, 6-2, 6-4
Terri Fleming, United States, def. Ye Qiuyu (1), China, 3-6, 2-1 Ret(inj)

Girls 14s Singles
Ingrid Neel, United States, def. Anjana Suresh , Canada, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2
Zhanian Wei, China, def. Rosie Cheng (10), New Zealand, 7-6(4), 6-3
Sofia Kenin (3), United States, def. Theo Gravouil, France, 6-2, 6-2
Siqi Cao (8), China, def. Aleksandra Pospelova (12), Russia, 7-5, 7-5
Dominique Schaefer (9), United States, def. Tereza Mihalikova, Slovak Republic, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3
Madeline Meredith, United States, def. Inci Ogut, Turkey, 6-0, 6-2
Fanni Stollar (7), Hungary, def. Hanna Chang, China, 2-6, 6-0, 6-3
Usue Arconada (1), United States, def. Natasha Irani, Canada, 6-4, 6-2

Girls 12s Singles
Nicole Conrad(2), United States, def. Vasilisa Belonog, Russia, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
Anastasia Potapova (10), Russia, def. Melissa Plambeck, United States, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
Katarina Zavatska, Ukraine, def. Emiliana Arango (3), Colombia, 6-1, 6-3
Jiaqi Ren (12), China, def. Alina Mazepova, Russia, 6-1, 6-4
Ellie Douglas (8), United States, def. Natalia Boltinskaya (11), Russia, 3-6, 6-3, 6-0
Anzhelika Isaeva, Ukraine, def. En-Shuo Liang, China, 1-6, 6-1, 6-2
Dayana Yastremska (5), Ukraine, def. Maria Carle (9), Argentina, 6-3, 6-2
Abigail Desiatnikov (1), United States, def. Mihaela Marculescu (14), Romania, 6-4, 6-2

Complete results can be found at the TennisLink site.


max said...

"Haas kept Townsend away from the net with the pace and depth of her shot, and when Townsend did approach, Haas was ready with her passing shots."

Babsi Haas is amazing! Thanx for your report :-)