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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Black Upsets No. 4 Seed Krejcikova to Reach Third Round of US Open Junior Championships

©Colette Lewis 2013--
Flushing Meadows, NY--

The sky was a clear and brilliant blue all day Wednesday at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, but a Tornado was the big story as the second round of singles was completed at the US Open junior championships.

Fifteen-year-old Tornado Alicia Black defeated No. 4 seed Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 7-5, joining three other US girls who had advanced to the third round with wins on Tuesday.

Although Black said she was nervous to start the match, she ran out to a 3-0 lead over the 17-year-old from the Czech Republic, but it was Krejcikova who earned the first set point.

"At 5-4 her, she had a set point and I saved it, so I decided to fight really hard," said Black, who has been training at L'Academie de Tennis in Boynton Beach, Florida since April. "In the second set I was up 3-1 and she came back to 3-all, but I pulled it out."

Although the conditions were much less humid than the previous three days, Krejcikova looked to be suffering from fatigue, especially after the match reached the two-hour mark near the end of the second set. Serving to force a second set tiebreaker, Krejcikova made four straight unforced errors, three on the forehand side, quickly eliminating any possibility of a comeback against a much less experienced player.

Some of that fatigue may have been due to the competition last week at the ITF Grade 1 in Repentigny, Canada. Krejcikova won both the singles and doubles titles, but four of her five wins in singles required three sets.

Whether that was a factor, or it was simply a bad day for her, Black was pleased to advance to the third round of a junior slam for the first time.  Although only 15, Black is the second oldest of the four US girls in the round of 16.

"I think a lot of younger girls are up and coming, and it's really good," said Black, who admits the success of the 14-year-olds has given her motivation to improve. "I've known CiCi (Bellis) and Michaela (Gordon) for a while now, and I'm really happy for them."

Black will play qualifier Jasmine Paolini of Italy in Thursday's third round, after Paolini defeated No. 13 seed Katy Dunne of Great Britain 6-4, 7-6(5).

The other three US girls in action Wednesday lost, with 13-year-old wild card Claire Liu falling to No. 3 seed Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-3 and wild card Peggy Porter going out to unseeded Iryna Shymanovich of Belarus 6-3, 6-2.  Christina Makarova served for the first set at 6-5 in her match with Maria Marfutina of Russia and had a set point in the tiebreaker, but after an hour and eight minutes, she lost the set when she missed an overhead into the net. Makarova lost the next three games and retired due to illness, 7-6(6), 3-0.

Only two US boys were on the schedule Wednesday, with Noah Rubin dropping a 6-3, 6-4 decision to No. 2 seed Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy, much to the disappointment of the New Yorker's many supporters gathered around Court 7.

Gage Brymer, who earned his wild card by winning the Easter Bowl Grade B1 back in April, got off to an extremely slow start against No. 14 seed Roman Safiullin of Russia, trailing 5-2 in the first set, but he shook off his nerves to post a 7-5, 5-6 ret. inj. victory.

"I came out tight, I wasn't hitting my shots," said Brymer, who lost in the first round of the 2011 US Open junior championships, the only other time he's played a junior slam. "Once I got into the match, I started moving and focusing on the ball, instead of the environment, and I think I loosened up. It really helped me play the game I've been playing in practice and in my other matches where I'm successful."

Brymer was up 5-4 40-15 in the second set, but wasn't able to convert either of those two match points. He wasn't entirely sure whether Safiullin was injured or just disinterested in what turned out to be the final games of the match.

"The whole game at 5-4, it almost seemed like a tank," Brymer said. "I didn't know he was feeling like an injury or anything. At 40-15, I double faulted. I felt tight, not only because it was my match point, but I felt like I had to close it out, because he was out of it. I felt like I had the match won, I could see the finish line and that's always a curse, to look to far ahead, even if it's only one point."

Brymer was disappointed that he allowed Safiullin's actions to influence his own.

"I wasn't focused," said Brymer, who was serving at 5-6, 40-15 when Safiullin retired presumably with a cramp. "I was focused more on him, was he tanking, does he have an injury, what's going on, more than focusing on being clear-minded, seeing the ball and playing the game I had been playing."

Next up for Brymer is Quinzi, whom he has never played.

"I remember seeing him at Eddie Herr in the 12s," said Brymer. "He's one of those kids who stick around, and he's always been a good player. I know he's a really tough player and it's going to be a hard match."

The other US boys in action on Thursday include Brymer's UCLA teammate Mackenzie McDonald, who will play Kalamazoo champion Collin Altamirano for a place in the quarterfinals on Louis Armstrong Stadium, and Martin Redlicki, who will take on top seed Alexander Zverev of Germany on Court 11, prior to the Brymer - Quinzi match.

The other US girls in action are CiCi Bellis, who plays No. 2 seed Ana Konjuh of Croatia on Court 6, and Michaela Gordon, who faces No. 10 seed Louisa Chirico after the Bellis - Konjuh match.  No. 11 seed Mayo Hibi, who plays for Japan, but lives and trains in Irvine, California, plays unseeded Katie Boulter of Great Britain.

Only one American remains in the doubles draw--Redlicki, who with Kamil Majchrzak of Poland, reached the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 7-6(6) victory over wild cards Taylor Fritz and Anudeep Kodali, the Kalamazoo 16s champions.  Hibi and her partner Ayaka Okuno, who played for the University of Georgia this spring, advanced in the girls doubles, coming from 8-4 down in the match tiebreaker to beat Veronika Kudermetova and Maria Marfutina of Russia 6-3, 6-7(4), 12-10.

For complete draws, see usopen.org.


Unknown said...
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Colette Lewis said...

@jeff drock
Tornado played well in the games I saw (I am covering many different matches on any given day, plus conducting interviews, so I am not able, early in a tournament, to watch an entire match). Krejcikova did not. I do consider Tornado's win an upset, if only because Krejickova was in-form coming into the tournament. Certainly the wins you cite demonstrate Tornado's ability to play at the highest ITF Junior level, an ability I have never doubted.

Wheeler Dealer said...

Just got finished watching the Altamirano / McDonald match via live streaming. Based on what I saw, I can't fanthom how McDonald actually won matches in a pro event. He will make a decent college player but his pro aspects are severely limited. The same goes for Altamirano. 67mph serves aren't going to take you very far. McDonald handed him the match. In my opinion, his opponent next round will handle him with no problem.

So Over the Hype said...

@ Jeff Drock:

Wow....your reaction to Colette's blog was a little emotional to say the least. Alicia is a promising player, but do not act like she is the World's #1. She is still a junior/ still in development. She had some great wins this year AND some bad losses. Relax.

Unknown said...
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russ said...

I too watched the McDonald/Altamirano match. Until 4-5 in the second when he served to stay in the set, I thought McDonald was playing great and I could see how he beat Mahut and Steve Johnson. His first serve percentage was over seventy, he was winning both his serves over sixty percent, and Altamirano didn't get a sniff at a break point. In the return games, he continually put pressure on Altamirano, often pushing Alatamirano into long deuce games. His return was incredibly solid, often taking the ball early and nailing returns that put Altamirano on the defensive. His court coverage was great and every stroke had great mechanics with nice pop on the ball. And I loved his demeanor, the cool professional look, so I was really surprised at how the match played out from 4-5. He definitely got tight to open the game with his first double and followed with unforced backhand and forehand errors that gave the set to Altamirano. I didn't expect him to be so disheartened that he would lose the next four games before recovering. So when he told reporters that he attributed his wins over Mahut and Johnson to his good mental state of mind, I'm inclined to believe him because it wasn't his physical game that betrayed him against Altamirano.

As for Altamirano. Same whiny kid I saw play Ryan Thacher last year. Worked for him in this match, not so much against Kohlschreiber. If I had to pick one of the two, I'd take McDonald as ultimately the better player. But you never know... Wawrinka ranked above Federer?!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

Give it a rest! Your comments are borderline harassment! If you don't like the way Colette blogs, then DON'T READ HER BLOGS! Please refrain from telling Colette what to do and please apologize to her at your earliest convenience! She covers all juniors in the tournament, not just Tornado!

Enough is enough! I have had it with... said...

Jeff Drock, you are reading way too much into what Colette wrote and are getting offended over nothing. All Colette has done was report what she saw and support that with factual information. She was not belittling anyone, especially Tornado.

Unknown said...
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Jeebus said...

A player being fatigued, injured, or making a plethora of unusual errors for him/herself are not reasons why the opponent is winning but they are reasons why a match may not be as competitive as it could be. When reading tennis blogs, I like to know the condition of both players so that I can get fully understand a match. No one is undermining Tornado's run. But knowing who she played, and how well they were playing that day compared to passed days is basic necessary knowledge that tennis fans want in a review of the match. So yes, I would say you are incorrect in thinking it takes credibility away from an accomplishment. You're the only one who thought the description meant "oh Tornado just got lucky in her run to the final. She must be undeserving". Everyone else is thinking, "That's just the nature of tennis. Impressive run. She must work hard and be talented. Keep it going."

Igor said...

Wondering what is different this for Tornado Black that she is having so much success?
New coach? Academy? Different game?
Colette, any insight into this......

TennisFan said...

jeff drock said...

"Colette, Are you joking? Unless we are reading this wrong, you make this post appear at though Tornado won by accident. Please revise this at your earliest convenience."

"I am not telling Colette or anyone what to do. She obviously can do whatever she wants."

How is that not telling her what to do?

Tennisforlife said...

Jeff - I don't think there is a single person reading this blog including Colette who isn't thrilled by her success. You're ranting is just detracting from her accomplishment. Give it a rest.

Two Drock's Shy said...

Dear Mr. Drock,

I feel that you should be made aware that some imbecile has hacked your g+ account and is signing your name to stupid posts.

Very truly yours,
Every ZooTennis reader

Colette Lewis said...

On Monday I received a private email from Jeff Drock saying that his google+ account had been hacked, he was not the author of the comments attributed to him, and he would like them removed. I have honored that request, but I will not remove the responses to the Drock impersonator unless those who wrote them request that I do so via a comment (which I will not publish).