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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Top Seed Flink, and Both Eddie Herr ITF Champions Survive Opening Round Three-Setters at Orange Bowl; Switkes Ousts 16s Top Seed Altick

©Colette Lewis 2013--
Plantation, FL--

Heat and humidity made an appearance at the Metropolia Orange Bowl on Tuesday, with the uncomfortable conditions and determined opponents giving several of the tournament favorites some anxious moments. But top seed Varvara Flink of Russia, and Eddie Herr champions Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia and Kamil Majchrzak of Poland survived three-setters to advance to the second round.

Flink was down early to Jil Teichmann of Switzerland before adapting to the conditions and an opponent she'd never faced to record a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory.

"In the first set I was a little bit tight, and the first round is always difficult," said Flink, who turns 17 on Friday. "Then I just got more relaxed and played a really good match. I saw her for the first time not that long ago and I was impressed with her game, and I thought she was really good, had potential, so I was really preparing for the match."

Teichmann, a left-hander who was a finalist in the European 16s Championships this summer, was able to dictate points in the first set, but as the match continued, she was less precise, while Flink began to get her formidable serve on track. Holding without much difficulty, Flink could then concentrate on breaking Teichmann, which she did three times in the final set.

Flink, who is No. 5 in the ITF junior rankings and was also the top seed at the Eddie Herr, where she lost in the semifinals, isn't giving much thought to her seeding.

"I'm not thinking about it," Flink said. "Many girls I've know already for many years and we play the same tournaments. It's just a number next to me, it's really not important."

Flink said she likes both the Eddie Herr and the Orange Bowl, but for different reasons.

"At Eddie Herr, there are so many people, all the ages," said Flink, an IMG client. "There are pluses and minuses, because you can get a little bit unfocused there, but on the other side, it's nice to have many people, a big tournament. Here it's a little bit more relaxed and a very nice club and nice courts. I like both of them very much."

Eddie Herr champions Ostapenko and Majchrzak toiled under the hot afternoon sun to beat Americans, with Ostapenko, seeded 11th, defeating Kaitlyn McCarthy 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 and Majchrzak, seeded 10th, beating Alex Rybakov by the same score.

Eddie Herr finalist Andrey Rublev, seeded No. 12, beat Sumit Nagal of India 6-4, 6-3 and will play Martin Redlicki in Wednesday's second round. Redlicki, who beat qualifier Marko Osmakcic of Switzerland 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 Tuesday, had top notch preparation for the tournament, as the 6-foot-5 lefthander was asked to hit with Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, who spends his off-season training in the Miami area. Redlicki said it was his brother Michael who was first contacted by Murray, but because he is currently in school at Duke, Michael passed along his brother's phone number and Martin hit with Murray on Sunday at Crandon Park, and experience he said was "awesome."

For all the close matches, only one seed lost Tuesday, with No. 7 seed Katrine Steffensen falling to Katerina Jokic of Bosnia 7-6(10), 6-3. The first set took an astounding hour and 48 minutes, with the second clocking in at a more typical 45 minutes.

The major upset came early, in the girls 16s, although Jaclyn Switkes' 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win over No. 1 seed Abi Altick was not exactly a shocking result.  On Saturday, on the hard courts at the Eddie Herr, Altick had beaten Switkes 1-6, 6-4, 6-0 in the 16s semifinals, with Switkes getting the benefit of a day off on Sunday, while Altick had to play the final on Sunday and her first round match Monday at the Orange Bowl. Switkes displayed both power and variety in Tuesday's match, and she will meet Alexis Nelson in the third round, after Nelson blanked Camila Romero of Ecuador.

Boys 16s top seed Yunseong Chung of Korea, who, like Altick had to play his first round match in Plantation the day after appearing in the Eddie Herr final, had an easier time of it, defeating Chase Colton 6-1, 6-0.

For all the draws and Wednesday's order of play, see the tournament website.


AO Wildcard Tournament said...

The USTA needs to come up with a consistent system to their wildcard tournaments. It seems they do whatever is best for them each year so the criteria always changes, just like with wildcards.

Alex Kuznetsov is at his highest year end ranking at 142. NOW he does not get invited? He has received chances before but why not now? Alex has won 2 Challenger titles.

Rajeev Ram deserves to play. He got to the 2nd round of singles in 3 Grand Slam tournaments and won a Challenger. He deserves to play.

If you are inside ATP 150, you deserve to play.

Bjorn is a great young player but he has not played 1 ATP Tour main draw match all year? Neither has Chase. And now they is playing for a Grand Slam Main draw? They are not even Top 300.

Why not earn it throughout the year? The wildcard tournament is suppose to be special, hard to get into. This change every year discredits the leadership of who picks the tournament.