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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Top Seeds Reach Quarterfinals at ITF Grade 1 International Hard Courts; Kozlov, Altamirano Among US Open Qualifying Winners

©Colette Lewis 2014--
College Park, MD--

The exit of seeds that marked the first two days of play at the ITF Grade 1 International Hard Courts slowed in the third round, with only one seeded player losing in each of the draws.

Of the two unseeded winners, Reilly Opelka had the easier time, ousting No. 11 seed Alejandro Tabilo of Canada 6-3, 6-4, while Ellyse Hamlin needed three hours to overcome No. 13 seed Siqi Cao of China 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Opelka said he was serving exceptionally well against the powerful left-hander, who began to show signs of frustration after Opelka won the first set.

"I served unbelievable today," said the 6-foot-9-inch Opelka. "He didn't touch many serves and as soon as I broke him early in the second set, I think that's why he got so frustrated. I put a lot of pressure on him."

Opelka understands that his serve can control a match when it's on.

"Every day's different as far as how I'm serving," said Opelka, who received a wild card into the US Open Junior Championships later this month. "I think for example today, if I hit my spot on my serve, it shouldn't come back. I was just trying to pay attention to my serve, all the details, keep a high percentage of first serves.  I'd say I served probably 80 percent."

Opelka's opponent in Thursday's quarterfinals will be No. 4 seed Chan-Yeong Oh of Korea, who beat a cramping Anudeep Kodali 6-4, 7-5.

The other boys quarterfinal in the top half of the draw will feature top seed Michael Mmoh against No. 8 seed Viktor Durasovic of Norway. Mmoh overcame a serious challenge from No. 14 Benjamin Hannestad of Denmark 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, while Durasovic got past New Balance High School champion Matt Kuhar 6-4, 7-6(3).

No. 9 seed Jordi Arconada, who trains at the Junior Tennis Champions Center, the host site of the tournament, will play No. 3 seed Seong Chan Hong of Korea in Thursday's quarterfinals.  Arconada defeated unseeded Denis Shapovalov of Canada 6-4, 6-4, while Hong took out unseeded Tommy Paul by the same score.

No. 2 seed Tim Van Rijthoven of the Netherlands has had to win a tiebreaker in each of his three wins this week, today's to close out No. 13 seed Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia 6-2, 7-6(6).  The tiebreaker was a high quality affair, with Van Rijthoven dictating most of the points with his forehand. At 5-all, he earned a match point with a stunning inside in forehand winner, but gave the mini-break right back when he netted a forehand. The next two points were again on Van Rijthoven's forehand and this time, there were no errors, just two consecutive winners for the match.

Van Rijthoven will play No. 7 seed Alexander Bublik of Russia, who survived No. 10 seed Sameer Kumar 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.  Bublik served for the match at 5-3 but was broken at love. With Kumar serving to stay in the match, he was able to save one match point with an ace, but he missed a backhand volley on the second to give the tall, thin Russian the victory.

In the girls third round, only Hamlin's win over Cao went three sets. Hamlin has dropped the first set in all three of her matches this week, but was much happier with her overall level today than in her other two victories.

"She came out hitting a big ball and I just wasn't hitting it big enough back," said Hamlin, who has committed to Duke for the fall of 2015. "She got control and kept pushing, pushing, pushing. I think she got a little bit tired at the end of the second set, which really helped me, even though I was definitely feeling it. But I think I kept my energy up and was really positive with myself and that helped."

Hamlin said she was focusing on her own strengths after getting away from that.

"I really had to play true to myself," said Hamlin. "I hadn't really been doing that lately, so this match I felt I was a lot better with that. Going after stuff, even if I was back behind the baseline, I was just trying to keep playing my game, and that ended up happening and I ended up winning. I don't know how, to be honest."

Hamlin will play unseeded Mia Horvit for a place in the semifinals, after Horvit defeated qualifier Jessica Livianu 6-1, 6-2.

"I played her in the 14s clays and I actually lost the first set, lost it 6-0 actually. I ended up pulling it out in the third," Hamlin said of her 0-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) third round win three years ago. "She's a really good competitor and I'm good friends with her, so it should be a good match."

In contrast to Hamlin's three-hour win, No. 2 seed Elena Ruse of Romania breezed by unseeded qualifier Andrea Kevakian 6-0, 6-0 to set up a quarterfinal match with No. 5 seed Tami Grende of Indonesia, who defeated Andie Daniell 6-2, 6-2.

Top seed Anna Kalinskaya of Russia moved into the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 7-5 win over unseeded qualifier Abigail Desiatnikov and will play No. 7 seed Raveena Kingsley, another JTCC student.  Kingsley beat unseeded Claire Liu 6-1, 6-3 and has lost only eight games in her three victories.

The third JTCC player into the quarterfinals is No. 3 seed Usue Arconada, younger sister to Jordi, who beat qualifier Maria Mateas 6-3, 6-1. Arconada will play unseeded Ingrid Neel, who downed unseeded qualifier Dominique Schaefer 6-4, 6-1.

The second round of doubles was completed this afternoon just before a rain storm arrived in the area.  See the tournament website for today's complete results and Thursday's order of play.

Another long day at the US Open qualifying saw the completion of the first round.   Stefan Kozlov defeated Mitchell Frank in a battle of American wild cards 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 and Kalamazoo finalist Collin Altamirano picked up a 6-2, 6-4 win over Luca Vanni of Italy.  Other US winners were Rajeev Ram(28), Rhyne Williams, Austin Krajicek, Melanie Oudin and Caitlin Whoriskey.  Whoriskey, who won the US Open National Playoff Monday in New Haven, came back to defeat WTA No. 106 and No. 5 seed Danka Kovinic of Montenegro 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Former University of Virginia star Sanam Singh, who won the men's National Playoff on Monday, defeated Flavio Cipolla of Italy 6-1, 7-6(3).

Complete draws can be found at usopen.org.


College Fan said...

Mitchell Frank injured his back early in the second set vs Kozlov. His movement was noticeably affected and the match was essentially over from that point on. Frank took a long injury timeout after the 2nd set for treatment on his back, but it provided little help. Kozlov only seemed to lose the 2 games (the first game of the 3rd and up 5-1) because he lost his focus/concentration playing a clearly injured guy. There was no celebration by Kozlov at the end of the match out of respect for his opponent's condition.

LoveTheGame said...

People were down playing the level at KZOO 18s last year and now it appears that group is very strong. A few guys winning US Open qualifying matches. Still a few guys who could have played 16 and under. Do not remember a group this strong since Roddick, Fish, Ginepri, King (went to college, did not pan out as pro), etc. You would have to think a few of these guys could be top 20 players down the road. Maybe better with some luck. Congrats to them.

Unknown said...

I did watch Escobedo and he had a man sized game at Kalamazoo. Lost a bit early there but looking good at US Open Qualifying. Donaldson, if healthy could be good this year at the US Open also.