Monday, August 20, 2018

Qualifier Heck Beats No. 2 Seed, Broadus Ousts No. 6 Seed in First Round Action Monday at ITF Grade 1 International Hard Courts; Forty Americans in US Open Qualifying

©Colette Lewis 2018--
College Park MD--

Only five seeds were eliminated Monday in the first round of the Prince George's County International Hard Court ITF Grade 1, but three of them were Top 8 seeds.  Qualifier Hunter Heck pulled off the biggest upset, beating No. 2 seed Facundo Diaz Acosta of Argentina 7-5, 6-2, calling it "definitely" the best win of his career.

Heck was thrilled with his level of play throughout his contest with the 10th ranked player in the ITF World Junior rankings.

"I was doing everything well, everything was going my way," said the 16-year-old from Minnesota, who is ranked 424. "Shots were not going his way, I got a couple lucky bounces, lucky net cords, everything went my way today."

Winning two matches in qualifying on the Junior Tennis Champion Center courts over the weekend gave Heck an advantage.

"I think it helped, getting a couple of matches under my belt, getting the feel of the court, the facility," Heck said. "He didn't; it was his first match, and I'm just really happy."

Heck believes that Diaz Acosta, a left-hander, was not as comfortable on the hard courts as on the red clay.

"He was definitely a clay courter, the spin on his balls, the way he played, everything pointed to clay," Heck said.

Heck said he "definitely was feeling the nerves" when it came time to serve out the first set, after getting a break to go up 6-5.

"But I served well the whole match, so I'm proud of the way I served."

Savannah Broadus, who defeated No. 6 seed Ana Makatsaria of Georgia 6-3, 6-4, was also confident in her ability to serve out the match.

At 2-2 in the second set, Broadus got the break, then salvaged two more holds in close, tough games to give herself a chance to serve out the match.

"I always like serving out matches," said the 15-year-old from Texas, who reached the round of 16 in the USTA National 18s earlier this month and advanced to the semifinals of a $15,000 ITF Pro Circuit tournament in July. "I'm very comfortable with my serve and I love serving. And I know I can set up my forehand with my serve. So I just felt calm, and knew I could close it out."

Broadus started with an ace, the first of three first serves she made in the last game, and she held at love to finish it.

Broadus said her success this summer helped her in Monday's first round against a Top 35 opponent.

"It gave me confidence for today," said Broadus, ranked 118. "My past wins have made me more comfortable with my game style. Now when I go out on court I know how I want to play and I just feel better about myself when I walk out on court."

The third Top Eight seed to exit on Monday was No. 7 seed Ray Ho of Taiwan, who lost to lucky loser Ilya Tiraspolsky of Canada 6-4, 6-3.

No. 13 seed Kamilla Bartone of Latvia, who didn't enter the tournament and was forced to go through qualifying as an onsite alternate, lost to Kylie Collins 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 and No. 10 seed Andrew Fenty also lost in three sets, falling to Cezar Cretu of Romania 6-2, 0-6, 6-3.

Top seeds Nicolas Mejia of Colombia and Alexa Noel got through in straight sets, but did not have easy first round matches.  Mejia, the defending champion, trailed most of the first set to 14-year-old qualifier Jack Anthrop, and Anthrop served for the first set at 5-4, but Mejia broke back, then dominated the tiebreaker to set the tone for the second set in his 7-6(1), 6-0 victory.

Noel couldn't serve out her match with Martina Biagianti of Italy at 5-2 in the second set, but she did hang on for a 6-1, 6-4 victory.

No. 3 seed Margaryta Bilokin of Ukraine struggled with qualifier Elvina Kalieva, and saw a 4-1 third set lead nearly evaporate, but Bilokin saved a pair of break points to hold for 5-3, then broke the 15-year-old Kalieva to secure her 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory.

No. 2 seed Lea Ma had one of the easiest wins of the seeded girls, taking out Celestine Avomo Ella of Gabon 6-2, 6-0.

Doubles are scheduled to begin on Tuesday, with Argentina's Diaz Acosta and Juan Cerundolo the top boys seeds and Bilokin and Noel the top girls seeds.

Tuesday's order of play and complete draws can be found at the tournament website.

Qualifying begins for the US Open Tuesday at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, with 23 of the 40 Americans in the men's and women's qualifying draws on the schedule.  Below are the Americans in the qualifying draws, with an asterisk denoting those playing first round matches Tuesday.

Kristie Ahn*
Sophie Chang*
Allie Kiick*
Nicole Gibbs[10]*
Coco Gauff
Varvara Lepchenko[13]*
Katerina Stewart*
Gail Brodsky*
Danielle Lao
Lauren Davis
Jessica Pegula*
Kayla Day*
Caty McNally*
Jamie Loeb*
Vicky Duval*
Ann Li*
Madison Brengle[3]
Bethanie Mattek-Sands
Grace Min
Ashley Kratzer
Irina Falconi
Francesca Di Lorenzo*

Ernesto Escobedo
Brandon Nakashima
Bjorn Fratangelo*
Evan King*
Martin Redlicki
Reilly Opelka
Christian Harrison*
JC Aragone*
Tom Fawcett*
Chris Eubanks
Collin Altamirano
Mitchell Krueger
Thai Kwiatkowski
Donald Young*
Dennis Novikov*
Sebastian Korda*
Kevin King*
Ulises Blanch

*Tuesday first round match