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Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Goetz Saves Four Match Points to Reach Orange Bowl 16s Semifinals; No. 3 Seeds Eliminated in 18s Second Round; Qualifier Hance's Gamble Pays Off

The last thing an Orange Bowl qualifier needs is a nearly four-hour quarterfinal match against the No. 2 seed, but Taylor Goetz somehow managed to will her way through it, saving four match points, in a 5-7, 7-5, 7-6(6) win over Gabriella Broadfoot of South Africa Wednesday at the Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation Florida.

"We were both fighting for every point," said Goetz, who turned 15 last month. "Almost every game was deuce, going back and forth, back and forth. We were having really long points, and we were both tired after all the points, so we'd take a breather, have to go get the balls; we were both sucking wind at our towels. It was a really tough match."

Goetz faced her first match point with Broadfoot serving at 5-3 in the third set, and then two more on her own serve at 5-6. The fourth came at 5-6 in the tiebreaker, but Goetz kept calm and survived yet another one, then converted her first match point two points later.

"She was really going for her shots," said Goetz, who trains with Jay Devashetty at the Cary Leeds Tennis Center in the Bronx. "I was just kind of getting every ball back. I treated it as if it was an ordinary point. I tried to play with no pressure and free, but with good margins."

Goetz was not happy with her level of play coming into the tournament, so posting seven wins in the past six days is something of a surprise to her. 

"I had a tournament last weekend and I didn't do as well as I'd hoped to do," said Goetz, whose sister Alexa plays for Emory and whose brother Ryan plays for Virginia. "So at first, I wasn't even going to come to Orange Bowl, because I was a little nervous with how I was playing. But my dad told me if you get into Orange Bowl, you go to Orange Bowl. So in qualifying, I wasn't really nervous, I just wanted to try to play my best tennis, and I played really well in each match and gained more confidence, so I'm really happy to be in the semis."

Goetz, who has beaten three seeds in the past three days, will face off in the semifinals against unseeded Tatum Evans, who defeated Maya Joint 6-1, 6-2.  Evans defeated Goetz in the first round of the USTA Girls 14s National Championships last year.

A third unseeded American advanced to the semifinals, with Valeria Ray defeating No. 3 seed Eva Elbaz of France 2-6, 6-1, 6-3. Ray's opponent is No. 8 seed Elisabeth Jones, who defeated No. 16 seed Salma Farhat 7-5, 6-3.

All the boys in the 16s quarterfinals were seeded, but the higher seed won only one of the four matches.  Top seed Sam Scherer lost to No. 9 seed Ethan Quinn, the reigning USTA Winter Nationals 16s champion, 6-3, 6-2.  Quinn will play No. 15 seed Jonah Braswell, who beat No. 8 seed Nicholas Godsick 6-3, 6-0. 

The only international player remaining in either 16s singles draw is No. 5 seed Ignacio Buse of Peru, who defeated No. 4 seed Cooper Williams 6-3, 7-5. He will face No. 2 seed Lucas Brown, who beat No. 7 seed Jackson Armistead 6-0, 6-4 in a third all-US quarterfinal. 

The seeded players in the 18s finally played their first matches today, with both No. 3 seeds going out in straight sets in second round action.

Sixteen-year-old Arthur Fils of France defeated Lukas Neumayer of Austria 6-1, 6-0 and 16-year-old Laura Hietaranta of Finland downed Kristina Dmitruk of Belarus 6-4, 6-3. 

Two seeded American boys lost, with No. 10 seed Jack Anthrop falling to Adam Jurajda of the Czech Republic 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 and No. 7 seed Bruno Kuzuhara losing to Luca Van Assche of France 6-4, 6-0.

Two American boys beat seeds, with wild card Ben Shelton defeating No. 14 seed Mehdi Sadaoui of France 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-5 in just under three hours, and Samir Banerjee downing No. 13 seed Toby Samuel of Great Britain 7-5, 6-4.  Top seed Peter Fajta of Hungary cruised past Lui Maxted of Great Britain 6-3, 6-0 and No. 2 seed Dali Blanch ended the run of qualifier Luka Mikrut of Croatia 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-1. 

Two of the three seeded US girls lost today, both to American qualifiers. UNC freshman Fiona Crawley, the 16s Orange Bowl finalist in 2017, defeated No. 11 seed Madison Sieg 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 and Kimmi Hance beat No. 10 seed Ellie Coleman 6-1, 7-5.

Hance, a Southern Californian who recently signed with UCLA, admitted to some anxiety about traveling across the country to compete in the qualifying.

"It was in my tournament schedule, since this year has been pretty crazy," said Hance, who reached the final of the ITF Grade 5 in San Diego last month. "Towards the end of last week, I didn't know if I was going to get my PCR Covid test back in time, so it was a little iffy if I was going to make it. But me and my mom decided we were just going to take the risk and fly out and hopefully it comes back. I think we made the right decision, I'm feeling pretty happy about it."

With four matches under her belt before today's contest, Hance felt her comfort level increasing with each win.

"I think it was really good for me to get a few matches, warm up, get used to the site," said Hance, 17. "We obviously didn't get to play that many tournaments this year, so I for sure felt warm and ready to go with my matches yesterday and today."

Coleman served for the second set at 5-4, but was unable to force a third set.

"It was kind of weird conditions today, it was pretty windy, so we both had to deal with that," Hance said. "There were some points where she got lucky, some points where I got lucky, so I just kept telling myself to keep playing every point, hit the ball deep, doing everything I could control. But it was a good match; it could have gone either way in the second set, but I think I performed to the best of my ability."

No. 8 seed Elvina Kalieva also faced an American opponent, with Kalieva managing to rebound after letting a big second set lead slip away and defeating wild card Reese Brantmeier 6-3, 5-7, 6-2. Hina Inoue defeated No. 9 seed Aliona Falei of Belarus 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 and will face Kalieva next in the only all-US third round match.

Wild card Ashlyn Krueger, last year's 16s champion, took out No. 16 seed Petra Marcinko of Croatia 6-2, 6-2 and will play No. 2 seed Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra next. Jimenez Kasintseva beat last year's 16s finalist Clervie Ngounoue 6-3, 7-6(6) today.

Top seed Elsa Jacquemot of France had her hands full against wild card Sarah Hamner, with the French Open girls champion needing three hours to earn a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 victory. Hamner saved five match points with Jacquemot serving for the match at 5-2 in the third, but the South Carolina recruit couldn't hold serve in the final game, with Jacquemot converting the sixth match point at 30-40. 

The order of play shows the 16s semifinals on the schedule for Thursday, so unless rain intervenes, the 16s singles finals will be on Friday, a day earlier than normal. 

The draws and live scoring link can be found at the tournament website.


sdearth said...

Love it!