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Sunday, December 3, 2006-Final Day
Matches spread out all over today at the Eddie Herr International Championships. It was a tough job, but I got to see at least a little of everything and I'm glad I did.
There wasn't even standing room at the Nicolas Santos vs. Philip Bester (Pictured right) Boys 18 singles final and the two put on a crowd-pleasing match. There were exciting points from the start and though Nicolas began by taking the first two games, it was a match of two players all along. Except for a brace, Philip hardly showed signs of the injury he felt on his leg from yesterday's match. Even when he was down match point, Philip Bester came back to take the game. When Nicolas then served for the match, the Canadian pushed it to deuce before succombing, 6-2,6-4.
The Girls 18 final belonged to eighth-seeded Urszula Radwanska (6-3,6-1) despite a good effort from No. 8 Anastasia Pivovarova. It was a similar match in the Boys 16s between American Devin Britton and Grigor Dimitrov. Fifteen year old Devin tried to keep up with the third seed to no avail. There were some long games and good points, however, before he fell 6-2,6-1.
It was a back and forth affair in the Girls 16s while top-seeded Tanya Raykova and No. 14 Yasmin Clarke went at it with the first to Tanya and the second to Yasmin. The latter couldn't hold the lead and Tanya took the last, 6-1. I enjoyed the nice variety of shots in the Boys 14s between Ashot Khacharyan (5) and Yasutaka Uchiyama (3). The match was closer than Yasutaka's 6-1,6-4 win showed, as was the case with Girls 14s winner Hanna Orlik's 6-4,6-1 finish over Ajla Tomlijanovic. For Hanna, who also won doubles yesterday, it was a second singles trophy in as many years.
The Boys 18s doubles final was power play at its best with an American on each side of the court. Dennis Lajola, who had to drop out of singles because he's still recovering from a oncourt collision, teamed with Roberto Maytin against incoming Pepperdine freshman Bassam Beidas and American Mateusz Kecki. It was a close first set with a 7-5 finish for Bassam & Mateusz, but the second belonged more to the duo as they took the trophy. Unfortunately, I only saw a few points of the Girls 18s doubles final where Anastasia Pivovarova & Katerina Vankova won over Maria Mokh & Ksenia Pervak, 6-0,6-7(4),6-4
I couldn't help but to keep gravitating to the 14s Mixed Doubles match. The match between Grace Min/Emmett Egger (pictured right) and Valentyna Ivakhnenko/Yahor Yatsyk was incredible for any age group. Though there were a few arguments I was sad to see in this young group, I was thrilled to see the great volleying and creative points. It was hard not to spend the (two) hours just watching that match. In the end, Americans Emmett & Grace took home the trophies, but they all played like winners.
It was an exhausting three days of matches, photos, stories and interviews*, but it was worth it not only for my experience, but to watch the hundreds of players from around the world come together to celebrate junior tennis.
Until next year,
*Look for many Talking With articles to come in the next few weeks.
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