2006 EDDIE HERR INTERNATIONAL
JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS Bolletieri Sports Tennis Academy - Bradenton, Florida
November 24-December 3, 2006
Click on a photo to enlarge
Saturday, December 2, 2006-Day 9
It was a day of long matches and excitement at the Eddie Herr International Championships and there were fans everywhere to enjoy every moment of it. I did my best to keep up with the action and it was there from the start.
The battle of the American boys was just that -- a fight to the close-as-can-be finish. Tenth-seeded Devin Britton and unseeded Alex Domijan were out there playing for a place in the finals and neither waqs going down easy. Though the points were short, they did the job as neither broke through 24 games. It was all decided in two tiebreakers, both going to the seed. Devin will play Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria for the Boys 16 title. Grigor also had to work hard for his place as third-seeded Ilija Vucic pushed him to 6-3,6-7(5),6-1.
Excitement would be an understatement to describe the Girls' 16s semi between unseeded American Ester Goldfeld and top-seeded Tanya Raykova. Though there were breaks, the first set was another morning tiebreaker with the edge to Tanya. The third was an entirely different story as Ester cruised to a 3-0 lead only to have Tanya come back and win five games in a row. It was at that time that the wind came in and with it brought a resurgence to Ester. She came back alive and eventually won the set in a breaker. It was over two hours into play when they were in the third and I was surprised how good the points still were. The games frequently went through deuces, but the top-seed took it 6-2 and ended the New Yorker's incredible tournament run.
The second Girls 16 semifinal was almost as exciting as the first. Another unseeded American, Nicole Bartnik, put up a terrific performance in the first to give No. 14 Yasmin Clarke quite a challenge. The points were very exciting to the spectators as both players mixed it up. Nicole did take the first (6-4), but couldn't get enough going in the second and dropped them 6-1 and 6-0.
While all my attention fell to the 16s, the 14s finished their semis. Earning their places in Sundays final were Ashot Khacharya & Yasutaka Uchiyama in the boys and Hanna Orlik & Ajla Tomljanovic in the girls.
Pavel Chekhov, the fourth seeded Russian, went up against wildcard (only because he didn't play enough ITFs this year due to injury) Philip Bester to the largest crowd of the tournament. The two Bolletieri Academy proteges gave the group what they were looking for. I went back and forth to this match, never disappointed in the play. It was Philip's in the end, 6-3,2-6,6-4. He will be playing No. 1 Nicolas Santos, who also kept me interested in his three-setter (3-6,6-2,6-2) with unseeded Rasid Winklaar.
I didn't see a lot of the Girls' 18s matches. They went a lot quicker than the boys as Urszula Radwanska (4) defeated Anastasia Pivovarova (8), 6-1,6-2 and Sorana-Mihaela Cirstea (2) eliminated Tamaryn Hendler, 6-4,7-5.
There was plenty of doubles fun today. I got to see some more terrific Girls' 18s play, with one American remaining into the finals among the five who were playing. Maria Mokh and partner Ksenia Pervak beat top-seeded Julia Cohen & Dominice Ripoli, 7-5,6-4, while Madison Brengle & Kim Couts (above) lost to second-seeded Anastasia Pivovarova &
Katerina Vankova, 7-6,6-3. The Boys 18s doubles will pit two Americans on opposite sides of the court. Dennis Lajola partners with Roberto Maytin against Mateusz Kecki and partner Bassam Beidas. The Boys 16s doubles went to Jason Zafiros & Matt Reid (below) and Diana Marcinkevica &
Hanna Orlik won the Girls' 16s. The 14s were won by Andrea Collarini/Agustin Portis. and Diana Marcinkevica/Hanna Orlik.
It's going to be the last of a very long event as the Eddie Herr Internationals come to a close Sunday. The weather appears to remain the same -- sunny and warm -- and I'm sure the play will be just as hot.
Andrea Collarini, Coach Diego Moyano and Agustin Portis