Almaden Valley Athletic Club - San Jose, California - August 8-15, 2004

Friday, August 13, 2004

Greetings from Northern California and the USTA Girls 18 National Hardcourts at the Almaden Valley Athletic Club. They are into the quarterfinals here and the competition is fierce.

The atmosphere is definitely different here with the addition (by USTA Call Item) of professional players into the draw. The controvery can be heard throughout the grounds with no one in agreement. Five under 18 pros came to this tournament -- Jessica Kirkland, Mary Gambale, Carly Gullickson, Alexandra Mueller and Krysty Marcio. Among them only Jessica has survived in the main draw.

If one were to judge by the first few games, it looked as if top-seeded Jessica Kirkland and Vania King would be battling for hours. After Jessica took the first game, the second went on for nearly a half hour as neither player could close out the advantage. When Jessica finally did win it, she took most of Vania's fight with her and was able to take the match, 6-4,6-2.

Even though they came out wearing the same shirt, there was immediately a difference between Elizabeth Kobak and Lauren Albanese on the court. Elizabeth, last year's Girls 16 National Hardcourt winner, struggled a bit in the first set, but as soon as she found her volley she commanded the match to a 6-3,6-0 entrance into the semis. The unseeded Lauren had a terrific tournament after creating upsets against No. 2 Ashley Joelson and No. 17 Keri Robison.

The quarterfinal match between Andrea Remynse and Audra Cohen was not a quiet one. There were long points and long arguments over calls. The girls continued to battle on quite awhile after the other nine am matches had finished. It was Andrea in the end, but not by much as she moved on, 6-4,7-5.

It was Alexa Glatch and Sarah Fansler (below) in the last of the day's quarters. I certainly didn't have to question how Alexa has managed to win USTA & ITF Junior, as well as Pro Circuit events this year. Always a strong player, her game has gone on to the next level and it's hard to find something wrong with it. Sarah Fansler certainly couldn't and, despite some nice ralleys, Alexa won it 6-3,6-3. Sarah went on to the backdraw and another tough opponent. Nicole Leimbach, who is on her way to the University of Southern California, eliminated Sarah from the tournament, 3-6,6-1,6-4.

It has been a very long year for Julia Cohen. After starting the year in the top 15 in the world, injuries kept her out of a lot of the action the rest of the year. She lost in the main draw round of 16 to Alexa and played her heart out in the feed-in today. The No. 15 seed managed to squeak by a three-setter with Magdalena Bresson only to drop another long one to Elizabeth Plotkin.

Last year's doubles finalist Riza Zalameda hopes to be in the winner's circle this year. Though she lost her feed-in match in the morning to Ashley Joelson, she had no problem earning a semifinal spot in the doubles. With partner Audra Cohen and her soon-to-be UCLA coach Stella Sampras nearby, the No. 2 doubles team defeated Vania King and Yasmin Schnack, 6-3,6-0. The other doubles semi wasn't quite so easy. third-seeded Lindsay Burdette and Alexa Glatch had to work for their 7-5,2-6,6-2 win over Whitney Deason and Carly Gullickson. Whitney will now be heading to Stanford to play for the Cardinals.

Singles semifinals will start the day tomorrow as the doubles players have a day off. There is a wildcard to the US Open on the line and the fight is on.

Until Tomorrow,
Marcia Frost




Click on a photo to enlarge

Carly Gullickson

Nicole Leimbach

Mary Gambale

Lindsay Burdette

Krysty Marcio

Vania King

Audra Cohen

Julia Cohen

Riza Zalameda

Ashley Joelson
Click For More Photos From 8/13

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