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

Saturday, August 14, 2004

I've seen and written about a lot of matches, but the semifinal today between Elizabeth Kobak and Andrea Remynse is almost indescribable. Three and a half hours of hard-hitting, overruling and point penalties is just not something that words can give justice to.

From the minute Elizabeth and Andrea took the court, there were great points and major controversy. Within the first three games the umpire had overruled four calls -- one of Elizabeth's and three of Andrea's. In addition, Andrea was warned on her persistent habit of bouncing the ball for long periods before serving. Soon the warning turned into point penalties and added up to a half dozen during the match. This made a tense situation even more difficult and fueled the fire between the two players. Elizabeth's incredible volleying was what led her to the 6-4 win in the first set, but the second was much more complicated.

As the ball bouncing and questioning of calls continued, the match was too close to call in the second set. There was a match point for Elizabeth, but Andrea used her four set points to take it in a 9-7 tiebreaker. By the time they got into the third set both players were physically and emmotionally exhausted. It was Andrea who somehow managed to pull it together in the end (or maybe pull her opponent apart enough with all the delays) for a 6-2 win.

While the other semifinal of the day paled in comparison, it was still an exciting match and not without its own problems. Top-seeded Jessica Kirkland and 14 year old phenom Alexa Glatch played to a high level of tennis with some beautiful points and questionable calls. Jessica's incredibly fast and accurate forehand and Alexa's terrific serve and volley were in contrast, but it was mostly experience that won this match.

After months exclusively on the pro tour Jessica has become the smarter player and was able to make the quick calls and play to Alexa's weaknesses. In this case it was mostly her nervousness and difficulty (perhaps because of her nearly six foot height) in picking up the low balls. Still, it was close with Jessica moving into the finals,6-4,7-6(5).

Endless defaults seem to have taken over most of the backdraw. Today there were four matches left unplayed. The two remaining matches, feed-in semifinals, ended with Nicole Leimbach and Mary Gambale victorious.

Doubles play concluded today with the top honors going to last year's runner-up Riza Zalameda and her partner Audra Cohen over Alexa Glatch and Lindsay Burdette. Third place went to Vania King and Yasmin Schnack who dominated Whitney Deason and Carly Gullickson. After all of the controversy of the singles it was nice for the crowd to see some fun tennis and all four teams provided that.

Tomorrow is the conclusion of the USTA Girls 18 National Hardcourts at the Almaden Valley Athletic Club. I am looking forward to the three exciting matchups -- Jessica Kirkland vs. Andrea Remynse for first place; Alexa Glatch vs. Elizabeth Kobak for third place; and Nicole Leimbach vs. Mary Gambale for fifth place. I really don't know who is going to win, but I'm willing to bet it won't be without some more excitement in San Jose.

Until Tomorrow,
Marcia Frost




Click on a photo to enlarge

Elizabeth Kobak

1st Place Doubles
Audra Cohen &
Riza Zalameda

2nd Place Doubles
Alexa Glatch &
Lindsay Burdette

3rd Place Doubles
Vania King &
Yasmin Schnack

4th Place Doubles
Whitney Deason &
Carly Gullickson

Elizabeth Plotkin

Courtney Zauft

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