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At The Open With Marcia Frost...
Sunday, August 31st
In sharp contrast to last year's rain soaked start, the US Open Junior Championships got off to a sunny start today. Play went along on schedule with no upsets and lots of great matches.
Two Floridians faced off on Court 6 first thing this morning. Nestor Briceno and Vahid Mirzadeh kept the balls moving fast and hard. It was Vahid, who is in this tournament for the third time, who had the edge. One break in the first set and two in the second led him to a 6-4,6-3 victory.
It is not often that you see a thirteen year old play the US Open Junior Championships. When it happens it is because the player is especially impressive. This was the case with Alexa Glatch and the tournament decided to give her a wildcard in.
Alexa Glatch fought off a case of the nerves to take the first set against Japan's Ryoko Fuda, the No. 12 seed, 6-4. The set (and most of the match) was full of breaks as neither player could hold their serve. The young Californian was fairly steady and hit some amazing shots, but Ryoko used her experience to keep it up to 4-6,6-2,6-3.
I have seen Alexandra Mueller play before and she has always been impressive. At fifteen, she holds a number of International titles. Though they are mostly in doubles, she was certainly able to hold her own with Sanja Ancic of Croatia. In fact, it appeared to all that Alexandra had the match.
When I arrived at the court, Alexandra was up 5-0. As strong as she is tall, it looked like she had control of the match. Then, Sanja broke and won three straight games. Alexandra still took that set, 6-3, but the next was even until the Croatian broke and took the set 6-3. In the last set no one held serve except for Sanja and she won it 6-4.
Megan Moulton-Levy is nothing like the typical junior player. The soon-to-be William & Mary freshman is short and muscular. Her upperbody strength and ability to stretch to make shots are certainly advantages to her game, but today they weren't enough. Beier Ko, the No. 13 seed, was leading the match from the beginning. The Canadian displayed incredible drop shots when least expected and never lost her cool. It led her to a 6-2,6-4 victory.
At the beginning, the match between Scott Oudsema, the No. 2 doubles player in the world, and Aleksey Malajko looked like a battle of the serve. Both players exhibited tremendous speed and power and at 5-4 no one seemed able to break. It was the Scott who broke through for the set, 6-4. After that the match belonged to the seventeen year old American. He won every game up to 5-0. At that point Aleksey did come through on one game before succombing, 6-1.
In other matches today, all of the seeds advanced with the exception of tenth-seeded Chris Kwon, who succombed to an injury. Pushed to the limited was No. 8 Chris Guccione, who got past Romano Tatuhey, 6-4,5-7,7-6(9).
There's lots more action tomorrow as round one continues in the singles and the doubles beginning.
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