At The Open With Marcia Frost...
Monday, September 3rd-Junior Championships Day Three
I have heard a lot about Nicole Pitts over the last few years. She was winning tournaments as early as 12 years of age and as recently as last month when she took singles and doubles titles at the Copa Merengue in the Dominican Republic and the 2001 Cable & Wireless Tournament in Jamaica. Today, however, was the first time I actually got to see her play. Though she lost her first round singles (and doubles) matches, it appears she is going to be around for a long time.
Nicole came out against Daniela Casanova of Switzerland looking confident. The two traded service breaks and points until the 17 year old Daniela held the break for a 6-4 set win. It looked as if it was going to be all Nicole in the second set as she commanded a 3-0 and then 4-1 lead, but she could not hold it. Daniela took over from that point, and though Nicole fought it to a tiebreaker, she succumbed 6-4,7-6(2).
Another impressive player who I had not yet seen was Ryan Sherry. Ryan held his own against No. 8 seed Bruno Echagaray. Ryan is one of the fastest juniors out there, running down every ball. He produced some great volleys and brought the first set to a tiebreaker, which Bruno squeaked through. Ryan took the next set 6-3 and was running on serve in the third when rain came in and lost the momentum. When the delay ended, Bruno finished the final set with a 6-3 win.
The rain continued to wreck havoc with the players all day. Matches were started and stopped. One such match was between UCLA freshman Travis Rettenmaier and No. 10 seeded Luciano Vuttolo. Travis played a serve and volley duel witnessed by a host of his American junior pals. Those on hand included fellow UCLA freshman Megan Bradley as well as Erin Burdette, Brian Baker and Stephen Amritraj. Despite the support of his fellow players, Luciano did one break better each set and finished the match 7-6(4),6-4.
Travis Rettenmaier was more successful in doubles. He and partner Alex Bogomolov teamed up to defeated Baghdati/Sela, 6-3,6-3. Alex also won his second round singles match against Franco Ferreiro, 6-4,6-1 while fellow American Sunitha Rao upset No. 9 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, 7-6,6-1.
Qualifier Tory Zawacki put up two fights yesterday between the rain. The first was against the second seed, Marie-Gaiane Mikaelian. Though the first set was more easily won by Marie-Gaiane, Tory was not easily giving up the second. She traded breaks and hit winners as she survived two match points and brought it up to 5-5. Every winner she hit was followed by another by the Armenian until Tory lost it at 6-2,7-5. She was then faced with another tough one as her and partner Theresa Logar lost a three-setter in doubles to Mirza/Van Boekel. It was still quite a run for this local girl who started in the qualifying.
Another tough match I caught some of today was between No. 3 seed Gisela Dulko and American Ally Baker. Ally put on the same great match she had through the women's qualifying singles and doubles, hanging tough while she won the first set, 6-2. Gisela was not about to go away that easy and she came back to win the next two, 6-3,6-2. Ally is still alive in the doubles, though, with partner Bethanie Mattek.