At The Open With Marcia Frost...
Tuesday, September 4th-Junior Championships Day Four
It was a day full of tiebreakers, multiple deuce games and three-setters. It seemed as if no one was going to have an easy time moving on through the draw. At least the weather held up, even if the favorites did not.
I usually try to see different players each day and not to keep watching the same ones, but I couldn't resist the match up of Megan Bradley and Ashley Harkleroad. My instincts were right -- it was the most exciting match I've seen in the past two weeks at the USTA Tennis Center.
It was not the first time this week Megan Bradley and Ashley Harkleroad had been at opposite ends of the court. The first was when Megan teamed up with Erin Burdette and upset Ashley and Gisela Dulko (the No. 1 seeds) in doubles. Ashley was clearly not going to let her walk away with another upset and she came out strong, breaking Megan in the first game. By the third game, however, Megan came alive, serving a love game and taking it from there.
Though there were some excellent baseline rallies, the real excitement was when Megan came to the net. It is hard to fight that spectacular volley. Ashley came through with some exciting -- and a few just lucky -- shots of her own and the two kept it going into a tiebreaker. It was clearly Ashley in the breaker, as she took it 7/4.
The second set appeared to also be Ashley's as Megan had some control problems and Ashley brought it up to 5-2. Instead of giving in, Megan served up a love game and broke Ashley as she tried to serve for the set.
Set two produced another tiebreaker, this one won by Megan at 8/6. It was unclear who was going to be victorious in this duel until Ashley took over, from 3-0 to an eventual 6-2 win after Megan survived three match points. (Megan did go on to win her doubles match with partner Erin Burdette later in the day.)
Another exciting match was taking place between Ally Baker and doubles partner Bethanie Mattek against No. 5 seeded Annette Kolb and Melissa Torres. Annette and Melissa took the first set, but it looked like Ally and Bethanie had the second when they had a 5-2 lead. Unfortunately, they couldn't hold it and the seeds broke and eventually took the match, 6-3,7-5, ending a terrific inaugural run at the Open for Ally Baker in Qualifying and the Junior Championships.
There was yet another spectacular showing of strength on Court 9 today. Fifteen year old Brendan Evans came out with tremendous determination against the second seed, Yeu-Tzuoo Wang. Once again the words were "deuce" and "tiebreaker" as the battle between these two went through rallies and at one point eight deuces in a game. That game was still unresolved until the breaker, which Yeu-Tzuoo won 10/8.
There were two more sets to this match. Brendan managed a break and took the second one, 6-4, but couldn't hold on through the third. Yeu-Tzuoo lived up to his ranking as he moved on to the third round with 6-4 in the third.
In other exciting matches today, Tanner Cochran and Kristen Schlukebir upset Eva Birnerova and Petra Cetkovska, the No. 2 seeds. That match was also a long one at 3-6,6-3,7-6. Alex Bogomolov went the distance with Lamine Ouahab to a 7-6,6-4 loss. The day ended with two doubles losses for Americans, Daniel Kollerer and Stefan Wiespeiner taking it over Ytai Abougzir and his partner Luciano Vitullo, 6-4,7-6(3), and Rajeev Ram and Jonathan Stokke losing to Frank Dancevic/Luka Gregorc, 2-6,6-4,6-3.