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Jessica Kirkland & Alexandra Mueller
At The Open With Marcia Frost...
Friday, September 6th
The last two American girls (the boys all lost by the third round) -- Ally Baker and Kristen Schlukebir -- could not make it through to the semis. Both played outstanding tennis today, but their opponents were even greater.
Ally came out against Russian Maria Kirilkenko looking like the professional she is. Her first two service games were 40-0 wins, but Maria was not intimidated. The petite 15 year old kept moving around the court with ease. Every time Ally hit an amazing shot, Maria came back with one that was even more amazing. In the end, Maria Kirilenko was on to the semis, 6-4,6-3.
It looked as though Kristen Schlukebir was through to the semifinals. She won the first set against Jarmila Gajdosova of Slovakia, 6-3. In the next set, however, Jarmila fought back and won it 6-4. She kept the pressure up and had Kristen running back and fourth. The games were long -- and close -- as Jarmila built more confidence and finally took the third set, 6-2.
Top-seeded Barbora Strycova survived a tough one against Kirsten Flipkens. The Belgium teen, who had upset tenth seeded Shuai Peng yesterday, ran Barbora around the court by mixing up her shots with no fear. She took the first set before succombing to the pressure, 5-7,6-2,6-1.
Tatiana Golovin took full advantage of the inconsistent playing of No. 7 Anna-Lena Groenefeld. This is the second higher seed Tatiana has taken out with her careful, powerful play. It worked as well against Anna-Lena as it had against Tanner Cochran previously.
Richard Gasquet earned his top-billing today as he eliminated Israel's Dudi Sela. While the games were close, Richard showed more control on the big points and earned his breaks early. Dudi stayed in the match, but was finally overcome, 6-3,6-2.
Fifth-seeded Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus had no problem against the unseeded Antonio Ruiz. Antonio had gotten past No. 3 Todd Reid yesterday, but that was not to happen today. Marcos had the match from the beginning to the 6-3,6-1 win.
Sweden's Robin Soderling, the No. 2 seed, was clearly the quicker and more powerful player in his match against Romania's Florin Mergea. Florin, who had eliminated Marcel Felder in the first round, did come out a little stronger in the second set and even went up a break. Robin got it back quickly and took the match 6-2,6-4.
Americans -- and hometown favorites from New York and New Jersey respectively -- Shadisha Robinson and Tory Zawacki again triumphed in a three-setter. This time their victims were Kristina Grigorian and Viktoria Kutuzova, 4-6,6-2,6-4. The duo will tomorrow face fellow Americans Cory Ann Avants and Shenay Perry. Cory Ann and Shenay, both of whom have played as professionals over the last two years, defeated fourteen year old Jessica Kirkland and fifteen year old Alexandra Mueller in a terrific 6-4,6-4 effort.
The other American left standing at the day's end was Brian Baker. Brian teamed up with Aussie Chris Guccione to defeat Brian Dabul and Lamine Ouahab in the boys' doubles quarterfinals, 6-3,6-3.