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At The Open
With Marcia Frost...
Tuesday, August 22nd-Qualifying Day One
It was not my usual Qualifying opening day, as this year's group of teens included a number of winners. And they worked hard for that accomplishment.
Madison Brengle came out all business as she started her match with an ace. Unfortunately, the rest of the set was not so calculated. It became a baseline battle and even though we saw some of Madison's trademark on the side line winners, Katarina Kachlikova took the first set, 6-2. The 16 year old had no intention of going down so easy and she found the net in the second set and showed the crowd what she could do at it. It was Madison's set rather quickly at 6-3. Despite a trainer treatment when she was down 1-3, Katarina couldn't get it toether in the second and lost to the teen from Delaware, 6-3.
While Madison Brengle was earning her place in the second round, Jesse Levine was doing the same with a lot more difficulty. I only caught some of this terrific match during a medical timeout from the women, but I saw enough to make sure Jesse's next match is priority on my Thursday list. I'm sure he's hoping to get it done a lot easier than today's 5-7,7-6(0).7-6(2) over Simone Bolelli.
My friend Colette Lewis of Zoo Tennis informed me this morning that Tim Smyczek did in fact turn pro recently and today he got an unfriendly welcome into the professional world when he faced the tournament's No. 1 seed. Eighteen year old Tim certainly got some impressive shots in, but there was no doubt that the match belonged to Frank Dancevic. The first set flew by in a series of aces with Tim only winning one game. He seemed to have figured out Frank's serve in the second enough to keep on serve to 4-3. Then there was a break and a 6-4 win for the top seed.
Jesse Witten, who finished the University of Kentucky last year, managed to get into the Qualifying at the last minute despite quite a bit of controversy over the fact that he wasn't on the men's wildcard list. He faced a difficult opponent in Scott Oudsema, a 20 year old who had been doing well in his second year on the pro tour. The first set was mostly a server's duel with more aces than I've seen since Andy Roddick's early years. Soon the two serve and volleyers made it a little more interesting as they got past each other's serves to continue some great points. The match was close throughout, but the edge went to the college grad, 7-5,7-5. Scott's former doubles partner (in the U.S. Open Junior Championship finals) Brendan Evans didn't have a great day either as he dropped to Lukasz Kubot, 6-1,6-2.
One of the great things about the U.S. Open is that sometimes you can stumble on a great match you didn't originally plan to watch. I wasn't alone as the biggest group of the day was in front of 19 year old Flushing resident Nikita Kryvonos and 2005 Stanford grad (and two-time NCAA doubles winner) Sam Warburg. It was a terrific back-and-forth match from these two talented players that warranted the growing crowd. It was the local boy who prevailed in the end, 6-1,4-6,6-3.
I was anxious to see 18 year old New Yorker Marcus Fugate play, however, he didn't seem as anxious to be there today. Though the first set had some good points, Marcus just wasn't in the match at all in the very quick second and everyone was rather surprised when he fell, 6-3,6-0 in much less than an hour. I hope to talk to Marcus in the next day or two about his college plans and his preparation for the Junior Championships.
Wednesday's schedule is going to be quite a challenge for me as all the matches I'd like to see are scheduled for the same time! Of course, in the game of tennis, matches finishes at differnent times so I'll just have to keep my eyes open and my feet running to try to catch as much as possible.