At The Open
With Marcia Frost...
Wednesday, August 23rd-Qualifying Day Two
It was a day in which I needed running shoes (and, of course, didn't bring them) as every match I wanted to see seemed to be going on at the same time. I tried to catch as much as possible as certain matches were just too good to leave.
Seventeenth-seeded Laura Poustino was certainly a difficult opponent, but I can't say Chelsey Gullickson was playing her best tennis today. Up until 3-2 in the first, no one could hold serve and despite a few nice ralleys, there wasn't much happening. Long balls and short shots put Chelsey in a 5-2 defecit. She came back for two more, but it wasn't enough and she lost it 6-4. I didn't see the second set because I was running between matches and it happened rather quickly as she was shut out. I've seen the talented teen previously and was much more impressed. I guess the U.S. Open can be rather daunting for a 15 year old.
Jamie Hampton showed a large crowd today what she had and though it was some great stuff, in the end it wasn't enough to get past No. 12 Varvara Lepchenko. In the first set the 16 year old had difficulty getting back her opponent's serve and it put her in the hole to 6-3. She came back in the second with some great shots and had her first break to put her ahead 5-4 and served for the 6-4 set. Jamie seemed to have psyched herself up sufficiently, but Varvara was just too good and she dropped the third, 6-2.
I sat down to watch some of recent University of Illinois graduate Ryler De Heart play Rainer Etzinger and just couldn't leave. The first few games were some of the best tennis I have seen in ages as both men hit incredible shots, while the other miraculously retrieved it. The 6-2 score for Austria's Rainer was not very representative of what was happening and neither was the 5-2 lead he had in the second. It was at that point that the 22 year old Floridian pushed his play even further and took the next three games. The following two games were close and Ryler fought off two match points before succumbing, 7-5.
Just after Ryler De heart began play, two more members of his NCAA winning 2003 team were also playing -- each other. Rajeev Ram and Amer Delic were putting on a crowd-pleasing match, though I was surprised at the absence of the usual group of Illini Net Nuts. It was a match of huge serves and quick points as the two friends went at it. The edge was given to Amer as the No. 32 seed and he confirmed this with a 6-4 win in the first, but Rajeev came back in the second with an 8-6 win in the breaker to stun his friend. He continued the momentum to 3-1 in the third. Amer's serve came back with a vengence and he won the match with the next five games.
There are some matches that just leave you shaking your head. That match today was Ashley Weinhold vs. Katie O'Brien. It was a match that I went back and forth to for hours. Each time I arrived I was sure I arrived at a totally different match! One minute Katie was dominating and Ashley was making errors, the next time it was Ashley in control and Katie shaking her head. I never knew what to expect next and couldn't have begun to guess where it would end up. It was in favor of the Texan teen at 5-7,7-5,6-3.
Another match that left me a bit confused was Julia Cohen vs. Paulina Parmentier. My first visit to Court 7 had an even match at 3-2 with both looking pretty solid. Then Julia got a break and was up 4-2. I walked away for awhile to go see the other matches and came back to find that the 17 year old had actually lost the set, 6-4. In the second she held her breaks and won it quite easily at 6-2. What happened in the third set was one of those mysteries as it was 6-1 Pauline.
On the top of my priority list for day three is Jesse Levine vs. Harel Levy since I didn't really get to see much of Jesse on the first day. I'm also looking to catch at least some of Madison Brengle vs. Yulia Beytgelzimer and Ashley Weinhold vs. Anne Kremer, however, the forecast for Thursday (and I'm happy to report only Thursday) is rain so we'll see what happens.