At The Open
With Marcia Frost...
Wednesday, August 24th
Qualifying, Day Two
It took two days of losses, but the USTA has its junior tennis winner and her name is Vania King. It was a pretty unbelievable match -- one I'm glad I saw for myself.
Sixteen year old Vania came out in total control as Croatia's Ivana Abramovic made error after error. Vania, who has one countless national doubles titles, is a volley specialist and she used that skill to put away many shots. It wasn't long before she had the first set and was into the second with a 6-2,4-1 score. It wasn't going to be that easy, though, and before we knew it the score was 4-4 and then 5-4 for Vania.
It is at 5-4 Vania that the game to end all games occurred. It was endless. Eight deuces and six lost match points later it was suddenly looking like we were heading into another set and that's just what happened. Fortunately, after a short break, Vania got a second wind and blanked Ivana for the win.
The rest of the juniors did not do so well today. Sam Querrey, a surprise quarterfinalist here at the Junior Championships last year, appeared daunting on the court. With size comes power, but not always speed. Even though he started on a roll that left him 3-0 ahead, No. 14 Antony Dupuis quickly played to Sam's weaknesses, pulling him side to side and shocking him with drop shots. It was an incredible serve that kept the seventeen year old in the game, but it wasn't enough to as he lost 6-4,7-6.
Madison Brengle played before a huge audience on Court 13 against a determined 25th seeded Viktoriya Kutuzonva. Despite her speed and skill, Madison just couldn't get enough of the important points. The games were close, but the score was not as she lost it 6-1,6-2.
I had seen Tim Smyczek play at the USTA National Claycourts and was anxious to see the 17 year old play again. He is an incredible talent and definitely one to watch in the Junior Championships, but the crowd and the experience was behind India's Harsh Mankad. He ran Tim around the court and the net. Whatever wonderful shot Tim hit, Harsh hit one more incredible. Though he did save two match points, the junior fell 6-3,6-2.
We are now down to one junior and one (just graduated) college player. I'll be keeping my eyes on Vania King and Megan Bradley. Maybe with a little extra time on my hands I can catch up with some of the former college and junior players making their way through the draws.