At The Open With Marcia Frost...
Wednesday, August 25th
The excitement started from the beginning today as the US Open Junior champions from the last two years took the court. Richard Gasquet was forced to retire with an injury, but Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made a step toward the main draw this year. While the past winners played, most of the teens today were forced to think to the Junior Championships for their next round.
There was a huge crowd gathering around the tournament's youngest male. All the attention did not bother Donald Young. The fifteen year old seems to be enjoying life in the spotlight since the USTA dubbed him their rising star. What he didn't enjoy today was his match against Federico Luzzi.
Left-handed Donald has an incredible forehand which was a great weapon in the juniors. It didn't take the experienced Italian too long to figure out how to work around it. Donald had a few break points before losing the first set 6-3. The second set started all Federico and he kept up the momentum all the way to 4-0. Donald managed one break and another game win after 4-0, but even the crowd-cheering him on didn't save him from the 6-2 loss. He should have a good tournament in the upcoming junior event.
Everyone knows about the racer that comes out with everything they've got in the first half and then has nothing left for the finish. Today Sarah Fansler was that racer. She came out quick and accurate to race through the first set against Barbara Rittner, 6-4. The second was a different matter. When Sarah came to the net, she hit winners, but she didn't do it enough to control the match. The seasoned German steadied herself as the sixteen year old lost steam and had trouble chasing down balls. The second and third sets belonged to the German, 6-3,6-0.
I can't help but reminiscing about the first time I saw Brendan Evans play at the Open. It was three years ago and he was a small kid with spiked hair who was just so excited to be playing the Junior Doubles Championship. He and Brett Joelson (now at Texas A&M) lost that final, but Brendan received a lot of attention and a Nike deal that came with professional status. Since that time Brendan's success has been mainly on the ITF Junior Circuit where he has won a number of major titles. Now both he and his game are all grown up. It looks like he finally arrived into the world of men's tennis.
Brendan aced his way through the first set against Edouard Roger-Vasselin, 6-3, but the Frenchmen was not going down that easy. The second set was too close to call and finally went into a tiebreaker. In the end, Edouard pulled it out 9-7. Brendan, determined to move on, came out swinging hard in the third set and there was nothing Edouard could do to stop him. Though Brendan lost his first match point to a questionable call, he got the second and went home happy with 6-3,6-7(7),6-1.
The last teen of the day to go on was Vania King. The fifteen year old (another California junior given a wildcard) was visibly nervous as she faced the seventh-seeded Camille Pin. The score did not reflect the match in this case as most of the points were long and the games were close. The 22 year old from France was kept moving as Vania chased everything down. In the end, though, it wasn't enough and she went down, 6-4,6-1.
Since Sarah's match ran into three sets, I missed the Phillip Simmonds/Phillip Kohlschreber match. The number four seed took the teen, who had recently turned pro, 6-3,6-2.
On the schedule for tomorrow are three teens trying to get past that even more difficult second round. I can't wait to take a look to see what Alexa Glatch, Alexandra Mueller and Brendan Evans have to show us.
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College And Junior