At The Open
With Marcia Frost...
Thursday, August 25th
Qualifying, Day Three
Once again Vania King has me working late. While I wish she could either play a little quicker or a lot earlier, I'm not going to complain to the only junior remaining in the U.S. Open Qualifying.
As I have learned, Vania King has no problem getting right into a match and taking the lead. Unfortunately, she seems to have some downtime when her opponent warms up. This was the case again today as the 16 year old took an quick 5-1 lead only to drop the set to Katarina Kachhkova, 7-5. It took a bathroom break for Vania to regroup and when she came back she was in full form -- serving aces and hitting winners. There were some long games in which Katarina had some very nicely placed drop shots, but the match was all Vania's from there, 5-7,6-3,6-3. She just has one more to go before she qualifies for the main draw.
I'm not quite sure what happened to Megan Bradley today. She came out looking as strong as I've ever seen her. The serves were aces, the volleys were perfect. She took the first set from No. 10 Tatiana Panova, 6-3, with little effort. Then she just wasn't there. The Russian swept the next set without more than a dozen winners down the line. Megan was just not chasing the balls. She seemed to be more into it in the final set and there were a few close games, but she ended her run at the women's draw,6-1.
There was some downtime between Vania's match and Megan's so I caught a glimpse of some former college and junior players. Two NCAA Champions played side by side as Lilia Osterloh (Stanford, 2000) battled 2000 U.S. Open Junior Champion Maria Emilia Salerni and Amer Delic (Illinois, 2003)fought off Alexander Peya. Both matches were close with Maria prevailing 7-6,7-6 and Amer losing in a nail-biting third set tiebreaker.
Also on the court today was former top juniors Sunitha Rao, who lost to Viktoriya Kutuzova of the Ukraine, and Neha Uberoi. The latter, who did a stint at Princeton before turning pro last year, had a close loss against another American junior from the past, Jennifer Hopkins.
Tomorrow I'll be arriving to the Open late because I'm going to attend the ITA All-Stars Event at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills. I'm really excited about meeting the top tennis players from all the divisions as they are treated to an exciting day of tennis and a luncheon with Nick Bolletieri. I'll bring back lots of pictures and do my best to get back for Vania's final qualifying match against Romania's Edina Gallovits, No. 30.
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Maria Emilia Salerni