Saturday, September 1st-Junior Qualifying, Day Two
It was a mixed bag of a day for American fans as the park produced many U.S. players, while two standouts were lost inside the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
The final day of Junior Qualifying was a successful one for the United States as half of the players making it through were Americans. On the girls side, Stephanie Vidov, who had upset the top seed yesterday, today took out No. 9 Alyona Sotnikova, while Chelsey Gullickson, Alexa Guarachi, Allie Will and Kim Couts all won their matches too. I got to see some of Chelsey and Kim's take charge wins and they really impressed the crowd. Though she did not make it through,
Julia Boserup also put in a tremendous effort before losing to No. 4 Jasmina Tinjic, 2-6,6-2,6-3.
American boys Bradley Klahn, Devin Britton, Frank Carleton and Dennis Nevolo all earned their place in the main draw. I watched some of all four, but was once again drawn to a terrific Dennis Nevolo match, this time against No. 11 Illija Vucic. It was tight there for awhile (Dennis actually gave up seven set points in the first) before he pulled it out 7-6(5),6-3.
While the boys were winning in the park, the men from the U.S. went at it in front of packed crowds at Louis Armstrong and Arthur Ashe Stadiums. I headed into Armstrong to watch Donald Young vs. Feliciano Lopez when it looked like the Junior Qualifying had neared the end (fortunately, I was right and there were no major changes after I left!). When I arrived, the score was 6-3 Donald in the first and the same score in the second for Feliciano. The third was on serve at 3-2 and it was
going to be a long time before there would be another service break.
There was absolutely no doubt were the crowd support was. "Donald, Donald" was screamed louder and louder as the games went on without a break in serve. Everytime the 18 year old would hit a winner or an ace, the crowd would cheer as if trying to break the sound barrier. I wasn't quite sure if Donald was feeding on it or fearing it, but the crowd wasn't going to stop. And then there was tiebreaker as thrilling as they wanted, however, it wasn't the result they wanted as Feliciano took
The fourth set began like the previous, with loud applause and no breaks. It went on that way until 5-5 and then the break came for the Spaniard. The crowd sighed and Donald appeared to do the same as he lost the next two games and the match. After the match, he announced that he would not play the Junior Championships -- understandable considering what a terrific run he had in the Men's draw.
Just after Donald Young started play in Armstrong, John Isner went on in Arthur Ashe. I've watched him play -- and his game grow along with his height -- for nearly a decade so he is not a surprise to me, but the 22 year old has become an overnight sensation to everyone else. I had predicted that he would win a tight first set before falling to the almighty Roger Federer, and that is exactly what he did. It was 7-6 in the first before the number one player in the world took the next
three, 6-2,6-4,6-2. Unfortunately, I only caught a bit after Donald's match was over. I'm not worried, though, I expect to see a lot more of John Isner at major events.
The main draw of the Junior Championships singles begin tomorrow. I've looked over the draw a number of times and I'm not comfortable making any predictions. I see a wide open field in the boys (especially with the absence of Donald Young) and the girls have a a dozen players who could take it. I'm sure I'll know more in the next few days -- let the games begin!