At The Open With Marcia Frost...
Thursday, September 9th
A Serbian eighteen year old and an American wildcard created the stories of the day as the US Open Junior Championships were once again played indoors at Sound Shore Tennis about twenty miles from the National Tennis Center.
It was Viktor Troicki who ended the dream of Gael Monfils to become the first player since Stefan Edberg (1983) to win the Junior Grand Slam. Gael had already won the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon this year and was the top-seed at the US Open. Despite his serve and forehand that were so strong a "bang" actually echoed through the building, it was Viktor who did everything right today. The match was intense as Gael questioned calls and had difficulty keeping his injured knee from affecting play. Though the first set remained a close 6-4, the second belonged to Viktor as he took away the Grand Slam from the Frenchman, 6-2.
After the match, Gael was accepting of the loss. "It's a tennis match," he said, "and you have a winner and a loser. Today I lost. I have a little pain on my knee and back... but he played really well." It was the last junior tournament for Gael, who will now just play the Pro Circuit.
The other surprises of the day were also in the boys draw. American wildcard Sam Querrey continues to make a name for himself now leading into the quarterfinals. Today he eliminated Coen Van Keulen (the teen from the Netherlands who had defeated Brendan Evans yesterday) in one of those matches that just can't get much closer -- 4-6,7-6(5),7-5. It will get even tougher for Sam now as he faces No. 3 Andrew Murray tomorrow. Andrew had a quick and easy one against William Ward, 6-1,6-2.
There were two other boys matches today that drew unexpected results. It was not that suprising that American Scoville Jenkins, seeded ten, beat Eduardo Schwank of Argentina, but no one expected it to be 6-0,6-2. Scoville was in top form as he made it look easy -- much like the way Andy Roddick looked when he removed him from the Men's Singles draw.
Scott Oudsema has had a tough time all tournament as he struggled through matches. Today he just couldn't get it together in his first set against No. 8 Mihail Zverev. The German breezed through the first set 6-2, but it looked to be all Scott's in the second as he had a 4-1 and then 5-2 lead, but he couldn't hold it and before he saw it coming he was in a tiebreaker. Determination was clear in Scott as he pounded the ball, including a few aces, in the breaker. The points went on until there was alternating match and set points every other play. Finally, Mihail hit the winner for the 11-9 tie-breaker and match win. Scott and partner Brendan Evans are still alive in doubles, though, as they today advanced to the semifinals.
With everything going on in the boys draw, the girls singles seemed uneventful. There were three-setters for the top two seeds, but Katerina Bondarenko prevailed 4-6,6-3,6-3 over Alisa Kleybanova and Shahar Peer made it past Aleksandra Wozniak, 3-6,6-2,6-4. A minor upset occurred when No. 9 Monica Niculescu of Romania defeated Timea Bacsinsky, the No. 5 seed, 3-6,6-2,6-0. Fourth-seeded Jessica Kirkland survived a scare in the second set when Agnes Szavay pushed her to a tie-breaker.
The weather report for tomorrow is sunny and warm so we are expecting the US Open Junior Championships to be back on the grounds of the National Tennis Center. There the three remaining American singles players -- Sam Querrey, Scoville Jenkins and Jessica Kirkland will try to defend their home turf.
Click on a photo to enlarge
at Sound Shore Tennis
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