At The Open With Marcia Frost...
Friday, September 10th
Jennifer and Lindsay may have been defeated, but Americans Jessica Kirkland, Brendan Evans and Scott Oudsema kept it alive for their country today as they advanced to the girls singles semifinals and the boys doubles final respectively.
It's been six years since American boys won the doubles final and Brendan Evans was one of the ones who have tried to capture it since. Three years ago he gave it a try here (with Brett Joelson) and tomorrow he will go for it again. This time, however, he brings with him a lot more experience and a partner who already shares Grand Slam event titles. Together Brendan and Scott won the Australian (actually Scott's second Australian doubles title) and Roland Garros this year. They also made the finals of Wimbledon, but they are looking for this one on their home court.
The road to the doubles final was not an easy one for Scott and Brendan. They spent the week battling three-setters and today was no different. Though the first set went off without a hitch 6-1 to the Americans, the second was an entirely different story. Andrew and Jamie Murray fought tough and Brendan and Scott accumulated errors. Finally, it went to a tie-breaker and the brothers from Great Britain took it 7/4. It was clear that Brendan and Scott wanted this win and they were hard to beat in the third set. The hard and accurate serve and volley that made them the number one doubles team in the world came through and they took the match with a 6-4 win.
For Andrew Murray the day was not all of loss. First match in the morning he removed American Sam Querrey, who has made good use of his wildcard all the way to the quarters. Though Andrew was definitely not at his best in the first set (he lost it 6-2), he came back in the second for a tie-breaker and win. By the third set he was all there and he sent Sam home after his great reign, 2-6,7-6(2),6-1.
The other American boy sent packing today was a little bit more of a surprise. Scoville Jenkins, the Kalamazoo winner who had recently turned pro and turned heads with his 130 mph plus serve, lost his place in the semis to Andreas Beck of Germany. Last week Scoville got to play on Arthur Ashe Stadium and today he was featured on Louis Armstrong. The crowd was dramatically smaller today, though it did feature Mayor David Dinkins sitting with former champion Monica Seles. Scoville played an excellent match, but second-seeded Andreas Beck of Germany played one better. There were great points by both heavy-hitters throughout the close games. In the end it was just a little bit that separated them in the second set tie-breaker. All of the other boys moved into the semis with two-setters -- Mihail Zverev over Viktor Troiki, 7-5,6-0 and Sergiy Stakhovsky defeated Evgeniy Kirillov, 6-0,7-6(3).
The sole American girl in the singles draw was still left standing today. In fact, there was very little doubt during the match that Jessica Kirkland was on her way to the semis. Despite the incredible (and constant) slice of Romania's Monica Niculescu, Jessica took over the match from the beginning with a quick 6-0 first set. In the second there were a few close games, but within less than an hour she had the 6-3 second set and the number four seed was thinking about her match tomorrow against Shahar Peer of Israel. Shahar also had an easy day as she scored a 6-3,6-2 win over Olga Govortsova.
The only other unexpected result in the other matches was the retirement of top-seeded Katerina Bondarenko. Katerina had complained of leg pain all week, but finally said the shin was too painful to continue and she retired in her match against Viktoria Azarenka. The fourth girls match of the day was also a quick one with Michaela Krajicek advancing over Marina Erakovic, 6-4,6-3.
Tomorrow will be a day of mixed emotions here at the National Tennis Center. As we celebrate the junior doubles final as well as the women's singles final, it is hard not to remember September 11th in New York without some sadness. The evening ceremonies will begin with opera singer Jessye Norman's rendetions of American The Beautiful and Amazing Grace.
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