Arconada, Liu Post Wins as International Spring Championships First Round Completed; Mayo Beats Top Seed in 16s
©Colette Lewis 2015--
Top seed Usue Arconada and No. 12 seed Claire Liu both arrived in Carson after impressive results earlier this month, and both reached the second round of the International Spring Championships with victories Tuesday.
Arconada, who won the Grade 1 Banana Bowl and the Grade A in Porto Alegre in Brazil, defeated qualifier Riley McQuaid 6-1, 6-1, while Liu, who won the $10,000 Pro Circuit event in Orlando earlier this month, took a rockier road, beating Veronica Miroshnichenko of Russia 6-0, 1-6, 6-3.
Arconada admitted that facing an opponent who had already won three matches in qualifying could be tricky, especially since she had taken most of last week off following her two titles in South America. But despite four three-set victories in the Banana Bowl, Arconada said she was pleased with her fitness during her winning streak, which now stands at 12 matches.
"Winning a lot of three-set matches gave me a lot of confidence for the second tournament," said the 16-year-old from Maryland, who is now up to No. 6 in the ITF Junior rankings. "When I first went down there I didn't see that coming at all, but after that first tournament I got a lot of confidence, and it was a lot of fun actually, getting through that. I thought I was going to tired after the first week, with all the three-setters, but actually I felt really good."
For all her success on clay, Arconada also has good memories on the Carson courts, where she reached the semifinals last year, so three titles in a row is a possibility.
"We'll see what happens," said Arconada. "I just want to stay tough mentally, concentrate through the whole tournament. And if not, there's the Easter Bowl."
Arconada will play Ulyana Shirokova of Russia in the Wednesday's second round.
For Liu, an easy opening set became a struggle in the second, even though Liu was expecting Miroshnichenko to raise her game.
"She played better, and I just let that get to me," said Liu, who will be 15 in May. "I knew like from before, that she's a really good competitor, and she started winning points and I just freaked out."
Miroshinichenko, a left-hander with a service motion more at home in an archery competition, couldn't sustain the level she displayed in the second set however, falling behind 4-0 in the third set before she recovered to take three straight games. Liu held for a 5-3 lead and broke at love to take the match, and set up a meeting with fellow USTA-West player Emma Higuchi, whom she beat in Tulsa last October 6-0, 6-1.
Liu, the youngest player to win a USTA Pro Circuit event since Anna Kournikova in 1996, said the difference between that level and this top level of juniors not that pronounced.
"It's not like the pros were that much older," said Liu, who beat Sonya Kenin, the No. 2 seed this week in Carson, in the second round, and the No. 4 seed this week, Fanni Stollar of Hungary, in the final. "It's not that much difference, I guess."
As for the pressure that is added when returning to the juniors, Liu said, "I can't let that get to me. I need to just focus on playing, rather than like the expectations and stuff."
Two seeded players failed to advance to the second round, with Jessica Ho, the No. 11 seed, withdrawing, and No. 14 seed Olivia Hauger falling to qualifier Annette Goulak 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-2. No. 9 seed Kayla Day was in trouble against qualifier Ashley Lahey, but she won the final five games of the match for a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory. No. 4 seed Stollar advanced over wild card Jessica Failla 6-3, 6-3, No. 3 seed Michaela Gordon defeated Madison Bourguignon 6-1, 6-2, and No. 5 seed Francesca Di Lorenzo dominated qualifier Kenadi Hance 6-0, 6-0.
Only one boys seed fell in Tuesday's first round action, with qualifier Johnathan Small defeating No. 7 seed Sameer Kumar 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. No. 4 seed Alejandro Tabilo of Canada eliminated Claremont ITF champion Connor Hance 6-2, 6-4, and No. 6 seed Emil Reinberg topped Sam Turchetta 7-6(2), 6-1.
The seeded players in the 16s took the court for the first time today, and the top three seeds in the boys draw fell in the first round. Fourteen-year-old Keenan Mayo defeated No. 1 seed Jack Pulliam 6-2, 6-1, 15-year-old Ethan Prost beat No. 2 seed William Peters 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-3, and 15-year-old Diego Nava downed No. 3 seed William Grant 6-2, 6-2.
Mayo said his first round match against Steven Sun helped him against Pulliam.
"It got me more ready," Mayo said. "Usually in tournaments, if you get an easy first round, you're not really into it that much. But a tough first round forced me to really get into the tournament, and by the time I got to this match, I was able to play my best."
Mayo credited his serve as an important factor in his win over Pulliam.
"I thought I served really well, returned well, and played the big points really well," Mayo said.
Mayo will be playing the 16s at the Easter Bowl, and then will play the three ITF events in Florida in April and May.
Girls top seeds Emma Decoste, Alexandra Belaya and Taylor Johnson avoided the fate of their male counterparts, all advancing to the Wednesday's third round with straight-set wins.
In the first round of the 18s doubles, Stollar and Ingrid Neel, the No. 2 seeds, and winners of two $10K titles earlier this month, lost to Caroline Dolehide and Ena Shibahara 6-1, 6-2. Girls top seeds Arconada and Francesca Di Lorenzo advanced, as did boys top seeds William Blumberg and Nathan Ponwith.
For complete results and the order of play, see the tournament website.
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