Calm Morning Leads to Upset Afternoon in Berkeley

March 10, 2009 03:45 PM

By Marcia Frost

BERKELEY, Calif. -- The weather cooled down a bit and the clouds filled a morning with straight-set matches and only one minor upset. When the sun came out in the afternoon, though, it produced a totally different story at the Berkeley Tennis Club and Claremont Resort & Spa for the USTA Girls' 18 Nationals.

With the exception of Lacey Smyth's (Oceanside, CA) 6-4, 6-2 victory over 17-32 seed Emina Bektas (Indianapolis, IN), all of the seeds in the morning glided through their matches. The last of the easy ones came for No. 4 Lauren Embree (Marco Island, FL), who remarked that she "liked seeing everyone again, especially since it is her last year (at the Nationals) before college." Embree enjoyed the rest of the day as a spectator, and she had a center seat for some great matches. What followed were seven three-setters and four seeds falling.

Nicole Melichar (Stuart, FL) took out 10th-seeded Pamela Montez (La Quinta, CA) in the only straight-sets upset of the afternoon. The other three who lost were alpha seeds. Sarah Toti (Las Vegas, NV) managed to outlast Stephanie Hoffpauir (Escondido, CA) (17), 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-3. It was an even closer one, as Hanna Mar (Burr Ridge, IL) fell to Tessa Lyons (Wallingford, PA), 4-6, 7-5, 7-5. And Mary Clayton (Plantation, FL) took the first set but couldn't grab the other two over Robin Anderson (Matawan, NJ), who had a final, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.

There was no upset, but the match between two Southern California girls was definitely worthy of the crowd it drew. Kaitlyn Christian, who had upset No. 7 Jacqueline Cako yesterday, outlasted USTA National Clay Court winner Krista Hardebeck through two tiebreak sets full of exciting points. Another match that garnered attention was the 12th-seeded Brooke Bolender (Delray Beach, FL) and Katie Le (Milpitas, CA). After dropping the first set, Brooke had a great comeback to keep her place in the draw.

Since it was the first day of the Feed-in Consolation draw, there were no doubles matches played Tuesday. Wednesday will be a full day in all three draws. It is also Kids' Day at the Nationals, a special day for local children that the players also cherish. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., kids from the Berkeley Youth Alternative, Kids in Motion of Oakland and the Cherrie King Tennis Program in Oakland will be descending on the Berkeley Tennis Club. The kids will get to meet the players, watch the matches and learn about their lives as junior tennis players and their plans to become college tennis players. College coaches have donated t-shirts from their schools for the nearly 50 kids to have autographed by the players, which helps make it a memorable day for all.

Visit the tournament’s official site for stories, photos and schedules. Also look for the USTA Girls' 18 National Championships on Facebook (which has photo albums for each day), as well as updates on Twitter through MarciaLF24.

Click on the links below for complete results and draws from all USTA National Championship tournaments:

Boys' 16s, 18s - Kalamazoo, Mich.

Boys' 14s - San Antonio, Texas

Boys' 12s - N. Little Rock, Ark.

Girls' 18s - Berkeley, Calif.

Girls' 16s - San Diego

Girls' 14s - Peachtree City, Ga.

Girls' 12s - Alpharetta, Ga.