Min, Golding Oust Top Seeds in US Open Junior Championships
by Colette Lewis
, 16 September 2011
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Frustrating, waterlogged, exhausting - the word association adjectives for the 2011 US Open Junior Championships aren't particularly positive ones. But champions Grace Min of the United States and Oliver Golding of Great Britain conquered the multiple rain delays and compressed match schedule to capture their first Grand Slam singles titles - Min with a 7-5, 7-6(3) win over top seed Caroline Garcia and Golding with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 decision over top seed Jiri Vesely.
There was little hint of the soggy weather in store for the junior tournament during the first two days of play, which took place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, but there was a clue that the unseeded Min was a force to be reckoned with when the 17-year-old from Georgia posted 7-6(5), 6-4 win over No. 2 seed and Wimbledon girls finalist Irina Khromacheva
of Russia in the opening round.
Min would have plenty of time to savor that victory, because remnants of tropical storm Lee kept the juniors off the courts Tuesday and Wednesday. With rain forecast for a fourth day, the decision was made to send the juniors out to the Sound Shore Indoor Tennis Club in Westchester county for two rounds of singles play on Thursday.
After nearly 12 hours of competition, the 16 quarterfinalists emerged, with unseeded Alexios Halebian the only American boy to win both Thursday matches, but four US girls reaching the quarterfinals. Golding, seeded No. 13, had his biggest win of the tournament in the round of 16, when he defeated No. 3 seed and French Open boys champion Bjorn Fratangelo of the US 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, his first win over Fratangelo in three tries this summer.
Fortunately the weather on Friday allowed for outdoor play back at the National Tennis Center, with one singles and two doubles matches on the schedule for the majority of the juniors.
Americans Krista Hardebeck and Vicky Duval fell to No. 3 seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia and No. 1 seed Garcia of France, respectively, but Min continued on her straight-set path with a 7-6(1), 6-2 win over unseeded Ellen Allgurin of Sweden. When NCAA semifinalist Nicole Gibbs, who qualified for the tournament, beat No. 6 seed and 2010 US Open girls finalist Yulia Putintseva of Russia in their quarterfinal, she earned a semifinal encounter with Min, assuring an American finalist.
Golding escaped a precarious situation against No. 6 seed Filip Horansky of the Slovak Republic in the quarterfinals, dropping the first set, but he found his game in time to record a 5-7, 7-4, 6-1 victory, and a place in the semifinal against friend and No. 10 seed George Morgan of Great Britain. With unseeded Kyle Edmund of Great Britain also in the semifinals, No. 1 seed Vesely of the Czech Republic, who beat Halebian in straight sets in their quarterfinal, was the lone boys semfinalist from outside the United Kingdom.