Mamalat, Lipman Bring Home Grasscourt Titles
by Colette Lewis
, 17 June 2010
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Whether it was home cooking, family experience or simply games that work well on grass, unseeded Anna Mamalat and Maxx Lipman made their advantages work for them last week at the ITF International Grass Court Championships at the Philadelphia Cricket Club.
Mamalat, who lives 30 minutes from the tournament site, rolled past unseeded Skylar Morton
6-2, 6-0 in the girls singles championship. And in his first trip to the finals, the 15-year-old Lipman accomplished what his older brother Ryan could not in the championships matches of 2007 and 2008, earning the boys title with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over No. 3 seed Shane Vinsant
Mamalat, 16, defeated No. 8 seed Kyle McPhillips in a lengthy three-set semifinal that saw both players use countless slices and drop shots. In Saturday's final, the conditions, her opponent, and advice from her coach had Mamalat taking a different tack.
With the breeze gusting and swirling during the final, Mamalat believed she needed to hit the ball flatter and finish points more aggressively. Breaking Morton in the first game of the match, Mamalat was able to swing freely, keeping her lead throughout.
"I knew I had to stay calm and get a good start," said Mamalat, who admitted to some nervousness at the start of the match. "The conditions weren't very good, and I think she missed a little more, so I just tried to take my chances."
Morton admitted that Mamalat's aggressive play caught her off guard.
"I saw her match yesterday, when she was slicing, but today she was hitting through the ball and hitting pretty deep," said the 16-year-old Morton, a Bethesda, Md. resident. "It was hard for me to come in. But I was making a lot of errors, too."
Mamalat got a second break to take a 5-2 lead and, saving a break point in the next game, finished off the set. Morton had lost the opening set in the semifinals to top seed Lauren Herring by a 6-1 score, so she could not be counted out of the match, but luck was not on her side as she attempted a similar comeback. Serving at 30-40 in the first game of the second set, Mamalat's racquet barely caught the ball on a return, but the shot fell over the net for a winner. Trailing again, Morton tried for more on her shots, but Mamalat was able to handle anything Morton threw at her, rolling through the second set to claim her first ITF junior title.
Mamalat celebrated briefly with a dozen or so friends who had come to watch her, but because the match was so short, her family wasn't able to see any of it. With older brother Daniil, a Marquette recruit, graduating from high school Saturday morning, her parents and two brothers didn't arrive until after the match. They were able to see her presented with the winner's trophy however.