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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Only One Seed Remains in Bottom Half of Boys Draw at ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed; Christensen Beats Mossmer in Girls Second Round Action

©Colette Lewis 2017--
Tulsa, OK--

After a late night of indoor tennis due to rain and lightning Monday, Tuesday dawned cold and gray, with hooded sweatshirts, down jackets and knit hats employed to counteract temperatures in the low 50s. Those conditions proved challenging for all concerned in the second round of the ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed, but several players will remember their wins over seeded opponents rather than the refrigerator-like setting at the Michael Case Tennis Center.


Seeds in the bottom half of the boys draw were particularly susceptible, with four of the five seeds remaining eliminated today.  Noah Schachter had little trouble in his 6-1, 6-2 win over No. 14 seed Ronan Jachuck, but the other three unseeded players had considerably more drama in their victories.  Anuj Watane defeated No. 8 seed and local favorite Nathan Han 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, Mark Mandlik beat No. 16 seed Brandon Perez 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-5 and Emilio Nava took out No. 11 seed Drew Baird 6-4, 7-5.

Baird served for the second set at 5-4, but when Nava broke him at love, Nava could sense a change in Baird's attitude.

"In the second set, I got broken in the first game, but I kept positive. I just kept fighting and competing," said the 15-year-old from Southern California. "After he lost that game, I kind of saw him down, he wasn't as positive as he was throughout the set, and I built on that. I was playing pretty well."

Nava, the younger brother of Diego and Eduardo Nava, trains in Los Angeles with his mother, and with 20-year-old Eduardo, who will be transferring to Wake Forest from TCU.  Nava says he is starting to see the benefits of that training and a recent growth spurt.

"I've definitely improved my consistency," Nava said. "Making more balls, getting to more balls, hitting them deep, making them hit one more extra shot.  And my serve has really improved. I grew a couple of inches and I'm getting out of trouble with my serve now."

The only seed remaining in the bottom half of the boys draw is No. 4 Brian Shi, who played a 90-minute first set with Jordi Redelijk, but breezed through the second for a 7-6(11), 6-0 victory.

Last week's Grade 4 champion in Corpus Christi, Jaycer Lyeons, ran his winning streak to eight with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Karl Poling.

Only one seed lost in the top half, with No. 6 seed Will Grant going out to Stefan Leustian 6-1, 6-4.  Top seed Andrew Fenty saved a set point at 5-4 in the first against Britton Johnson, then proceeded to win the next eight games after that one for a 7-5, 6-0 victory.  Fenty will play friend and training partner William Woodall, the No. 15 seed, who led 6-3, 5-0 before dropping nine straight games to Cleeve Harper of Canada.  Woodall managed a surge of his own however, taking the final six games of the match for a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 victory.


Two Top 8 seeds were eliminated today in the girls draw, with Kylie Collins beating No. 7 seed Lea Ma 6-1, 6-3 and Elle Christensen defeating No. 6 seed Nicole Mossmer 6-3, 6-2.

Christensen only began playing ITF Junior Circuit events in June, but the 17-year-old from Southern California won a Grade 5 in Fiji soon after.  Against Mossmer, a player with much more international experience, Christensen was able to take advantage of an off day from her opponent.

"Today was about who was a little bit more warmed up," said Christensen, who played late into the evening on Monday due to the rain. "It was really cold out there and the ball was dying.  She served good today, she aced me quite a few times, so I decided to take the pace off the ball a little bit and angle it more. It worked out for me today."

Christensen, a left-hander, knows about spin and angles.

"I do like to take advantage of being left-handed," said Christensen, who trains with Gerald Matthews in Calabasas. "The ball definitely spins the other way, because when I play lefties, it's a little trickier."

Christensen will face No. 12 seed Niluka Madurawe, who beat Savannah Broadus 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Top seed Whitney Osuigwe advanced to the third round with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Charlotte Chavatipon of Guam and will play No. 16 seed Peyton Stearns, who beat lucky loser Megan Polnet 7-5, 6-4. 

Fourteen-year-old wild card Alexandra Yepifanova, who beat No. 4 seed Hailey Baptiste in the first round, advanced to the round of 16 with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win over USTA National 16s champion Angelica Blake.

The first round of doubles was played today, but the top three seeds in the girls draw and the top four seeds in the boys draw received byes and will play their first matches on Wednesday.

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