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Thursday, February 23, 2017

2017 ITF RSF Day 4

Just had to have my beauty sleep first(was struggling with the lack of sleep the last few days).

SD impresses me yet again. Again birded San Dieguito Lagoon, this time going a bit further than last time(which was interrupted by a downpour), till the bridge, and glad I did! Female adult CANVASBACK was with a female adult Bufflehead and male adult Redhead!  I did see that female adult Canvasback at Legg Lake this year, but there the bird was in the middle of the big lake, quite far, and was tucking its head in, resting. This time, it was just swimming a few feet from me! Took pictures of course. Saw some Scaups(could be Greater? Not only the usual Lesser) and Clark's Grebe up close and personal, as well.

Hence improved my SD list to 163, just 1 below OC! Oh earlier birded the the river mouth again, and found 5 Semipalmated Plovers with 18 Marbled Godwits, Willets and Whimbrels. So was the flock of peeps gettting harassed by a dog last time those SEPLs? But I thought the color was lighter gray(which means Snowy Plovers)..anyway, tried to access that part below and across the bridge, but found that it was prohibited as an environmentally sensitive area. Which means that guy with a dog was trespassing that day, harassing the birds. Should've taken his picture and posted somewhere..lol.

About buying a scope, I do like mine, but too less power. I strongly recommend Ultima 80, which is one of the cheapest yet gives great quality. Confirmed it looking through another birder's one at those parrots at the Pasadena Audubon parrot roost outing. It may be a bit heavier than mine, but if you're buying a scope, power is of utmost consideration, especially if you're going to do seebird watching.

I'm thinking of writing a critique of USC recruiting. Losing once is one thing(Sam Crawford), but again(Kayla Day)? Should we just say, 'tough luck', again? I think not. 'On the menu' is the current dire strait(Zoe Katz is playing #1), USTA's hogwash about college tennis helping pro hopefuls(when clearly the players don't give a damn. According to Colette Alex Sanford is also considering turning outright pro, and who knows Dolehide will also take that route. Further ahead, Claire Liu as well).
I might hold on to this until the class of 2017 recruiting is complete(I sincerely hope for USC's sake that they're still holding a 'Trump' card or something); or should I wait for the class of 2018. But UCLA already recruited Bolton and will also be aiming for Claire Liu, non?  Gloomy times for Trojans fans..

Forgot to mention this but MLDB isn't even the loudest player, hasn't been for some time lol. And Sophie Chang impressed me with her ability to hit the ball on the rise, even on service returns. hitting just a bit early to rob the opponents' response time.

Again thanks to Meelis for the update;

Singles Main Draw

(1)Kayla Day (USA) d. (SE)Danielle Lao (USA) 62 64

Naturally rooted for Lao.
Lao trying to overcome that comfort zone, trying to play more aggressively. 'Usual play' didn't work, allowing Day's driver winners on the stretch. So naturally should play more aggressively, aiming for the lines, or hitting with more pace. And she did, hence could have a tighter 2nd set.

Allowing those drive winners though, says something of Lao's limitation. 'Froze', or that her anticipation or speed(defense) isn't good enough. Well, one can compenstate it for attacking, and Lao did manage to do it later on.

And net approaches, laudable, but half-baked ones are just asking to be crushed by a good defender like Day. And also did commit some crucial volley errors, like KK and Sabs yesterday.

Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) d. (Q)Luisa Stefani (BRA) 60 60

Couldn't really watch much, but Luisa's serve wasn't clicking, which is a prerequisite dealing with superior players. Variety? Hantu is known for her drop shot and lob ability. H also managed to make winners on the run. Later I watched, Luisa also had trouble handling H's pace, many drives sailing wide.

Chloe Paquet (FRA) d. (wc)Hanna Chang (USA) 63 63

(5)Mayo Hibi (JPN) d. (Q)Michaela Gordon (USA) 61 61

Mayo's variety too good(along with Von Deichmann, the most who impressed me with her variety this day). Michaela will likely succeed Emma Higuchi as Stanford's #6 next season. Yeah, she who defeated UT's #1 Turati..tells Stanford's incredible talent and depth lol.

(Q)Maria Sanchez (USA) d. Jacqueline Cako (USA) 60 76(5)

(wc)Alexandra Sanford (USA) d. Jovana Jaksic (SRB) 62 76(4)

Renata Zarazua (MEX) d. (Q)Elizaveta Ianchuk (UKR) 46 61 63

Ianchuk, not without effort. Although was the bigger hitter, was also committing tons of errors, so tried to play more conservatively later. But Zarasua was a veritable human wall, just didn't miss.

(Q)Katherine Sebov (CAN) d. (7)Fiona Ferro (FRA) 63 63

Concentranted on this match. Ferro's 1st serve had power, 2nd not so much, attackable. Sebov's 2nd was similar. Sebov's drives are so low, F committed some errors trying to deal with it. F's small steps seemed good, and although not as flat a hitter as S, could certainly create width.

(SE)Caroline Dolehide (USA) d. (6)Daniela Seguel (CHI) 63 63

S wasn't without power. So plenty of winners from both sides. Probably D overpowered to the win though, and probably serve was crucial; D crushed lots of S's serves, and managed to hold with her strong serve.

I thought if UCLA coaches weren't coming to watch this match, it would mean that Caro will likely turn pro lol. Coach Brown did come by though. So does UCLA still have a hold(a toehold? Haha). USC should pray that Caro just turns pro.

Danielle Rose Collins (USA) d. Sofya Zhuk (RUS) 63 61

Tried to watch this match a lot, forgoing other matches such as Stefani vs Hantu, etc. Since I haven't watched Zhuk at all(she applied for ISC last year but pulled out).

And glad I did, methinks it was a HQ match.

Dani has plenty of merits. Too many lol.

Was surprised with her defense, especially her slice, made some crucial plays with it, either making a very difficult winner or forcing Z's error. And of course, her excellent service return. Mind you Z didn't serve bad, but Dani's bh service return was just rock solid, hitting back with pace. Fh return wasn't bad either.

Back step, excellent. Can reset points with lobbing the ball deep, as well.

Her attacking ability is well known, and her drive volley as I've mentioned was the best in college, even creating width with sharp angles.  Which makes her occasional drop shots just that more effective.

Even though she's an ultra aggressive player, attacking from the get-go, she can actually keep the ball in play. Really, overall, a nice balance of offense and defense. Add to the champion mentality, and you get how she dominated the college scene, in her years at UVA.

The reason why I dubbed her 'T-rex' and 'Regina' lol, as an 'Apex Predator'. Her barking pose in most of her photos helped enhance that image too, haha. Is her 'forelimb' also short like T rex lol, whatever.  USTA should market her, if they're really serious about 'helping' college tennis; she played all 4 years, just like S. Johnson.

Now, Zhuk. Impressed. Excellent hitting, decent moving(crushed some of Dani's slices). Variety wasn't bad either. Just that Dani was a bit better, that's all. Dani didn't wait for it, 'took it', just like a predator lol(truth be told, many predators are also excellent opportunists, waiting patiently for the prey's 'errors' lol. They also usually target the weak and young, you could say they also 'vulture' haha).

Just glad both came here to play, enjoyed this one.

(Q)Anhelina Kalinina (UKR) d. (LL)Tereza Mihalikova (SVK) 61 60

M was doing a 'Vera Zvonareva', putting a towel on her face(definitely on her head!) during rest. Says a lot about how the match went. Couldn't really watch much though, since I was focusing on Ferro vs Sebov. K seemed to be in good condition, and M couldn't seem to handle K's aggression, allowing many winners from what I've glimpsed.

(4)Sofia Kenin (USA) d. Kathinka von Deichmann (LIE) 67(7) 76(5) 64

Kenin whined away as usual lol, would've thought she was losing haha. Understandable though, I mean D was super frustrating to play against, what with her great defense and consistency. K actually was dictating the match most of the time, yet D managed to return tons of it, an impressive feat, considering K's ability to create width. And also had great variety, which was a harbinger of her doubles prowess later. Drive form was quite concise, so that was useful in counterattacking.
K did not let go of the initiative though, attacked and attacked, and it bore fruit I guess.

(8)Michelle Larcher de Brito (POR) d. (wc)Mishel Okhremchuk (UKR) 62 62 (JE)

Claire Liu (USA) d. (Q)Caroline Dunleavy (USA) 62 62

Caro definitely is the player to watch this year. Her fh really is devastating. Put L on the defensive lots of times, even creating outright winners! Good lord. Bh wasn't bad either, and even 'played defense' against L lol, putting the balls back deep(L attacked those well eventually though). Caro really seems to have upped her level now. Not just raw power; her ability to read the game, making adjustments..you know, she even hustled well against L's trademark net approaches; had lots of looks to pass actually, meaning her movement isn't bad at all. Once even made a spectacular passing shot winner off it. Maybe tried to attack L's serve a bit too hard, but otherwise, mucho impressed with her game.

 (Q)Chanelle Van Nguyen (USA) d. (wc)Sabrina Santamaria (USA) 62 62

Couldn't watch much, but Sabs was attacking well from what I glimpsed, whether driving or drop shotting, but probably VN put tons of balls back. And her attacks were effective as well I guess.  Oh her boyfriend is with her, you know, NCAA singles champ(should we say, Power couple? Haha. VN also has WAATC singles final resume, and she's NCAA championship member).

Bianca Andreescu (CAN) d. (2)Catalina Pella (ARG) 62 62

A seems to have a big game. And hits quite effortlessly. Didn't even seem like an upset, too good.

Doubles Qualifying Draw
(1)Carruthers/Kopinski (SAM/USA) d. Leon/Urbina (MEX/MEX) 76(4) 63
(2)Gordon/Hibi (USA/JPN) d. (wc)Duva/Luk (USA/USA) 62 60

Doubles Main Draw

Cristian/Von Deichmann (ROU/LIE) d. (1)Cako/Jaksic (USA/SRB) 61 75

So impressed with this team, C/VD. VD, wow. She's one of the most impressive doubles players I've seen in recent years.  Great touch and composure at net. Just like KK, tried to poach too aggressively haha, but C backed her up well, maintaining court balance. C herself was quite good, too.

Don't think C/J were that bad, they also attacked decently, passing and such, but C/VD were just too good. Quite talented..

Kenin/Stefani (USA/BRA) d. Santamaria/Wong (USA/USA) 61 57 10-2
(3)Chang/Kobelt (USA/USA) d. Bekker/Wei (RUS/CHN) 63 62
Day/Dolehide (USA/USA) d. Kramperova/Krawczyk (CZE/USA) 60 61

(Q)Gordon/Hibi (USA/JPN) d. Ferro/Paquet (FRA/FRA) 76(3) 26 10-5

Mayo's variety again. And although Michaela's volley ability left a lot to be desired haha, did pass well later at crucial moments.

(4)Ianchuk/Marand (UKR/USA) d. (Q) Carruthers/Kopinski (SAM/USA) 75 61
Kalinina/Scholl (UKR/USA) d. Christian/Lao (USA/USA) 63 62

(2)Wacnik/Zarazua (USA/MEX) d. Guillermo/N Smith (USA/USA) 60 62

Too bad couldn't watch this court 6 match.

Now 3:39am, back to sleep!

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