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Friday, August 11, 2017

2017 National] Doubles 8/11

Finky finally came! Was chatting with Lumpkin as usual; complimented her serve and her fine sportsmanship in applauding the opponents' fine play!

Failla spotted; was practicing with Mossmer.

Midwest dominates the doubles scene: so many players!

Q (6) Baptiste/Douglas d. (2) Graver/Joyce 6-4; 6-0

Disaster. I was looking for the happy occasion of G/J vs B/J and this happened lol. I mean I can't watch Baptiste, hence can't watch this semi at all. Bugger..oh I was so rooting for you guys G/J!

Q (7) Bolton/Jones d. Hewitt/Stearns 6-2; 7-6(3)

As expected, marquee match. Fabulous.
1st set went by surprisingly fast because Jones was in best condition. She was even exquisite at net lol.
2nd set got more interesting. Have to give props to Stearns here. I've touted her as the best hitter in the class of 2020(McNally? Nope. But she's better in other myriad ways, hence #1. Wait #1 is now Osuigwe, forgot she was also class of 2020 lol). Her drives are just...can produce pace so effortlessly. She doesn't even swing hard; maybe it's all about technique lol.

Play of the day came from her jumping backhand mid-2nd set. She didn't jump standing. She made the jump while running, making a huge leap, and executed a perfect backhand drive, with tremendous pace. And this was returning a sharp and fast paced drive. She had to do it because otherwise she couldn't have reached it.
I've never seen anything like it, even in Indian Wells. That was just a jaw-dropping performance!

Not only that, she's such a natural at net as well! Her bh volleys are gorgeous, with perfect timing and execution, poaching.

You know I've been touting her for a while. She was quite popular with coaches this tournament; naturally. I'm so proud I've 'found/spotted' her earlier..haha.

Hewitt did make 2 costly DFs, got broken mid-match, and mp was that too. But La Bomba's huge drives enabled Stearns to poach easily in the first place, and used her size to good effect clearing high balls. And she's also quite proficient at net.

So despite being young, these two are a formidable combo. Although they do tend to make plenty of drive errors haha, their talent, firepower and variety are good enough to compensate it. Beating this team is a big deal.  After all they did beat Lahey/Sanford, two excellent senior doubles players.

Again I have to praise ma another favorite, Alyvia Jones here! Serve, easily one of the best in the tournament. Dunno how many times she made huge serves in pinch, whether in singles or doubles this tournament. Mid-2nd, she was in danger of being broken, but made consecutive huge serves, and finally held.

I've praised her serve return as well. Also, excellent. H/S are also very good servers, but it was partially neutralized by her terrific returns.

Crowning it all was her fabulous net plays! I mean she made plenty of poaching winners with exquisite skill; great concentration and body balance.

All this was 'for naught' because Bolton decided to show up and hog the glory haha.
She aced on her service game late in the match, and made consecutive huge poaching winners on the last game, on Hewitt's serve.

But is this a surprise? Of course not. She's EB G18 doubles winner with Lommer(Michigan. Yeah Michigan has been securing top local talents). Has been one of the best doubles players in the nation for a while. Repeatedly saying, I do envy UCLA lol, as a (former?) USC fan..

Q (8) Allen/Corley d. (4) Osuigwe/mcnally 6-2; 1-6; 1-0(5)

Only watched the 1st set and the later tiebreaker.
O/M did make some errors, McNally at least twice dropping the racquet haha.
But you have to give huge props to the winner. In fact both Allen and Corley are excellent doubles players. Allen/Kowalski vs Bolton/Joyce Winter National G16 match a few years ago was such a classic(B/J eventually went to win it all; congratulated them back then!), and Corley was excellent during local SoCal tournaments.

And it showed.
Their net plays were flawless. Exquisite. Fabulous volleys and slices, and Corley was especially impressive in that she managed to block O/M's repeated attempts to pass or to aim directly at her at net.
So O/M just couldn't gain the initiative at net, and it probably was the decisive factor. I think A/C were also quite decent rallying.

Q (5) Johnson/Liu d. (1) Li/Subhash 7-6(3); 6-3

Since the marquee match started later, could have a peek for like 4 games or so of the 1st set.
Li's volleys weren't working, maybe one of the reasons they lost? Subhash was quite good though.
J/L certainly have lapses, but their short? volley pattern was quite good, producing unreachable winners.

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G16

SF (5) Collins/Yaloz d. Brown/Miller 6-2; 6-1

This started later than the marquee match and finished earlier, alas...I thought this was the de facto final, so all the more disappointing I couldn't really watch.
When I glimpsed, Collins was also proficient at net, and Yaloz drove quite well. I don't think B/M played badly, did make some fine plays, but those were just glimpses; can't form a coherent impression of this match. Blame the marquee match starting late lol. 

SF (17) Blake/Redelijk d. (15) Goldsmith/Wagner 7-6(7); 6-2

SoCal duo wasted like 4 1st set points and numerous bps haha. Definitely a winnable match, but just couldn't consolidate it. W's net plays were as usual excellent, and G's drives were again very effective; just such a good hitter.
But; W's drives including service return left much to be desired, and G's serve were unstable. And B and R actually played singles today lol so can't blame fatigue here!
Blake was really good at net. They were quite strong at important points.

Still quite a tournament for this SoCal duo. I'm sure many coaches have noticed; W is now a National caliber in doubles, no question about it. Goldsmith's drives were pure Gold.

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