Re: 2008 ITA Regionals
Ok, so I went down to the tennis center today and yesterday to watch some of the tennis, which continues through Tuesday, and I'll just give some notes
- I saw all 3 Princeton freshmen and I'd say the order will probably be McHale, Bartlett, Saiontz. McHale is just really solid. She hits a deep, heavy ball, moves well, has a formidable serve, and can actually volley. She breezed through her first two rounds, but had a little trouble closing out Herzberg from Brown. Bartlett is a close second. She hits a flatter, harder shot, but she also moves well and isn't afraid to move in. Saiontz is a glorified pusher. She is really fast, but she doesn't put much pace on the ball. She lost to Amir from Maryland in the 2nd round, 7-6 in the third, after leading 5-2 in the third and holding a match point, and she was a complete mess afterwards, crying and saying that she was afraid to win the match.
- The top seeds looked good. Kellie Schmitt is a really complete player. She moves well, hits flat and deep, has a strong serve and stays focused throughout. She has had no problems moving into the 4th round, where she plays McHale in what may be the defacto final. Ragini Acharya hits the hell out of the ball, but she can mix it up too, and she looked solid today. Katarina Zoricic had more problems, just looking like she didn't really want to be on the court, but she made it through and plays her 3rd round match later today.
- I was really excited to see Lindsey Hardenbergh from UVA, who just won a $10K last week, but I was pretty disappointed. In the first game, she hit an ace, a service winner, and 2 groundstroke winners, so I thought it was going to be quick, but Gajic from Boston College had other ideas. This was definitely the match of the day, as both girls were really creaming the ball. Hardenbergh finally prevailed 4-6 6-4 7-6(4) after well over two hours, closing the match the same way she started it, with an ace. Her serve, both first and second, is great, and her groundstrokes are solid, but she was really inconsistent today, and she was losing most of the long rallys. It will be interesting to see if she gets through her next match, and then she would have Zoricic.
- The hardest hitters I saw were Brouwer from VA Tech, Eleanor Peters from Maryland, and Acharya. Of those, Peters probably hit it the hardest, and she definitely hit some breathtaking shots against Molly Scott from Dartmouth, but she was wildly inconsistent and really emotional.
- The best freshmen I saw were the aforementioned McHale and Bartlett, as well as Emily Fraser from UVA, who has a gorgeous one-handed backhand, and Stefanie Nunic from Boston University, who seemed really focused and had really nice strokes.
- It was nice to see Christina McHale, fresh off a $25K semifinal finish yesterday in Augusta, there to support her sister. Actually, Lauren had quite the support system, with about 7 friends/family members cheering her on.
- Does anyone know anything about Harijanto from Buffalo? She had to qualify for the main draw, but she looked solid and was playing Stevens from UVA when I left. She's Indonesian, but she bears a striking resemblance to Na Li
- I'll definitely go back tomorrow and hopefully on Tuesday. Let me know if you have any questions or requests of players to look out for.