DODDS-Europe tennis championships: Unseeded players strike early
WIESBADEN-NORDENSTADT, Germany — Bamberg’s Andy Kim and Naples’ Patricia Whitlock crashed the party Thursday on Day 1 of the three-day European high school tennis championships.
They were the lone non-seeds in the early going to advance to Friday’s singles quarterfinals.
"I’m very happy about today," said Whitlock, who downed Vilseck’s Leah Beilhart 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) then topped No. 8 seed Jaqueline La Marche of Vicenza 7-6 (7-2), 2-6, 6-4.
"I think I played really well," she said. "There were some downers, but I just played through them. That’s what you have to do in tennis."
While Whitlock was enduring ups and downs and tiebreakers, Kim hit just one speed bump en route to his quarterfinal against top-seeded Emir Isik of Bahrain.
Kim thumped Alex Kovacic of Mannheim 6-0, 6-0 in his opener, then ousted No. 8 Gerard Salvador of the International School of Brussels 1-6, 6-1, 7-5.
Isik reached the quarters in just one step Thursday, downing Darren Eldrege of Vilseck 6-3, 6-1 in what he said was a period of adjustment. It was his only match of the day.
"I was off my game today," said Isik, who in spite of his straight-sets victory committed 22 unforced errors. "I’m used to playing on a harder clay surface. The ball bounces too low for me here."
Whitlock also was making her adjustments to the indoor courts. A senior, Whitlock transferred to Naples this year from Texas.
"I’ve played one indoor match in my life," she said, "and never on carpet. It feels kind of funny, but I love it. The ball bounces perfectly."
Like Kim, Whitlock is on track to face a top seed in the quarterfinals, presuming that defending champion Ginevra Bolla, a Marymount International School of Rome sophomore, would get past unseeded Mandy Hand of Alconbury in a late match Thursday. Hand downed Mikala Pelton of Black Forest Academy 6-1, 6-1 to earn her shot at the champ.
Doubles results were slow to come in Thursday, but unseeded Charlie Schoonover and Justin McManus of Patch bagged the No. 7 seeds from Bitburg, Tim Liebig and John McCrea, 6-0, 3-6, 7-5 in the early going.
"We couldn’t get any first serves in," Schoonover said of the Patch duo’s second-set woes.
Play continues at 8 a.m. Friday with championship- and consolation-bracket matches at three sites — the Vitis facility here and at tennis halls in nearby Hochheim and Meden.
Saturday’s finals are scheduled for the Vitis center. There is no admission charge.