Tornado Alicia Black (USA) at the Junior US Open
While the Tornado doesn’t actually appear on Tornado Alicia Black’s birth certificate, she gave the name she acquired as a three-year-old credibility on Wednesday in the U.S. Open junior girls’ competition. The 15-year-old Black, an American wildcard recipient, created her own notable storm on the girls’ draw by upsetting fourth-seeded Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic 75 75 in the second round.
While Black prefers going by Alicia, she’s grown accustomed to being called Tornado as well. “I used to like hate it because a lot of kids would make fun of me, but now I’m getting used to it,” she said. “I like it now. They all ask me if I was born in a Tornado.” The answer to that question is no. No matter what they call her, Black certainly made a statement in her two hour, six minute battle against Krejcikova.
While Black’s only other Grand Slam experience was here last year when she played qualifying and reached the second round, for Krejcikova this is her eighth Grand Slam, although only her first time at Flushing Meadows. The Czech has reached three Grand Slam singles quarterfinals, 2012 and 2013 Australia and 2013 Wimbledon, and is the reigning Roland Garros and Wimbledon doubles champion.
In the first set, Black went ahead 3-0 just to see Krejcikova win the next three games to even the score at 3-3. Krejcikova was serving for the first set at 5-4 with a service break, and had a set point at 40-30 in the tenth game. But Black is a determined competitor and wouldn’t let up, winning the next three games to win the first set. “I was quite nervous at first,” Black said. “When I saved that set point I decided to fight really hard.”
Black, who ranks Jelena Jankovic, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams as her favorite players, also saw a lead evaporate in the second set. She initially went ahead 3-1, but Krejcikova rebounded and play stayed even until the last game. That’s the point that Krejcikova checked out of the match, dropping her serve at love to give Black the match.
Krejcikova is the highest seed out of the girls’ draw with top-seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, second-seeded Ana Konjuh of Croatia and third-seeded Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic all into the third round.
Irina Shymanovic of Belarus, a member of the International 18 & Under ITF-Grand Slam Development Fund team here, also booked a third round berth. On Wednesday, she posted a 63 62 win over Peggy Porter of the United States.
In boys’ action on Wednesday, newly-named Croatian Davis Cup squad member and fourth-seeded Borna Coric scored a double bagel, 60 60, over Zheng Wei Qiang of China in the second round. The 17-year-old Coric saved the one break point he faced at ad-out in the fourth game of the second set. Otherwise, Coric played fairly flawless tennis and won three games in the 50-minute match at love. “I was actually quite surprised at how well I played,” Coric said. “In the morning I wasn’t hitting so good in the warm-up. But I came to the match and was playing very good and was very pleased.”
While the outcome of the match was special for Coric, he was also feeling very happy to have been named to the Croatian Davis Cup team on Tuesday. Croatian Davis Cup captain Zeljko Krajan nominated Coric to join Ivan Dodig, Anotonio Veic, and Mate Pavic during the World Group Playoff tie against Great Britain, September 13-15, 2013. The Croatians will face a team that will feature reigning Wimbledon and defending U.S. Open champion Andy Murray, James Ward, Daniel Evans and Colin Fleming.
“I was hoping for a call, but I wasn’t sure, but I’m very thankful to the captain for calling me,” Coric said. “It’s really nice to be invited. I think it’s going to be a huge experience for me. And maybe in some crazy situation I might play a match, but I don’t think I will play.” But before he heads off for Davis Cup he has work still to be done here in the junior boys’ competition.