10 Jan 2014

Matsumura flies the flag for Asia

Match Report

Ryotaro Matsumura (JPN)

Thursday quarterfinal day at the Copa del Cafe started out cloudy but the weather picked up along with the tennis. The menu included 16 stellar matches including mostly seeded names.

In the boys singles draw Nicolas Alvarez of Peru was able to hold off unseeded upstart Frenchman Corentin Moutet 64 63. As a pupil of former ATP pro Luis Horna, Alvarez displayed  the patience of a clay courter to withstand the brilliant shotmaking of the talented French boy, who has left his mark.  In the other daylight boys singles match Ryotaro Matsumura of Japan surprised number two seed Joao Menezes of Brazil in 3 sets 26 60 61. 

During evening play unseeded Kalman Boyd of USA took on Tim Van Rijthoven in a battle of forehand lasers reminiscent of a Star Wars light sabre battle.  The 679th ranked Boyd took the first set in a tiebreak but could not keep up with the Dutchman ranked 195 and seeded 14 who prevailed 67 64 61. Van Rijthoven goes on to play Matsumura in the semifinals.  The last match of the day featured top seeded Russian Roman Safiullin against fifth seed Matias Zukas of Argentina.  The match was entertaining and impressive with Safiullin and Zukas displaying sublime and magnificent tennis skills, worthy of their top rankings.  The Russian moves on to the semifinal with a 63 61 victory. He will be difficult to beat.  Safiullin will next face Alvarez.

In the girls singles draw, top seed Marie Bouzkova of Czech Republic dispatched the tough Usue Arconada of USA by 75 62. Bouzkova looks to be on her way to the final and next meets unseeded Olga Fridman  of Ukraine who overcame Brit Emily Arbuthnott in a tough 3 setter, 36 62 76. The talented Englishwoman reached match point in the second set but was rattled by line calls against her and did not play the same brilliant tennis from then on. 

Aliona Bolsova of Spain finally outlasted the unseeded and relentless Kelly Chen of USA in three tiring sets, 26 76 64. Chen had beaten the third and 16th seeds, and almost picked off the seventh as well. Some points went beyond 20 strokes and both girls looked exhausted after this cliff hanger. The last girl into the semifinals is eighth seed Catherine Bellis of USA who dispatched her unseeded doubles partner Mia Horvit 64 60.  Bellis will now face Bolsova.

In the boys doubles draw seeded teams continued to fall. The no. 2 seeded Jordi Arconada Taylor Fritz of USA fell to unseeded Argentines Agustin Torreano and Matias Lucas in a close 36 61 108 encounter. The also unseeded team of Adrian Andrzejczuk (POL) and Nam Hoang Ly (VIE) bested their travelling and training companions Benjamin Hannestad (DEN) and Bjorn Thomson (IRL) by the comfortable score of 62 64. 

The South American team of Nicolas Alvarez (PER) and Rafael Coutinho (VEN) took down the North American duo of Robert Levine
(USA) and Alejandro Tabilo (CAN) by a score of 64 63.  The final doubles encounter of the quarterfinals was played under the lights in Stadium Court. The result of this all South American match between the number one seeded Brazilians Orlando Luz and Joao Menezes and the unseeded Pedro Iamachkine (PER) and Ayed Zatar (PAR) was a win for Brazil by 64 76.

In girls doubles sixth seedsAnna Blinkova of Russia and Jessica Ho of the USA surprised the no. 1 seeded Marie Bouzkova (CZE) and Jaqueline Cristian (ROU) 63 75. Bouzkova and Cristian are seeded one and two in the singles draw so this result is a significant upset. Ho is a great shotmaker and doubles player who will give their next opponents a tough match. These next opponents are the Belgian duo of Morgane Michiels and Greetje Minnen, seeded third. The Belgians, who train and travel together, have the teamwork to make life difficult for any of their opponents.

The final two girls doubles teams are Emily Arbuthnott (GBR) and Luisa Stefani (BRA) who won their quarterfinals comfortably 63 63. Their semifinal opponents will be Usue Arconada (USA) and Aliona Bolsova (ESP) who took down the unseeded, unheralded, but game USA duo of Catherine Bellis and Mia Horvit in a nail-biting encounter, 46 63 105.