Rain was the order of the day on Wednesday at Indian Harbour Beach’s Kiwi Tennis Club, as an early season tropical depression spinning off of Florida’s east coast kept just enough rain passing through Indian Harbour Beach, at just the right times, to keep the courts soggy for most of the morning and early afternoon. It was well after 2PM before play got underway on the Har-tru courts at Kiwi on Wednesday.
I did spend the day chatting with the local newspaper’s sports editor, Michael Parsons, and among other things we talked about Erica Oosterhout’s huge upset of top seed Taylor Townsend, and the trio of Wildcard Challenge contenders for the French Open main draw wildcard. Apparently the Plant High School senior was as shocked as anyone with her enormous win on Tuesday night, and said that while her serve was one of the big reasons why she was able to defeat Townsend, she had never really considered it one of her weapons.
When play did start on Wednesday, by the time the crew had dried the courts (twice), called the players to the club, and gotten all of the last minute gear courtside, the skies were threatening again, and Chi Chi Scholl was in a hurry to get moving, racing out to a 4-0 lead against Maria Sanchez in intermittent rain showers before Sanchez started to slow things down between points, break Chi Chi’s rhythm a bit, and gradually claw her way back into the set, and match. From that 0-4 start, Sanchez turned things around pretty decisively, winning 7-6(0) 6-2.
With rain threatening pretty much all day, and wet courts to deal with, scheduled matches were moved everywhere to try to fit in as much tennis as possible (Alexandra Stevenson and Florencia Molinero even played their singles match outside the club in front of the Kiwi entrance on what has traditionally been one of the practice courts) Louisa Chrico and Justyna Jegiolka were moved from the main court 3 to court 6 in front of almost no crowd, where Chirico fought back from an early 1-3 first set deficit to win fairly comfortably 6-4 6-3.
Allie Kiick and Olga Ianchuk staged what was probably the most interesting match of the day, as at times it looked more like a prize fight with both players suffering injuries or illness and just trying to gut it out and survive. It was a pretty physical match, on both sides, with some rather big hitting, and Kiick, her knee already bandaged, took a nasty fall in the middle of the first set and looked pretty shaken for a several games. The athletic Kiick hit an incredible ‘tweener’ during one long rally, a shot she’s clearly getting pretty good at, as evidenced by the fact that’s done it two weeks in a row now,. Despite her fall, she did not call for a trainer, and maintained a break lead through much of the set, ultimately winning it 6-4. Ianchuk, meanwhile, at first merely looked frustrated with the way the day was going, but by the end of the set, she was noticeably physically anguished, talking with the chair between points, likely calling for the trainer, who did eventually make a visit in between sets.
The players held their serves to start set two, but Allie broke Olga for a 3-1 lead that proved decisive, as Ianchuk’s body language repeatedly suggested she was all but done from that point forward. Kiick closed it out with some consistent rallying that forced the spent Ianchuk into numerous errors, with end result a 6-4 6-2 victory.
Others in action on Wednesday included Francoise Abanda, Julia Boserup, Alexa Graham, Ingrid Neel, Jessica Moore, Gabriela Ce, Michelle Larcher de Brito, Jessica Pegula and Anastasia Evgenyevna Nefedova.