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South Jersey Tennis:
Third Day at the Moorestown Junior Open

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

By Sanipa Koetsawasdi
SJSports Staff Writer

It's already midweek of the Open and the trophies are quickly being passed out today. The 18-year-old boys' and girls' players along with the 16-year-old girls' player matches have gone through their final rounds. It has been a true test to beat the heat with some of the matches starting at noon. There were finals that started about a half an hour after a short delay due to a few brief scares of thunder and lightning. Thankfully, it did not rain, and the tournaments went on starting now with the players playing in temperatures in the mid-nineties.

Before the first final's match of the day, Conor Wall and Wesley C. Ho from the 18-year-old bracket were asked how they felt after winning the semifinals and how they were currently feeling going into the finals. Wall had defeated Sadiq Zaki in the semifinals and felt confident about his game, knowing he had played well. He has never played Ho before, so he did not know what to expect or how he will do in the finals. He has, however, heard of Ho's good reputation of being a "good fight" and that it will be a tough match. Going into the match, Wall, felt he needed to improve his serves because he did not serve as well in the semifinals. Ho's response to winning the semifinals, after defeating Jayme Cox, was of familiarity to his opponent. His brother had helped him work on things, especially his serves, before the final. Going into the final, "I feel that if I could play well, then hopefully I could beat him (Wall)".

Throughout the grueling match with both sets, Wall was pretty strong and consistent, being able to defeat Ho with a score of 6-4, 6-0. Wall's response afterwards was that it was a good match. Wall played very well and felt good as long as he could hold his serves. Ho mentioned that Wall had made "some amazing downline shots" making him run around the court. When asked what he needed to work on, he said his conditioning. Also, Ho was not used to playing as a singles player. He was always a doubles player and knew that this was good practice for him. The upcoming singles games he has will definitely improve his game. Both boys will continue to play in upcoming tournaments this season.

Playing at around the same time as the boys Ashleigh Johnson and Caitlin Scott were preparing for their final match. Johnson, who defeated Brittany Horn in the semifinals, felt confident she was going to win the match because she played Horn in a tournament just last week. She also knew that Horn was a good player because she lost to her last year. Johnson knew she had to stay focused because "anything can happen". She felt confident going into the finals. As Johnson had stated, "I have to keep my head straight, hit my shots the way they should be hit, the way I practice throughout the winter." Her main problem, she also stated, was that she may "lose her head". Although confident, she wants to be mentally prepared, "keep my head in the game, hit my shots the way I know how to hit them". Scott, who defeated Krista McCormick in the semifinals, felt very excited after winning the semi's and said it was a big step for her. "Going out there, I just felt I could do it. I tried my hardest, and I did." She also felt pretty confident going into the finals. Her biggest concern right now was being well hydrated for the game because of the hot, humid weather.

After the "battle of the minds", Johnson was able to fulfill her wish of not "losing her head" in the game by winning 6-2, 6-1 against Scott. Her quote of the day was, "anything can happen" as she uses it again to describe how she felt about the whole game after the match. She felt the match was very intense and never thought she was going to win. Keeping in mind that "anything can happen", helped her stay focused to win because if she did not, she could have "lost the entire thing". She described that at the last game, even at 5-1, "I knew she could come back because I've done it, anything could have happened, but I've done it!"

After the loss, Scott had also felt confident, but knew she made a lot of unforced errors and mentioned, "It was not just one thing that was really not working for me, everything was pretty much working" throughout the game. Scott remarked that she and Johnson "hit together a lot" so they both know how each player handles herself in a game. She said that both of them had very weak heads so "we try to feed off the other person". Scott says she will try to be "more head game confident" the next time they meet. This coming year, Johnson will be entering the United Way Vineland Tournament, the Hamilton Open, and the Princeton Tournament, and Scott will be playing first doubles in upcoming tournaments with her team.

Perhaps what seemed like the longest, hottest, game and final of the day was the match between 16-year-old players, Jaimee Wylie and Anne Eiskowitz. Before the match, Wylie, who defeated Alex Wneck in the semifinals, felt that she knew she would do well in that match. She thought the game was a bit difficult, but her groundstrokes were pretty well. Wylie felt pretty good and confident going into the finals. She was hitting well, her volleys and ground strokes were pretty good, and she worked on her serves. Eiskowitz, who defeated Lauren Boyce in the semifinals, felt confident, a bit nervous, but is now more comfortable going into the finals. Eiskowitz said, "I'm playing alright, but I think I could pick it up a little notch. I think I can pull it off." Before going into the finals, she needed to work on her ground strokes. She stated, "My serves are what have been getting me through even though I'm having problems with my shoulder."

After two split sets, and finally going into a third set after a good break from the hot, humid weather, Wylie was able to defeat Eiskowitz with the final scores being 5-7, 6-1, 6-2. Both had fought very hard throughout the match. Wylie agreed that they both played well with good shots. When asked how she felt in the 3rd set, she said she was mentally fit, but physically felt tired because of the heat. She made sure she drank plenty of fluids and had a banana to replenish her a bit before going out again. Wylie still feels, after the game that she needs to work a little bit more on her serves and volley. Eiskowitz tried her best, and knowing that knows that it's "alright, always a next time." She says she needs to work on her ground strokes, staying down, keep her knees bent, and move around a bit more. Eiskowitz will keep playing more tournaments, and Wylie's upcoming event will be a tournament up in Battery Park.

Photos by Art Redd

©2002 South Jersey Sports Online Inc.