By Jeremiah Yolkut USTA Junior Recap-USA vs. Brazil ANTALYA, Turkey –
Mackenzie Soldan competing against Brazil.
© Jeremiah Yolkut
In a rematch of the junior’s 2009 IWTC finale, the US took on Brazil in their final 2010 tie of the team championships.
Ryan Nelson started the day for Team USA taking on Natalie Mayara, the #2 junior in Brazil. Nelson opened the set with a convincing game of tennis taking a 1-0 lead. After battling with Mayara for several games, Nelson began to unravel as his Brazilian foe stayed consistent and on target. Mayara went for winners, carefully following Nelson’s mistakes with closing points. She allowed the young junior only two more games, taking the set 3-6.
Nelson would have a chance to redeem himself in the second as Mayara had flaws and could be exposed if he could get her out of her game. Nelson came out pumped, but the Brazilian hadn’t lost any of the momentum she found in the first. She served well, returned even better, and kept Nelson off his game. The defeat was quick as Nelson went down, ending the singles portion of his World Team Cup, 2-6.
In the final singles of her junior career, Mackenzie Soldan would have a tall task, beat Pedro Rocha and force a deciding doubles or close out the 2010 edition of the US junior team. Soldan came out shaky, not looking as confident as usual and allowing Rocha to keep her off her game. The Brazilian battled, never giving the American much room in his 6-3 first set victory.
In the second, Soldan dominated making Rocha miss and not giving him good looks at very many balls. She pushed through the ball keeping her opponent off his preferred style of play, taking the second set 6-1. In the tie-break, Soldan continued her dominance starting off hot and making good decisions in gaining the early lead.
Rocha came back and tried to overcome the veteran American’s drive and will to win, but there was no way Soldan was going to allow her junior career to end on her last singles. Soldan fought and clawed her way through the tie-break, taking the breaker 10-7 and forcing a deciding doubles.
After a 45 minute break the US was ready to fight for a 5th place finish and end 2010 with a victory. Soldan and Nelson played a little wary in the first set going down early and not establishing a rhythm in allowing Team Brazil to take the opener 6-2.
In the second, the US came out on a mission taking the first two games and not allowing Rocha or Mayara any chance at owning the set. It was clear the Americans had decided that they were going to at least fight for a deciding match tie-break as they battled to take the second, 6-3. In the match tie-break the US would have an uphill climb as the day wore on and everyone started to fade from 5 days of world class tennis.
After starting off the tie-break with back and forth points the Brazilians gained just enough energy to begin to pull away at 3-3. Taking seven of the next ten points Rocha and Mayara delivered on their mission and never looked back taking the closer 10-7 and finishing the 2010 run of Team USA.
For America the overall result was disappointing, but the strength and grit of the 2010 juniors was the exact opposite. After losing their top player before the event started, the juniors were faced with their first test before even getting to Antalya. They could have easily taken their lumps and blamed it on being short-handed, but Soldan and Nelson never even considered that mentality, coming out each match and battling with their opponent like they were the top seed.
For Soldan her junior career is over as she heads to the University of Alabama next year, where Team USA expects big things from her. For Nelson, the new junior team leader moving forward, this was his last preview of what he will need to do over the next few years to take the junior team to the next level as he prepares for a bright future. USA vs. Brazil
Ryan Nelson vs. Natalie Mayara 3-6, 2-6
Mackenzie Soldan vs. Pedro Rocha 3-6, 6-1, 10-7
Mackenzie Soldan and Ryan Nelson vs. Pedro Rocha and Natalie Mayara 2-6, 6-3, 5-10
The US juniors finished the 2010 Invacare World Team Cup in 6th place.