On a warm humid Saturday, Julia Boserup and Samantha Crawford triumphed in their respective matches to set up an All-American final at the $25K Raleigh, a Har-Tru clay ITF tournament in North Carolina. Third seeded Boserup downed the top seed from Argentina, Florencia Molinero, 6-7(5) 6-4 6-0 while Crawford defeated fellow American Allie Kiick 6-4 6-3.
Upon arriving at the tournament site, the match was underway deep in the 6th game. There was a pretty good sizable crowd; most patrons taking cover underneath the roofed viewing area or trees. I went for the less crowded bleacher in the sun. (The temperature was in the high 80s when I got there and in the 90s by the time I left.)
The two competitors possessed contrasting game styles as well as on court demeanors. The 5’11” blonde haired American played a simple power game with fairly flat strokes. The Argentine, on the other hand, had a game more suited for the surface. Molinero’s array of shots included spins, slices, moonballs, and dropshots. The South American also had a superb defense, effectively utilizing the backhand slice to get ball (or should I say bullet) back into play consistently. She made Boserup work hard for every point.
For most of the match the 5’5” Molinero was never relaxed, constantly complaining about line calls (with conspiracy theory in her head). When a call didn’t go her way or if the call was slightly delayed, she would give the linesperson a stare down with some words and both arms raised showing her displeasure. Good point or bad point, she was most always vocal screaming “dale” or berating herself in Spanish. The constant outburst and negativity often overshadowed her plays and, in my opinion, expedited energy in the wrong way. If Molinero was hot, then her opponent would be cold. Calm and composed with minimal reactions was Boserup. Even when she didn’t get the call, she rarely stopped play to check for ball mark.
In the second set, Molinero had an altercation with the chair umpire and never recovered. Serving at 4-all (or maybe it was 4-5), the right-hander was called for a footfault (her 4th or 5th, I don’t remember but she had several). The umpire backed the line judge saying that it was her left foot. Angry and in disbelief, the 26 year old said to the umpire something along the line of “open your eyes, not only for me”. The woman believed she was targeted unfairly. Perhaps she was, but not the best way to handle the situation. Instead of blaming everyone, she should have adjusted better and be extra careful when serving. Anyway several points later, she went on to get broken and Boserup evened the match at one set apiece.
Molinero’s inability to control her emotions finally took a toll on her. Boserup continued her high level of plays but her competitor’s was gone. The depth she generated earlier in the match was nowhere to be found, allowing the American to pounce on short balls and go up a break. Unforced errors started creeping in. The dropshot that worked well earlier started to land on the wrong side of the net. Instead of extending rallies and mixing up her shots like in the first two sets, she tried to bang from the baseline with Boserup and it wasn’t her game. Serving at 0-4, Molinero was called for another footfault; this time, on breakpoint (by a different line judge rotated in at the start of the set). She kind of went hysterical (in Spanish of course) and unfortunately, double faulted. Boserup went on to complete the bagel. What a bizarre match.
Up next for the 23 year old is the 2012 Junior US Open champion, Samantha Crawford. This match should have a different feel since both ladies play similar styles, hard hitting power tennis.