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Southerners Take The Stage At Wimbledon

June 26, 2012 11:03 AM
Brian Baker continues to shoot up the world rankings, now sitting at No. 126.
Ryan Harrison faces No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Round 2.
Jamie Hampton
By Alex Welch, USTA Southern Intern
 
Brian Baker's incredible run at Wimbledon came to a close at the hands of No. 27 Philipp Kohlschreiber. The German defeated the Nashville, Tenn. native in straight sets 6-1, 7-6(4), 6-3 in Round 4. After the deepest run he's ever made in a Grand Slam, Baker looks to continue climbing the world rankings after such an impressive performance in London.
 
On the juniors side, Taylor Townsend made a huge step forward in her career, as she and her partner Eugenie Bouchard took home the girls' doubles title. The No. 1 seeded team dominated doubles action, finally defeating Belinda Bencic and Ana Konjuh 6-4, 6-3 in the championship. Townsend also entered girls' singles play as the No. 1 seed, but fell to Francoise Abanda in Round 3. Catherine
 
Harrison took the stage in the doubles tournament with Christina Makarova, but the two fell in the opening round to the No. 3 seeded Maria Ines Deheza and Elizaveta Kulichkova.Thai-Son Kwiatkowski reached the third round of boys' singles, ultimately falling to No. 6 Nikola Milojevic in three sets. He also reached the second round of boys' doubles.
 
In previous action
After years away from the pro circuit, Brian Baker has revitalized his game and is now making his name known around London and the rest of the world tennis community once again. He defeated Jarkko Nieminen in the second round 6-0, 6-2, 6-4, dominating on his way to Round 3.
 
Next up for Baker was Benoit Paire, a 22-year-old frenchman. Paire was able to steal a set from the Tennessee native, but he was shut down for the most part in the final two frames. Baker walked came out on top 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 as he continued his impressive display. Patrick McEnroe commented on Baker's performance afterwards, talking about the fact that he remembered how outstanding the 27-year-old was as a junior. He seemed pleasantly surprised to see Baker competing again at such a high level.
 
As he heads into the second week of Wimbledon, Baker will get ready to face the No. 27 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber. With plenty of support behind him, he looks to reach unprecendented territory as he goes forward. The fourth round is the farthest he's ever ventured in a Grand Slam.
 
Jamie Hampton was unable to continue her run, as Heather Watson defeated her in straight sets 6-1, 6-4. Irina Falconi had arguably the toughest first-round draw out of all Southerners, as she was bested by No. 2 seeded Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-4.
 
Opening play
The USTA Southern section has another strong showing in a major tournament, as ten players from the region are competing in singles action. John Isner leads the group as the highest ranked player, sitting at No. 11 in the men’s draw.
 
Brian Baker found his way into the second round after defeating Rui Machado 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-0 in his opening match. The Nashville, Tenn. native continues to look impressive after returning from nearly a four-year absence due to injury. The 27-year-old is currently an assistant coach at Belmont University, managing both his playing and coaching careers well. Baker will take on the winner of Feliciano Lopez vs. Jarkko Nieminen in Round 2.
 
Ryan Harrison of Shreveport, La. advanced to his second Wimbledon second round in a row by taking down Yen-Hsun Lu 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. A major test lies ahead for the 20-year-old, as No. 1 seeded Novak Djokovic awaits him in Round 2.
 
John Isner and Donald Young did not see the same success as the two aforementioned competitors. The Marathon Man found himself in yet another grueling contest, as Isner battled Alejandro Falla in five sets, ultimately losing 4-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-3, 6-7 (7-9), 5-7. The Greensboro, N.C. native and former UGA Bulldog had Falla on the ropes after taking two straight sets, but he couldn’t close out this time around.
 
Young, who resides in Atlanta, Ga., took an early lead on No. 26 Mikhail Youzhny by winning the first set 6-4. However, he dropped the next three as he was defeated 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 3-6.
 
On the women’s side Jamie Hampton from Auburn, Ala. pulled of a first-round upset when she bested the No. 27 seed Daniela Hantuchova 6-4, 7-6 (7-1). Hampton dominated the final tiebreaker to advance to Round 2 where she will face Heather Watson.
 
The 2011 US Open mixed doubles champion Melanie Oudin took her Round 1 matchup to three sets, though she couldn’t hold off Timea Babos as she lost 4-6, 6-4, 3-6. The 20-year-old just won her first WTA title at the 2012 AEGON Classic, but she was unable to maintain that success heading into this Grand Slam.
 
Another Atlanta native, Irina Falconi faces a difficult draw with her first round pairing against No. 2 seeded Victoria Azarenka.
 
The Junior Championships at Wimbledon will feature Taylor Townsend of Stockbridge, Ga., Catherine Harrison of Germantown, Tenn. and Thai-Son Kwiatkowski of Charlotte, N.C. Townsend is currently the top-ranked girl in the ITF World Junior Rankings.
 

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