En semifinal varonil el sembrado 1 Shintaro MOCHIZUKI de Japón derrotó a Blu BAKER de Inglaterra en un reñido partido a 3 sets, con marcador 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. Esto fue la primera vez que MOCHIZUKI perdió un set durante el torneo. BAKER jugó con fortaleza y tuvo un buen torneo pero las tácticas del japonés de entrar a net y jugar todo terreno cansaron al británico sembrado 4.

En la otra semifinal varonil el jugador de gran saque y golpes duros Martin DAMM de USA, hijo de un jugador ATP checo del mismo nombre, despachó a Alex MARTINEZ de España, ganando por marcador 6-4, 6-4. MARTINEZ tiene familia en Costa Rica y era el favorito de los aficionados pero no pudo mantenerse ante la fuerza de DAMM aunque el español es 2 años mayor. En segunda vuelta DAMM desalojó al sembrado 2 MALAN de Sur Africa para tomar el lugar del último puesto en la llave y ahora se encuentra en la final con el japonés que ocupa el primer lugar de la llave.

Ambos jugadores nacieron en el 2003. El lector debe juzgar por sí mismo cuál de los 2 ha logrado mayor desempeño para llegar a esta final, y cuál debe ser el favorito. MOCHIZUKI es extremadamente agil, sube a net con frecuencia, tiene un gran tiro de smash y además una gran devolución de servicio. DAMM dispone de un muy fuerte saque y pega duro en sus golpes de gran precisión, así gastando a los competidores.

El camino a la final de MOCHIZUKI ha sido:             
vuelta                 jugador                 país                    ranking            siembra                  1                      CASSONE              USA                      248                    no                   2                      HECK                      USA                      202                    no                   3                      DALE                       USA                      147                    14                
QF                   PARK                       KOR                     126                    11                
SF                   BAKER                    GBR                        97                      4

DAMM ha llegado conquistando a:             
vuelta                 jugador                  país                  ranking            siembra                  1                      VINAS                     ARG                      531                  no                   2                      MALAN                    RSA                        87                    2                   3                      BERNARD              USA                      190                   no                
QF                   LEE                         USA                      124                   10                 
SF                   MARTINEZ              ESP                      215                   no 

En la semifinal femenil la no sembrada canadiense Melodie COLLARD continuó siendo la revelación del torneo, sobreviviendo y domando a la muy capaz jugadora sembrada 14 Charlotte OWENSBY de USA en un difícil encuentro a 3 sets, con marcador 6-1, 6-7, 7-5. Melodie ha deleitado a la afición con su estilo poco usual de todo terreno, incursionando a net con frecuencia, voleando, y defendiendo globos con su fuerte smash. Fue un partido emocionante hasta el final donde OWENSBY se defendió hasta el último 7-5.

El otro partido de semifinal de damas fue acreditado a la no sembrada Abigail FORBES de USA ranqueada 418 quien le ganó a su compañera de práctica Gabriella PRICE (USA), ranqueada 38 y sembrada 2. PRICE parece tener los golpes más clásicos y vistosos y voló durante el torneo sin perder un set hasta la SF. Sin embargo FORBES, una jugadora muy capaz quien jugará para la universidad UCLA en setiembre, quizás tenía una leve ventaja en mayor volumen de cuerpo y 2 años más de experiencia, nacida en 2001 vs 2003 para PRICE.

COLLARD juega todo terreno y es más atrevida en sus tácticas pero FORBES es jugadora fuerte y resistente que quizás podrá manejar mejor la presión del momento y defenderse. Ambas jugadoras no están sembradas y se ubican en los 400´s del ranking mundial ITF. (COLLARD = 441, FORBES = 418). Juzgue por sí mismo cuál de las 2 jugadoras ha tenido mayores logros para llegar a esta final, y cuál será la favorita.

El camino de COLLARD a la final ha sido:             
vuelta                 jugadora                país                 ranking            siembra                 
1                        NOEL                      USA                    15                      1                  
2                        PLAZAS                  COL                  264                    no                  
3                        KARNER                 AUT                  382                    no                 QF                     GARCIA GROSS    USA                  708                    no                 SF                      OWENSBY             USA                  150                    14

FORBES ha llegado por:             
vuelta                 jugadora                país                  ranking           siembra                   
1                        CHAVARRIA          CRC                   990                    no                 
2                        CCUNO                 PER                     99                      7                  
3                        INOUE                   USA                   140                    12                 QF                     DEFALCO              USA                   184                    10                SF                     PRICE                    USA                     38                      2 
La Llave de Calificación para la Copa del Café no. 55 comenzó sábado 12 de enero bajo un cielo celeste y un tiempo perfecto de tenis. En total, se disputaron 24 partidos, 16 varonil y 8 femenil.

En la llave varonil los resultados en general se ajustaron a lo anticipado en cuanto 14 de 16 sembrados progresaron a la segunda vuelta, con sorpresas sobre los sembrados 12 y 14 por Jameson CORSILLO (USA) y Francisco ARCE VIEYRA (MEX) respectivamente. La Llave femenil incluyó solamente 8 siembras y todas pasaron a la segunda vuelta por modalidad de Bye. Los 8 partidos jugados fueron disputados entre jugadoras sin ranking, principalmente jugadoras locales deseando entrar a la Llave Principal.

La acción tenística de mañana definirá los últimos puestos de las Llaves Principales, llegando así al límite de 64 jugadores. Partidos de las Llaves Principales comenzarán temprano el lunes 14 de enero.
La conferencia de prensa para la Copa no. 55 se llevó a cabo ayer martes 8 de enero 2019, revelando la lista de jugadores inscritos para la Copa 2019. Las siembras no. 1 son Shintaro MOCHIZUKI de japón (no. 82 mundial) y Alexandra NOEL de USA (ranqueada no. 15).

Ambas llaves indican un alto nivel de talento tenístico con 5 top 100 jugadores por el lado varonil de 5 diferentes países, y 19 top 200. La lista femenil incluye 7 top 100 de 5 países, y 21 jugadoras dentro de las primeras 200.

El corte varonil a la posición 46 ha sido 343, y del lado femenil 460, así reflejando un elenco fuerte de jugadores. De los primeros 46 jugadores en ambas Llaves Principales, 19 varones (41%) y 17 damas (37%) regresan de la Copa del Café 2018.

La lista varonil ahora incluye 111 nombres desde una inscripción total de 211, y del lado femenil actualmente se incluyen 82 jugadoras desde una inscripción total de 187 jugadoras que se disputan los 64 puestos de cada Llave Principal. Esto significa que el Qualy varonil probablemente incluirá un complemento completo de 32 jugadores, mientras que habrán varios “byes” en el Qualy femenil donde toda jugadora en la lista tendrá oportunidad de jugar por lo menos el Qualy.

La Copa no. 55 entonces dará comienzo oficial el sábado 12 de enero 2019 con las Llaves de Calificación, a ser completada el domingo para así definir los últimos 8 puestos de la Llave Principal que comienza temprano el lunes 14 de enero.  Los invitamos a unirse a la acción tenistica.
In the Boys semifinal round top seed Shintaro MOCHIZUKI of Japan bested Blu BAKER of Britain in a tough 3 set match by 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, the first time the top seed dropped a set during the tournament. BAKER was strong and had a great tournament but MOCHIZUKI´s go to net strategy and all court play overcame the weary Brit, seeded no. 4.

In the other Boys semifinal, the hard serving and hard hitting Martin DAMM of USA, son of former ATP Czech star of the same name, outhit Alex MARTINEZ of Spain, winning by 6-4, 6-4. MARTINEZ has family in Costa Rica and was a crowd favorite but could not keep up with DAMM although the Spaniard is 2 years older. In the second round DAMM displaced the no. 2 seed MALAN of South Africa to hold the last slot in the draw and now meets the top slot Japanese player in the final. Both players year of birth is 2003.

Judge for yourself who has overcome the biggest hurdle, and who will be the favorite. MOCHIZUKI is extremely agile, goes to net often, has a terrific overhead and a great return of serve. DAMM has a very strong serve and hits hard and precise groundstrokes, wearing down competitors.

MOCHIZUKI´s road to the final has been:             
round                 player                   country                 ranking               seed                       
1                        CASSONE             USA                      248                    no                  
2                        HECK                     USA                      202                    no                  
3                        DALE                      USA                     147                    14                
QF                     PARK                      KOR                     126                    11        
SF                     BAKER                    GBR                      97                      4

DAMM´s path has been:             
round                 player                 country                   ranking               seed                 
1                       VINAS                    ARG                      531                    no                 
2                       MALAN                  RSA                         87                      2                  
3                       BERNARD             USA                      190                     no                
QF                    LEE                        USA                      124                     10           
SF                    MARTINEZ            ESP                       215                    no 


In Girls semifinal play unseeded Canadian Melodie COLLARD continued to be the revelation of the tournament, outlasting the very capable no. 14 seed Charlotte OWENSBY of USA in a tough 3 set match 6-1, 6-7, 7-5. Melodie has delighted the crowd with her all court play, frequently going to net, volleying, and defending lobs with her strong overhead. But it was a nail biter to the end as OWENSBY fought hard to the end.

The other Girls semifinal went to unseeded Abigail FORBES of USA ranked 418 over her practice mate Gabriella PRICE (USA), ranked 38 and seeded 2. PRICE seems to have the more classic strokes and breezed through the tournament without losing a set until the SF, yet FORBES, a very capable player who will play for UCLA in the fall, perhaps had a slight advantage in greater body size and 2 more years of experience, born in 2001 vs 2003 for PRICE.

COLLARD plays all court and displays more daring match tactics but FORBES is a tough experienced player who perhaps can better handle the pressure and defend on court. Both players are unseeded and ranked in the 400´s (COLLARD = 441, FORBES = 418). Judge for yourself who has overcome the biggest hurdle to get to the final, and who will be the favorite.

COLLARD´s road to the final has been:             
round                 player                   country                 ranking              seed 
         
1                       NOEL                      USA                         15                       1                  
2                       PLAZAS                  COL                       264                     no                  
3                       KARNER                 AUT                       382                     no                
QF                    GARCIA GROSS    USA                       708                     no                
SF                     OWENSBY             USA                       150                     14

FORBES´ path has been:             
round                 player                  country                 ranking               seed 

 1                      CHAVARRIA           CRC                       990                     no
 2                      CCUNO                  PER                         99                       7                 
 3                      INOUE                    USA                       140                      12                
QF                    DEFALCO               USA                       184                      10               
SF                     PRICE                     USA                        38                        2
In Boys quarterfinal play Thursday 6 seeds and 2 unseeded players took to the courts to define semifinal berths. Top seed Shintaro MOCHIZUKI of Japan defeated 11th seed Minjong PARK of Korea in straight sets 6-4, 6-0 demonstrating a clear mastery over his fellow Asian adversary. Blu BAKER of Britain seeded 4 did not have it so easy, losing the first set, but in the end was able to get through over the tough Andres MARTIN of USA (seeded 9th) by 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.

The third semifinal slot was taken by unseeded Alex MARTINEZ of Spain over Sebastian RODRIGUEZ of Perú by a surprisingly lopsided 6-0, 6-0. Rodriguez is a strong and elegant player but could not unwind and MARTINEZ took full advantage. The last semifinal spot went to unseeded Martin DAMM of USA who overpowered 10th seed Alexander LEE of USA by 6-4, 6-3.MOCHIZUKI will face BAKER in the semifinals.

The Japanese player is talented,  crafty, and very athletic while BAKER is strong and has a more classic style. It will be no. 1 seed against no. 4, a tough call. In the other semifinal match, MARTINEZ will face DAMM in a battle of unseeded players. MARTINEZ has done well in the tournament with an elegant style of play, very strong on return of serve. DAMM, tall and strong, has been overpowering opponents and relies on a heavy serve. Today we find out who prevails.

In Girls quarterfinal play American Charlotte OWENSBY seeded 14 managed to get past unseeded grinder Tara MALIK of USA in a long match by 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. Abigail FORBES easily dispatched Jenna DEFALCO by 6-2, 6-0 in the battle of unseeded Californians as FORBES, who in the fall will play for UCLA, got the better of the younger DEFALCO who has had a strong tournament and is still alive in doubles.

No. 2 seed Gabriella PRICE has been cruising through the draw winning all matches in straight sets, including  the last win over unseeded Elaine CHERVINSKY of USA by 7-5, 6-4. Both girls were born in 2003 so still have a couple of junior years left. The last semifinal berth was taken by unseeded  Melodie COLLARD of Canada in a night match, playing much better than her world ranking of 441 would suggest. COLLARD goes to net frequently, unusual in junior girls play, and did so spectacularly to overpower her game opponent Rosie GARCIA GROSS of USA who came into the Main Draw from the Qualy, ranked 708. Clearly, rankings here do not tell the story as both North Americans play comparatively few ITF sanctioned events and have not accumulated a strong ranking. This will change Monday 21 as the new rankings are published.

COLLARD, an all court player with soft hands and strong volleying skills and OWENSBY, a poised player with strong groundstrokes will face off in one semifinal match. The other semifinal will feature FORBES and PRICE who have the same coach and style of play, and know each other´s game well. Today we find out which players go on to the finals.
In Boys third round play seeded players continued to progress through the draw as 6 of the 8 quarterfinal slots went to seeded players. These include top seed Shintaro MOCHIZUKI of Japan, no. 3 Sebastian RODRIGUEZ of Perú, no. 4 Blu BAKER of Britain,  no. 9 Andres MARTIN of USA, no. 10 Alex LEE of USA, and no. 11 Minjong PARK of Korea.

Two very talented non seeds, Alex MARTINEZ of Spain and Martin DAMM of USA fill the other 2 slots. MARTINEZ and DAMM have distinguished themselves in night play and look to be strong going into the final rounds. DAMM is son of the well known Czech player of the same name who played ATP for many years and did well as a doubles specialist. Six of 8 round 3 matches went down in straight sets as only MARTIN and RODRIGUEZ had to go to 3 set wins.
In Boys second round play the top seed Shintaro MOCHIZUKI of Japan continues to win easily but no. 2 seed Pierre MALAN of South Africa went down to unseeded Martin DAMM of USA in night play. DAMM is a strong player with a heavy serve who might make it deep in the draw as 10 of 16 seeded players remain with only seeds 3, 10, 12, and 15 in the bottom half. But there are many talented players who could hoist the winner´s trophy at the end, with the top half of the draw featuring very good players, 6 of the 8 seeded.

The Girls Draw continues to be a free for all as more seeded players exit the singles tournament. Only 5 seeded players of 16 remain (nos. 2, 6, 12, 14, and 15) so on paper no. 2 seed Gabriella PRICE of USA looks to be in the driver´s seat, but matches are not played on paper and several talented Girls could make it deep into the draw and to the final. Several unseeded players have their eye on rounds 4 and 5, including Melodie COLLARD of Canada who eliminated the no. 1 seed in the first round and looks strong with her varied all court play.
Girls first round play took place during Monday afternoon. While the Boys Draw in morning play went largely by the book with all seeds advancing (except no. 7), the Girls Draw had some wild results with no less than 6 upsets. No. 1 seed and world no. 15 Alexa NOEL of USA went down to Canadian Melodie COLLARD, ranked 441 in a hard fought duel with the Canadian advancing to net often and disrupting the top seed´s composure. COLLARD took the match 7-5, 6-7, 6-2.

Other major upsets were Michelle TIKHONKO (USA, ranked 721) eliminating the tough no. 8 seed Rut GALINDO of Guatemala ranked 101 by the score of 6-4, 7-5 as the American distracted the Guatemalan with many moonshots and slow balls, and Rosie GARCIA GROSS of USA ranked 708 taking down Slovakia´s no. 11 seed Michaela KADLECKOVA ranked 122 by 6-3, 6-4.

The upset bug also affected other matches, as Natasha SENGPHRACHANH also of Canada (no. 689) bested USA´s Katrina SCOTT ranked 348, Elizabeth COLEMAN of USA ranked 223 took down no. 10 seed Antonia SAMUDIO of Colombia, and Elena KARNER of Austria ranked 382 eliminated no. 16  Nikki REDELIJK of USA ranked 166.

In first round Girls play, seeds 1, 5 (no show), 8, 10, 11, and 16 have now been eliminated, opening up the draw for many players. This Draw will be very interesting to watch.
Monday morning first round action featured Boys play as the Girls matches were scheduled for the afternoon. This order of play alternates every year.

As of this writing 27 of 32 Boys matches have finished, with 2 scheduled for night play. As usual, matches have gone by the book with 13 of 14 seeded players advancing to the second round and with better ranked players dispatching those of lesser rank. No. 1 seed Shintaro MOCHIZUKI of Japan plays tonight under the lights and another seeded player was a no show for the tournament. The upsets of the day were Austrian Marko ANDREJIC eliminating no. 7 seed William GRANT of USA in 3 sets 6-3, 4-6, 6-3,  and Wild Card Cezar RATA of USA ranked639 defeating Canadian Marko STAKUSIC ranked 350.

It has been a solid first round and the strength of the field can be measured by highly ranked players being eliminated in the first round.
Play has officially commenced for the running of the 55th Copa del Café. The weather is perfect and matches are currently underway. Both Boys and Girls draws are full at 64 players each. The Draws include Direct Acceptances, Wild Cards, Lucky Losers, and 8 players in each draw who have won their places from the Qualy.

The programming thereby includes 32 Boys and 32 Girls singles matches each, 64 matches altogether. Using 8 courts, this means an average turnover of 8 matches per court, a heavy concentration of tennis on the hard courts of the Costa Rica Country Club. This is what the tournament is all about.

2019 Tournament Commentary

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