July 8, 2009
CLEMSON, SC – Former Clemson Men’s Tennis Coach Chuck Kriese is a coach in the country of Thailand. He works with the youth in Southeast Asia and develops tennis talent in that part of the world. This past week his hard worked paid off as one of his pupils Noppawan Lertcheewakarn won the Juniors Girls’ singles and doubles titles at Wimbledon.
Chuck Kriese retired in 2008 after 33 years as the Head Coach of the Clemson program. He finished his Clemson career with a 685-419 career record in 33 years at Clemson. That career figure made him the fifth winningest active Division I Coach in the United States just prior to his retirement. He is also the all-time winningest coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference for total wins (685) and league victories (166).
Under Kriese in the NCAA Tournament, Clemson reached the Final Sixteen 12 times, and the Final Eight seven times, including 2004. Clemson had seven straight top 10 finishes from 1980-86, and a total of 16 top 25 seasons. Under Head Coach Chuck Kriese, the Tigers have been to more NCAA team tournaments than any other ACC school.
Kriese led the Tigers to 10 ACC championships and three runner-up finishes during his career. Clemson won every ACC Title in the 1980s except 1982 or nine of the 10 contested in that decade. In the history of the ACC tournament, Clemson has won 11 ACC championships. The 1969 championship is the only Tiger title recorded without Chuck Kriese at the helm.
Written by Michael Burke-Velji Noppawan Lertcheewakarn of Thailand has been crowned the 2009 Junior Girls’ Champion after defeating top seed Kristina Mladenovic of France in three sets 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.
The girls have a contrasting style of play and the final was filled with dramatic twists and turns. Mladenovic possesses the big serve game and likes to dominate her matches from the back of the court with her high velocity forehand. Lertcheewakarn, the fourth seed and the runner-up to Britain’s Laura Robson at last year’s Wimbledon girls’ final, has been shaped in the mould of Monica Seles and Marion Bartoli. She uses double-handed ground strokes on both sides and has the ability to return serve effectively and draw her opponents into long energy-sapping rallies.
Mladenovic, with her exciting power game, seized the opening set after 40 minutes. Starting the match with a 122mph serve and then taking a 2-0 lead was a dream start for the French Open champion. Her go-for-broke game plan bulldozed her Thai opponent into submission with five aces, 15 winners and two break points.
Lertcheewakarn’s strategy in the first set had been the right one, but the execution was not good enough. She hit only three winners and was serving first serves at around 85mph (30mph slower than Mladenovic).
But the best returner in the girls’ singles found another gear to her game as she hit her shots harder and closer to the lines. Like the first set, there was a early break for each girl but the Thai girl looked to be steadily improving in a match that had so far been dominated by Mladenovic.
Lertcheewakarn put more power into her serves and, after the second game of the set, was not broken by the French girl again as she put 75% of her first serves into play. Mladenovic could only put 44% of her powerful first serves into play as she tired from the long rallies her opponent was forcing her into.
After levelling the match, Lertcheewakarn maintained her high level of tennis and Mladenovic started to look beaten. Her backhand began to falter even more and her once reliable forehand started to crumble.
Once her power had been drained, Mladenovic was incapable of coming back from a 4-0 deficit in the final set. She took more time in between points, her first serve slowed down dramatically and she had to call the trainer to inspect her knee.
The match was over after an hour and 43 minutes. Lertcheewakarn ran to the net with a huge smile on her face after becoming the first Thai to win the Junior Wimbledon title and received the trophy from the 1969 ladies’ champion Ann Jones.
“I spoke to my parents and they are very happy. I can’t wait to get back to Thailand. But first I want to do some shopping here, and go to Wimbledon Village. Mladenovic is a very good player and is qualifying for senior events like me so its great to have won today. Last year I was just excited to be in the final, I never expected to get there. This year I just wanted to win as it is my last year in the juniors.”
Written by Tom Hyde Noppawan Lertcheewakarn proved that whatever Serena can do, she can do too after adding the girls’ doubles title to the singles title she collected yesterday to complete a memorable Championships.
The Thai girl and Australian partner Sally Peers raced to a comfortable 6-1, 6-1 victory over Silvia Njiric and Kristina Mladenovic, who tasted a final defeat to Lertcheewakarn for the second time in two days, in just 47 minutes.
Lertcheewakarn, still riding the crest of her victory wave, started very much as she left off on No.1 Court with a series of early winners and her prolific form proved to be infectious as Peers chipped in with some impressive shots of her own.
Their helpless opponents seemingly had no answer to the relentless onslaught and forfeited break after break despite coming armed with Mladenovic’s fierce serve that has been so vital to her progression in both competitions this year at SW19.
Unsurprisingly, the eventual winners came out on top on all vital match statistics, recording just nine unforced errors between them compared with their opponents’ 18.
The second victory in as many days for Lertcheewakarn marks a reversal of fortune in comparison with last year when the 17-year-old suffered defeat in the final of the singles competition to Great Britain’s Laura Robson.
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