Theadora Rabman said she had had a "great experience." But next time she finds herself in a situation such as this week’s U.S. Open junior girls tournament, she will focus on slowing things down.
"Because it moves very fast," she said.
That applied broadly to her two-day stay in the event, which featured a dramatic first-round victory on Monday and a 6-1, 6-0 loss to Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva on Tuesday — and to the importance of not rushing the tennis itself.
Kasintseva was a huge step up from what Rabman, a 16-year-old from Port Washington, is accustomed to facing. The Andorran is the No. 1 seed at the Open and the reigning Australian Open junior girls champion.
"I knew I had to be more focused," Rabman said.
Rabman, who had to win two qualifying matches to make the Open field, said she struggled with Kasintseva’s lefthanded serve, which tended to tail past her reach.
"It was very effective, and it spun away from me, and it got in my head a lot," she said.
It was more than just the serve that was difficult in facing the bigger, more experienced opponent.
"I just don’t think my game was 100% there," Rabman said. "Credit her. She wouldn’t let me in a rhythm."
As was the case Monday, when she defeated Laura Hietaranta, 7-5, 6-2, after trailing 1-5 in the first set, Rabman had a large cheering section by junior tournament standards.
There were two or three rows of school friends in the stands at Court 7, and they applauded her every triumph, even when she won one last point when trailing 5-0 in the final game.
"I love my friends; they’re my biggest supporters," she said, adding she wished they had seen her play better in the second round.
Rabman will not play high school tennis this season. She will continue on the junior circuit and be home schooled.
Even though Rabman’s singles tournament ended early in the afternoon, her Open experience took a brighter turn later in the day.
In the first round of the junior girls doubles, she and Ariana Pursoo defeated Marina Stakusic and Ya Yi Yang, 6-4, 6-3.