Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Four More U.S. Boys Advance to Round of 16

Four More U.S. Boys Advance to Round of 16 at Open; Smyczek and Damico upend top seeded doubles team.

©Colette Lewis 2005--
Flushing Meadow, NY

First, I'd like to welcome all the readers of Peter Bodo's TennisWorld.

Peter's sitting next to me in the media center at the National Tennis Center and busy with the big boys and girls, although his post Tuesday is about Andy Murray vs. Richard Gasquet (still teenagers, and Andy could have defended his Jr. title here had he so desired.) But with the "Senior" events (as they so quaintly refer to the tours in Great Britain) winding down, Peter had a moment to join me at the Querrey vs. Belic match, and Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated was also at Querrey and Young's wins today.

Querrey's victory was routine, if you can call a match with a player nearly knocking himself out by walking into the umpires footrest at the changeover by that description.

Croatian Luka Belic was the unfortunate victim when the players were taking their court positions after the warmup, and unsurprisingly he lost the first three games. At the 3-0 changeover, a trainer was called to attend to the golf ball-sized lump that formed on Belic's forehead. A fifteen minute delay, which featured not just trainers, but suit-and-tie clothed doctors, finally ended with Belic returning to the court. The patiently waiting Querrey was fine with that.

"I didn't want to come all this way and get a retirement," Querrey said. "The delay didn't really bother me. The first game back I missed four easy shots, but after that I was fine."

Querrey's big serve (sadly no radar guns on outside courts, so I can't quantify) gave Belic fits, and the 13th seeded Southern Californian never faced a break point in his 6-3, 6-3 win.

For the second straight day, top seed Donald Young dropped the first set to a dangerous opponent, but again survived. Unseeded Venezuelan David Navarrete came in to the match with considerable confidence as the six-foot four-inch lefthander had beaten Young in their only prior meeting, at the 2004 Eddie Herr Championship's semifinal round.

"I started with a lot of confidence and I think he respected me from the last match we played," said Navarrete. "But I got tired after the second set, and he started playing much better. I know he's a great player."

Young, who gave away at least six inches and 50 pounds to his opponent, used his usual array of defense and guile winning the match going away--4-6,6-2,6-0.

Unseeded Holden Seguso is making his first Grand Slam appearance a memorable one, with his second round 7-6 (5), 6-1 win over Lukas Lacko of Slovakia.

“This is my favorite tournament, “ said the slender righthander, who beat the eighth seed in the first round. “I’m competing well and playing well right now.”

Seguso got some tips from his junior friends on how to best counteract his opponent’s impressive game.

“I asked around the locker room, and the guys said if you work the point, he’ll start slapping it around, and that’s what happened.”

“It was also important that I get ahead, and I did.”

U.S. players joining Alex Kuznetsov and Tim Smyczek, (who played on Tuesday) in the round of 16 Wednesday were Querry, Seguso and Matt Bruch. Bruch, of Lake Forest Illinois, battled back to defeat lucky loser Rupesh Roy of India 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, his second straight three set match.

"In the first set I was missing my backhand," said the eighteen-year-old Stanford freshman-to-be. "I had never played him, and he was really quick, so once I started going behind him, I won a lot of points that way."

Michael Shabaz of the U.S. was serving for the match at 5-3 in the third set against Kenyan Christian Vitulli, but dropped the final four games of the match in the 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 contest. Please visit juniortennis.com for Annie Paton's daily wrapup story, featuring quotes from Vitulli.

On the girls side, tenth seed Vania King was the only U.S. player to advance. She beat compatriot Madison Brengle 6-1, 6-0, and has now lost a grand total of one game in her first two matches. National girls champion Mary Gambale lost a heartbreaker today to Sharon Fichman of Canada 0-6,7-5,6-4.

King joins Alexa Glatch and Liz Plotkin, who won second round matches on Tuesday, in the round of 16.

Smyczek and partner Kellen Damico took out the top seeded team of South Americans Leonardo Mayer and Andre Miele in straight sets.

"I wouldn't say they played great," said John Roddick, Damico's coach. "They weren't hitting winners all over the place. But they volleyed great and got a lot of balls back, which can win you a lot of matches on the junior level."

For complete draws, including doubles action, see usopen.org

For more photos see ustaboys.com