Sweeting Succumbs to Heat and Qualifier ~~~
©Colette Lewis 2005
The unseasonable heat and humidity helped dash U.S. Jr. Open champion Ryan Sweeting's longshot hope for the year-end number one ranking, but a match-tough opponent can take the bulk of the credit for the upset.
Qualifier Paris Gemouchidis of Greece defeated the future Florida Gator and third seed 4-6, 7-5, 3-1 ret., and although Sweeting left the court under his own power, he was later wheeled via gurney from the trainer's area to an emergency vehicle for a trip to a facility that could monitor his severe cramping.
Shortly after that drama unfolded, the rains came, disrupting play and forcing girls 16s and all doubles to be postponed until Wednesday. The timing could not have been worse for second seed Marin Cilic of Croatia who led 6-1 in the second set tiebreak in his match with Russian Pavel Chekhov, but had to wait two and a half hours to play the two points that would put him in the second round. Cilic demonstrated that mysterious ability to force and error or hit a winner at every crucial point, a talent he was called on to use regularly against a solid player like Chekhov. Cilic won the match by a 6-4, 7-6 (2) score.
Obscured by all the speculation about who will be number one is defending champion Timothy Neilly of the United States. Neilly, the fifth seed, is now on a seven match winning streak at the Orange Bowl with his 6-4, 6-4 victory over Christopher Racz, also of the U.S. Neilly will face qualifier Attila Bucko in the second round. Bucko, of the U.S. via Serbia, came from behind to take out fifteen-year-old Mateusz Kecki of California, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.
Other U.S. players in boys 18s action on Tuesday were Dennis Lajola, who won his first round match in straight sets over Rasid Winklaar of the Netherland Antilles; Marcus Fugate who dropped his opening match to 10th seed Luka Belic of Croatia and Jean Yves Aubone who fell in three tough sets to Daniel Lopez of Mexico.
The rain has forced officials to add an additional site on Wednesday, the Sonesta Beach Resort, where most of the 16s singles will be played.
For further information on draws and results, see usta.com