©Colette Lewis 2006--
Key Biscayne, FL--
The reigning Kalamazoo 16s champion Brennan Boyajian defeated the 2005 Kalamazoo 16s winner Nate Schnugg 6-3, 7-6 (3) in first round action at the Orange Bowl at Crandon Park Tuesday.
Schnugg was seeded No. 8 in the tournament, Boyajian needed a wild card to get into qualifying, winning three matches over two days, all in three sets, to reach the main draw. But after a day of rest on Monday, Boyajian was ready.
"My strategy was to hit to his backhand," said Boyajian, who lives in nearby Weston, Florida. "I tried to keep him away from the net, because he can hit some amazing volleys. After all, he won the last two Grand Slam junior doubles titles."
As he did in winning the Easter Bowl, the Clay Courts and Kalamazoo this year, Boyajian used his anticipation, speed, variety and placement to keep Schnugg off balance, and when Schnugg did come to the net, Boyajian often greeted him with a deftly placed ball at his feet.
"I tried to keep it low," said Boyajian, 17. "And sometimes to go over him. But I tried never to go at him, his hands are too quick for that."
It didn't go exactly as he had planned at the beginning. Boyajian was broken first in the match, in the fifth game of the first set. He got the break back immediately however, and his serve, not the strongest part of his game, went unbroken the rest of the match.
The second set tiebreak was far from a classic, and when Schnugg lost both his serves at 3-4, he was doomed, although Boyajian admitted he wasn't comfortable either.
"We were both tight, I think, and the suspense built and the wind kicked up," said Boyajian. "I'm just glad to have won it."
Schnugg was disappointed, saying that he had come into the tournament playing well, having won matches in Futures events recently. But in a little over three weeks he'll be starting classes at the University of Georgia and preparing for the Bulldogs' dual match season, and anticipating that, he said he wouldn't dwell on the loss.
Boyajian wasn't the only qualifier from the U.S. to win on Tuesday. Jordan Rux also advanced to the second round with a 6-2, 6-4 win over wild card Ryan Lipman. Other U.S. boys winning on Tuesday were Adam El Mihdawy, Drew Daniel, Mateusz Kecki and Rhyne Williams. No. 3 seed Kellen Damico, who is recovering from mononucleosis, retired in his match with Peter Polansky down 6-2, 2-0. Dennis Lajola, seeded 13th, was also eliminated on Tuesday, dropping a 6-4, 6-2 decision to Fernando Romboli of Brazil.
The U.S. girls had a very successful day with Madison Brengle, Gail Brodsky, Julia Cohen, Ashley Weinhold, Melanie Oudin, Chelsea Preeg, Kristy Frilling and Kim Couts advancing to the second round.
For complete draws, see usta.com. A late afternoon shower may have complicated the scheduling.
Tuesday, December 5, 2006