©Colette Lewis 2007--
Delray Beach FL--
When I arrived at the Delray Beach Swim and Tennis Club early this afternoon, I had already missed unseeded Spencer Smith's upset of the 18s top seed Jordan Rux in two tiebreak sets. But No. 2 seed Dennis Nevolo and Joey Burkhardt, a No. 17 seed, were still in the first set, and it was a match that I had wanted to see. Knowing both players' games, I thought there would be an impressive display of shotmaking, but I hadn't accounted for the heat.
Only two of the 16 man draw singles matches on Wednesday ended in retirements, but in every match I saw, the strain of playing in temperatures that reached 105 on the heat index took its toll.
After Nevolo had won the first set 7-5, Burkhardt took a 4-1 lead, and Nevolo decided to let the second set go, barely waving at Burkhardt's serves in the final game. The ten-minute mandatory rest break was an opportunity for both players to get off the dusty courts and into the shade or an air-conditioned car, but neither returned to the court with much energy.
Burkhardt got an early break and Nevolo, who had played consecutive three-hour three-setters on Monday and Tuesday, couldn't summon his best tennis, but Burkhardt was struggling too. Time between points stretched, as towels were sought, balls were gathered, and then, short bursts of activity as a point was decided.
Down 5-1 in the third, Nevolo wasn't conceding anything, and he saved five match points serving at that score, most on winners, as he successfully ended points quickly to save energy. But in the final game, Burkhardt held on, and by winning 6-2 in the third, saved himself the torture of the two-a-days in the back draw.
Both players faced the prospect of doubles matches less than two hours later, and although Burkhardt survived that with a three-set win with partner Zach Nichols, Nevolo did not. Playing with Bradley Klahn as the top seeded team, Nevolo had to retire with illness down 3-0 in the second set, after they had won the first set 6-0. He had requested a trainer, but none was available, so he retired with Klahn serving up 40-15 in the fourth game.
The 16s are playing at another site, so I won't have an opportunity to see them until Friday, when the quarterfinals in both divisions will be played at the Delray Beach Tennis Center. There have been fewer upsets in the 16s; of the top eight seeds, only No. 6 David Holiner and No. 4 Matt Spindler have failed to reach the round of 16. The doubles are nearly the opposite--No. 2 seeds Ryan Noble and Bo Seal are the only top eight seeded team remaining in the quarterfinals.
For complete draws, see the TennisLink website.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007