©Colette Lewis 2008--
Chase Buchanan and Ryan Harrison were seeded eighth for this year's National 18s, despite holding the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in singles, but it didn't stop them from claiming the title Saturday evening with a hard-fought 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 victory over No. 2 seeds Steve Johnson and Bradley Klahn.
"We had a coach who we kept talking to about our seeding," said Buchanan, who went out in the quarterfinals in singles to Ryan Thacher on Friday. "Mike Sell (USTA High Performance Coach) is a good friend of ours, has traveled with us some, and at the beginning of the tournament he told us he was on the doubles committee, so we've been jabbering at him the whole tournament," Harrison said, when asked if they used the seeding as motivation.
Having survived the No. 5 seeded team of Ryan Thacher and Rhyne Williams 7-5 in the third on Friday, Buchanan and Harrison, who have never played together before, knew they had to be equally as sharp against long-time partners Johnson and Klahn.
They broke Klahn in the only break of the first set, but struggled to open the second set, as Klahn and Johnson picked up the pace and took a 4-0 lead. After Johnson held to claim the second set, the final set stayed on serve until 3-3, when Harrison was broken. But Buchanan and Harrison broke Klahn in the next game and again in the final game to claim the 18s doubles title and the U.S. Open main draw wild card that accompanies it.
"We had two tough matches, where we were down a break in the final set," said Harrison. "We could just as easiy been playing for third and fourth today."
As for the Open, both are scheduled to compete in the U.S. Open Junior tournament, but the main draw and the chance to perform on a stage even bigger than that in Kalamazoo has them hoping for what any tour veteran would consider a bad draw.
"Bob and Mike Bryan," Buchanan said when asked who they would like to play in the first round. "It would just be so exciting to play them on a big court."
"It would probably be on stadium court," said Harrison. "We're the young Americans, they're the old veterans that have dominated forever. We'll see how the draw comes out, but we'll be waiting with anticipation."
In the 16s doubles, it was the No. 1 seeds who prevailed, with Evan King and Raymond Sarmiento also winning their second consecutive tough three-setter to claim the National title 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 over No. 6 seeds Denis Kudla and Junior Ore.
After Sarmiento was broken to give Kudla and Ore the second set, the ten-minute rest break did Kudla and Ore no favors. Kudla was broken to open the third set, but King gave it back three games later and before they knew it, King and Sarmiento trailed 4-2. King, who had crashed into the baseline line judge while chasing down a lob, breaking the plastic chair and gashing his leg, needed a bandage to stop the bleeding and a trainer was called to court at 2-4. But King and Sarmiento got right back on serve in an very entertaining seventh game when King managed a tweener volley to extend a point and rolled on from there, taking the final four games of the match.
"We've known each other for a very long time," said King. "We don't have to say to each other, we're going to poach or not poach. Like in the last game, a great example of that was I poached a ball, and I didn't put it away, but Raymond had my back. We didn't plan it or anything."
King and Sarmiento hope to play in the U.S. Open Juniors main draw, but they are also excited to have their names on the board of champions that is a focal point of the tournament.
"This is a prestigious tournament and the crowd here is very supporting," said Sarmiento who mentioned Andre Agassi as one of the 16s doubles champions catching his eye on the lengthy list. "There's a lot of history behind it."
In the third place doubles matches played Saturday afternoon, Thacher and Williams took the bronze ball in 18s with a 6-4, 6-4 decision over No. 12 seeds Daniel Nguyen and JT Sundling. No. 4 seeds Sekou Bangoura Jr. and Nathan Pasha took third in the 16s with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over No. 9 seeds Spencer Simon and Jack Sock.
Saturday, August 9, 2008