Sponsored by IMG Academy

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cox and van Overbeek Reach Semifinals at Nationals Thursday

©Colette Lewis 2008--
Kalamazoo MI--

A surprise thunderstorm Thursday afternoon disrupted play in the quarterfinals, but three of the four matches were completed. Two of Saturday's semifinalists in the 16s were decided, with No. 5 seed Bob van Overbeek defeating No. 9 seed Raymond Sarmiento 7-5, 6-2 and No. 7 seed Jordan Cox eliminating No. 11 seed Clay Thompson 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.

In the 18s, top seed Ryan Harrison cruised past No. 7 seed Bradley Klahn 6-4, 6-2.

The first set of the Sarmiento - van Overbeek match was extremely close, with no breaks until van Overbeek took advantage of a double fault and a missed forehand to break Sarmiento. The difference in the match was van Overbeek's serve, and an ace at set point in the first punctuated that advantage.

"Definitely my serve was it," said van Overbeek, 16, who trains at the Evert Academy in Boca Raton, Fla. "He was serving really well and I wasn't getting that many opportunities, so I just wanted to hold my serve. I play him in practice and sometimes he'll give you a few easy mistakes. I was just hoping for that on his serve, and if not, go to a tiebreaker and see what happen."

Sarmiento, who trains at the USTA High Performance Academy in Boca Raton, needed to get back into the match early in the second set, but the 16-year-old from Fontana, Calif. was broken in the first and third games to seal his fate. Van Overbeek put an exclamation point on his win by cracking another ace at match point to earn a place in the semifinals against longtime rival Cox.

Cox is one of six 16-year-olds who received USTA wild cards to compete in the younger age group after playing ITFs and 18s most of the year. No. 2 seed Evan King and van Overbeek both had outstanding results at July's 18s Clay Courts, finishing first and third respectively, but had committed to the 16s for Kalamazoo.

"The USTA was definitely pushing all the top-ranked kids to play in the 16s," said van Overbeek. "I wasn't even sure I was going to get into the 16s, because I don't have any 16s ranking. But we all talked about it, even though we wouldn't make a decision based on what another player did. But I think playing up helped (prior to Kalamazoo), because when you come back down to 16s, it's a little slower game. I definitely think we all made the right decision."

In his match against Thompson, Cox followed a pattern he established on Wednesday in his three-set win over No. 15 seed Nelson Vick: a strong first set, a lull in the second and a confident third.

"I had one loose game when I got broken," Cox said of the 1-2 game in the second set. "I played a couple loose points and he started playing a little better on my service games. But I only got broken once, so I wasn't unhappy about it."

Cox, from Duluth, Ga., trails 2-3 head-to=head in matches with his friend van Overbeek, and the Floridian has won the last two. They haven't played in 2008.

"I know his game, since we practice against each other," Cox said. "But also since we're pretty good friends, it'll be tough to put that aside. But when you step on the court, it's all business. I'm looking forward to it."

I'll post a story on the 18s quarterfinals when the Krajicek - Williams match, currently at 6-1 Krajicek in the first set and 4-1 Williams in the second set, and the 16s doubles quarterfinals are complete.

NOTE: To enlarge a photo click on it and it will open in a new window.


Anonymous said...

van overbeek holds the 3-2 advantage over cox actually

Colette Lewis said...

Yes, you're right. My mistake. I've corrected it in the story.

Anonymous said...

Looks like college tennis improved Austin Krajicek as he takes down Rhyne WIlliams.

Anonymous said...

hey, will is there an official photographer at the tournament? Please let me know if there is a site

Colette Lewis said...


Anonymous said...

i loved vanoverbeek's 125 mph ace. it literally sounded like a gunshot. colette, do you know how big roddick hit it when he played here as a junior? also, it is unbelievable to have 2,000 people show up to watch mid-afternoon, mid-week matches. this tournament is really impressive, no wonder you got hooked. finally, what is that clambake you referenced?

Colette Lewis said...

I'm fairly certain that the radar gun wasn't here when Roddick played.

The Clambake for semifinalists and their immediate families is a sumptuous spread including lobster and filet mignon that is held on the campus quad at Kalamazoo College Friday night.

It is sponsored by Greenleaf Trust and includes invitations to their clients.

Anonymous said...

That clambake is a nice touch. The Clays at Rockville had a nice brunch spread as nice as the Hyatt if you made the round of 16s, classy.