Thursday, August 7, 2008

Harrison and Krajicek's Saturday Semifinal Their First Meeting Since 2005

©Colette Lewis 2008--
Kalamazoo MI--

I've seen a lot of tennis matches in the past five years, but a few of them stand out. When Austin Krajicek was asked if he and top seed Ryan Harrison had played, he responded, "not in a really long time. I think maybe the last time was 12s or 14s Easter Bowl." And I immediately flashed back to the 2005 Easter Bowl, when the two played an incredible match, which I covered in the early days of zootennis. If Saturday's semifinal even approaches that encounter, Kalamazoo is in for a treat.

The fifth-seeded Krajicek earned another shot at Harrison with a rain-interrupted 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 win over No. 12 seed Rhyne Williams, Krajicek's third three-set win in five matches.

When play resumed after a nearly two-hour rain delay, Williams, who led 4-1 when the thunderstorm arrived, closed out the second set. Krajicek jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the third, but Williams got it right back and held for 2-2. It was in the next game that the 18-year-old Krajicek felt he won the match.

"I did a pretty good job of holding my serve at 2-2, that was a big game. That probably could have been the match difference there. He had the momentum back and I grinded out that game, that kind of gave me some momentum going into his game. I played a good return game and I got it."

This time the Texas A&M freshman didn't give it back, although he did have to save a break point at 4-2, which he did, with the help of a difficult overhead and an ace. In the final game, Williams fought off one match point with a service winner, and had a point to force Krajicek to serve it out, but a forehand winner and putaway at the net led to match point number two. It ended anticlimatically, with Williams sending a backhand into the net.

Krajicek was particularly motivated, he said, by his loss in doubles Wednesday night, because it meant he had to win in singles to get an invitation to the now legendary Clambake for semifinalists at Kalamazoo.

"I look forward to that every year," said Krajicek, who attended as a doubles finalist in 2006 and a doubles semifinalist in 2007. "It's an awesome dinner, and I was a little worried yesterday, after we lost in the quarters in doubles. I knew I had to step it up today, and that's why I came out some intense."

Harrison also came out bent on focusing against Klahn, and he sustained his concentration throughout the 6-4, 6-2 win.

"Yesterday I came out a little bit lackadaisical and nervous," the 16-year-old Harrison said of his 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 win over roommate Alex Llompart. "I just tried to do little things to prepare today that I didn't do yesterday to help me get off to a better start. Fortunately, I got an early break, in the first game, and he ended up breaking me back there, but I immediately broke him back. From then on out, when I went up 4-3 serving in the first set, I made a commitment to myself that if he was going to beat me, he was going to have to break my serve whenever I made at least three or four first serves a game, because the only game he broke me in, I missed all six first serves."

Klahn made more errors than he could ill afford against Harrison, who admitted that he was satisfied with his performance.

"I'm excited about this match. Bradley's a great player and I played real well. Then again, I've got my next opponent playing down there right now, and if I come out Saturday not ready to play, either one of those guys can beat me pretty badly. On the other hand, if they're not ready to play, I know I can come out there. The semis of Kalamazoo, I think we'll both be ready to play."

The 16s doubles quarterfinals saw the No. 2 seeded team of Nelson Vick and Clay Thompson fall to sixth seeds Dennis Kudla and Junior Ore 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 in the only three-setter of the afternoon. Kudla and Ore will face No. 9 seed Spencer Simon and Jack Sock, who defeated Clay Court champions Gonzales Austin and Raleigh Smith, the No. 4 seeds, 6-3. 6-2.

Top seeds Evan King and Raymond Sarmiento downed No. 5 seeds Daniel Ho and Joshua Tchan 6-4, 6-2 to set up a meeting with No. 4 seeds Sekou Bangoura Jr. and Nathan Pasha. Bangoura and Pasha defeated No. 16 seeds Shane Vinsant and Dane Webb 6-4, 6-1.

For complete results, including consolation draws, see ustaboys.com.


Anonymous said...

Harrison and Van Overbeek were awfully impressive today. You know who was not impressive was Harry Fowler. Credit to him for not just defaulting out of the back draw (Nevolo, Domijan, and Steve Johnson all appear to have dropped out of the 18s back draw already). I saw the Fowler match this morning and who knows, maybe he was bothered by a blister for the whole match, but it seemed like he just couldn't get anything going whatsoever. Instead of fighting, he got broken to go down 6-3,3-0 to an obviously inferior player (who was admittedly playing out of his mind) and just pointed to his hand and got out of dodge.

Anonymous said...

think harry fowler just got overwhelmed by the moment against newman. and then, understandably, suffered a big letdown in the back draw. this is a very big stage for these kids, especially for the 16s, and it's probably a pretty tough to anticipate without experiencing it. the show courts at kalamazoo offer great preparation for future big stages. kudos to kalamazoo and to the USTA for some great experiences for these kids.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the injury bug has apparently hit the 18's backdraw as I see 6 of the 8 matches this morning were defaulted.

Anonymous said...

18s backdraw is a joke. There's no credibility if you win it since so many people have dropped out.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone really believed Fowler was going to be around for the weekend. He was obviously a very shaky no. 1 seed. I also think the 18's no. 1 seed has reached the end of the line. Krajicek was pretty impressive in his match with Williams and Harrison seems to be very up and down.

Anonymous said...

Mary, you are right. However, I give big props to the kids who win it because they have heart. No one "wants" to be in the backdraw. The ones that do choose to compete in it after a big letdown in the Round of 16 or Quarterfinals are gamers. Last year Schnugg & Damico both planned on winning the tournament, but lost in the quarters. Both showed up for the backdraw, something I really respected. Even Damico who was clearly hurting after bad cramping that cause him to lose his maindraw match. Those are guys you want on your college team, and Im sure Center and Diaz are happy they do have them.

Anonymous said...

Evan King has quietly made the semis in singles and doubles without dropping a set the entire tournament.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I know Harry Fowler and he didn't get to be top 100 ITF by not winning some great matches. All of us know he really play and get concerned when we have to play him. In January he was one of 2 US kids out of ten who got to the quarters of a grade A in Mexico but he was also a qualifier. I know he was overwhelmed by the expectations of the numnber one seed and froze in the limelight. He said as much. He decided to play the backdraw out of "respect" for the tournament, but just could not shake the disappointment in himself. I really respect him for not hopping on the next plane back to Florida, which is what he wanted to do.

Anonymous said...

As anothercluelessdad said...

"this is a very big stage for these kids, especially for the 16s, and it's probably a pretty tough to anticipate without experiencing it. the show courts at kalamazoo offer great preparation for future big stages. kudos to kalamazoo and to the USTA for some great experiences for these kids."

Oh how true this is!! Having just returned from my 16 year old son's first trip to the Zoo, he was just happy to be there but for his second round he was assigned to play on a show court, Court 2, the end court surrounded by the bleachers!! His nerves were a bit rocked by the fact that he made it past the first round but putting him on the show court was the end of him...he looked like a deer in headlights couldn't hit a ball or get any rhythm what so ever...way to overwhelming for a kid never put in this situation before. Needless to say, he lost but the experience of being on Court 2, with hundreds of people watching, will an experience he will never forget. While the outcome was not favorable, the memory of playing on a show court at the Zoo will impact him more than any match he will ever play.

Thanks to all who made our first trip to the Zoo a wonderful experience.....

Anonymous said...

Im not going to mention any names here but it's several day's after Harry Lost his match and this post is supposed to be about harrison and krajicek.. and were still talking about harry fowler??
are you that jealous of him that you have to continually remind everyone of the tournament that he had? Nobody's perfect... crap happens... you deal with it and move on.

Anonymous said...

It looks to me like brent stalks Harry Fowler. Every post that he reply's to even if its not about harry, he somehow brings the kid up. wow.

Anonymous said...

I want to know who Brent is ? Tennis dad , coach ?
he seems to know everything . Was he at the zoo ?