©Colette Lewis 2008--
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.
Thursday, August 7, 2008