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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Top 16 Seeds in 16s Singles Reach Third Round at Nationals

©Colette Lewis 2008--
Kalamazoo MI--

Just as it was for the 18s on Saturday, the weather was perfect for the 16s second round on Sunday and the performances nearly as good for the seeded players, with all 16 of the top seeds getting through. Number three seed Jack Sock survived a three-hour shoot-out with Jeremy Efferding, escaping with a 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-5 win, while No. 4 seed Sekou Bangoura Jr. and No. 8 seed Junior Ore also needed three sets to advance to the third round.

Sock and Efferding provided the Sunday morning spectators with compelling drama and contrasting game styles on Court One at Stowe Stadium. Efferding looks to come to the net at every opportunity, with Sock more comfortable assessing openings for his forehand from the baseline.

"In warmups and practice I worked on getting my returns low, getting them in, making him play," said Sock, who turns 16 next month. "I knew he'd serve and volley and step forward, so I worked on getting them low if I could."

Sock jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second set, but it was Efferding that dominated the remainder of the games. Sock credited Efferding for playing well, but admitted that he played more defensively. "He started attacking me more, which I didn't want him to do--I wanted to be the aggressor--but it didn't work out most of the time."

In the third, Sock got the set's first break to go up 4-2, but the Lincoln, Neb. native was unable to protect it, and was broken serving for the match at 5-4, failing to get to a match point. Efferding and Sock both held in close games to make it 6-5, with Efferding serving to get to a tiebreaker. Although the big right-hander from Lake Worth, Fla. had held up remarkably well under the pressure of his first center court match in Kalamazoo, two untimely double faults, one at deuce and one with the advantage after saving a match point with an overhead, proved costly. Sock constructed a solid point to earn his second match point, pulling Efferding from side to side and ultimately placing the ball out of his reach, and with opportunity number two, Sock made no mistake on his putaway at the net.

Bangoura was a bit too anxious early in his encounter with Dennis Mkrtchian of Reseda, Calif., and was very quickly down 6-3, but his rhythm and his patience returned, and the final two sets were far more impressive, as the 6-1, 6-1 scores indicate.

Ore was unable to close out his advantage over Bjorn Fratangelo in the second set of his 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 win, dropping his last service game to extend the match, despite having taken a 3-1 lead early on. After the ten-minute break between sets, Fratangelo, of Pittsburgh, Pa., didn't let up, but Ore didn't make the same mistake in the third set as in the second, and he served out the match when he had the chance.

The four seeds that lost in the 16s were Gonzales Austin (27), Dennis Novikov (29), Augie Bloom (30) and Wyatt McCoy (31).

In the 18s doubles third round, ninth seeds Brennan Boyajian and Zach Hunter were defeated by Breon Badger and Jadon Phillips. The No. 16 seeded team of Max Stevens and Spencer Wolf were taken out by Jordan Bridge and Spencer Smith.

For complete results, see ustaboys.com.

For additional coverage of the Kalamazoo Nationals, visit collegeandjuniortennis.com.


Anonymous said...

anti-basher: No need to worry. The kids do not take the comments here seriousy and think they are amusing in general. Kids who devote themselves to this incredible sport are tough and understand that there are ups and downs as they navigate to the top. Emmett and the other 93s are here to gain experience and test their strength against the older and more experienced 16 year-olds. Next year, and particularly in the 18s, you will see others dominating the field that were too young to make an impact this year. The players know who is good, and who is going to get better, and that is all that really counts in the end.

Anonymous said...

Floridafan, sounds like you have somewhat of a insider's perspective. In your opinion, who do you think the players least want to play? Who do they think is most likely to develop into a successful pro? The list for the two questions may not be the same. Thanks for the insight and the comments.

Anonymous said...

to brent

Some of the top US juniors will make a run at professional tennis but who pops through to the top 25, or even 50, no way to predict. Donald Young, the most hyped junior ever, can’t crack the top 75. Sam Querry, an overlooked but talented junior, popped though quickly. That sums it up. As for Egger, never seen him play but all juniors take leaps and go through slumps. That said, how you play at 12 or 14 for boys is no guarantee where you will be at 16and what you do at 16/17 is no guarantee you will pop through to the pros.

To floridafan, don’t agree hard court national championships are the best place to test your game against older/stronger players unless you can really compete. Winning is a habit, as for development they would get more if they play their age group and win a national championship. That said Egger and those 93s are too old for 14s. This group is playing their age group and so far not much of a factor.

Anonymous said...

Floridatennis: I agree with your comments. There is no accurate predictor among the talented players of who will make it to the pros at 18. However, if you watch the kids who are in their last year in the 16s (i.e. the 92s), you will often get a view of who might break through, especially if they do well in their first year in the 18s (next year at the zoo). Not talking about kids who play up, as that is not a predictor at all anymore. The game has changed considerably and 17 seems to be the age when the boys start to make their move, if they are going to make one.

Anonymous said...

How tall is Bangoura?

Anonymous said...

to floridafan

Dont agree with you. Tennis is very much an international sport as evidenced by the lack of US players in the top 100 ATP and WTA. I don't think the zoo is much of a predictor at all, it's how our kids stack up internationally against the world's best juniors. The team the USTA sent to Wimbledon and the French had less than steller results.

Anonymous said...

to floridatennis: Your point is a good one. At times I think the reason our kids are lagging behind when they get older is that too much emphasis is placed on winning titles from 12-15, rather than developing a fast and hard-hitting all court game (with the transition game as the most important factor), although that same game does take a while longer to develop and is not really perfected, so to speak, until the late teens. Perhaps if we did away with the point system and went back to head-to-head, kids would spend more time on the practice court and less time traveling to make up points. I don't really have a solution, but do know something needs to be done to encourage development into the pro ranks.

Anonymous said...

The point system allows wealthy families to buy their ranking, traveling to the least competitive draws to stockpile points. There's no stealing rankings in the head to head system. In general, you supplant who you beat. Then again, the point system encourages more play is underlying the reason why the USTA wants it. It's all about the benjamins.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering if anyone knows about Denis Kudla? How does he match up to the rest of the top seeds?

Colette Lewis said...

I asked Bangoura. He said: 5'11" maybe?