©Colette Lewis 2009--
Seeded singles players took the courts for the first time on a hot and humid Sunday at the USTA boys 18s and 16s championships, and the top eight seeds in the 18s division all advanced to the third round.
Cal Hilsman of Spartanburg, SC hit a first serve return winner on the initial point of his match with top seed Alex Domijan, but that was the highlight for him, as Domijan, a 17-year-old from Florida, cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 win. Ohio's Chase Buchanan, seeded second, also faced little resistance, earning a win over Andrew Butz of Vero Beach, Fla. by the same score. Third seed Denis Kudla got a late break in the first set against Ken Mkrtchian and took a 6-4, 6-2 decision. Tennys Sandgren, the fourth seed, was lone Top Eight seed to be taken to three sets, and he was down a set and a break to Michael Moore of Glenview, Ill. before recovering for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory.
Moore, who will be attending Notre Dame this fall, was pressuring Sandgren with his pace and depth on Stowe Stadium's court 2. Sandgren didn't serve well in the first set and a half, but he did manage to raise his level as the match wore on. Moore broke Sandgren to take a 3-2 lead in the second set, but Sandgren, the 2007 Kalamazoo 16s champion, got the break right back, then another in Moore's next service game. After the 10-minute break mandated by the heat and humidity, Sandgren and Moore each held their first three service games, but as he had in the second set, Sandgren got two late breaks and survived.
When Sandgren won the title in 2007 as the No. 1 seed, he had several very close, tough matches, and he remembered his third round match against Thomas Pham, where he was also down a set before getting the win.
"It was kind of similar," Sandgren said. "My opponent was pretty good, and they played great, and I just kind of fought through it and got the W. It was a lot like two years ago."
Sandgren went through at least four shirts, maybe more, but he was prepared for the heat and humidity after a week of hitting with Andy Roddick in Austin, Texas, where the temperatures have regularly been over 100 degrees.
"It was so hot there," Sandgren said. "This wasn't that bad, but it was hot, and my grip was getting very wet, my shirts soaked really quickly."
Several players did not survive the heat, including No. 15 seed Matt Kandath who cramped and retired from his match with Alex Yermanos trailing 3-0 in the third set, although he was able to recover in time for his doubles match later in the day.
No. 9 seed Harry Fowler's injury did not seem to be heat-related, but after losing the first set to Billy Bertha in a tiebreaker, Fowler retired at 4-0 in the second set, and he withdrew from his doubles match. No. 12 seed Bo Seal lost to Shaun Bernstein 6-7(6), 7-6(2), 6-1 at the Western Michigan courts, the third of the top 16 seeds to exit Sunday. With that upset, Bernstein avenged his 6-0, 6-3 loss last weekend to Seal in the National Team championships.
Other seeds losing were No. 18 Dennis Novikov, who lost to Mousheg Hovhannisyan 7-5, 6-2, No. 20 seed Zachary Leslie, who was beaten by Frank Carleton 6-2, 6-2, and No. 32 seed Daniel Nguyen, who lost to Nelson Vick 1-6, 6-2, 6-2. No. 24 seed Christopher Mengel never took the court in singles, with an alternate replacing him due to an ankle injury, but he did manage to play, and win, his doubles match later in the day, although he was obviously in considerable pain.
In the third round of 18 doubles, No. 6 seeds Sandgren and partner Spencer Wolf fell 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in a match that was, like seven or eight others, completed indoors, due to late afternoon thunderstorms. Other seeded teams failing to advance were No. 10 seeds Chris Cha and Lawrence Formentera and Fowler and Fred Saba, the ninth seeds, who lost in a walkover due to Fowler's injury.
The boys 16 singles seeds will play on Monday, while main draw 18 singles and doubles will have the day off. The forecast is currently calling for a 50% chance of rain.
For complete draws, visit ustaboys.com.
Sunday, August 9, 2009