©Colette Lewis 2009--
It was another damp and gloomy day in Tulsa, but from the indoor courts of the Michael D. Case Tennis Center Cale Hammond's hometown looked pretty good. Much to the delight of a couple dozen friends and family members, Hammond saved a match point against No. 2 seed Julen Uriguen of Guatemala and went on to a dramatic 6-1, 1-6, 7-5 victory.
The boys draw was played entirely indoors on five courts, so by the time Hammond and Uriguen took the court nearly eight hours worth of tennis had already been played. Hammond opened the match serving well, and aggressively finished points, but he admitted that he made a mental error in the second set.
"I was on a roll, I did everything right," said Hammond, who trains at the Junior Champions Tennis Center in College Park, Md. "After I won that set, he took his time and regrouped, and then played a lot more solid. I think I got a little more confident than I should have been because I'm not as good as he is off the ground, but winning that set made me think I was. I changed my game style from the first set to the second set. I didn't come in as much in the second set, and I stayed back and tried to hit forehands with him. He has the best forehand in the world in juniors, so that was a bad idea."
In the third set, Hammond was down a break, and when serving at 3-5, was down a match point at 30-40, but again his serve got him out of trouble.
"I hit a big serve and an overhead to win that point," Hammond said. "I kept serving and volleying and it kept working, and I kept pressuring his backhand."
Serving for the match at 5-4, Uriguen threw in two double faults, and also double faulted when serving to force a tiebreaker.
"It looked like he sort of checked out," Hammond said. "It didn't look like he was trying that hard on those (second) serves, and that helped me a lot, gave me free points. I had to work really hard for almost every point, finish it at the net, hit a million backhands to his backhand slice."
With that final break, Hammond's cheering section applauded loudly, while Uriguen took his frustration out on not one but two racquets, smashing them on the courts near his bag and chair.
Hammond, who agreed that playing indoors was an advantage for him, was not really looking ahead to the next round, where he'll play Nick Chappell.
"I wish I could just stop the tournament right now," Hammond said, wishing for more time to savor his win over the world's 19th-ranked junior.
Aside from Uriguen, four other seeds fell in the first round. Emmett Egger beat No. 8 seed Alexis Carlos of Mexico, Alexander Petrone defeated No. 16 seed Gabriel Flores Ruiz, Dan McCall downed No. 12 seed Brandon Burke and Zach Leslie defeated No. 15 seed Rodney Carey.
In a match featuring the last two 16s National Champions, Clay Court winner Bjorn Fratangelo defeated Kalamazoo winner Gonzales Austin 6-2, 6-4 (the TennisLink site is currently showing the wrong winner).
The girls first round saw some matches completed outdoors, but as of 9 p.m., there were several matches, including those featuring top seed Beatrice Capra and No. 2 seed Madison Keys, that had not yet begun indoors.
The biggest surprise of the girls matches that were completed was No. 3 seed Nicole Gibbs's loss to wild card Kaitlyn Ray 6-2, 6-4. No. 15 seed Khristina Blajkevitch of Canada was beaten by Rachel Kahan 6-2, 6-2.
More rain is in the forecast for Tuesday, with indoor tennis again likely for the second round of singles.
For results, see the TennisLink site.
Monday, October 12, 2009