©Colette Lewis 2010--
Clay Thompson hadn't played much since posting great results in the California ITFs this spring, but the No. 31 seed knew that he had an advantage in his fourth round matchup with No. 4 seed Bjorn Fratangelo.
"I'd been hearing that he was struggling with his back the whole tournament," Thompson said. "And I had a lot of confidence coming in."
Fratangelo retired trailing Thompson 6-0, 3-1, suffering his second loss to Thompson this year. At the International Spring Championships in Carson, where Thompson reached the finals, he beat Fratangelo 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals. Fratangelo went on to win both the Easter Bowl and the Clay Courts, while Thompson competed very little.
"It's just my style," Thompson said when asked about his lack of play the last three months. "I just don't really like playing that much to be honest. I just play tournament here and there. I'm ready for college; I like the team environment better."
Thompson, who will compete for the UCLA Bruins this fall, played outstanding tennis from the first point on a warm and humid day at Stowe Stadium. His serve and his forehand were not missing, and Fratangelo, who usually counts on those two shots himself, seemed a step slow.
"The first couple of games, I thought he was pretty strong and I was playing pretty strong," said Thompson, from Venice Beach, Calif. "And I was just destroying him, luckily, really hitting all my shots well. I think that definitely had to do with the confidence factor that I won last time. I came out feeling great."
Fratangelo had managed to get past two opponents while not 100 percent physically, but Thompson was too much to handle.
"He's such an experienced player, such a tough player, I was really thankful to get away with the match, even the way it turned out, which was kind of sad," Thompson said.
While Thompson hadn't played much coming into the tournament, the opposite was true of No. 25 seed Marcos Giron, who won the backdraw at the Clay Courts last month, winning 11 matches after a second round loss. That conditioning paid dividends for him against No. 5 seed Sekou Bangoura, with Giron outlasting the Florida sophomore in a three hours and 25 minute battle 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-5.
"At Clay Courts I really had to fight hard, playing two matches a day, five days straight," said the 17-year-old from Thousand Oaks, Calif. "I really had to dig deep for that tournament."
Giron had a seemingly comfortable lead at 5-2 in the third set, but it was only one break, and he never reached a match point serving at 5-3. Serving at 5-5, Giron was the beneficiary of two uncharacteristic unforced errors from Bangoura at deuce, a pattern that the usually steady Bangoura continued in the next game, when he went down 0-40. With all the ups and downs of the match, another one was almost expected, but Bangoura hit a forehand long, giving Giron his first win over Bangoura.
"It was hard to stay calm," said Giron, who didn't show any frustration after seeing his lead melt away three hours into the match. "At 5-all, I said I haven't come this far to lose. He's beaten me the two or three times we've played, but each time it's been really close. It's really nice to get the win, finally."
The top three seeds looked sharper on Tuesday than they did during rain-delayed matches Monday, with No. 1 seed Jordan Cox taking out 2009 semifinalist and No. 17 seed Mousheg Hovhannisyan 6-2, 6-2. No. 2 seed Denis Kudla was down a break in the first set to No. 30 seed Greg Andrews of Richland, Mich., but even a big lunchtime crowd couldn't pull the local favorite through. Kudla served better than he had on Monday, and despite some blazing forehands by Andrews, who said he played about as well as he could, Kudla emerged with a 7-6(1), 6-3 victory. No. 3 seed Jack Sock, who was hospitalized overnight for dehydration, beat unseeded Zachary Leslie 7-5, 6-1.
No. 6 seed Evan King, who has not played a junior tournament since entering Michigan last fall, had been cruising through the draw, losing just six games in his first three victories.
"I've been playing pretty well over the last couple of weeks, so I'm going to try to keep it going for this tournament, but there's still a bunch of matches to go," King said. "It doesn't matter what happens in the first three."
There were other top 16 seeds sent to the backdraw today, with Nick Chappell, seeded No. 10, losing to Jackson Withrow, the No. 21 seed, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 and No. 14 seed Campbell Johnson falling to No. 29 seed Nelson Vick 7-6(5), 6-4. The two-set match took over two hours and fifty minutes to complete, with both players receiving visits from the trainer, but Vick managed to serve it out despite his cramping hand.
Since the loss of No. 8 seed Maxx Lipman in the second round of the 16s, there hasn't been much drama for the top 7 seeds. No. 1 seed Shane Vinsant breezed past No. 18 seed Harrison Richmond 6-2, 6-1 and No. 2 seed Mitchell Krueger also had little difficulty advancing, defeating No. 31 seed Mac Styslinger 6-2, 6-2.
For complete draws, see ustaboys.com.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010