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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Arevalo Upsets Top Seed and Defending Champion Smith in D'Novo All-American First Round

©Colette Lewis 2010--
Tulsa, OK--

There will be other upsets today, but none will be bigger than Marcelo Arevalo of Tulsa's 7-5, 6-3 win over defending champion and No. 1 seed JP Smith of Tennessee.

After a dismal four days of rain, cold and wind last year, the 2010 main draw started off under clear skies, with temperatures in the 60s and on their way to the 80s. Everywhere I walked around the 12 courts at the beautiful Michael D. Case Center, I saw scores like 5-5, 4-4, 7-6. On Court 6, after No. 6 seed Michael Shabaz of Virginia had taken a straight set win over Gonzalo Escobar of Texas Tech, Smith and Arevalo took the court. Arevalo, a sophomore from El Salvador, took an early 4-1 lead over Smith, a senior from Australia, in the opening set, but Smith fought back to level it at 4. Arevalo's teammates and a few local fans sent up a cheer when he broke Smith at 5-6, but even when Smith again got down 4-1 in the second, he projected confidence. This time he couldn't get that break back however, although it looked like Arevalo's chance might pass him by when he went down 15-40 serving for the match at 5-3.

"When I was serving that last game I was kind of nervous," Arevalo admitted. "I was beating the number one seed. I missed a couple of forehands, and it's 15-40, and I said hey, if I keep playing nervous I'm going to lose. I have to relax, so I took my time, went to the towel, made two big serves and saved the game."

Arevalo didn't mention that Smith put a routine ball into the net at 30-40, and that he was not happy with the Arevalo's baseline call of out on match point. The roving umpire agreed that Smith's shot was out however, and Arevalo had his biggest win as a collegian.

"I'd been playing really good, practicing really good, working hard, and was so confident in myself," said Arevalo, although he admitted he thought his draw was unlucky and "kind of sucked." "I'm really happy, because I beat JP, and he's one of the best players in college."

Next up for Arevalo this afternoon is Jose Hernandez of North Carolina, who beat qualifier Peter Lucassen of Southern California in his opening round this morning.