©Colette Lewis 2011--
There are plenty of benefits to having top seed Jack Sock as a doubles partner, but Jackson Withrow probably didn’t anticipate he’d need an aptly named piece of clothing from the defending champion during the third round of the USTA Boys 16 and 18s National Championships.
After dropping the opening set to the 18s division’s No. 6 seed Shane Vinsant, Withrow had more than a mental hurdle to overcome.
“I had a foot problem toward the end of the first set,” said the Omaha, Neb. native, who squandered a 3-0 lead to lose it 6-4. “I had a big, quarter-sized blister, and my sock started wear-and-tearing. I had a huge hole in my sock, and was trying to deal with that.”
Sock, who was watching his doubles partner’s match after completing his own 6-1, 6-1 victory over Austin Ansari, came to the rescue.
“Jack came out with a loose sock,” said Withrow, pointing to the two layers inside his shoe. “He’s coming big-time with his last name.”
With that repair made, Withrow went on to take the second set 6-3, and when the 10-minute break came between the second and third sets, the Texas A&M redshirt freshman didn’t feel any need to identify a third-set strategy.
“I had a good conversation with my friend from Omaha, Anthony Delcore, and Trey Daniel, from Kansas City, and we were talking about what we were going to do after the match,” Withrow said.
“My coach is back home, so I just kind of decided to relax. I felt I was in a good position, I felt like I knew what I was going to do, so I didn’t really need a game plan.”
Vinsant wasn’t sharp in the last few games, and when he was broken serving at 2-4, Withrow had the luxury of a second break. He didn’t need it, serving well in the final game to close out the 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 upset.
Withrow wasn’t unhappy about scoring his big win back on Court 11, the most remote spot at Kalamazoo College’s Stowe Stadium.
“I’m kind of the guy who likes being in the back, not being paid attention to, and then coming out of nowhere,” said Withrow, who will play unseeded Dennis Mkrtchian in Tuesday’s fourth round.
French Open boys champion Bjorn Fratangelo, the No. 3 seed, was given one of the venue’s show courts, and when he went down a set and a break to Christopher Diaz, the possibility of a major upset drew much of the lunchtime crowd’s attention.
Fratangelo recovered for a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over the Ohio State recruit, who simply returned every potential winner that Fratangelo struck.
Fratangelo, who got a late break in the third set and saved three break points in the final game of the match, credited his success in Paris and on the Pro Circuit this summer with providing a reservoir of confidence that led to the win.
In the post-match interview, Fratangelo showed off his new red, white and blue shoes, custom-made for him by Adidas, which had “RG11Champ” stamped on them. But just a few minutes later, Fratangelo began to feel dizzy and nauseous, and was attended to by the tournament doctor and trainer. He did recover in time to play his doubles match a few hours later at Western Michigan University.
No. 4 seed Marcos Giron made his debut on the Stowe Stadium courts Monday after playing his opening match at WMU, and he was impressive in his 6-3, 6-4 win over Morgan Mays.
“I’m happy to have played well on these courts,” said the 18-year-old from Thousand Oaks, Calif. “I feel these courts suit my game pretty well, they’re pretty quick, so I felt good out there. I like having the crowd there, it pumps you up a little more.”
Mays played aggressively and made Giron work for his points, but Giron was up to the task.
“He’s got a good forehand, but I never really let him dictate with the forehand,” said the UCLA recruit. “I kept taking the ball early, came to net quite a few times, and had him on the defensive. He’s a very energetic guy, so you can’t let him overwhelm you.”
No. 2 seed Mitchell Frank has lost all of two games in his two victories, with his 6-1, 6-1 win over Jason Jaruvang as brief as the score would suggest.
Aside from Withrow’s win over Vinsant, there was only one other upset in the 18s division. Dominic Cotrone beat No. 13 seed and fellow Floridian Zack McCourt 7-6(2), 7-6(2).
Upsets were even more rare in the 16s division, with just one seed falling in Monday’s third round action. John Carswell of Wisconsin beat No. 11 seed Gregory Garcia 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Top seed Connor Farren again survived a tough opening set, posting a 7-5, 6-2 win over Zandrix Acob after trailing 3-1 in the first set. Second seed Ronnie Schneider advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Samuel Lampman.
Local favorite Paul Oosterbaan, the 31 seed, rolled to 6-1, 6-0 win over Conrad Harron, setting up a fourth round meeting with No. 3 seed Noah Rubin.
Oosterbaan, a sophomore at Portage Northern High School, felt the crowd support was a significant factor in his win over Harron.
“He was having a little off day, so I had to take advantage of it,” said the 15-year-old right-hander. “It kind of tore him down mentally when people were clapping when I hit big shots, so it definitely helps me out a lot.”
Because of the rain delays over the weekend, there will be two rounds of doubles for the 16s division on Tuesday. In third round doubles action Monday in the 18s division, the top eight seeds, including the No. 1 team of Sock and Withrow, advanced to the round of 16.
For complete results, see ustaboys.com