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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Second Seeds Redlicki and Oosterbaan Survive, but No. 4 seeds McDonald and Smith Out in Fourth Round at Boys 18 & 16 Nationals

©Colette Lewis 2012--
Kalamazoo, MI--

The first four days brought few surprises at the USTA Boys 18 and 16 National Championships, but that changed on Tuesday, when the No. 4 seeds in both divisions were eliminated in the fourth round on another sunny and warm day at Stowe Stadium on the campus of Kalamazoo College.

The scorelines were drastically different in those results, with No. 4 Logan Smith falling to No. 32 seed Alexandru Gozun 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 in a match that lasted nearly four hours.  Although a match of that length would normally be an advantage for Gozun's opponent in Wednesday's round of 16, by luck, that opponent, unseeded Shawn Hadavi, had a match nearly as long, outlasting William Little, also unseeded, 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(4) in three and a half hours.

The 18s No. 4 seed, Mackenzie McDonald, went out to No. 30 seed Shane Vinsant 6-1, 6-2 in an hour and 15 minutes.  Vinsant, the 2010 16s finalist in Kalamazoo, hasn't played a junior tournament since last year's US Open Junior Championships,  concentrating instead on Pro Circuit events in advance of his freshman year at Texas A&M, which begins in a few weeks. But he recognizes the pressure inherent in returning to the juniors for the prize of a US Open main draw wild card, and the danger of putting too much into the seeding numbers.

"I didn't feel like the underdog or anything coming in," said Vinsant, who will be 19 in October. "I hadn't been playing junior tournaments, so it's just how it goes with the seeding and stuff. I know he's a really good player, and I was just looking at this match, not looking ahead at all."

 "Playing against your peers is different, and I think it's a greater pressure," Vinsant said. "So I've had to get used to that a little bit again at this tournament."

Vinsant was comfortable playing on Court 1, not only from his experience in the 16s final in both singles and doubles, but also from his appearance in Friday's exhibition as part of the No. 1 doubles team with Mitchell Krueger.

"For some reason I was more nervous when I was on court 10 yesterday," said Vinsant. "Center court, I've played there a few times."

Having the home court advantage proved important for Paul Oosterbaan, the No. 2 seed in the 16s. Playing against No. 30 seed JT Nishimura, Oosterbaan had to save four set points in the opening set, eventually posting a 7-6(6), 6-4 victory.

"After I won the first set, I knew it would be pretty hard for him after having either four or five set points and not converting," said Oosterbaan. "I knew would be hard for him to come back from that, but he kept fighting pretty hard. The crowd was awesome and I didn't want to make them stay around for a third set, so I really had to get those points."

Oosterbaan's serve came through for him in the 5-6 game, when he faced three set points, and in the tiebreaker, although the fourth set point was on Nishimura's serve at 6-5 in the tiebreaker. Fortunately for Oosterbaan, Nishimura, who plays two-handed on both sides, missed a routine backhand on set point, and then made another to give Oosterbaan his first set point.  Oosterbaan hit a service winner to take the set, and although the second set was close, he again capitalized quickly win he got three match points with Nishimura serving at 4-5, hitting a return winner at 0-40 to send the lunchtime crowd home happy.


While Oosterbaan is hoping to capture the first 16s singles title by a Kalamazoo resident, a former 16s champion, 2010 winner Michael Redlicki, is looking to add an 18s title to resume.

It looked as if his quest might end quickly on Tuesday, against No. 32 seed Mac Styslinger, when Styslinger posted a 6-1 first set against the No. 2 seed.  But Redlicki, another player starting college in a few weeks who has been competing exclusively on the Pro Circuit this year, knew he had a good chance to recover, and he went on to record a 1-6, 7-4, 6-3 victory.

"Nothing really changed," said Redlicki, who admitted to some nerves in the opening set. "I just slowed down and calmed down, because I knew it was far from over. I've played too many matches on the Pro Circuit being down a set and a break, most of the time, and coming back from those, so I knew it wasn't over until he actually won match point. That's the kind of mentality I went in with, and that kind of mentality pays off, as you can see."

Redlicki surrendered a 3-0 lead in the second set, but broke Styslinger at 4-5 to even the match. He spoke to his father during the 10-minute break before the third set, but he didn't make any changes to his game.

"I just came out there as if I never walked off the court," said Redlicki. "I didn't change my game, just played my game as I was, and I started well."

Redlicki took a 3-1 lead, but there wasn't a service hold for the next five games. Styslinger wasn't getting his first service in, and was broken for the third straight time to give Redlicki a chance to serve it out, and he did it at love, serving well and hitting two forehand winners, the final one on match point. Redlicki will face No. 16 seed Deiton Baughman in the round of 16 Wednesday.

In a morning match, top seed Mitchell Krueger defeated unseeded Brett Clark 6-0, 7-5, and will play unseeded Mihir Kumar on Wednesday. Kumar defeated No. 23 seed Martin Redlicki, Michael's younger brother, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(4). Kumar is one of two unseeded players in the round of 16, joining Nick Wood, who beat No. 29 Austin Smith 6-4, 6-0 Tuesday.

No. 3 seed Dennis Novikov appeared to be rolling along against No. 18 seed Kristofer Yee, leading 6-2, 5-3, but Yee forced a third set before Novikov reasserted himself for a 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 victory.

In the 16s, top seed Mitch Stewart kept his time on Court 1 short, beating unseeded McClain Kessler 6-3, 6-1. There are six unseeded players in the round of 16 in the younger division: Chase Colton, Catalin Mateas, Michael Genender, Shane Monroe, Hadavi and Cameron Klinger.

In doubles Tuesday evening, the top-seeded 16s team survived in a match tiebreaker, with Aron Hiltzik and Oosterbaan defeating No. 10 seeds William Griffith and Cody Rakela 6-4, 5-7, 10-6.  The No. 2 seeds Baker Newman and Chase Perez-Blanco lost however, falling to unseeded Sameer Kumar and Daniel Rayl 6-3, 6-4.

Krueger and Vinsant, the top seeds in the 18s, defeated 13th seeds Luca Corinteli and Alexios Halebian 7-6(3) 6-3.  No. 2 seeds Harrison Adams and Andrew Korinek needed a match tiebreaker to get by Sean Karl and Maxx Lipman 4-6, 6-3, 10-7.

For complete results, see the tournament website.


2 comments:

Brent said...

Some random observations after spending a very enjoyable today in Kalamazoo...

- Redlicki/Styslinger was fun. Very similar games. Redlicki's serve was a little bigger and his backhand held up better. Styslinger got rooked at 3-4, 30-all. He called a ball long which was close but clearly deep (we were sitting right on the baseline) and got overruled by a chair umpire that was 'out of bounds' himself for a good chunk of the match. He had gotten into it with Redlicki earlier in the match and then seemed to bait/engage Redlicki into a conversation at every changeover thereafter. Styslinger lost the next point to go down 3-5, banged a ball off the back fence and got a point penalty to basically kill his chance of breaking back to stay in the match. Both of these guys have big games and high ceilings (especially Redlicki) and will be fun to see them battling in the ACC

- Papa vs. Celestine was highly entertaining. Papa basically had to just hope that Celestine was going to calm down from the first set where he was hitting winners all over the court. Celestine has a huge game and goes for a lot. Papa certainly didn't play timid but couldn't match Celestine's power. Due to Celestine's cramping and Papa's smart, consistent play, pulled it out 6-4 in the third. Does anyone know what Celestine's college plans are?

- Hadn't seen Charles Boyce play before. You have to love a guy who is out there in Jordan shorts versus the perfectly manicured latest Adidas gear. He was frustrating Kwiatkowski to no end, up 6-3, 4-1 and Thai looked like he was about to untether from the dock. He avoided the meltdown and played a superb tiebreak in the third to barely pull it out. Boyce was very impressive though - does anyone know what colleges he is looking at?

- Don't know if Austin Smith was injured or not but he just gave in versus Nick Wood, getting bageled in the second set. Will be interesting to see how he does at Georgia

- First time seeing Kozlov play live. Nolan Paige had a stronger cheering contingent with some Stanford supporters shouting 'go Big P' at every turn but Kozlov did not get rattled. Is remarkable at dealing with pace and uses drop shots, change of pace and spin as impressively as any player I saw today. Just ridiculous to think about a 14 year old doing what he's doing. Hoping he can beat Halebian because Kozlov/Redlicki in the quarters would be a riot

Brent said...

(cont)...

- Shane Vinsant definitely had the most impressive performance of the day. Took McKenzie McDonald to the woodshed. Complete control

- Interesting transition for Ronnie Schneider. He is hitting the ball about 4 times harder than last year. Must have been struggling with it a bit in the previous round given that he almost lost but didn't give Gordon Watson a chance in a 1 & 1 beatdown

- Krueger was clinical in the first set and a little sloppy in the second against Clark. Will be interesting to see what Krueger's ceiling is at the pro level. Disappointing to hear one loud audible f-bomb from him

- Logan Staggs had the most impressive performance I saw in 16s today. Will be interesting to see what his ceiling is if he grows because he is currently producing as many mph/lb as any 16s I saw. I still think Wiersholm wins though, over Mylnikov in the finals

- Random side note - what has happened to Prince? As someone who grew up playing Prince, have a soft spot in my heart for them but I think I saw more kids playing with the old-school Prince Graphite than their new stuff, and it was only about 5 kids total. Babalot is DOMINATING, which is not a new headline but wow. Some Wilson, a few Head, a couple Technifibre, but ridiculous market share amongst the junior elite for Babalot

- I think my point about the ridiculous seeding has now been proven correct. Having Vinsant, Styslinger and Harrison Adams down in the bottom four of the 18s was totally unfair to these guys and the guys in their section of the draw

- After a day of live viewing/data, I'm sticking with my original predictions. Got 12 of the 16 correct with all of the 8 predicted quarterfinalists left. Will be fun to see how it finishes

- one of my favorite days of the year - hanging out with my dad and my boys, watching the future of American tennis. Good times. Thanks Kzoo!