Gozun Blitzes No. 2 Seed Fawcett, Joins Two Other Boys Wild Cards in 18s Spring Nationals Fourth Round
©Colette Lewis 2013--
Since reaching the 16s final in Kalamazoo last year, Alexandru (Sasha) Gozun has played only a few local Florida events in the 18s, and although he lost only one match, he didn't have enough points to get into the 18s Spring Nationals.
So the 17-year-old from Sarasota requested and received a wild card, and after his 6-1, 6-1 destruction of No. 2 seed Thomas Fawcett Tuesday afternoon, Gozun proved beyond question that he belonged in the field.
Fawcett may have been tired after his long three-set victory less than 24 hours earlier, and with Gozun in the proverbial zone, Fawcett needed to be in peak form just to keep the match close.
"I felt really good," said Gozun, who served well and hit his forehand deep and big. "It was one of those days when you just feel amazing and you can do anything. I liked this day."
Getting a second break already up 3-1 in the second set, Gozun was serving with all the momentum when the net strap broke. Although a new strap was installed within five minutes, the interruption was long enough to wonder if Fawcett might benefit from the delay.
Gozun put that doubt to rest immediately, hitting an ace when play resumed, and he quickly held for a 5-1 lead. Down 15-40 in the next game, Fawcett saved one match point with a forehand winner, but Gozun ended any suspense with a huge overhead putaway on the second match point.
Gozun is hoping his showing in this event will help him as he looks forward to returning to peak form at Kalamazoo in August.
"Coming into this tournament I was just thinking get some points, get some rhythm, get a national ranking and build your confidence for Kalamazoo," said Gozun, who has committed to attend the University of South Florida, where his coach Brandon Wagner is the assistant, this fall.
Gozun will play unseeded Collin Altamirano, who defeated No. 15 seed Matthew Mendez 6-1, 6-2 Tuesday. Altamirano has played mostly on the Pro Circuit in the past year.
Two other boys wild cards have advanced to the fourth round, with No. 7 seed Andrew Schafer and No. 6 seed Roy Lederman both recording straight set wins.
Top seed Davis Hsu advanced with a 6-4, 6-0 victory over unseeded Francisco Colunga and No. 3 seed Elliott Orkin continued to roll, beating Baker Newman, a No. 17 seed, 6-2, 6-3. Strong Kirchheimer, one of the five No. 17 seeds advancing to the round of 16, beat No. 5 seed Jack Murray 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Girls top seed Brooke Austin again had no difficulty, downing unseeded Maia Magill 6-1, 6-2. Rachel Pierson, the No. 2 seed, ended the run of 13-year-old Michaela Gordon 6-3, 6-3, but No. 3 seed Alyza Benotto was ousted by Bianca Moldovan, a No. 17 seed, 6-3, 6-2.
Only three boys matches went three sets Tuesday, and the same number of girls matches went the distance, with Alexandra Letzt's 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 win over No. 7 seed Brooke Broda by far the longest of those six.
It started at 12:30 p.m., and Letzt finally sealed her victory at 4 p.m.
Nearly every point needed 20 to 30 shots to decide a winner, and the last two points of the match went way beyond that. Serving at 40-15, Letzt blinked first after the ball crossed the net over 40 times, finally netting a forehand. On match point number two, another long test of wills ended after dozens of shots, with Broda hitting a forehand long.
Letzt, a 15-year-old from Arizona, knew that Broda had won the 16s Easter Bowl last year, but she tried to put that knowledge out of her mind during the match.
"I try not to look at the results as much anymore," said Letzt, who hadn't played Broda prior to today's match. "That's my mom's job and she doesn't tell me. I play better when I don't look at it. I know she's seeded, but I don't know what she's seeded. It's definitely a good win, and she's a great competitor. I knew she wasn't going to give up any time and I had to earn that match."
Letzt will get an opportunity to knock off another seed, her third, Wednesday when she takes on No. 14 seed Kristin Wiley, a 6-2, 6-1 winner over Courtney Meredith.
In the doubles, both No. 1 seeds fell in match tiebreakers. No. 9 seeds Sophie Chang and Caroline Lampl defeated girls No. 1s Zoe Katz and Madeline Lipp 6-2, 4-6, 10-7.
Boys top seeds Miguel Alda and Jack Murray fell to the unseeded twins Terrance and Terrell Whitehurst 4-6, 6-2, 11-9.
For complete results, see the TennisLink site.