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Monday, October 12, 2015

Qualifier Genesen Saves Match Point in Opening Round Win, Wichita Falls Champions Move On at ITF Pan American Closed; Kwiatkowski Sweeps Titles at ITA All-American Championships

©Colette Lewis 2015--
Tulsa, OK--

Turned down in his request for a wild card, Tulsa resident William Genesen made it through qualifying at the ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed, and using the confidence gained from those two wins, he defeated No. 9 seed Alexis Galarneau of Canada in Monday's first round action at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center, saving a match point in his 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(6) victory.

Genesen, who has verbally committed to Stanford for 2016, trailed 3-0 in the second set, and 4-1 in the third set, but was able to stay calm and adjust.

"I realized I just needed to make some balls and stick in there," said the 18-year-old right-hander. "I needed to hit heavy and try to let him make errors. Because if I just stayed in the point and hit it deep, it was working out pretty well for me."

The match point that Genesen saved was probably the least dramatic of the last three points of the tiebreaker that decided it.  After leading 5-3 in the tiebreaker, Galarneau made two backhand errors for 5-5, but made an excellent forehand volley to earn a match point on his own serve.  The 16-year-old doesn't possess a big serve however, and Genesen eventually went for a forehand that forced an error from Galarneau to earn another change of ends.

After Galarneau made another error, he launched a ball outside the stadium, and the chair umpire called game, set, match Genesen, presuming a point penalty for ball abuse.  But Galaraneau had not been warned previously, which is required under ITF rules (not in USTA rules, however), so Genesen had to play the next point, a match point for him, after all.  Galarneau's return of Genesen's serve went a couple of inches past the baseline, but the umpire made no call. Genesen began walking into the net to shake hands and Galarneau asked the chair if she had made a call.  She did not answer his question, but did reply that the ball was out, and at that point called game, set and match for Genesen, which stuck this time.  Galarneau, no doubt knowing the ball was long, did not protest the decision.

"When it [the first game, set, match call] happened, I was relieved. but then it wasn't how I wanted to win the match," Genesen said. "So I was totally fine with just going back. I was feeling really good on that ad side with my kick serve, so I wasn't too worried about going back there and trying to do it again."

As for the lack of a call on the final point of the match, Genesen said, "She never did make the call and I was a little scared. I didn't know what was going to happen. She was a little hesitant throughout the match and I felt like there was a few times when there were some no-calls on big points, but I was able to kind of just let it go, which is big for me."

Genesen used his qualifying wins as confidence building tools, while last week's Wichita Falls ITF Grade 4 champions were able to use their performances to step up into the higher level competition with similar self-assurance.

Oliver Crawford defeated No. 6 seed Alexandre Rotsaert 6-1, 6-2 to start off his second career ITF Grade 1 with a victory.

"I wanted just to play as well as I could and see how I'd get on," Crawford said of his thoughts when he saw the draw. "Just do what I could on my side of the court and see where it ended up going."

Crawford did not shy aware from Rotsaert's forehand, as he might have done previously.

"He's changed his forehand a little bit, so he wasn't hitting as well from that side as he usually does," said the 16-year-old from South Carolina. "So I attacked his forehand more than I usually would have."

Crawford's win streak is now at seven, but Ellie Douglas can top that, as she also won the Austin ITF two weeks ago, as well as Wichita Falls last week, and with her 6-2, 6-2 win over wild card Rut Galindo of Guatemala today, has 13 consecutive victories.

The 15-year-old Texan was out for four months this year with edema in her vertebrae, which was after she had fractured her back last year. She returned to competition at the Clay Courts in July, but was not happy with her play until recently.

"I'm trying to get strong and fit and in great shape," Douglas said. "I'm trying to mix up my game too. Use some slice, be aggressive and try to move into the court, which I'm doing pretty great right now."

Douglas has a specific goal from this fall's ITF tournaments.

"I want to get into the Orange Bowl, and I want to do really well in that."

Next up for Douglas is top seed Usue Arconada, who defeated Taylor Johnson 6-4, 6-4.

No. 2 seed Kayla Day and No. 3 seed Maria Mateas advanced in straight sets, but No. 4 seed Alexandra Sanford lost to wild card Dalayna Hewitt 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.  No. 11 seed Kariann Pierre-Louis lost to Natasha Subhash 6-2, 6-2, No. 15 seed Katarina Kopcalic of Canada was beaten by Caty McNally 6-3, 6-3 and No. 16 seed Victoria Emma lost to qualifier Ashley Lahey 7-6(1), 6-7(5), 6-4.

In addition to Rotsaert and Galarneau, seeded boys losing wee No. 15 seed Sami Kirberg, who lost to Brian Shi 6-4, 6-1 and Joshua Peck of Canada, who was beaten by Mac Kiger 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.  Two seeds, No. 3 Hady Habib and No. 12 Alafia Ayeni were replaced by lucky losers because they had played in the Houston Futures qualifying, which violates the ITF's one tournament per week rule.

Top seeds Benjamin Sigouin and Jack Mingjie Lin of Canada both advanced with straight set wins.

Doubles will begin Tuesday, with Usue Arconada and Kylie McKenzie the top girls seeds, and Sigouin and Lin the top boys seeds.

See the ITF junior website for complete results and Tuesday's order of play.

At the Men's ITA All-American finals today in Tulsa, Virginia sophomore Thai Kwiatkowski swept the titles. The No. 3 seed defeated No. 4 seed Dominik Koepfer of Tulane 6-0, 6-2 for the singles title, then teamed with senior Mac Styslinger to take the doubles title 3-6, 6-2, 10-7. Kwiatkowski, a semifinalist last year, continues the Virginia dominance of the men's singles at the All-American Championships, becoming the fifth Cavalier to win it in the last six years.

For more on the singles final, see College Tennis Today, and the ITA's championship recap.