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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Goetz Ousts No. 3 Seed Bryde in Kalamazoo 18s Fourth Round Action; Top 16s Seed Nakashima, No. 2 Seed Dale Tested but Survive

©Colette Lewis 2017--
Kalamazoo MI--

The first three rounds of the 18s at the USTA National Championships featured little intrigue and that looked to be continuing in round four when top seed Sam Riffice and No. 2 seed Patrick Kypson cruised in their Stowe Stadium show court matches Tuesday.  But on the back courts, drama was available on nearly every court, with five of the Top 16 seeds falling, including No. 3 seed and 2016 semifinalist Trent Bryde.

No. 29 seed Ryan Goetz didn't look like he was going to be the player to take out the first Top 4 seed in either age division when he fell behind Bryde 3-0 in the first set. But the 17-year-old from New York won the final four games of both sets to claim a 6-4, 6-3 victory.

Serving for the first set at 5-4 ad in, Goetz was given a point penalty for an audible obscenity, but managed to compose himself and close out the set.

"The emotions were running and I got a point penalty on my set point," said Goetz. "At deuce I won the point, but I got coded before that and we played a point, and then the ref on the sideline came over and give me a point penalty.  So I had to fight through that and I closed it out on the third or fourth set point."

Goetz sensed Bryde was struggling as they began the second set.

"I had to stay with him and wait for my opportunity," said Goetz. "I was feeling he was getting shaky and I was playing better and better after every game, feeling more and more confident. I had to wait for my opportunity and that came at 3-all."

Goetz, a finalist at the Clay Courts last month, spent a long stretch in Europe during May and June, picking up wins and confidence.

"Clay Courts, Europe, that all helped," Goetz said. "It made me match tough. I played a lot of singles matches, a lot of doubles matches, so I was match tough, ready for every match. I played great players over there and throughout Clay Courts, so I felt comfortable playing a guy like Trent, who was Top 10 ITF."

Goetz noted all the college coaches watching his match, but the rising senior said he is going to take his time before he makes a decision.

"I don't know when I'll make my decision," Goetz said. "I'll take my officials, probably all five of them. I'll be patient with it. I like to take my time with this, because it obviously affects the rest of my life, really. That's the biggest decision so I want to take my time."

Goetz, who won the Eddie Herr 16s title in 2015, said this win was probably the biggest of his career.

"It's probably the biggest ranking-wise, and what he's done," Goetz said. "He won the Grade A in Brazil, he's always done well, he's in every match it seems, so it was good to get the win, especially in straight sets."

Goetz will play another 17-32 seed with a one-handed backhand, No. 25 seed Mason Beiler, who beat No. 13 seed Brian Cernoch 6-3, 1-6, 6-1.

According to No. 30 seed Timothy Sah, Kalamazoo brings out the best in his tennis, and he has the results to prove it.  Last year Sah reached the quarterfinals with a win over No. 3 seed JJ Wolf.  This year, Sah earned a rematch with Wolf in the same round by beating No. 14 seed Andrew Fenty 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-1.

"It's just a great atmosphere," said the Stanford rising freshman. "I really like how the courts play, there's so many people watching, it's such a prestigious tournament. I've been looking forward to it all year."

Sah had the unusual experience of talking to his longtime coach Steve Adamson during the break between the second and third sets.

"This is the first time he's traveled with me outside the state," said the San Diego California resident. "It's awesome having him here. There were a few other guys who I train with here and they came out for the third set too. It's nice to play with some support."

Sah said he executed well in the final set.

"I just tried to keep my energy up and stick to the game plan," Sah said. "In the third set against a good player you're going to be tired. But I tried to make sure I kept to my game plan."

No. 5 seed Wolf earned another shot at Sah with a tough 7-6(8), 6-3 win over No. 28 seed Jake Sands. Sands had a set point at 7-6 in the tiebreaker, but Wolf, a rising sophomore at Ohio State, saved it with a good first serve. Sands saved two set points, but his two unforced errors at 8-8 gave Wolf the first set, and Wolf won the second with less accumulated tension.

In addition to Bryde, Cernoch and Fenty, two other Top 16 seeds were eliminated. No. 32 seed Britton Johnston beat No. 16 seed Harris Walker 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 and No. 27 seed Trey Hilderbrand took out 2016 16s champion Lukas Greif, the No. 15 seed, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

No. 10 seed Vasil Kirkov, who reached the 18s final last year, saved a match point in his 1-6, 6-1, 7-5 victory over unseeded Austin Di Giulio.
Serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set, Di Giulio went down 15-40, but then won three straight points to earn a match point. Kirkov saved it, hitting a drop shot winner that caught Di Giulio by surprise then won the next two points, broke and held for the comeback win.

In the 16s division, all four top seeds moved into the round of 16, but not without some anxious moments for the top three.

No. 2 seed Andrew Dale fought back for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 32 seed Theodore McDonald, and No. 3 seed Siem Woldeab won his third consecutive three-setter, beating No. 37 seed Emilio Nava 6-4, 6-7(3) 6-0.  No. 4 seed Will Grant earned a straightforward 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 29 seed Robert Cash but top seed Brandon Nakashima got his first test of the tournameant from No. 20 seed Cannon Kingsley, earning a 7-5, 6-3 victory.

"He had a little bit of a slow start the first couple of games, but after that he was playing pretty well," said the 16-year-old from San Diego, who got an early break to open the match. "I knew today was going to be a tough one and I had to step up my game to get through today."

Nakashima won the Southern California 18s sectionals this summer and would have qualified for the 18s division here, but he and coaches Larry Stefanki and Christian Groh decided the 16s were the better option for him.

"It was a tough decision, but my coaches back in San Diego wanted me to play 16s, to get the gold ball and eventually into the US Open," Nakashima said. "I have two more years to play 18s after this, so it should be good."

Nakashima is now wearing Lacoste clothing after years with Nike.

"After this tournament last year, Nike dropped me because I wasn't playing enough ITFs and I wasn't home schooled," Nakashima said. "A few weeks before this tournament my coach helped me get a sponsorship with Lacoste and we just got the clothes right in time before we left for here."

Nakashima's opponent in Wednesday round of 16 is No. 24 seed Spencer Whitaker, who beat No. 11 seed Andrew Zhang 6-1, 6-1.

Matthew Che is the only unseeded player left in either division, after he beat a seed for the second consecutive day.  Che, who beat No. 5 seed Jacob Bullard on Monday, came back to defeat No. 22 seed Phillip Jordan 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. He will face 16s Clay Courts champion Garrett Johns, the No. 12 seed, who also needed a comeback against No. 18 seed Eliot Spizzirri, recording a 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 win.

18s doubles had the day off on Tuesday, but the 16s third round of doubles was completed, with top seeds Robert Cash and Ryder Jackson moving on with a 6-1, 6-4 win over unseeded Jonathan Dzung and Spencer Gray. No. 2 seeds Spizzirri and Whitaker also advanced in straight sets, beating No. 30 seeds Georgi Mavrodiev and Scott Sculley 6-3, 6-4.

Wednesday evening is the traditional Night at the Nats, with round of 16 doubles in both divisions beginning around 5 p.m. The 16s doubles will be at Western Michigan University.

Complete results from Tuesday's matches are available at ustaboys.com.

Live streaming is available at http://ustaboys.secantnet.net/


just asking said...

what has happened to Valpo's Dbls team of Emhardt and Schorsch...going pro ? someone has split the duo up and have them playing with other partners. Neither one has ATP dbls points after several tournaments this summer. Did the USTA spilt them apart? Curious minds want know.

Steve F said...

Go Brandon Nakashima! Nike dropping him was a bad decision...he is the real deal. Killing every tournament this year, humble and hardworking! Education should be encouraged, not something to be punished.