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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Wolf Beats Top Seed Riffice, Goetz Surprises McNally in Kalamazoo 18s Quarterfinals; Li Ousts Top Seed Arconada in Girls 18s; Semifinals Set for 12s, 14s

©Colette Lewis 2017--
Kalamazoo MI--

The 18s quarterfinals were full of surprises on Thursday, with only No. 2 seed Patrick Kypson advancing as a higher seed. JJ Wolf took out top seed Sam Riffice 5-7, 6-4, 6-1, No. 12 seed Alafia Ayeni eliminated No. 8 seed DJ Thomas 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-4 and No. 29 seed Ryan Goetz downed No. 6 seed John McNally 6-3, 7-6(4) on a warm and sunny day at Stowe Stadium.

Wolf, a rising sophomore at Ohio State, broke Riffice to start the match, but he was unable to hold on to the lead, and Riffice secured the opening set with a break at 5-6.

"I don't know if there was a dip," Wolf said of his play late in the first set. "I think he started playing a little better, and I missed a couple of shots. But when you're playing a player that good, you just have to roll with it."

Wolf got another early break in the second set, and guarded it throughout the set.

"I think a learned a little bit from my mistakes in the first set," said Wolf, who is playing his first tournament since the NCAAs in May due to a stress fracture. "I kind of rushed when I got up the break instead of settling down. You're kind of in control of the match when you're up a break. I think I relaxed a little bit after he got that first set and it helped me keep holding my serve."

Riffice was not able to put any pressure on Wolf to start the first set, dropping the first game on his serve and throughout the final set he was on the losing end of most of the forehand to forehand rallies. Wolf held his serve easily, taking a 4-0 lead, and broke for the third time in the set with Riffice serving at 1-5. Riffice saved on match point in the game, but when Wolf got a second, he hit four huge forehand in a row, with Riffice finally unable to track the last one down.

Wolf's opponent in Saturday's semifinals will be Ayeni, who celebrated his 18th birthday by coming from a break down in the third set to advance over Thomas.

Thomas led 2-0 in the third set, before Ayeni ran off four straight games. Thomas saved two break points serving at 2-4, but didn't get any hope from Ayeni, who won his final two service games easily to seal the win.

Any hopes Wolf may have had to play future Ohio State teammate John McNally in the final were dashed by Ryan Goetz, who outslugged McNally for his second win of the week over a top 8 seed.

Goetz knew his chance to beat McNally, the 2014 16s champion, required a commitment to aggressive play.

"I played really well and I had to play well to beat John," said the 17-year-old from New York. "He's a great player, he's done so well in the past and I just had to come out swinging, and that's what I did."

After claiming the first set, Goetz focused on maintaining that mindset.

"The natural reaction might be to start playing a little defensive," Goetz said. "I've worked on my game throughout the years to stay aggressive even in those tight situations, like the one just now. I worked on it for years and I was able to show it today."

One such tight situation was serving at 3-4 in the second set tiebreaker, and Goetz came through with two big first serves.

"Those serves helped, because I was able to win those points and go up for the first time in the tiebreaker," said Goetz, who has been training at Saddlebrook since January. "And I was able to capitalize on his missed serves, able to attack him."

Goetz caught the line with a forehand pass, which McNally strenuously argued was out, to earn his first match point. McNally again missed his first serve, got the second serve in, but missed a forehand wide to give Goetz the win.

Goetz's will play his second consecutive Kalamazoo 16s champion on Saturday after 2015 champion Kypson defeated No. 7 seed Sebastian Korda 6-4, 7-6(6). The first set was decided on one loose game by Korda serving at 4-5, the only service break of the match.  In the second set tiebreaker, Kypson squandered two match points at 6-4, with Korda hitting a drop shot winner on the first and a Kypson double faulting on the second. But on his third opportunity Kypson converted, with Korda sending a forehand long to end the match. It was the third time in his five victories that Kypson had closed out a match in a second set tiebreaker.

"I know he won 16s a few years ago," said Goetz, who reached the 18s Clay Courts final last month. "He just semi-ed at Wimbledon Juniors, so that's going to be tough, going to be fun. I think with the way I'm playing now, I can beat anyone, and hopefully he'll be my next victim."

The 16s quarterfinals are set for Friday, with top seed Brandon Nakashima facing No. 6 seed Leighton Allen, No. 3 seed Siem Woldeab playing No. 7 seed Alex Lee, No. 12 seed Garrett Johns meeting No. 4 seed Will Grant and No. 8 seed Stefan Dostanic taking on No. 2 seed Andrew Dale.  Grant and Johns and Woldeab and Lee are scheduled for 11 a.m., with the other two matches to follow.

The doubles semifinals in both divisions will be played on Friday, with the top three seeds in 16s and 18s still alive.

Top seeds Vasil Kirkov and Thomas will play the only unseeded team still remaining, Nathan Perrone and Jake Van Emburgh.  Kirkov and Thomas defeated No. 6 seeds Mac Kiger and Ryan Seggerman 6-1, 4-6, 10-7 and Perrone and Van Emburgh ousted No. 4 seeds Riffice and Gianni Ross 6-4, 7-5.

Defending champions and No. 3 seeds McNally and Wolf came back for a 3-6, 7-5, 10-4 win over No. 5 seeds Alshon and Hilderbrand to set up a semifinal against No. 2 seeds Kypson and Oliver Crawford.  Kypson and Crawford beat No. 12 seeds Sean Sculley and Austen Huang 6-4, 6-4.

Top 16s seeds Robert Cash and Ryder Jackson continued their straight-sets march through the draw, beating No. 9 seeds Zachery Lim and Marcus McDaniel 6-4, 6-0.  They will play No. 3 seeds Tyler Zink and Grant, who also have not lost a set this week, with Zink and Grant beating No. 7 seeds Phillip Jordan and Andres Martin 6-1, 6-3. Woldeab and Eshan Talluri, the No. 24 seeds, advanced with a 2-6, 6-3, 11-9 win over No. 15 seeds Spencer Brachman and Cannon Kingsley andwill play No. 2 seeds Eliot Spizzirri and Spencer Whitaker, who beat No. 14 seeds Nathan Han and Ronan Jachuk 6-3, 6-4.  Spizzirri and Whitaker have also not needed a match tiebreaker in reaching the semifinals.

Complete draws can be found at the ustaboys.com website.

The USTA Girls 16 and 18 National Championships in San Diego also produced some major surprises today, with both top seeds exiting.

Wimbledon girls finalist Ann Li, the No. 10 seed, beat top seed Usue Arconada 6-4, 6-3 in the round of 16, and No. 14 seed Nikki Redelijk took out No. 1 seed Fiona Crawley 6-2 4-6, 6-4 in the 16s quarterfinals.

Girls 16s semifinals:
Nikki Redelijk[14] vs Sedona Gallagher[4]
Angelica Blake[9] vs Connie Ma

Girls 18s quarterfinals:
Ann Li[10] vs Kelly Chen[33]
Caty McNally[12] vs Ashley Lahey[5]
Michaela Gordon[6] vs Ashley Kratzer[3]
Whitney Osuigwe[8] vs Claire Liu[2]

For complete results, see the TennisLink site.

Girls 14s semifinals:
Elaine Chervinsky[17] vs Robin Montgomery[17]
Reese Brantmeier[33] vs Katja Wiersholm[4]

Girls 12s semifinals:
Natalie Block[9] vs Stephanie Yakoff[4]
Aubrey Nisbet[12] vs Eleana Yu[2]

Boys 14s semifinals:
Andrew Chang[17] vs Ben Shelton[17]
Saud Alhogbani[4] vs Hugo Hashimoto[17]

Boys 12s semifinals:
Aidan Kim[1] vs Cooper Williams[3]
Lucas Brown[4] vs Leanid Boika[11]

Complete results from Boys 12s and 14s at TennisLink.


Wondering said...

Colette, when was the last time, if ever, that 2 Jr. major winners met in the Quarters of the Girls 16s?