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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Exsted Upsets 16s Top Seed Horovitz; Woestendick Saves Two Match Points to Advance to Thursday's Quarterfinals; Top Seed Falls at Boys 14s; CBS Sports Network Televising Girls 18s Semis and Finals in San Diego

©Colette Lewis 2022--
Kalamazoo MI--

A second straight day of perfect weather greeted the competitors in the round of 16 of the USTA Boys 16s National Championships at Stowe Stadium, but unlike Tuesday, the results were far from ideal for the top seeds.

No. 1 seed Roy Horovitz lost to No. 14 seed Max Exsted 7-5, 6-2 and No. 3 seed Adhithya Ganesan was beaten by No. 13 seed Calvin Baierl 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-5.

Horovitz, who had a tough fourth round match on Tuesday, just couldn't get himself in a winning position against Exsted.

"The first set was a little weird," said Exsted, a 15-year-old from Minnesota who trains in Florida. "The first eight games nobody held. I think we were both a little bit nervous coming out of the gate, but when I was dictating play and looking for my forehand it was good."

As the top seed, Horovitz had played on George Acker Court, the main court at Stowe Stadium, twice already this week, while Exsted was encountering that atmosphere for the first time.

"It's a great experience but it doesn't make much of a difference in my mind," said Exsted, who had not played Horovitz before. "I try to stay in my court, but it's definitely a really cool experience."

Up 4-1 in the second set, Exsted dropped serve, but immediately broke back and was able to fight off any nerves when closing it out on his serve.

"After I got broken, I had a good attitude about it," Exsted said. "I wasn't getting like super mad. I just tried to stay calm and cool."

Exsted admitted that it wasn't peak tennis from either of them.

"We both could have played a little better," said Exsted. "But he's still a really good player. It was my first time playing him, but I'm sure we'll play so many more times. We're pretty similar, the way we play. There's pretty much no free points, and we had so many long rallies."

Exsted will play No. 9 seed Mitchell Lee, who beat No. 33 seed Vincent Yang 6-3, 6-2. "We've been friends for so long, I've known him since we were maybe 10, but it'll be a first time playing him," Exsted said. "So it should be fun."

Unlike Exsted, who reached the 14s final last year in Mobile and is making his debut in Kalamazoo this year, No. 4 seed Woestendick is a veteran, having taken third place last year as a 14-year-old.

He needed all the energy and experience he could muster today, saving two match points to beat No. 12 seed Mikel Anderson 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-6(5) in three hours and 39 minutes.

Woestendick, who turns 16 in November, managed to come up with two big serves on those match points and attributed his ability to execute when under pressure to both mental and physical strength.

"You've just got to fight the nerves and go big," said the right-hander from Kansas. "Physically I felt pretty good. This past year I've done a ton more fitness, working for matches like this, which are almost four hours. Obviously, if you're playing that long, you're going to get pretty tired, so you've just got to stay focused on each point."

In the tiebreaker, there was again almost nothing to separate the two, but at 5-all Woestendick managed a perfect drop shot to go up 6-5, and Anderson netted a forehand to end the marathon.

"I was very impressed with him all match," said Woestendick, who had not played Anderson before. "He stepped up his game late in the second set and in the third set as well, and it was good tennis overall."

Woestendick, also a doubles finalist in 2021, had enough success in the 16s to contemplate playing the 18s this year, but pointed to the difference in his position, and the US Open Junior wild card to the 16s winner, as reasons to stay in his age group.

"Last year, playing here at 14, honestly there was no expectations, just come here and play," said Woestendick. "This year's a little more pressure, you're one of the higher seeds. There's some very good opponents in 16s this year and I just want to get some good tennis in. And the US Open Junior wild card, that's definitely one of the reasons I'm playing 16s this year."

No. 12 seed Rudy Quan, who needed assistance exiting the court after his 7-6(3), 7-6(6) win over No. 8 seed Ian Bracks, will face the 15-year-old Baierl in one bottom half quarterfinal. In the other, No. 2 seed Quang Duong, the reigning 16s Orange Bowl champion, will face No. 32 seed Saahith Jayaraman, who came back to beat No. 6 seed Matthew Forbes 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

While the 16s quarterfinals are Thursday, the 18s will be playing their round of 16 matches, with most of the favorites still around. Seven of the Top eight seeds advanced today, with the only one missing No. 6 Nishesh Basavareddy, who withdrew the day before the tournament.

Two 9-16 seeds lost today, with Evan Wen, a No. 33 seed, beating No. 9 seed Sebastian Gorzny 6-1, 6-0 and No. 23 Ryan Colby beating No. 14 seed Hudson Rivera 6-4, 7-6(7).

Wen will take on Martin Damm, who beat No. 26 seed Bryce Nakashima 6-3, 6-1.  Wimbledon finalist Michael Zheng, the No. 5 seed, had no trouble with No. 31 seed Sebastian Sec, posting a 6-3, 6-2 win; No. 16 seed Aidan Kim breezed to a 6-1, 6-1 victory over unseeded Mujtaba Ali-Khan to set up a rematch of their Wimbledon round of 16 match last month, which Zheng won 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

No. 3 seed Bruno Kuzuhara had to raise his level late in each set to get past 2021 16s finalist Lucas Brown 6-3, 6-4; he wil play No. 10 seed Cooper Williams Thursday. Kuzuhara beat Williams 7-6(1), 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the Grade 1 Eddie Herr last December.

No. 12 seed Nicholas Godsick came from a 6-3, 3-1 down to beat No. 27 seed Alexander Visser 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. Godsick will face No. 8 seed Learner Tien, who beat No. 29 seed and Clay Courts champion Nicholas Heng 6-1, 6-2. Tien defeated Godsick 6-1, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the Grade 1 in Costa Rica early this year.

No. 33 seed Alexander Chang will face the second Michigan player in the round of 16 (Kim is from suburban Detroit), Ozan Baris. Chang, a rising sophomore at Cal, earned a 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 win over unseeded Alejandro Jacome. Baris, formerly Colak, beat No. 25 seed Adit Sinha 6-2, 6-4. 

No. 4 seed Kyle Kang will play No. 13 seed Samir Banerjee after each got through the fourth round in straight sets. Kang defeated No. 19 seed Kaylan Bigun 6-2, 6-2 and Banerjee beat unseeded Alex Fuchs 6-2, 7-6(2). Kang and Banerjee met last year in the third round of the Easter Bowl, with Kang winning in a third set tiebreaker.

No. 7 seed Alex Michelsen overcame a rough start to beat No. 33 seed Masato Perera 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 and will play Colby for a place in Friday's quarterfinals.

No. 15 seed Jack Anthrop had another long three-setter today, beating No. 24 seed Braden Shick 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. He will play No. 2 seed Ethan Quinn, who got past an inspired Landon Ardila, the No. 29 seed, 7-5, 6-4. Anthrop and Quinn played two weeks ago in the second round of a $25,000 USTA men's Pro Circuit tournament in Edwardsville Illinois, with Anthrop up 5-2 when Quinn retired.

The 18s doubles quarterfinals were played Wednesday afternoon, with two routine and two exciting matches entering the crowds at Stowe Stadium.

Top seeds and Wimbledon champions Gorzny and Michelsen beat No. 10 seeds Nikita Filin and Alexander Razeghi 6-3, 6-3 and will play No. 9 seeds Shick and Rivera, who saved four match points in their 5-7, 7-6(10), 11-9 win over No. 26 seeds Chase Thompson and Aadarsh Tripathi.

Zheng and Anthrop, the No. 5 seeds, defeated No. 19 seeds Marko Mesarovic and Caden Hasler 6-3, 6-2 and will face No. 2 seeds Godsick and Quinn, who avenged their San Diego J1 lost this spring to No. 7 seeds Ardila and Brown 6-4, 2-6, 10-6.

Godsick won the 16s doubles title last year with Brown; Quinn was the 18s runnerup in doubles with Gorzny.

The quarterfinals of 16s doubles will be played Thursday afternoon, while the 18s will have the day off from doubles.

The junior boys wheelchair championships begin Thursday at Stowe and run through Saturday, so the boys 18s round of 16 will be played on the back courts at Stowe and live streaming will not be available. 

Thursday's schedule is here.

The only No. 1 seeds still in contention for USTA National singles titles this week are in the 12s and 18s, with the loss today of the top seed in B14s in Mobile, Jack Secord. Micah Ward[17] defeated Secord 6-2, 6-3.

Reese Brantmeier[1] and Rachel Gailis[2] won today in the 18s round of 32 in San Diego, but Easter Bowl champion Alexis Blokhina[3] lost to Daria Smetannikov[17] 6-1, 7-5. No. 6 seed Clervie Ngounoue[6] lost to Kinaa Graham[33] 6-3 ,4-1 ret. ill.

The 18s semifinals and finals of the 18s will be televised this weekend on CBS Sports Network, according to this release today from the tournament.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Top Seeds in Kalamazoo 16s Tested, but Survive; Perera Defeats Braswell as Round of 32 Wraps Up in 18s; Top Four Seeds Ousted at G16s in San Diego

©Colette Lewis 2022--
Kalamazoo MI--

After several frustrating days of rain disruptions, Day Five of the USTA Boys 18s and 16s National Championships couldn't have been more perfect, with partly cloudy skies, light breezes and temperatures in the 70s.

The 16s singles has managed to stay on schedule, and they are set for the round of 16 on Wednesday morning, with seven of the top eight seeds still alive.

After two routine wins to open the tournament, top seed Roy Horovitz and No. 2 seed Quang Duong were challenged in today's fourth round, with Horovitz defeating No. 25 seed Sanjeev Chundu 7-6(5), 6-3, and Duong easing past No. 22 seed Asror Ismoilov 7-5, 6-4 on George Acker Court at Stowe Stadium.

Horovitz will play No. 14 seed Max Exsted, a 6-3, 5-7, 6-0 winner over No. 20 seed Shaurya Bharadwaj while Duong faces No. 27 seed Krish Arora. Arora defeated No. 15 seed Jordan Reznik 7-5, 6-2.

No. 7 seed Stiles Brockett was not able to hold off No. 33 seed Vincent Yang, who defeated the USTA 16s Clay Courts champion Stiles Brockett 6-3, 6-3.

While the 16s stayed on schedule in singles, they are lagging in doubles, and will play two rounds on Wednesday. That means 16s main draw singles matches will begin at 8 a.m. on Wednesday at Stowe Stadium.

The bottom half of the 18s singles draw couldn't be completed on Monday, so they played today, while the top half had the day off.

The number of dramatic matches was decidedly smaller than yesterday, with only three of the 16 matches in the bottom half of the 18s draw going three sets. 

No. 15 seed Jack Anthrop, a redshirt freshman last semester at Ohio State, needed over three hours to get by No. 33 seed Aadarsh Tripathi 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-4; No. 23 seed Ryan Colby, who played for the University of Southern California last season, defeated Anthrop's future teammate Preston Stearns 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3; and Alex Fuchs, one of just three unseeded players remaining, beat unseeded Abishek Thorat 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.

No. 2 seed Ethan Quinn rolled past Andy Nguyen 6-3, 6-1, while No. 4 seed Kyle Kang battled past No. 33 seed Connor Smillie 6-4, 7-5.

The only 33 seed to beat a higher seed today was Masato Perera, who took out No. 17 seed Jonah Braswell, a rising freshman at Florida, 6-2, 6-4.

Perera is also just days away from starting his college career, as he will head east to Harvard before the end of the month, and said having his college choice settled has shown in his recent results.

"You don't feel that pressure to perform every match," said Perera, who reached the final of the Southern California sectional championships this summer, losing to Hudson Rivera, the No. 9 seed this week in Kalamazoo. "I mean, you still feel like you really want to win, but it's just one thing off your plate, so it's really nice."

Perera said his serve was the key to his win over Braswell, whom he had never played. 

"Honestly, my first serve percentage was really good," said Perera, who played on the Southern California team that reached the final of the USTA's Battle of Sections last week in Grand Rapids. "I've been working on my serve for a long time and it really helped me out today, made the difference in the match."

Next up for Perera will be No. 7 seed Alex Michelsen, another Southern California 18s sectional champion, who defeated No. 33 seed Ratish Patil 6-4, 6-3.

"I've played him like four or five times," said Perera, who is from Santa Barbara. "I'll definitely have to serve well, he's a really good returner and his serve's gotten better. He's solid from the baseline and comes in really well. Actually the last two times we've played, I've won, but I'll definitely have to step up my game and I'm looking forward to it."

As for the change of venue he's facing when he heads to Cambridge in two weeks, Perera already has one thing on his shopping list.

"I'll definitely have to buy a jacket, that's for sure," Perera said.

While upsets were few in singles, the 18s doubles fourth round saw another Top 4 seed fall, with No. 3 seeds Cooper Williams and Aidan Kim losing to No. 9 seed Rivera and Braden Shick 6-3, 2-6, 10-7.  Top seeds and Wimbledon boys champions Sebastian Gorzny and Michelsen defeated No. 32 seeds Vignesh Gogineni and Waleed Qadir 6-4, 6-3 and No. 2 seeds Nicholas Godsick and Quinn beat unseeded Jelani Sarr and Sean Daryabeigi 6-4, 7-6(3).

The 18s doubles quarterfinals are scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, after the fourth round of singles are completed.

Live streaming of courts 1, 2, 3 and 4 at Stowe Stadium can be found here.

Wednesday's match times are posted on the draw at the USTA PlayTennis site.

The top four seeds in at the G16s in San Diego went out in  today's fourth round, with No. 1 Natasha Rajaram losing to Olivia Center[17] 6-4, 2-6, 6-3; No. 2 Stephanie Yakoff retired trailing Elisabeth Dunac[17] 3-0; No. 3 Aspen Schuman lost to unseeded Mia Yamakita 6-1, 6-4 and No. 4 seed Eva Oxford was beaten by unseeded Ali Maguy 6-4, 6-2.

In the G18s, top seeds Reese Brantmeier, Rachel Gailis, Alexis Blokhina and Eleana Yu are through to the third round, but No. 5 seed Qavia Lopez was beaten by unseeded Morgan Pryz 7-5, 6-2.

At the G14s, No. 2 seed Anita Tu lost to No. 33 seed Catherine Rennard 6-2, 1-6, 6-2. At the B14s, No. 2 seed Lev Seidman lost to No. 33 seed Jacob Lee 6-1, 6-3.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Top 18s Seed Damm, No. 9 Seed Gorzny Earn Comeback Victories in Kalamazoo Third Round; Top Eight Seeds in 16s Division Advance to Fourth Round; No. 1 Seed Okhtenberg Falls in G14s

©Colette Lewis 2022--
Kalamazoo MI--

The dire weather forecast didn't materialize Monday for the third round of the USTA Boys 18s and 16s National Championships, but wet courts early and delays due to drizzle late in the day forced the matches in the bottom half of the B18s singles to be postponed until Tuesday.

The third round of B16s singles was completed, and seven of the top eight seeds advanced in straight sets, with No. 8 seed Ian Bracks the only one to lose a set. Bracks did keep that cohort perfect however with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 win over unseeded Dylan Fayerman.

Top seed Roy Horovitz kicked off outdoor play Monday afternoon with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Andrew Spurk and No. 2 seed Quang Duong defeated Zachary Cohen 6-3, 6-0. 

The only 16s division Top 16 seed in action Monday who didn't advance was No. 11 Andrew Ena, who lost to wild card Maximus Dussault 6-2, 6-3.

In contrast to Horovitz, the top seed in the 18s, Martin Damm, had a sterner test, defeating Sean Daryabeigi, a No. 33 seed, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Damm, who lost in the fourth round last year as the No. 2 seed, said he was able to keep a positive attitude despite falling behind.

"I had a feeling, or was hoping, that his level would go down a bit," said the 18-year-old left-hander from Bradenton Florida. "I thought he was playing ridiculous tennis in the first set. Obviously, the last two years, for me, have been tough; the first few rounds have been challenging. But I just kept telling myself, hold your serve and at the worst we go to a breaker in the second."

Down break points at 1-all in the second, Damm held and was able to take control of the match from there.

"If he was going to beat me, he had to earn it, I wasn't going to give up," Damm said. "I came out with good energy and I thought for the next set and a half, I was playing great tennis. It gives me huge confidence moving forward if I get rid of the nerves early on, playing my big tennis, I like my chances against these guys."

Damm, who won the 2018 16s title when he was just 14 and the 2019 18s doubles title with Toby Kodat, has more good memories than bad from his three previous appearances in Kalamazoo.

"Those are obviously some of the best memories I've experienced on a tennis court," Damm said. "But know that as the top seed, you have a target on your back and these guys, they have nothing to lose and the two guys I've played are pretty darn good. I have a huge chance to play the US Open, and I know they say take one match at a time, but that's the ultimate goal for me. There's definitely some pressure, but at the same time you've just got to enjoy it. This is my last year to play this tournament and I've had a blast here, even the losses I've taken, it's changed me a lot."

Damm is without a coach on this trip and that is part of his effort to be more self-sufficient as he continues to pursue a professional career. 

"This year has been a lot of learning, last year and a half a lot of maturing," said Damm, who won his first $25,000 ITF Men's World Tennis Tour tile in June when traveling by himself. "That was something my coaches told me, that I will go to three, four tournaments alone completely, just to figure out things for myself, not always have someone there to lean on. That's obviously great, but I need to learn to battle there on the court like I did today. I found a way, by myself to win a match."

In the fourth round Damm will play No. 26 seed Bryce Nakashima, brother of 2017 Kalamazoo 16s champion Brandon, who defeated Jonathan Gu 6-1, 6-2 today.

Damm began his comeback early in the second set, but it took much longer for No. 9 seed Sebastian Gorzny to turn around his match with Dylan Tsoi, a No. 33 seed.  

Gorzny was serving down 1-4, 15-40 in the third set, but held there and got the break back before drizzle again delayed play, this time for more than a few minutes.  Tsoi took a medical timeout before play resumed with what appeared to be a back issue, but Gorzny, a rising freshman at TCU, wasn't affected by the delay and he held for 4-all. Tsoi, a Yale recruit, held for 5-4 and again had medical attention on the changeover. After Gorzny made it 5-all, Tsoi couldn't convert his game point at 40-30, double faulting and making two errors to hand Gorzny a 6-5 lead. Up 40-15, Gorzny let two match points go to waste, with Tsoi hitting good passing shots as Gorzny approached the net, but on the third Tsoi missed and Gorzny had survived. He will play Evan Wen, a No. 33 seed, who beat No. 20 seed Jelani Sarr 6-1, 4-6, 6-1.

The top half will not play singles on Tuesday, with their next singles matches on Wednesday as the bottom half catches up. See the home page of ustaboys.com for more on Tuesday's revised schedule.

Although there were no major upsets in the 18s singles, that was not the case in 18s doubles, which were played indoors on Monday morning. No. 4 seeds Samir Banerjee and Ozan Baris lost to No. 19 seeds Caden Hasler and Marko Mesarovic 6-4, 5-7, 10-2 and No. 8 seeds Kyle Kang and Learner Tien lost to unseeded Alexander Chang and Noah Hernandez 7-5, 6-4.

No 16s doubles were played on Monday.

At the girls 14s Nationals in Rome Georgia, top seed Nicole Okhtenberg and No. 4 seed Alyson Shannon both lost today in third round action. Okhtenberg, the Easter Bowl 14s champion, was beaten by No. 33 seed Maya Diyasheva 6-7(1), 6-3, 7-6(4) and Shannon lost to No. 33 seed Harper Stone 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Rain Forces Play Indoors to Complete Kalamazoo B16s Singles Second Round, Burnett Ousts No. 10 Seed in Three-Hour Battle; Boika Wins J1 in South Africa; Shang, Monday Claim Decatur and Lexington Titles

©Colette Lewis 2022--
Kalamazoo MI--

Many of the top 32 seeds in the 16s division of the USTA Boys National Championships were able to post their first victories in Sunday's second round of singles before the rain arrived just before 1 p.m.

No. 2 seed Quang Duong posted a quick 6-0, 6-1 win over Jack Ling before the skies opened; No. 3 seed Adhithya Ganesan, a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Prathinav Chunduru, and No. 4 seed Cooper Woestendick, who beat Kenneth Chan 6-1, 6-2, also finished their matches outdoors at Stowe Stadium.

Top seed Roy Horovitz, playing on George Acker Court, the No. 1 court at Stowe Stadium, wasn't as fortunate however. The 15-year-old from Florida had taken the first set, but was sent to one of the four indoor courts at Kalamazoo's College Markin Center to complete his 6-0, 6-2 win over Arham Mefta.

No. 5 seed Darwin Blanch, a 14-year-old wild card, needed less than an hour to get past Tristan Stine 6-0, 6-1 Sunday morning.

On the other end of the match time spectrum was Evan Burnett, who survived an intense three-hour and 20 minute slugfest in high heat and humidity to beat No. 10 seed Cyrus Mahjoob 5-7, 7-6(8), 6-4.

Burnett was down a set and 5-3, but Mahjoob couldn't close the door, and Burnett converted his second set point in the tiebreaker to force a third. Breaking at 4-all in the third, Burnett had a chance to serve for the match and he took it, choosing to serve and volley on his second match point at 40-30.

That decision was based on his physical condition as much as on any strategic considerations.

"I was so tired at the end," said the 16-year-old from Woodside California. "Once we got to the third set, my legs were almost giving out, but I found a way, played smart. I've been throwing [serve and volley] in recently, but haven't done it much. I was super tired and I thought that would be the best way to finish the match. If he hit a great shot, that's fine, but I had confidence he would give me an easy ball or would miss and he did. So I felt that was the best thing to do on match point."

Burnett was on the Northern California team that won the USTA Battle of the Sections on Wednesday, and said that and three wins at the Clay Courts last month put him in a good frame of mind for this event.

"I came in with a lot of confidence and I'm playing well now," Burnett said. "I'd never seen him play, but I knew who he was, he was a high seed and got third at Easter Bowl, which was amazing. But I just played my game, stayed loose, believed I could win. When you're playing a high seed, you can get caught up in, oh he's so much better than me, so I had to just believe in my game."

Two other top 32 seeds fell in Sunday's second round, with Elliot Wasserman defeated No. 21 seed Paris Pouatcha 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 and Nathaniel Suh beating No. 29 seed Raghav Jangbahadur 6-4, 6-1.

Another long match at Stowe Stadium that featured a comeback saw Grand Rapids' Simon Caldwell defeat No. 33 seed Nolan Balthazor 5-7, 6-4, 6-1.

Caldwell, who turned 15 two weeks ago, looked much fresher than his much bigger opponent in the third set of the two-hour and 43-minute contest.

"I've done a lot of work over the summer to get my body in the best shape that I can be and I proved it today," said the rising high school freshman, who trains with Tom Walker at the Grand Rapids Racquet and Fitness club.  "I've been really training hard trying to perfect my game for the biggest tournament of the year."

Competing on the show courts at Stowe Stadium is especially significant for those juniors who have attended the tournament in when they were just beginning to play, hoping someday to qualify for it.

"It's a really amazing feeling," said Caldwell, who also played at Stowe Stadium in his first round match Saturday. "Everyone that's come from Michigan to support me, it really means a lot to be there, on the big stage. I really had a great time playing, and I can't wait to play again tomorrow."

Whether matches will be played on Monday is another question, with the forecast currently calling for a 70% chance of rain and more rain this evening delaying the completion of the 18s consolation matches and many of the boys 16s first round doubles matches. 

The schedule will be posted tonight at the ustaboys.com website, but times will go up later than usual due to all the matches still in progress. The 18s doubles third round matches originally scheduled for today were canceled.

Leanid Boika, who would have qualified to play Kalamazoo due to his ITF Top 100 ranking, opted instead to play the Grade 1 tournament in South Africa last week, (and the Grade A next week) instead. The 17-year-old from Florida, seeded No. 2, proceeded to win his first singles title above the J5 level in Durban, beating top seed Rei Sakamoto of Japan 6-2, 7-6(5) in Saturday's final.

The three USTA Pro Circuit tournaments wrapped up today, with University of Tennessee junior Johannes Monday winning at the $25K in Decatur Illinois, Jerry Shang taking the ATP Challenger title in Lexington Kentucky and Katie Swan the champion at the $60K in Lexington.

No. 6 seed Monday, a 20-year-old from Great Britain, defeated top seed Zeke Clark(Illinois) 6-3, 6-3 in the final.  No. 3 seedsTyler Zink(Oklahoma State) and George Goldhoff(Texas) won the doubles title, beating No. 2 seeds Taisei Ichikawa and Seita Watanabe of Japan 6-3, 6-4 in today's final.

The unseeded Shang, the first player born in 2005 to win a Challenger title, defeated No. 2 seed Emilio Gomez(USC) of Ecuador 6-4, 6-4 in today's final.  The 17-year-old from China, who trains at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, will break into the ATP 250 with this result, less than a year after playing his last junior singles match at the US Open. He fell in that final, to Daniel Rincon of Spain, but immediately thereafter began winning USTA Pro Circuit events and is now a Challenger champion.

India's Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni(Alabama) won the Lexington doubles title, with the No. 2 seeds defeating the unseeded pair of Aidan McHugh of Great Britain and Gijs Brouwer of the Netherlands 3-6, 6-4, 10-8.

Speaking of doubles, former North Carolina star Will Blumberg won another ATP doubles title, his third, at the ATP 250 in Los Cabos Mexico, with Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia. Blumberg and Kecmanovic, who were unseeded, defeated No. 4 seeds Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Marcelo Melo of Brazil 6-1, 6-0 in last night's final. With the title, Blumberg will move into the Top 100 in the ATP doubles rankings for the first time, at 85.

At the $60,000 women's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Lexington, No. 8 seed Katie Swan defeated No. 2 seed Jodie Burrage 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 in an all-Great Britain final.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Quinn Among Top B18s Seeds Breezing into Third Round; 16s Championships Underway at Kalamazoo; Both USA Teams Finish Third at ITF World Junior Tennis 14U Competition; Shang Reaches Lexington Challenger Final

©Colette Lewis 2022--
Kalamazoo MI--

The hot and humid conditions for the singles second round at the USTA Boys 18s National Championships didn't pose any problems for the top 16 seeds, all of whom advanced to the third round with routine straight-sets victories.

Eight games was the most any of those 15 seeds lost (No. 6 seed Nishesh Basavareddy withdrew before the tournament) and it was No. 1 seed Martin Damm who had the toughest match. Playing on George Acker Court, the No. 1 court at Stowe, the 2018 Boys 16s champion struggled a bit before defeating Ethan Schiffman 6-4, 6-4. The left-hander from Florida got a break at 4-all in the first set, then broke early in the second and held on to advance to the third round.

In the day's last main draw match at Stowe, No. 2 seed Ethan Quinn also was assigned to Acker Court, where he displayed the form that has resulted in two USTA Pro Circuit men's titles this summer, beating Kyle McNally 6-0, 6-1.

After a mediocre spring on the ITF Junior Circuit that led to a drop in his ranking, Quinn opted not to play qualifying for Roehampton and the Wimbledon Junior Championships, a decision that looks especially good in hindsight.

"I had been in Milan (a junior Grade A), Roland Garros and a 15K in Italy and that entire time I was pretty ill," said the 18-year-old from Fresno, who now lives in Athens after enrolling at the University of Georgia in January. "Being ill, I didn't want to stay in Europe by myself, and I saw there were these $15Ks in California, and I thought that would be a little bit better opportunity for me, for the path I want to go on."

An unabashed fan of hard courts, Quinn had great success on the SoCal Circuit, winning his first pro title in San Diego in singles by defeating NCAA singles finalist August Holmgren in the final, while also reaching the doubles final. He picked up two doubles titles the following two weeks, then made the semifinals as that six-week stretch concluded. The following week, he made his way to the Midwest for the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Champaign and won that, boosting his ATP ranking to 509, second only to Damm in the Kalamazoo field.

He retired in the second round of the $25,000 tournament in Edwardsville last week, unwilling to jeopardize his preparations for Kalamazoo.

"Going into Edwardsville, I felt like I was fine physically," Quinn said. "In Champaign it was really hot, some days were really windy, but I felt like let's just keep riding this high. I was playing very well, I felt like I could beat anyone in that draw again and I won my first round, but I was having just a little big of discomfort in my knee and I was just like, this is not worth it. Right away, I went back to Athens and got my body feeling better. I had played six weeks straight or so, and it was nice getting a lot of massages. Rather than go back to California, I could get that all for free, in the same time zone."

Quinn admits that he often feels a different level of pressure when playing junior tournaments, but does not shy away from talking about the US Open main draw wild card on the line here.

"It's massive," saoid Quinn, who has received entry into the US Open Junior Championships via his ATP ranking. "The entire summer I had this marked on my calendar, making sure my body is ready, that I'm ready to compete at a high level, getting a lot of matches in. I want to win this, and especially, being the college guy, I want to show that it's the right choice. I want to be at the Open for sure."

The first few rounds at Kalamazoo don't compare to the competition he was facing in the Pro Circuit tournaments, but he defeated both No. 4 seed Kyle Kang and No. 7 seed Alex Michelsen during the SoCal Pro Circuit tournaments and knows just how many contenders there are for the title this year.

"I think a lot of it is going to be mental," Quinn said. "Who can handle the pressure. Anyone could win it, so every match you have to play knowing this could decide whether I go to the Open. If you're more locked in, making better decisions, and I mean, this is the best crowd I've had since my first year in 16s here, so not letting the crowd overwhelm you. Anyone can take it, but not if you're letting those things affect you."

Quinn appreciates what Kalamazoo means to the history of the sport and to the community.

"It's just the way the community supports the tennis here," Quinn said. "It really reminds me of Athens, big stadium, three front courts. Yesterday I was walking out of dinner and people stopped me and asked about the tournament, if I was playing. They were from Chicago and everyone around here knows about the tournament. I appreciate how much they support it. When you're out there, and even if you're playing someone you're kind of killing, they're still clapping, still super supportive. The boy I played today, he won a game and the crowd erupted. I loved it and it gets me ready for college that feeling. And then, of course, the blueberries and cream. I'm probably going to get one before I go back."

No. 3 seed and reigning Australian Open boys champion Bruno Kuzuhara defeated AJ Mercer 6-2, 6-0 and No. 4 seed Kyle Kang beat Ninad Raut 6-2, 6-1.

While there was no drama for the top 16 seeds, No. 17 seed Alexander Frusina wasn't as fortunate, losing to Abishek Thorat 6-2, 6-4. The last game was full of tension, after the 15-year-old from Florida had broken to serve for the match. Thorat saved a break point, then saw Frusina save five match points before he finally converted the sixth.

Two other top 32 seeds fell today, including last year's 16s champion Alexander Razeghi[32], who retired with an injury trailing Alejandro Jacome 1-6, 7-5, 1-0.  No. 30 seed Marko Mesarovic lost to Nicholas Steiglehner 6-3, 6-3.

The first round of 16s singles began today, with none of the top 32 seeds in action until Sunday. Five No. 33 seeds lost, all in tough battles: Jacob Golden lost to Kai Villagomez 7-6(5), 6-3 and Dylan Jaen was beaten by Sibby Rodi 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.  Nathan Gold defeated No. 33 seed Karan Rabhavendra 6-2, 4-6, 6-3; Mateusz Gradski beat No. 33 seed Ian Mayew 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 and 14-year-old Ford McColllum defeated Cole Henceroth[33] 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.

There is no singles play for 18s on Sunday, with the third round of doubles late iin the afternoon. The main focus early in the day will be the second round of 16s singles, with the top 32 seeds in action.

Live streaming is available for Courts 1-5 at Stowe Stadium, with Hap Haasch providing audio updates on who is playing on which court, plus frequent review of scores on those five courts.

Match times for Sunday are available at ustaboys.com or at the PlayTennis site.

Top seeds Czech Republic won the girls ITF World Junior Tennis 14U team championships today in their home country, defeating No. 4 seed Germany 3-0.  The unseeded Swiss team took the boys title, beating No. 2 seed Germany 2-1 by taking the deciding doubles point.

The USA teams both took third place. The No. 2 seeded girls beat No. 3 Slovakia 2-0, with Capucine Jauffret and Shannon Lam winning both singles matches.  The No. 3 seeded boys defeated No. 8 Kazakhstan 2-1, with Jack Kennedy winning in singles and Keaton Hance, who had lost in singles, teaming with Kennedy to take the deciding doubles point.

For more on today's finals, see the articles from the ITF Junior website.

At the ATP Challenger 80 in Lexington, 17-year-old Jerry Shang of China continued his impressive run, reaching his first Challenger final with a 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 win over No. 7 seed Aleks Kovacevic(Illinois). Shang will face former USC All-American Emilio Gomez of Ecuador, the No. 2 seed. Gomez defeated No. 8 seed Enzo Couacaud of France 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(5).

At the $60,000 USTA women's Pro Circuit tournament in Lexington, qualifier Peyton Stearns(Texas) lost to No. 2 seed Jodi Burrage of Great Britain 1-6, 6-4, 6-3. Burrage will play No. 8 seed Katie Swan of Great Britain, who beat Marcela Zacarias of Mexico 6-2, 7-6(2).

Top seeds Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine and Adila Sutjiadi(Kentucky) of Indonesia won the doubles title, beating unseeded Jada Hart(UCLA) and Dalayna Hewitt 7-5, 6-3 in today's final. 

Top seed Zeke Clark(Illinois) and No. 6 seed Johannes Monday(Tennessee) of Great Britain will play for the title Sunday at the $25,000 USTA men's Pro Circuit tournament in Decatur Illinois. Clark beat No. 8 seed Tyler Zink(Oklahoma State) 6-0, 6-2 and and Monday defeated No. 4 seed Makoto Ochi of Japan 6-3, 6-4 in today's semifinals.

Friday, August 5, 2022

My Kalamazoo Preview; Three Seeds Fall in 18s First Round Action at Kalamazoo; All Top Eight Doubles Seeds Advance to Third Round; USTA 12s and 14s Nationals Seeds; USA Teams Fall in WJT 14U Semis; Stearns Reaches Lexington $60K Semifinals

©Colette Lewis 2022--

Kalamazoo MI--

Before I get into the action on opening day of the 2022 USTA Boys 18s and 16s National Championships, here's my annual preview of the tournament for the Tennis Recruiting Network. The first day is strictly for 18s and due to byes, none of the top 32 seeds play  singles, so, with one exception, all the players I mention in my preview are still in contention for the titles. The exception is No. 6 seed Nishesh Basavareddy, who withdrew with an injury late Thursday. 

Good weather is always appreciated when there are so many matches to complete early in the tournament, but there was a delay this afternoon at all three sites due to rain, lightning or both. All the singles matches had concluded before the rain arrived, however, so the only impact was in doubles matches, but that forced several second round matches under the lights.

While the top 32 seeds get byes, all 32 of the 33-64 seeds were in action today, with only three failing to advance to the second round. Three others withdrew before the start of play: Luke Bracks, Adam Sun and Brayden Michna.  

Ohio State recruit Brandon Carpico defeated Kentucky recruit Eli Stephenson[33] 7-5, 2-6, 6-2; Adam Bojkovic took out Yale incoming freshman Vignesh Gogineni[33] and Purdue incoming freshman Mujtaba Ali-Khan defeated Dartmouth incoming freshman Waleed Qadir[33] 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(6). 

18s played two rounds of doubles today, with the top 16 seeds getting byes. The top eight seeds all won, with No. 1 seeds Sebastian Gorzny and Alex Michelsen getting a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Robert Cooper and Luc Piacentini and No. 2 seeds Nicholas Godsick and Ethan Quinn defeating Payton Jim On and Andre Ajed 6-2, 6-2.  No. 4 seeds Samir Banerjee and Ozan (Colak) Baris had the most dramatic second round win of the top eight seeds, defeating Stephenson and David Saye 6-1, 6-7(4), 10-7.  

With Basavareddy withdrawing, Bryce Nakashima was without a partner, but this morning he was able to get USC rising sophomore Ryan Colby as a replacement. They retained the No. 6 seed originally given to the Basavareddy and Nakashima (CORRECTION: Colby and Nakashima are NOT seeded), and after a slow start, came back to beat Rahulniket Konakanchi and Nicolas Arts 3-6, 6-1, 10-6.

The top 32 seeds in the 18s will begin play Saturday with second round matches, while the first round of 16s singles will be played, with those top 32 seeds having byes. There will be one round of doubles for 16s on Saturday, while the 18s doubles have the day off. 

Live streaming is available on courts 1-5 at Stowe Stadium. Follow @ustaboys on twitter for information on who is playing on which of those five courts.

The 12s and 14s divisions begin play Saturday, with the Top 16 seeds listed below. For complete draws, click on the headings to go to the PlayTennis site.

1. Vihaan Reddy
2. Elliott Awomoyi
3. Safir Azam
4. Akshay Mirmira
5. Tabb Tuck
6. Tristan Stratton
7. Gurbaaz Narang
8. Griffin Goode
9. Arjun Krishnan
10. Jason Eigbedion
11. Zesen Wang
12. Dylan Meineke
13. Karan Shanker 
14. Advay Singh
15. Daniil Berezin
16. Stefanos Constantinides

1. Jack Secord
2. Lev Seidman
3. Andrew Gordon
4. Andre Alcantara
5. Liam Alvarez
6. David Wu
7. Sebastian Bielen
8. Colin McPeek
9. Rafael Ferreira
10. Rajat Shirur
11. Ilias Bouzoubaa
12. James Quattro
13. Zavier Augustin
14. Arjun Prabhakar
15. Sean Grosman
16. Kimi Basamakov

1. Sarah Ye
2. Hannah Ayrault
3. Welles Newman
4. Maggie Sohns
5. Sophia Osipova
6. Lani Chang
7. Janae Preston
8. Ciara Sergi
9. Julia Seversen
10. Reiley Rhodes
11. Evelynn Kwak
12. Bella Arwood
13. Daniela Del Mastro
14. Raya Kotseva
15. Ava Penn
16. Ava Khalil

1. Nicole Okhtenberg
2. Anita Tu
3. Isabelle DeLuccia
4. Alyson Shannon
6. Lauren Kettlewell
7. Sena Yoon
8. Anna Frey
9. Karlin Schock
10. Thea Frodin
11. Victoria Mann
12. Nancy Lee
13. Kaia Giribalan
14. Natalie Oliver
15. Abigail Gordon
16. Anna Bugaienko

Both teams from the USA lost in the semifinals today at the ITF World Junior Tennis 14U team competition in the Czech Republic. Both Capucine Jauffret and Shannon Lam fell in singles, with No. 4 seed Germany taking a 2-0 victory over the No. 2 seeds. The No. 3 boys seeds lost to unseeded Switzerland 2-1, with Jack Kennedy winning at No. 2 singles, Carel Ngounoue losing at No. 1 singles and Keaton Hance and Kennedy falling in a match tiebreaker in the deciding doubles. The girls will play Slovakia[3] for third place, while the boys will face Kazakhstan[8] in the bronze medal match.

Germany will play top seed Czech Republic for the girls title, with Switzerland taking on No. 2 seed Germany for the boys title. For more on today's matches, see the ITF junior website.

Live streaming and live scoring is available here.

2022 NCAA singles champion Peyton Stearns(Texas) is through to the semifinals at the $60,000 USTA women's Pro Circuit tournament in Lexington Kentucky after beating Karman Thandi of India 6-3, 6-1. Stearns, a qualifier this week, will face No. 2 seed Jodi Burrage of Great Britain Saturday.

At the ATP Challenger 80 in Lexington, No. 7 seed Aleks Kovacevic(Illinois) has advanced to the semifinals with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Roberto Quiroz(USC) of Ecuador. Kovacevic, a finalist two weeks ago at the Indianapolis Challenger, will face 17-year-old Jerry Shang of China, who took out top seed Roman Safiullin of Russia 0-6, 6-4, 7-5 today.