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Monday, March 15, 2010

Bektas, Shane Upset at Spring Nationals; Goepel Survives, Papac Wins Nearly Four-Hour Battle

©Colette Lewis 2010--
Mobile, AL--

The weather stayed the same, but the intensity increased in second round action Monday at the 18s Spring Nationals. On another sunny, cool and breezy day, girls No. 4 seed Emina Bektas and boys No. 5 seed Justin Shane were upset victims, the highest of the 11 seeds to lose.

It's still too early in the tournament to station myself at one place and watch a particular match, but I did manage to see two dramatic endings. I missed Mississippi's Ellie Yates' 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 win over Bektas because I was watching the end of a three-hour marathon between No. 17 Katie Goepel and Jacqueline Crawford, which Goepel won 5-7, 7-5, 7-5. Goepel was up 5-3 in the first set, she told me afterward.

"I think I lost 12 or 13 points in a row, so that's three games there," said the 17-year-old from New Jersey. "I think I was being a little bit tentative there and I went into the second set thinking, I don't care if I lose the set, I have to be aggressive. I'm going for it."

Goepel's strategy worked, but late in the third set, she found her own advice difficult to take.

Serving at 4-4 in the third set, Crawford, 15, lost the first three points, saved one break point with a backhand on the line, but lost the next when Goepel hit a forehand winner.

With the match on her racquet, Goepel double faulted to open the game, did it again at 15-30, and although she brought the game back to deuce, she threw in two more double faults, the last one bringing Crawford back to even.

Crawford didn't take advantage of Goepel's nerves however, dropping the next game on a double fault of her own at 15-40, so the alphabetically seeded Goepel had another chance to end it.

She got first serves in on the first two points, hitting an overhead winner and a forehand pass to make it 30-0. On the next point, Goepel's first served missed, but she sliced a second serve ace past a lunging Crawford to earn three match points. Goepel didn't get a first serve in on the first of those, but Crawford went for the second serve return, hitting it well long to give Goepel a hard-earned victory.

"I was very nervous to close it out," Goepel said of her first attempt at serving for the match. "I went into it at 6-5 thinking I can't do that again; I have to pretend I'm not up 6-5, that it's not the end of the match. I knew I had to change my attitude."

While Goepel survived, five other seeded girls, including Bektas, did not. Julia Fellerhoff, a No. 17 seed, lost to Sherry Li, while Jenny Hois, also a 17 seed, lost to Samantha Adams. Mara Schmidt defeated No. 12 seed Hanna Yu and Noor Judeh downed No. 9 seed Britney Sanders.

I saw the second set of Andranik Khachatryan's 6-3, 6-0 win over Shane, and as is evident from the score, Shane wasn't able to do much right against the Californian. As Shane began to miss--often not by much, but with balls finding the tape or landing an inch or two beyond the lines--he became more frustrated, and Khachatryan needed only to keep the ball in play long enough for another error from Shane. At the desperation stage late in the match, Shane even resorted to a serve and volley, but nothing worked. He was broken again, and Khachatryan was through to round of 32 a few points later.

In contrast to that swift and decisive ending, the match between Nick Papac and Andrew Adams took nearly four hours to play and was decided in a third set tiebreaker. Papac, who had taken out No. 12 seed Jackson Withrow Monday, won the battle, 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(3), over a cramping Adams.

Adams showed his first sign of distress late in the third set, and with Papac serving at 5-6 15-15, Adams crumpled to the court. Unlike the new ITF rules, the USTA regulations still allow treatment for cramping, and a trainer was called to the court. After a few minutes, Adams got up and continued play. He lost the next three points, and didn't move well, but during the tiebreaker, the effects of the cramping were less noticeable. Papac, a left-hander, never trailed in the tiebreaker, but Adams had two serves down 4-3. He wasn't able to win either point, and when his volley went long down 5-3, Papac had three match points. He only needed one, as Adams put a backhand into the net to end the three-hour and 45-minute contest.

Aside from Shane, five other boys seeds fell including Evan Song, the No. 11 seed, who lost to Gregory Scott. Four alphabetical seeds went out in the second round: Mesa Mei, who was beaten by Jeremy Efferding; Zachary Katz, who lost to Jose Martinez; Quoc Daniel Nguyen, who lost to Justin Crenshaw; and Winston Lin who was beaten by Casey Kay.

The first installment of the daily tournament video report produced by Dave Kozlowski and Bob Gray can be found by clicking this link at indietennis.com. The video is approximately eight minutes long.

For the complete results of the day's action, see the TennisLink site.


Junior Tennis Fan said...

Doea anyone have any insight into what is wrong with Justin Shane?

This guy is an awesome player who beat Evan King at Kalamazoo last summer. Lately it sounds like he can't compete and he's losing badly to players that he would have destroyed 6 months ago without even breaking a sweat.

In fact, I picked him as one of the favorites to win this tournament.

Is he injurred, burned out, seniorities?

Does anyone know anything?

Junior Tennis Fan said...

Sorry about the last typo. I meant: "Senioritus."

john said...

well, he is good. but he did play "out of his mind" last summer. i cant prove it, but id say king would win 8 of 10 matches against shane. again, he did beat king, and he is a very good player, but lets not make him out to be better than he is. also, its a lot more pressure playing as a high seed, especially with his game style: straight up slap all day. if you're tight, the ball is going to find its way out more than normal

Bob said...

I agree that Shane's win over King was perhaps a bit of an overachievement but he's done a lot more than just that one win or just get "hot one summer."

He has many excellent wins over the past 3 years, has either won or reached the finals of a few national opens and got to the semis of the Winter Nationals last year.

Moreover, we're not talking about a minor upset. He lost in the second round to Khachatryan by a score of 6-3, 6-0!!!

Last week Shane was ranked #12 on Tennis Recruiting and Khachatryan was ranked #99 and this is based on quality of wins not some inflated points total.

And this was only one of a few unexplainable and shocking losses over the past month or two.

Perhaps he won't beat Evan King most of the time, but this is a 3 & 0 2d round loss to a guy whose record is not even close to Shane's.

Can someone please explain this?

chill out said...

saying that justin is overhyped is simply unfair. his game style is very unique in that he hits flat off both wings, and his height gives him incredible leverage off the serve. He is very talented with incredible upside for college and beyond, and that was seen in kzoo and will be seen in the future. everyone struggles with matchplay competitveness, and the more tournaments you play, the easier it is to shake the rust and get the killer instinct back. no worries for him in the future

Justin said...

This is justin. The reason I havent been playing that well lately is just because I havent been playing that much in general. Its my last year before college and i wanted to take it easy for a while. Now that the summer season is close i am training a lot more again. I struggle at mobile because its the first outdoor tournament all year.

if they aint hatin, your doing something wrong

justin fan said...


I love the fact you came on with your own name and had the guts to tell the truth. Impressive!!

I hope you are still training in the gym and working on your game because I hear you have a huge game and can be a dangerous player.

Best of luck and enjoy life!!!