Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sock Gets by Kosakowski in Three-Set Thriller to Reach 18s Semifinals

©Colette Lewis 2010--
Kalamazoo, MI--

The 2010 USTA Boys 18 and 16 National Championships had been a little short on drama--until today. When No. 3 seed Jack Sock and No. 15 seed Daniel Kosakowski walked onto Stowe Stadium's court 2 for their 18s quarterfinal match on another hot and humid afternoon, few of the spectators could have foreseen the enthralling three-hour rollercoaster ride they would witness. When Sock hit the second of his two forehand winners to earn a 7-6(3), 3-6, 7-6(5) victory, the loud and appreciative applause for both players said it all, and the stadium buzzed for many minutes after the match concluded. The most frequent comment was a simple "wow."

Sock saved two match points serving at 4-5 in the third set, and Kosakowski admitted he'll probably think about the second of those two points for a little while.

On the first match point, Sock hit a good forehand deep into Kosakowski's backhand corner, and Kosakowski's backhand reply didn't clear the net. After Sock hit a forehand into the net on the next point, Kosakowski had his second chance, and this time Sock made a mistake. Sock had a short ball with Kosakowski coming into the net for a drop volley, and instead of a passing shot, Sock went for a topspin lob. It was short, and Kosakowski had many options, but the one he took, a backhand volley, landed several inches wide.

"I wasn't going to move, I was so stunned at how bad I hit that lob," said Sock. "I was just going to stand there and say 'nice shot', I didn't know what to do. He might have been a little anxious to hit it, wanted to hit it quick and get it perfect, but he could have hit it anywhere and been in good shape. I was in disbelief, but that's tennis."

Kosakowski, who is the picture of composure on the court, did show a small sign of frustration after that volley, throwing his sweat-soaked hat to the ground.

"I just wasn't expecting him to give me that shot," said Kosakowski, who did not lose his serve in the match. "The shot that I gave him was pretty easy, and I thought he was just going to rip a winner, but he ends up lobbing me to my backhand."

Despite that miss, Kosakowski didn't let it bother him for long. He did make two unforced errors on the next two points, but he held at love in his next service game, and Sock again had to hold serve to stay in the match. Sock let a 40-15 lead slip away on a Kosakowski return winner and a double fault, but he won the next two points to force the tiebreaker.

Kosakowski took a 3-1 lead, serving an ace to open the tiebreaker and a service winner the next time he served. But at 3-1, a long rally of several dozen shots ended with a risky volley winner from Sock. Kosakowski took a 5-4 lead on his serve when Sock netted a forehand, but it was the last point he would win. After Kosakowski netted a backhand to make it 5-5, Sock missed his first serve, but got the second one in. After a brief exchange, Sock went for a forehand, and it found the sideline, giving him his first match point. Three hours and eight minutes after it began, Sock ended the match with a second clean forehand winner, and the tournament had its signature moment.

"I feel good," said Sock, who had struggled with dehydration earlier in the week. "He's a darn good player...I knew his forehand was good and he can literally hit a winner from anywhere in the court."

Kosakowski, who will be playing for UCLA this fall, obviously didn't get the result he wanted, but even less than a half hour after a crushing loss, he appreciated the level of competition.

"We both played really well," he said. "One point here and there and I could have easily won the match. I've just got to forget about it and keep working hard."

Sock will play top seed Jordan Cox in Saturday's semifinal. Cox had a much shorter day than Sock, posting a 6-1, 6-2 victory over No. 29 seed Nelson Vick. Cox defeated Sock 6-3 6-3 in the first round of a Futures tournament last month in Illinois.

In the 16s, No. 1 seed Shane Vinsant earned a semifinal berth with a 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 6 seed Anthony Delcore. Vinsant had a 5-1 lead in the second set, but Delcore stepped up his game and Vinsant was happy to finish it in two sets.

As in the 18s, the top half of the 16s will feature the No. 1 and No. 3 seeds in the semifinals. Nolan Paige, the No. 3 seed, put an end to the run of Michigan's Tyler Gardiner, the No. 16 seed, taking a 6-3, 7-5 decision.

In the boys 16s doubles quarterfinals, the top seeded team and three unseeded teams won. Mitchell Krueger and Vinsant beat No. 5 seeds Maxx Lipman and Gordon Watson 6-2, 6-3 and will meet unseeded Alex Gornet and Zack Lewis in the semifinals Friday. Fornet and Lewis beat Matthew Alves and Gardiner, the No. 8 seeds 2-6, 7-6(5) 10-5. The seeded teams in the bottom half were both upset. No. 2 seeds TJ Pura and Richard Del Nunzio had misread their match time and reported to their match with Sam Bloom and Ken Sabacinski 14 minutes late, so were facing a 3-0 deficit before a ball was struck. Bloom and Sabacinski won that set 6-3 and the second 6-4. They will play Andrew Korinek and Tam Trinh, who upset No. 4 seeds Mihir Kumar and Michael Redlicki 7-6(3), 3-6, 13-11.

On Friday, the bottom half of the draw will play their quarterfinal matches, and both divisions' doubles semifinals will be played.

For complete draws, see ustaboys.com.


Too Much Ego for Backdraw said...

Evan King, the National Sportsmanship Player of the Year, pulls out of the backdraw of Kalamazoo. Does that mean he cannot play the doubles? If he plays doubles, POOR EFFORT in singles and cannot believe his college coach would allow that.

Sekou Bangoura seems to be just fine playing the backdraw and doubles.

thecolornotthebird said...

is there anyone tweeting girls 18s results? thanks

Eeyore said...

Great showing from the 16's boys from Texas. Keep up the good work!!!

realest said...

i really dont see how backdraw matters. if u lose ur job(lose a tennis match for example) its not like u can get a consolation bonus, u just have to find another job(new tournament) and move on. i think backdraw should only be played by those who lose in the first round. once u cant get the title theres no point in playing to get 5th.

been-there said...

Well, look at the Girl's 18's Draw: Goldfield, Dolehide, and Capra, and Santamaria all pulled out once they lost. Whereas Emina Bektas lost a heartbreaker today (14-12 supertiebreaker) in the backdraw. Give me her fortitude anyday over the others.

To Realest:

The backdraw absolutely matters. Who in the world WANTS to play the next day after a big loss? Nobody. But you have to learn in life to get back on the horse once you fall off. And once you do, you feel so much better. You leave the tournament feeling so much better about it. It shows you have mojo, spirit, great attitude, and a will to keep trying.

What are you going to do in life when you e.g. lose one sale in your sales job? Just give up? What about when you fail the LSAT or GMAT tests? Never try again? My heavens, the world is full of stories where if you don't succeed, try, try again.

Of course it matters. Not to mention it shows you have guts.

just saying said...

King's played plenty of quality matches in the past few weeks. He deserves the benefit of the doubt.

THANKS said...

Hi Colette ,
First of all i wanted to say that you have done a wonderful job with this blog.
I also wanted to ask you if you knew why Christian Harrison hasn't played in a very long time.
Has he ''retired''?

Colette Lewis said...

Christian Harrison is recovering from an injury, but is expected to return to tournament play in a few months.

enough is enough said...

to been-there, talking straight tennis, id take capra, dolehide, Goldfeld, and Santamaria Every day of the week over Bektas. there is a reason a lot of the top players pull out of the backdraw. because in every level of tennis outside of the USTA, there is no backdraw and people are playing to win not playing for 5th. ATP, ITA, ETA, COTECC, etc. do not play backdraws.

also, to just saying, i 100% agree with you. Evan has had a great summer of a ton of matches in the futures, in not only qualies, but he obviously had some great main draw wins, most notably over Buchanan. So lets give him he benefit of the doubt and let him do his thing. \

And lastly, to too much ego for backdraw, this has 0 affect on the sportsmanship of king. he is still one of the best sportsman out there and him def'ing out of the backdraw doesn't change anything. ABout his college coach, there are 2 things. First, im positive it doesnt bother Bruce Berque that Evan pulled out. 2nd, which i am almost certain is that Evan probably discussed pulling out with Bruce.

Can we stop making such a big deal out of the 1 tournament a year the best players actually get together and then destroying them for not playing the unimportant backdraw. Ask any player, highly ranked or not, they will say that the backdraw means absolutely nothing, ESPECIALLY at the zoo. If there was no wildcard for the US OPEN, nobody would play this tournament and everybody knows that. Would you rip on the top players for skipping the zoo then? Because you do not rip on them for skipping Winters, Springs, and Clay Courts.

Colette Lewis said...

@ enough is enough:
There is a backdraw for first round losers in every major ITA event.

enough.. said...

i'm sorry, i wasn't talking about people who lose first round. people who lose first round probably need to play the backdraw.

been-there said...

To: Enough is enough:

If it "doesn't bother" Coach Bruce Berque, then why would he even bother to discuss it? Hey coach, I lost so I am just pulling out now. So which is it, it isn't important enough to mention, or it is? I know if I were a new college student, I'd be a bit wary.

Oh you mean, wait a minute...so when our team valiantly fights for the all-important doubles point in college, and then we lose it, it might be important to then fight for the singles? So it really might be a good idea to have the mindset that even though you lost, you gotta get right back up and fight again?

The Dude said...

I can see if you already spent a year in college and are out of the junior ranking system, the backdraw is meaningless. Anyways if you have to change a flight and pay a $500 fee the backdraw is certainly meaningless. It's only important if you need points to move up in your junior rankings and most of the top kids don't need the points.