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Monday, August 9, 2010

Top Seeds Struggle but Survive in Boys 18s Third Round Play

©Colette Lewis 2010--
Kalamazoo MI--

A seven hour rain delay caused by a storm that hit when Monday's first matches were called caused some disruption in play at the Boys 18 and 16 Nationals, but all main draw singles matches were completed, the last one under the lights at Stowe Stadium.

Whether it was the long wait or the interrupted pre-match routines or the uncertainty of resumption of play, the 18s top seeds definitely seemed off their games when they took the courts at 3 p.m.

Top seed Jordan Cox lost a first set tiebreaker to Tom Blackwell before recovering for a 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-0 victory. Second seed Denis Kudla was down 2-0 to Robert Verzaal, and looked less than sharp in his 6-3, 6-4 win. Jack Sock, seeded third, gave up the second set to Justin Rossi, but even while experiencing some vertigo, managed to post a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 win.

Cox couldn't put his finger on what was missing in his game at the start of the match.

"I don't really have an answer, I'm trying to figure that out," said the 18-year-old from Atlanta. "I went out there ready to go, warmed up well, hitting the ball well, and then went really flat for a moment. I can't really explain it."

Blackwell, a Floridian who will be playing for Nebraska this fall, was able to counter Cox's power and had little trouble holding serve. Cox decided he needed to play more aggressively, especially when returning.

"I was holding pretty comfortably, but I was letting him hold every game in the first set. (In the second set) I made him play some more balls and attacked a little bit more with the forehand. He ran down a lot of balls, he grinded out there, he's a good player."

Sock held a 5-3 lead in the first set when he began to feel dizzy, a condition that has been bothering him recently at tournaments.

"I get light-headed and I get dizzy," Sock said. "We've looked at everything--thought it was heat stroke at one, dehydrated. But this is the most prepared I've ever felt for a tournament, so I don't really understand what happened today. All he really had to do was put a couple balls in the court and move me side to side and I wasn't going to get them."

Sock was down 1-0 and 2-1 in the third set, but Rossi was unable to build any momentum with those breaks, losing the last five games.

There were no notable upsets in the third round, with only three seeded players, all in the 17-32 range, falling. No. 20 seed Billy Pecor lost to Zachary Leslie 6-3, 6-3, No. 28 seed Jeffrey Offerdahl went out to Jason Tahir 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, and in the day's most dramatic match, No. 19 seed Wyatt McCoy was beaten by Danny Riggs 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(7).

Riggs, the hero of Florida's recent USTA National Team Championship, trailed 5-3 in the third set, won three straight games, but was unable to serve out the match at 6-5. In the tiebreaker, Riggs trailed 4-2, but began to hit out more and take a few more chances. Some very calm play on a couple of challenging overheads and a deft backhand volley winner earned him a match point at 6-5, but it was McCoy who won the next two points to have his chance to end it. McCoy couldn't convert and it was Riggs who forced the action in the final two points. Several dozen spectators, including an array of college coaches, clustered around the bleachers on Court 11, and when McCoy's final shot went wide, there was a buzz of conversation about the excitement level of the match.

The 16s third round matches were all played at Western Michigan University's courts. The top seeds, Shane Vinsant and Mitchell Krueger, won in straight sets, and there were only two seeds falling in third round play. No. 11 seed Jordan Daigle lost to Nicolas Montoya 6-4, 7-5 and No. 26 seed Nicholas Naumann lost to Andrew Ball 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

The third round of boys 16 doubles, originally scheduled for today, was postponed until Tuesday.

For complete draws and results, see ustaboys.com


avid follower said...

Never much doubles talk but there looks to be a really good one in the Qtrs at Zoo.
Cox/Kudla #1 vs Sock/Kandath #6 (Semis at 09 US Open)

Tennis Observer said...

No mention of Daniel Kosakowski. Man, that guy is my dark horse to win it all.