Saturday, August 4, 2018

After Training with Federer, Kypson Starts Kalamazoo Title Defense; Eubanks and Krajicek Beat Juniors in Opening Night Exhibition

©Colette Lewis 2018--

Patrick Kypson didn't have the summer he was hoping for, with a lingering injury from the NCAAs limiting his tournaments and his only wins coming in ATP Challenger qualifying last month. But Kalamazoo, where he has collected two titles, was always on his schedule, and he was able to overcome an illness in his opening match to advance to the third round.

"I got hurt at NCAAs and it kind of lingered, and I came back too soon," said the Texas A&M freshman, who defeated Noah Berry 6-2, 6-3 on Stowe Stadium's George Acker Court. "Now it's a little illness, slight fever, and I'm sweating like crazy."

Kypson took a medical timeout mid-game at 3-1 in the second set and again before serving at 4-2 in the second, but said that he never doubted he'd finish the match.

"I always thought I could get through today," said Kypson, "and tomorrow's a day off (from singles)."

After a first round loss in the ATP Citi Open qualifying last week, Kypson got a phone call asking if he would like to train with Roger Federer in New York.

"One of the guys from the USTA called me and asked if I wanted to practice with Roger," Kypson said. "You definitely can't turn that down, it's not something that happens very often, so I was in New York for a couple of days, me and (Will) Blumberg, training with him, so it was super cool."

Kypson said he spent two and a half hours a day on court with Federer.

"Then we kind of hung out with him a little bit, asked him some questions, got to feel him out as a person, not just a tennis player," Kypson said. "It was just super cool, we had a great time. Will's still training with him; he's got another week with Roger."

Kypson has not yet decided whether he will be turning pro after spending the 2018 dual match semester in College Station, although he will definitely not be at Texas A&M for the fall semester.

"I'm still exploring all the options," said Kypson, who has not signed with a management company. "I know which way I'm leaning, but at this point nothing is final."

Kypson's attempt to become the first player since Paul Goldstein in 1994 to win three Kalamazoo singles titles has put a big target on his back, but he doesn't see that as a negative.

"It's good to play sometimes as the favorite," said Kypson, who won the 16s in 2015 and the 18s last year. "It doesn't really bother me that much. Playing with pressure, as the favorite, is a really important part of development."

Kypson said all his success in Kalamazoo also played a role in his decision to return here.

"Apart from the fact I've won here a couple of times, it is a special place," said Kypson, who will begin training at the National Campus in Lake Nona this fall. "They do such a good job here; Kalamazoo is just Kalamazoo and always will be with what the prize is.  It's good conditions for me, I think. It's usually pretty hot and the ball's flying quite a bit. I think I'm able to use my power, my big serve, my forehand, to get guys on the run and finish points like that."

Kypson's opponent in Monday's third round will be No. 35 seed Daniel Pellerito.

No. 2 seed DJ Thomas and No. 3 seed Brandon Nakashima picked up routine two-set wins, but No. 4 seed Jenson Brooksby found himself down 5-1 in the second set to Wesley Barnett before winning the last six games of the match for a 6-1, 7-5 victory.  No. 5 seed Tristan Boyer was down a break in the third set against JJ Mercer 2-3, but Mercer appeared to be cramping, took a medical timeout and lost the last four games to give Boyer the 6-0, 5-7, 6-3 win.

The only top 16 seed to bow out was No. 7 seed Siem Woldeab, who withdrew with an elbow injury before his match. Several 16-32 seeds went out in their first matches, with No. 20 seed and Winter National champion Christian Alshon falling to Chenhe Li, No. 23 Bradley Frye, the Winter Nationals finalist, losing to Kenner Taylor, and Clay Court finalist Axel Nefve, the No. 27 seed, losing to Huntley Allen in a third set tiebreaker.

The 16s began their tournament today, with 96 first round matches. The top 32 seeds receive byes, so only the 33-64 seeds were in action today. Nine of them were eliminated, including No. 33 seed Benjamin Koch, who lost to Carter Crookston 6-3, 6-0.

16s top seeds Keshav Chopra and Max McKennon will play singles Sunday morning.  They are also the top seeds in 16s doubles, but with only one round of doubles on Sunday, they will not be back on the courts.  The 16s doubles draw is available here.

The third round of 18s doubles is scheduled for the Stowe and Western Michigan courts beginning at 5 p.m.

The opening ceremonies and RX Optical and Greenleaf Trust Exhibition featured Austin Krajicek, the 2008 Kalamazoo 18s champion and Chris Eubanks, who has been a pro for less than a year after his All-American career at Georgia Tech. Krajicek, who reached the semifinals in doubles at the ATP in Newport last month and came straight from Los Cabos, where he lost in the quarterfinals of doubles in the ATP event there Thursday night, and Eubanks, who is headed to the Challenger in Aptos next week, defeated the junior team of DJ Thomas and Drew Baird 6-3 in the doubles exhibition.  In the singles set that followed, played with no-ad scoring and a tiebreaker at 5-all, Eubanks defeated Krajicek 6-5(5).

Draws are available at ustaboys.com.