Sunday, August 5, 2018

No. 1 16s Seed Chopra Shakes Off Nerves to Advance to Third Round; Top 18s Doubles Seeds into Round of 16; Mateas Takes First Title in Fort Worth

©Colette Lewis 2018--
Kalamazoo MI--

Keshav Chopra is no stranger to big matches. In the past eight months, he has won USTA National 16s Championships at the Winter Nationals in Lake Nona and the Easter Bowl in Indian Wells. But playing on the George Acker Court at Kalamazoo College's Stowe Stadium is another level for any junior, and Chopra couldn't quite bring his best tennis despite claiming a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Sidharth Jangbahadur Sunday.

"I never really got into a great rhythm," said the 16-year-old from Georgia, who trains at the IMG Academy in Florida. "But I eventually found a way to close out some games, stay a bit consistent and force him to miss a little bit. I definitely could've stayed more solid than I did. Stadium Court, I always feel a bit nervous. The nerves sometimes get to me; I feel I need to play really well when there are a lot of people watching. Shots I usually make start to tighten up, but I'm just happy I got through."

Chopra got a gift late in the second set, when Jangbahadur, who had managed to overcome a nervous start and raise his level in the second set, double faulted on game point at 5-5, allowing Chopra to serve out the match.

Chopra's experience at other National tournaments is not something he puts too much stock in.

"I do feel there's a slight advantage, however, although Easter Bowl and Winter Nats are big tournaments, this one is the biggest one of the year," Chopra said. "It doesn't matter what you've done in the past. It's all about showing up and playing your best tennis here."

A quarterfinal appearance in the 18s at last month's Clay Courts provided Chopra with a confidence boost for the challenge of being the top seed at Kalamazoo.

"The 18s seemed like a great opportunity to play against the bigger players," said Chopra, who is expecting to concentrate on ITF tournaments in the coming months and next year. "Clays was a great tournament for me and hadn't played too many great tournaments before Clays (since Easter Bowl), but I felt I made a comeback at Clays, gained confidence. I started believing when I walked on the court I could beat anybody. I was able to accept that in my head and once I was mentally able to process that feeling, I felt way better."

Chopra will face No. 34 seed Cash Hazlik in Monday's third round.

Although Chopra was able to close out his first match in straight sets, No. 2 seed Max McKennon needed three hours to get past Alex Finkelstein 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-3. Both players took medical timeouts, with the hot and windy conditions providing physical and mental challenges. McKennon got an early break in the third set and held on, setting up a meeting with No. 64 seed Nadim Motaghedi on Monday.

No. 3 seed Alex Lee defeated Matthew Campbell 6-0, 6-2 and No. 4 seed Zane Khan beat JonBrann Reid 6-2, 6-2.

The only top 32 seeds to fall today, in their first matches after byes in yesterday's opening round, were No. 29 Daniel Labrador, who lost to Joshua Portnoy 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 and No. 23 seed Micahel Andre, who lost to Derek Hsieh 6-3, 6-4.

The only 18s action on Sunday was consolation singles and third round doubles.  The top five seeds advanced, with No. 1 seeds Patrick Kypson and DJ Thomas defeating Welsh Hotard and Thomas Jahn 6-2, 6-2.  No. 2 seeds Trey Hilderbrand and Govind Nanda had a scare, going down 5-1 in the match tiebreaker, but came back to post a 4-6, 6-2, 10-8 victory.

For complete results, see ustaboys.com.

In Pro Circuit action today, Duke incoming freshman Maria Mateas won her first Pro Circuit title at the $25,000 tournament in Fort Worth Texas. The 19-year-old, seeded No. 4, defeated No. 3 seed Robin Anderson, the former UCLA All-American, 6-3, 7-5 in the final.  Duke also got a men's title today, with senior Nicolas Alvarez, a qualifier, defeating Australian Open boys champion Sebastian Korda 6-4, 3-6, 6-3  in the final of the $25,000 Futures in Decatur Illinois. It's also the first Pro Circuit title for Alvarez, who has played Davis Cup for Peru.

At the $60,000 women's tournament in Lexington Kentucky, Asia Muhammad defeated LSU rising freshman Ann Li 7-5, 6-1 in an all-unseeded, all-American final.

Unseeded Hayley Carter(UNC) and Ena Shibahara(UCLA) won the doubles title, beating No. 4 seeds Sanaz Marand and Mexico's Victoria Rodriguez 6-3, 6-1 in the final.

The men's singles title at the $75,000 ATP Challenger in Lexington went to No. 6 seed Lloyd Harris of South Africa, who beat No. 8 seed Stefano Napolitano of Italy 6-4, 6-3 in the final.  No. 3 seeds Robert Galloway(Wofford) and Venezuela's Roberto Maytin(Baylor) won the doubles title, beating Joris de Loore of Belgium and Marc Polmans of Australia 6-3, 6-1 in the final.