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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Top Seeds in Kalamazoo 16s Tested, but Survive; Perera Defeats Braswell as Round of 32 Wraps Up in 18s; Top Four Seeds Ousted at G16s in San Diego

©Colette Lewis 2022--
Kalamazoo MI--

After several frustrating days of rain disruptions, Day Five of the USTA Boys 18s and 16s National Championships couldn't have been more perfect, with partly cloudy skies, light breezes and temperatures in the 70s.

The 16s singles has managed to stay on schedule, and they are set for the round of 16 on Wednesday morning, with seven of the top eight seeds still alive.

After two routine wins to open the tournament, top seed Roy Horovitz and No. 2 seed Quang Duong were challenged in today's fourth round, with Horovitz defeating No. 25 seed Sanjeev Chundu 7-6(5), 6-3, and Duong easing past No. 22 seed Asror Ismoilov 7-5, 6-4 on George Acker Court at Stowe Stadium.

Horovitz will play No. 14 seed Max Exsted, a 6-3, 5-7, 6-0 winner over No. 20 seed Shaurya Bharadwaj while Duong faces No. 27 seed Krish Arora. Arora defeated No. 15 seed Jordan Reznik 7-5, 6-2.

No. 7 seed Stiles Brockett was not able to hold off No. 33 seed Vincent Yang, who defeated the USTA 16s Clay Courts champion Stiles Brockett 6-3, 6-3.

While the 16s stayed on schedule in singles, they are lagging in doubles, and will play two rounds on Wednesday. That means 16s main draw singles matches will begin at 8 a.m. on Wednesday at Stowe Stadium.

The bottom half of the 18s singles draw couldn't be completed on Monday, so they played today, while the top half had the day off.

The number of dramatic matches was decidedly smaller than yesterday, with only three of the 16 matches in the bottom half of the 18s draw going three sets. 

No. 15 seed Jack Anthrop, a redshirt freshman last semester at Ohio State, needed over three hours to get by No. 33 seed Aadarsh Tripathi 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-4; No. 23 seed Ryan Colby, who played for the University of Southern California last season, defeated Anthrop's future teammate Preston Stearns 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3; and Alex Fuchs, one of just three unseeded players remaining, beat unseeded Abishek Thorat 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.

No. 2 seed Ethan Quinn rolled past Andy Nguyen 6-3, 6-1, while No. 4 seed Kyle Kang battled past No. 33 seed Connor Smillie 6-4, 7-5.

The only 33 seed to beat a higher seed today was Masato Perera, who took out No. 17 seed Jonah Braswell, a rising freshman at Florida, 6-2, 6-4.

Perera is also just days away from starting his college career, as he will head east to Harvard before the end of the month, and said having his college choice settled has shown in his recent results.

"You don't feel that pressure to perform every match," said Perera, who reached the final of the Southern California sectional championships this summer, losing to Hudson Rivera, the No. 9 seed this week in Kalamazoo. "I mean, you still feel like you really want to win, but it's just one thing off your plate, so it's really nice."

Perera said his serve was the key to his win over Braswell, whom he had never played. 

"Honestly, my first serve percentage was really good," said Perera, who played on the Southern California team that reached the final of the USTA's Battle of Sections last week in Grand Rapids. "I've been working on my serve for a long time and it really helped me out today, made the difference in the match."

Next up for Perera will be No. 7 seed Alex Michelsen, another Southern California 18s sectional champion, who defeated No. 33 seed Ratish Patil 6-4, 6-3.

"I've played him like four or five times," said Perera, who is from Santa Barbara. "I'll definitely have to serve well, he's a really good returner and his serve's gotten better. He's solid from the baseline and comes in really well. Actually the last two times we've played, I've won, but I'll definitely have to step up my game and I'm looking forward to it."

As for the change of venue he's facing when he heads to Cambridge in two weeks, Perera already has one thing on his shopping list.

"I'll definitely have to buy a jacket, that's for sure," Perera said.

While upsets were few in singles, the 18s doubles fourth round saw another Top 4 seed fall, with No. 3 seeds Cooper Williams and Aidan Kim losing to No. 9 seed Rivera and Braden Shick 6-3, 2-6, 10-7.  Top seeds and Wimbledon boys champions Sebastian Gorzny and Michelsen defeated No. 32 seeds Vignesh Gogineni and Waleed Qadir 6-4, 6-3 and No. 2 seeds Nicholas Godsick and Quinn beat unseeded Jelani Sarr and Sean Daryabeigi 6-4, 7-6(3).

The 18s doubles quarterfinals are scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, after the fourth round of singles are completed.

Live streaming of courts 1, 2, 3 and 4 at Stowe Stadium can be found here.

Wednesday's match times are posted on the draw at the USTA PlayTennis site.

The top four seeds in at the G16s in San Diego went out in  today's fourth round, with No. 1 Natasha Rajaram losing to Olivia Center[17] 6-4, 2-6, 6-3; No. 2 Stephanie Yakoff retired trailing Elisabeth Dunac[17] 3-0; No. 3 Aspen Schuman lost to unseeded Mia Yamakita 6-1, 6-4 and No. 4 seed Eva Oxford was beaten by unseeded Ali Maguy 6-4, 6-2.

In the G18s, top seeds Reese Brantmeier, Rachel Gailis, Alexis Blokhina and Eleana Yu are through to the third round, but No. 5 seed Qavia Lopez was beaten by unseeded Morgan Pryz 7-5, 6-2.

At the G14s, No. 2 seed Anita Tu lost to No. 33 seed Catherine Rennard 6-2, 1-6, 6-2. At the B14s, No. 2 seed Lev Seidman lost to No. 33 seed Jacob Lee 6-1, 6-3.