Schedule a training visit to the prestigious Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, MD by clicking on the banner above

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Williams Takes Out No. 3 Seed Kuzuhara, Tien Saves Match Points to Advance to 18s Quarterfinals; Jayaraman Upsets No. 2 Seed Duong to Reach 16s Semifinals; Pursoo Beats Second Seed Gailis in San Diego 18s

©Colette Lewis 2022--
Kalamazoo MI--


The back courts of Stowe Stadium were buzzing Thursday, with fans enjoying another great day of weather and all kinds of drama in fifth round USTA Boys 18s Nationals matches on courts 9, 10 and 11. 

Top seed Martin Damm managed to squeeze past No. 33 seed Evan Wen 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-4 on Court 10, but No. 3 seed Bruno Kuzuhara couldn't force a third set against No. 10 seed Cooper Williams on Court 9, who earned 6-3, 7-6(1) victory.

Williams, who had lost to Kuzuhara in the quarterfinals of the Grade 1 Eddie Herr last December, was able to reverse that result thanks to his first serve.

"I had my chances at Eddie Herr, but I definitely took my chances here," said the 17-year-old Harvard recruit. "I served really amazing today, faced break points and pulled out some good shots in the first set. I got the break and he handed me a couple of errors, I hit a couple of good shots and took advantage. I had looks in every return game and I just kept holding serve."

Williams went up a break twice in the second set, but both times Kuzuhara broke back, leading to the tiebreak. Rather than dwell on his ability to consolidate earlier, Williams came up with his best tennis of the match to close it out.

"I played a near-perfect breaker," Williams said. "And overall I served impeccably, pretty much. My first serve percentage was up there in the high 70s probably, had 10 plus aces, a bunch of unreturnables. My plus-one was good, and everything just flowed in the breaker. I hit an unreal backhand line at 1-all and from then on I just put a lot of balls in the court and made him work."

Williams will play No. 8 seed Learner Tien, who trailed No. 12 seed Nicholas Godsick 6-4, 5-1 before mounting a furious comeback, saving four match points in a 4-6, 7-6(9), 6-3 victory.

Godsick had two match points with Tien serving at 3-5 in the second and two more at 7-6 and 8-7 in the tiebreaker, but couldn't convert. After the 10-minute break, Godsick requested a medical timeout and early in the third set was obviously hobbled by cramps. Tien, always placid, hit a few more drop shots than usual, but otherwise didn't react, while Godsick began to move better and, hoping to shorten points, hit harder. That worked for initially, but when Tien went up a break at 3-1, Godsick couldn't find a way back into the match.

Tien and Williams played in the first round of USTA Pro Circuit $15,000 tournament this spring in Florida, with Tien posting a 6-2, 6-2 victory.

Damm was able to serve his way out of trouble in the third set, and forced Wen to serve to stay in the match at 4-5. Wen, a Princeton recruit, fell behind 15-40, but hit two excellent serves to save those match points. He double faulted however to give Damm and third match point and the 2018 Boys 16s champion converted it when Wen netted a forehand.

Damm will face No. 5 seed Michael Zheng, who came back to beat No. 16 seed Aidan Kim 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Zheng has now beaten Kim the last three times they've met this year, in a Pro Circuit qualifying match, in the round of 16 at Wimbledon Juniors and today.

The bottom half will feature the first Michigan boy in the quarterfinals since Scott Oudsema made the 18s final in 2004, with Ozan Baris, the No. 11 seed, facing Kyle Kang, the No. 4 seed.

Baris defeated No. 33 seed Alexander Chang, a Cal rising sophomore, 6-2, 6-0, buoyed by the support of friends, family and his Michigan State coaches.

"It's special, it's my favorite tournament of the year," said the 18-year-old from Okemos. "So often I'm traveling the world and playing in a foreign country or a foreign player. This feels like home. It's awesome to play here and it's a step in my journey. This is going to be one of my last junior tournaments other than the Junior US Open, so I'm just trying to make the most out of it."

Kang earned his quarterfinal berth in the most unfortunate manor possible, with No. 13 seed Samir Banerjee retiring at 3-3 in the third set after falling and injuring his wrist. Banerjee, the 2021 Wimbledon boys champion, had the wrist taped by a trainer at the 2-3 changeover, but retired after Kang won the next game. 

Kang and Baris played twice at Kalamazoo last year, with Baris winning in the fourth round of the main draw, and Kang taking the consolation final.

In the last quarterfinal, current Georgia Bulldog Ethan Quinn, the No. 2 seed, will face future Georgia teammate Alex Michelsen, the No. 7 seed. 

Quinn defeated Michelsen 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in the semifinals of the $15,000 USTA men's Pro Circuit tournament in San Diego in June and last year at the Grade 1 in San Diego, with Quinn going on to win both tournaments.

The top four seeds in the 16s are now all out. Top seed Roy Horovitz and No. 3 seed Adhithya Ganesan lost in the round of 16 on Wednesday, and today No. 2 seed Quang Duong and No. 4 seed Cooper Woestendick were eliminated in contrasting fashion.

Fourteen-year-old wild card Darwin Blanch, the No. 5 seed, defeated Woestendick 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, while No. 32 seed Saahith Jayaraman posted a convincing 6-3, 6-1 victory over reigning Orange Bowl 16s champion Duong.

Jayaraman, who beat No. 6 seed Matthew Forbes 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a grueling round of 16 match Wednesday, is not surprised by his results this week.

"It doesn't surprise me, because I've always had that level and I just needed to break through, mostly prove to myself what I can do," said Jayaraman, who turns 17 in October. "Proving it to myself and to everyone here."

Jayaraman trains at JMG Academy in Sacramento California, where 2016 Kalamazoo 16s finalist and 2018 18s champion Jenson Brooksby is based.

"I see Jenson a lot, we have good conversations," Jayaraman said. "I get to hit with him sometimes and that's where I can see where my game is at. He's doing really well on the tour right now and knowing that I can win some points off of him, compete with him, gives me confidence and belief in myself."

Jayaraman will face 15-year-old Calvin Baierl, the No. 13 seed, who defeated No. 12 seed and reigning Eddie Herr 16s champion Rudy Quan 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.

"I've never played Calvin before," Jayaraman said. "I've seen him around and I know he did well in the 14s. He's a great competitor and it's not going to be easy."

Blanch will play No. 9 seed Mitchell Lee, the reigning 16s Winter Nationals champion. Lee defeated No. 14 seed Maxwell Exsted 6-2, 6-1. The 16s singles semifinals are scheduled for Saturday.

The 16s doubles semifinals are set for Friday, with top seeds Chase Fralick and Forbes taking on No. 5 seeds Stiles Brockett and Cassius Chinlund and No. 4 seeds Ian Mayew and Oliver Narbut facing No. 2 seeds Lee and Woestendick.

The 18s doubles quarterfinals were played yesterday and they will play their semifinals on Friday afternoon.

Top seeds and Wimbledon champions Sebastian Gorzny and Michelsen will face No. 9 seeds Braden Shick and Hudson Rivera. No. 2 seeds Godsick and Quinn will play No. 5 seeds Jack Anthrop and Zheng.

Wheelchair round robin competition begins at 9:30 a.m. on the front courts of Stowe. Tien and Williams will play on Court 4 at 10:30 a.m., with Damm and Zheng and Michelsen and Quinn scheduled for 11:30 on Courts 2 and 3. Baris and Kang will follow to round out the singles play, with 16s doubles first, followed by 18s.

The USTA Nationals in the other age divisions are also winding down with Friday featuring semifinals or quarterfinals. 

At the girls 18s in San Diego, Ariana Pursoo, a No. 17 seed, defeated No. 2 seed Rachel Gailis 6-3, 6-4 in today's round of 16.
The matchups for tomorrow are below; click on the heading to go to the USTA PlayTennis draws.

G18s quarterfinals:
Reese Brantmeier[1] v Katherine Hui[8]
Maya Joint[9] v Valerie Glozman[17]
Kinaa Graham[33] v Eleana Yu[4]
Katie Codd[9] v Ariana Pursoo[17]

G16s semifinals
Tianmei Wang[9] v Christasha McNeil
Alyssa Ahn[9] v  Claire Zhang[9]

B14s semifinals
Jordan Lee[33]v Sebastian Bielen[7]
Andra Alcantara[4] v Liam Alvarez[5]

B12s semifinals
Vihaan Reddy[1] v Antanas Daugis[17]
Akshay Mirmira[4] v Tabb Tuck[5]

G12s semifinals
Bella Arwood[12] v Maggie Sohns[4]
Welles Newman[3] v Hannah Ayrault[2]

G14s semifinals
Anna Frey[8] v Maria Aytoyan[5]
Sara Shumate[17] v Bella Payne[17]