2012-08-12 In his first year at the Nats at the Zoo, Henrik Wiersholm is leaving with two gold tennis ball awards. After partnering with Daniel Kerznerman, Brooklyn, N.Y., to win the 16s doubles title on Saturday, he defeated 32nd seed Alexandru Gozun, 6-4, 6-1, on Sunday for the singles championship. Wiersholm also won the wild card into the U.S. Open junior tournament next month. Playing doubles plus upsetting top seed Mitch Stewart, 7-6(2), 6-3, on Saturday gave him a big confidence boost, said Wiersholm, the 12th seed from Kirkland, Wash. “I played very well (Saturday),” he said. “Also, my singles match (Saturday) really helped as well.” The turning point in Sunday’s match was “We were holding, holding, until 3-3,” Wiersholm said. “I got my first break point of that game. Alex saves break points pretty regularly with a big serve, so I didn’t think much of it. ... I did an on-the-run winner for the break and that’s where I kinda got it going. I kept the momentum through the second set. I didn’t get broken the whole match, so that was a great feeling for me. That doesn’t happen too often.” Gozun said he was a bit nervous playing in a final of a big tournament for the first time. “But also, Henrik did a very good job of keeping everything away from me, away from my powerful game,” Gozun said. “He just did a very good job today.”
2012-08-12 Dennis Novikov made it a sweep in the boys 18s, winning the singles title on Sunday, a day after he and Michael Redlicki won the doubles championship. Novikov earned two wild cards into the main draw of the U.S. Open, one in singles and the other in doubles. Novikov defeated Alexios Halebian, 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, Sunday in the best-of-five final. “It feels great right now,” Novikov said. “It’s big to win this tournament, especially to win the singles and doubles the same year. I haven’t won either here and getting my first two gold balls is a good experience for me.” Halebian said he started well, taking a 5-3 first-set lead, but couldn’t close out the set. “I started off pretty well like I’ve been doing the whole week,” he said. “This time, I didn’t close it out. I don’t know why. I had my chances. I missed a few backhands I should make usually. The set kinda got away from me; a tight tiebreaker. I tried my best to come back and the next couple sets I started pretty slow and he got on top of me, except the second set. Once you lose the first set, you don’t have much room for error.” Novikov was up 5-1 in the fourth set, but Halebian kept chipping away. “Nerves a little bit because it’s the finals of Kalamazoo,” Novikov said. “There’s a lot of the line.” Serving for the match, Novikov said he was confident after going up 40-love. “Then I know I have six serves just to win the point,” he said. “I figured I’d get one of those in.” He did, on his first match point. As with doubles, Novikov said he doesn’t care who he plays in the U.S. Open as long as he can win the first match. “I’d rather win and then play (Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer) because I could still play them second round,” he said.
2012-08-10 Due to the continuing inclement weather, the Junior Tennis Clinic, originally scheduled for 5-6 p.m. is cancelled.
2012-08-10 Noah Rubin said he never looks ahead at his half of the draw when he begins a tournament, but the fifth seed from Rockville Centre, N.Y., took on Mitchell Krueger, Aledo, Texas, in Friday’s Boys' 18s quarterfinals and upset the tournament’s top seed, 6-2, 6-4. Rubin said he and Krueger travel together to various tournaments, so he knew what to expect. “He’s a great player, so you really have to take your opportunities and run with them because you don’t get them too often against him,” Rubin said. “I stepped up on balls that I really normally would not step up on because I knew I had to take some chances against him because of the good player he is, and it worked out. He’s just a really solid player. He comes up with clutch shots when he needs them.” Rubin was not at all disappointed that rain forced all of Friday’s matches inside. “I guess it’s to my advantage,” he said. “I play indoors about 10 months out of the year, so I was a little lucky, I guess.”
2012-08-09 In a lefty vs. lefty battle, the eighth seed Alex Halebian ousted second seed Michael Redlicki, 6-4, 7-6(7) in Thursday’s boys 18s quarterfinals. Halebian fought back from down 6-3, then 7-6 in the tiebreak to advance to Saturday’s semifinals against sixth seed Jared Hiltzik. “It was huge,” Halebian said of the tiebreak comeback. “I played well the first set then I was doing really good until I got down an early break. I thought it was gonna go three unless I got it together really quick. I played a couple good games, then the tiebreaker I kinda fell behind early. I was kinda playing from behind the whole time.” Looking ahead to facing Hiltzik, Halebian said: “I’ve been watching him play. He looks like he’s been winning pretty handily. He battles hard and doesn’t miss too many balls. I’ve just gotta play the same way I’ve been playing and hopefully it will pay off.” Hiltzik defeated 30th seed Shane Vinsant, 6-4, 6-2. Hiltzik lost to Vinsant last week after winning the first set, but losing the next two. “It wasn’t a good ending to it,” Hiltzik said. “In this match, second set, I just got that out of my mind and said, you know what, you’re just going to leave a lot on the table and I hated that feeling last week, so I’m not having that feeling again, and I just went for it.”
2012-08-08 Jared Hiltzik, the sixth seed in boys 18s from Wilmette, Ill., had a tough second set, but ended up with a 6-1, 7-6(5) win over ninth-seeded Spencer Papa, Boca Raton, Fla., Wednesday when Papa was assessed a point penalty for racquet abuse. Hiltzik was leading, 6-5, in the tiebreak when Papa missed a passing shot, then tossed his racquet, which went over the net. The point penalty gave Hiltzik the win. “It is what it is,” Hiltzik said. “He was calm the entire match and then that one outburst. The ref said he can’t help it. He had to call it.” In the first set, “I really came out with a game plan and was playing really, really well,” Hiltzik said. “I was loose. Then in the second set, I fell back to some old habits and thought too much about the match. He started making more shots, but that was because of how my game decreased.” Hiltzik wasn’t happy with his second set, so immediately following the match, he was out on the empty Court 11 hitting with his coach.
2012-08-07 Michael Krueger, the top seed in boys 18s, was tested in the second set, but advanced to Wednesday’s Round of 16 with a 6-0, 7-5 win over unseeded Brett Clark, Naples, Fla., in the fourth round of the USTA Boys 18 & 16 National Championships on Tuesday. Krueger, from Aledo, Texas, escaped an upset bid in the third round on Monday, pulling out a 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4 win over unseeded Richard Del Nunzio, Forest Hills, N.Y. “He definitely played one of the better matches I’ve ever seen h im play,” Krueger said of Del Nunzio. “I had a lot of chances in the first (set). I didn’t get one break point and I had at least 23, but that happens. I was able to stick in there.” New this year is a rule for a mandatory 10-minute break if an 18s match goes to a third set. That was news to Krueger, who has not been playing USTA junior tournaments this year. “I actually didn’t want it,” he said. “I haven’t had a 10-minute break between sets for years now. “But a win is a win. I’ll take a win no matter what. I think it’s good to be challenged early. It gets me into the tournament pretty well.” After making it to the semifinals of the Junior French Open and Junior Wimbledon, Krueger turned pro three weeks ago. “Everyone has their time to go and I felt like I was ready to go,” he said.
2012-08-07 As the 30th seed in boys 18s, Shane Vinsant had Tuesday’s match earmarked in his mind when he saw the draw. It turned out for good reason. Vinsant upset M.M. McDonald, the fourth seed from Piedmond, Calif., 6-1, 6-2. “I did well for that match because he was missing a lot and going for everything and I stayed in at every point,” said Vinsant, who is from Keller, Texas. “I wanted mostly to just play my game and also serve to his forehand more, high to his forehand a little bit. A lot of players you want to play to their backhand, but him, I think, forehand more.” Vinsant said he’s looking forward to playing tennis at Texas A & M in a few weeks. “I’m really excited,” he said. “I feel I’ll get a lot better there with those coaches.”
2012-07-17 The Rx Optical/Greenleaf Trust & Greenleaf Hospitality Exhibition opens the USTA Boys' 18s & 16s National Championships Friday, August 3, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. This year's exhibition players are Todd Martin and Brian MacPhie. Comedian Michael Kosta will act as MC. Tickets for the Rx Optical/Greenleaf Trust & Greenleaf Hospitality Exhibition are $10.00 for adults, $5.00 for students. The Nationals begin with Match Play at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, August 3 and culminate with the singles championships on Sunday, August 12. Nearly 400 of the best young male tennis players in the nation vie for titles in both singles and doubles in the 18s and 16s divisions. For Rx Optical/Greenleaf Trust & Greenleaf Hospitality Exhibition and tournament ticket information, visit the Tickets section of this website or call 269.337.7343. To check out the top tennis names that have entertained Kalamazoo fans as participants in the exhibition, click on the Past Exhibition Player List tab above.
2011-08-14 It took two days, but Jack Sock is one win away from repeating as 18s singles champion. Sock, the top seed from Lincoln, Neb., was leading Marcos Giron (4), Thousand Oaks, Calif., 7-6(5), 3-2, and serving at 40-30 when rain forced the semifinals match to be suspended. The skies never cleared, and the match resumed at 9 a.m. Sunday, with Sock winning, 7-6(5), 6-3 on his second match point. Sock will play Mitchell Frank, the second seed from Annandale, Va. Frank advanced with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Mac Styslinger (9), Birmingham, Va., in a match that finished on Saturday. “He’s obviously really tough,” Frank said of Styslinger. “The first set I got down 2-0. I was really tight in the beginning. I felt some nerves, obviously. “I played some big matches recently, but this is Kalamazoo and I knew it. He came out strong, so to break back was important.” Today’s final was scheduled to be the best-of-five set match, but was shortened to best-of-three because of Sock’s semifinal.
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