Stewart Shocks Baker; Armitraj Eliminates Yim To Reach 18s Championship Match
Amritraj, the USC Trojan who was named the NCAA tournament MVP as a freshman in May?s team tournament, pulled out a 7-6 (5), 6-4 victory over Robert Yim of Glendale CA. Displaying great confidence gained from a season of pressure packed college tennis, Amritraj still needed a debatable call at 6-5 in the tiebreaker to win the first set. At 5 all, Yim hit a loose backhand and, in frustration, bounced his racquet on the court. The chair umpire penalized him for racquet abuse, which gave Amritraj the first set. Yim was unable to shake off the after effects of that misfortune and lost his serve in the first game of the second set. Both players held serve until the seventh game, when Yim was broken again, giving Amritraj a 5-2 lead and a chance to serve out the match. He was unable to do so the first chance, but on his second try, he ended the match with a sizzling ace.
In 16 singles play, second seed Vahid Mirzadeh of Wellington FL claimed his place in the finals with a gritty 6-2, 7-6 (7) win over tenth seedScoville Jenkins of Atlanta GA. Jenkins, a quarterfinalist last year in Kalamazoo as a fourteen-year-old, had difficulty with his serve in the first set with several costly double faults giving Mirzadeh opportunities to break. Mirzadeh, who at age 15 is already a three year veteran of the Super Nationals here, was cruising along without dropping his serve through the entire first set and nine games of the second. When it came time to serve for the match at 5-4, however, he was in for a struggle. A re-focused Jenkins saved three match points in the game before leveling the set at five. Each player held his next service game to reach the tiebreaker that Jenkins needed to win to extend the match. Both players traded points until Mirzadeh held a 6-5 lead and another match point. Jenkins stroked a brave backhand down the line to save his fourth match point, then hit a fearless forehand winner down the line for a set point. Mirzadeh denied his spirited comeback by winning the next three points to reach the 16s finals against the surprising upstart Travis Helgeson.
Helgeson, of Overland Park KS, advanced to the Championship match by overcoming Philip Kao of Cupertino, CA. Helgeson, seeded 18th, dropped the first set 6-2 and was down a break in the second before rallying for a 6-4 second set win. After the obligatory ten-minute break that 16s players take when splitting sets, Helgeson was late returning and was penalized a game. It seemed to have no appreciable impact on him, as he won the next five games taking a 5-1 lead. Kao, seeded 25th, asked for a trainer down 1-2 and was showing signs of arm problems and cramping, but he gamely kept playing, forcing Helgeson to serve for the match at 5-2. Helgeson closed out the third set 6-2.
The 16s singles finals begin Sunday at 11:30 AM. The 18 singles match is scheduled to follow at approximately 1:30PM The winner of the best of five sets 18s match is awarded a wild card in the main draw of the US Open later this month.
Source: Colette Lewis (Tournament Office)