Aug. 1, 2003
August 2003
Aug. 1, 2003
August 2003

Hometown Crowd Disappointed but Higher Seeds Move into Semifinals

KALAMAZOO, MI 8/7/2003

Hometown Crowd Disappointed but Higher Seeds Move into Semifinals
by Matt Hammond and Colette Lewis

Second seed Kean Feeder and 3rd seed Jamil Al-Agba moved into Saturday's semifinals in 18 singles with quarterfinal wins on Thursday. Feeder beat 12th seed Adam Fass and Al-Agba overcame the hometown favorite, 9th seeded Scott Oudsema. In 16 singles, Marcus Fugate (16) stopped the run of unseeded Joshua Varela 6-3, 6-4 and Matt Bruch continued to dominate, cruising past 19th seed Jonathan Boym 6-1, 6-2.

16 singles

Fourth seed Matt Bruch of Lake Forest IL is battling more than opponents this week in the 16 singles tournament. He is also struggling with his health.

"I've probably lost six of the last twelve months to injuries," he said. Admitting that he had lost his confidence while seeing his national ranking plummet, Bruch has obviously recovered it during his stellar summer, which includes a title at the Boys 16s Clay Court Super Nationals last month.

Though still healing from an injury to his shoulder, Bruch showed little evidence of it during his 6-1, 6-2 quarterfinal win over 19th seed Jonathan Boym of Marlboro NJ. Bruch credited his free swinging approach in the quarterfinal to his brush with defeat in Monday's match with Okechi Womeodu. "I was down 5-2 in the third set", he said. "I should be out of the tournament."

In the other 16 quarterfinal held Thursday, 16th seed Marcus Fugate of Fairport NY had his own injury problems to overcome. After winning the first set 6-3 over unseeded Joshua Varela of Athens GA, Fugate called for a trainer between sets. Though his movement was hampered, Fugate was able to rely on his serve and hang on, taking the second set and the match 6-4. Fugate faces Bruch in the semifinals.

"This looks just like my draw at the Clays. Two unseeded players (in the fifth round and quarterfinals) and then I run into Bruch." Bruch won that match in three sets, setting up compelling rematch.

18 Singles

Third seed Jamil Al-Agba of Tarzana CA was given a warning for a time violation during the third game of his 6-3, 7-5 quarterfinal victory on Thursday afternoon.

After a change over he stood in the shade, wiping his face with a towel. Requiring extra time to calm his nerves was understandable-- nearly one thousand tennis fans were crowded around the court, most cheering for Kalamazoo native and hometown hero Scott Oudsema, the tournament's ninth seed.

Perhaps the unhurried demeanor was not strategy but habit because, as he said after the match, "I played pretty much the same as I always play." He did, however, admit to one goal-- neutralizing Oudsema's powerful serve. Making few unforced errors himself, Al-Agba pressured the 17 year old from Portage into numerous mistakes. And when occasional glimmers of hope surfaced, Al-Agba quickly dimmed them, often forcing Oudsema into going for too much. Unable to produce any momentum that might have gotten the crowd roaring, Oudsema had to settle for shouts of encouragement from his local fans.

The crowd was great all week, " he said. "Even if I'm down, they try to keep me in the match." That they were unable to do so was no disgrace. As Oudsema said of his opponent in a post match interview, "He's a great player who played great today."

In the other 18 singles quarterfinal played Thursday, big hitters Kean Feeder of Portland OR and Adam Fass of Boca Raton FL squared off in a classic baseline battle. Feeder, the 2nd seed, and Fass, the 12th seed, both struggled at times to hold serve during the match. Fass held early break advantages in both sets, but Feeder always found an answer. At one point in the second set, trailing 2-0, Feeder reeled off five straight games and ended the match by the final margin of 7-5, 6-3.

After the match, Feeder admitted to a slow start, which he said was caused by not feeling well. The headache may have come from an improperly mixed sport drink, but "as I began to drink more water, I started feeling better as the match went along," he explained.

Feeder and Al-Agba meet in the semifinals on Saturday.

16 Doubles

Due to rain on Thursday evening, two sixteen doubles quarterfinal matches were moved indoors. Before the showers, unseeded Blake Muller and Gary Sacks beat Alexander Guyton and Robert Ladyman, also unseeded, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Third seeds Andrew Orban and Timothy Smyczek fell to the 7th seeded team of Jean Yves Aubone and Jesse Levine. For late results, check out the doubles draw

Sources: Colette Lewis (Tournament Office) & Matt