Tournament Heats Up as Seeds Battle for the First Time
James Wan of Woodbury NY is no stranger to success in Kalamazoo. In 2001, he won the 16 singles championship as the 3rd seed. On Tuesday, Wan added to his list of Kalamazoo accomplishments a 6-4, 6-4 upset victory over 1st seed Wayne Odesnik of Weston FL. "I'm speechless," said Wan. "I've wanted to play him for awhile now."
After Wan won the first set, Odesnik struggled on serve. Trailing 2-0, Odesnik called for a trainer. He was eventually able to earn the break back and was serving to level the set at 4-5. Up 30-love, Odesnik hit an overhead inches long. At 30-all, a double fault gave Wan the only match point he would need to clinch the victory. Asked where this win ranks among all his tennis matches at Kalamazoo, Wan said, "Around number two. Nothing beats my championship."
Earlier in the morning, local favorite Scott Oudsema of Portage MI entertained a rapt crowd as he faced 18th seed Timothy Neilly of Tampa FL. Oudsema, the ninth seed in 18 singles, survived four set points serving at 5-6 in the first set and three set points in a gripping and well-played tiebreaker. The Portage MI high school senior then took control in the second set.
"I came out strong," Oudsema said. "I served a few aces in a row. I think (Neilly) got a little anxious." Neilly's first serve percentage dipped in the second set, allowing Oudsema to earn the only service break he would need to close out the second set 6-3.
The other top seeds in the 18 singles who played Tuesday fared better than Odesnik. Second seed Kean Feeder of Portland OR shook off any ill effects from finishing late Monday evening and breezed past unseeded Nolan Polley of Lexington KY 6-2, 6-2. Third seed Jamil Al-Agba of Tarzana CA handed unseeded Benjamin Rogers of Kingsport TN a 6-3, 6-1 defeat. Fourth seed Robert Yim of Glendale CA, after cruising into the fourth round, faced a stiff challenge from unseeded Alexandru Cojanu of Hallandale Beach FL. Yim took the match 6-4, 6-4.
The 16 and 18 singles fifth rounds will both be held Wednesday.
In boys 16 singles, five unseeded players continued on impressive streaks, none more so than Brian Hanus of Palatine IL. Hanus beat his second seed in as many days when he took out 23rd seed Jay Wong in fourth round action on a sunny Wednesday afternoon at Stowe Stadium, 6-4, 7-6(3).
"The first set went so fast," he said. "It was over before I knew what was happening. I needed to start enjoying the moment."
Having won the Midwest Open in his home state just last week, Hanus is building on that success, but he expressed surprise when asked if he had expected to advance so deep in the draw.
"I thought I had no chance, even with the Open win," he said. But with serves reaching 112 miles per hour on Centre Court's speed gun, the sixteen year old is dominating opponents. He has yet to lose a set in the tournament.
By moving into the fifth round, Hanus has surpassed his older brother, who now plays number one singles for Northwestern University. Thomas Hanus had his best results in Kalamazoo in 1998, when he reached the fourth round.
Top seed Marc Spicijaric kept rolling with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Justin Fox of Atlantic Beach NY. Third seed Gary Sacks overcame 20th seed Ric Mortera of Portland OR 6-2, 6-3. In one of the best matches of the day, 30th seed Okechi Womeodu of Memphis TN nearly toppled 4th seed Matt Bruch, but Bruch dug in and earned a 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 win.
The top 18 doubles seeds took another step Tuesday toward their semifinal showdowns. Top seeds Scott Oudsema and Phillip Simmonds looked strong on serve as they beat 9th seeds Treat Huey and Jason Pinsky. The second seeds Vahid Mirzadeh of Wellington FL and Alex Kuznetsov advanced by beating 10th seeds Matthew Bain of Georgetown TX and Hubert Chodkiewicz of Corpus Christi TX 6-4, 6-3. John Isner of Greensboro NC and parter Pramod Dabir of Saratoga CA, the third seeds, scored a 6-1, 6-1 victory over unseeded duo Ray Wu of Ann Arbor MI and Matthew Christian of Troy MI. Fourth seeds Ashwat Sarohia of Altadena CA and Christian Hand of Placentia CA faced the unseeded team of Nathan Sachs of Alpharetta GA and Robbye Poole of Ridgeland MS, defeated them 6-3, 6-4.
Paul Koenke and Alex Mast swept away the 2nd seeded team of Brian Brogan and Ken Kao Tuesday, by a score of 6-3, 6-4. With the withdrawal of the number one seeds Marc Spicijaric and Christophter Chrico due to an injury to Chrico, Andrew Orban and Timothy Smyczek (3) are the top team remaining.
For 16 doubles draws, click here
The 16 and 18 Doubles quarterfinals will be held Wednesday afternoon and evening.
Sources: Colette Lewis (Tournament Office) & Matt