Watch Out, Mr. Agassi-- Robert Yim has Big Dreams
Robert Yim is on a roll. After winning Sunday?s 18 singles championship over 3rd seed Jamil Al-agba, the California lefthander is 10-1 over his last eleven matches. Coming into Kalamazoo, Yim won three rounds of qualifying matches to reach the main draw of the Mercedes-Benz Cup, where he battled eventual champion Wayne Ferreira but fell 6-4, 6-4 in the first round.
Yim came into the championship match as the fourth seed but certainly did not feel like the underdog in the match. The compact 18 year old acknowledged that his successful showing at the Mercedes-Benz Cup brought him to Kalamazoo with ?a whole lot of confidence," but not a top seed, as those results came after the 18s seedings had been determined. He served notice that he was in top form as he reached the fourth round without losing a game and the final without dropping a set. His dominance was evident again Sunday as he handled 3rd seed Jamil Al-Agba 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 to win the championship.
Yim utilized his versatile forehand to dictate points and mix up his pace and his spins, and relied on his powerful backhand to gain the upper hand in points. His strategy left his fleet-footed opponent off balance and frustrated as Yim quickly gained a two set advantage. Al-Agba refocused his attention on his service game and was able to keep pace with Yim in the third set. At 4-4, Yim raced out to a 0-40 lead on Al-Agba?s serve. Al-Agba played aggressively and kept hope alive that he could claw his way into the match by fighting back to deuce. In a microcosm of Al-Agba?s day, however, Yim forced an error for his fourth break point, then beat Al-Agba at his own game by hitting two amazing defensive lobs that landed just inside the baseline and forcing Al-Agba into another error. Yim was down 0-30 while serving for the match, but his strong serve kept him in control as he fought off two break points with service winners. In his attempt to stave off defeat, Al-Agba often tried for too much on his shots, when his backhand sailed wide, Yim had his first USTA gold ball.
With the win, Yim avenged a loss last December to Al-Agba in the finals of the California Bowl. "He served better today (than at that tournament), a dejected Al-agba admitted after the match. ?I was a little discouraged not to break him until the third set.?
Yim will next play in the main draw of his second professional event in as many months, this time at the U. S. Open Championship via a wild card awarded to the 18 singles champion. ?I want to play Andre Agassi in the first round,? Yim said when asked about his expectations. ?I?d probably lose, but it would be a good experience.?
Sources: Colette Lewis (Tournament Office) & Matt