History Will be Made by 2004 18s Singles Winner
Scott Oudsema can become the first local player ever to win the 18s singles when he faces Scoville Jenkins in the Championship match at Stowe Stadium Sunday afternoon. Jenkins has an opportunity to become the first African-American to win the title and the U.S. Open main draw wildcard that goes with it.
Jenkins, the third seed and a Junior Wimbledon semifinalist this year, worked his way past Phillip Simmonds, 7-6, 6-4, surviving a 22 point first set tiebreaker. Jenkins and Simmonds did not have the complete attention of the huge crowd once Oudsema and Evans took the court, but the tiebreaker featured outstanding serving and court coverage by both players, with Jenkins won the last three points to close out the set.
Simmonds appeared deflated after the tiebreak, and was down 0-15 before the first game of the second set began, as he was given a point penalty for racquet abuse. Jenkins broke Simmonds and faced no real trouble on his own serve, closing out the match 6-4.
Asked if he?d ever played a longer tiebreaker, the 17-year-old international junior tennis veteran thought for a moment, then said, ?actually I have, an 18-16 one in Costa Rica.? But with a berth in the finals at stake, Jenkins will undoubtedly remember this one more vividly.
Jenkins and Simmonds were often upstaged by the roars of the hometown crowd, which surpassed 3,000-a record for a semifinal Saturday at the Nationals. Though down an early break, Oudsema continued to blast his lethal forehand and though Evans has a similar weapon, it could not prevent him from losing four straight games and the set, 7-5.
?He had an off day,? said Oudsema of his doubles partner, ? and I played as well as I can.?
?I have a lot of friends out here today and hope I made them happy.?
After finishing off Evans 6-1 in the second set, Oudsema now looks to his last match ever at Stowe Stadium. When asked how the thunderous crowd support will affect his opponent on Sunday, Oudsema was apologetic.
?He (Jenkins) is a great guy,? the 18-year-old from Portage said. ?I almost feel bad about it.?
Jenkins was not expecting any sympathy from the local fans.
?He?s the Kalamazoo Kid,? said Jenkins. ?They should be all for him.?
Source: Colette Lewis (Tournament Office)