Top Seeds Bend But Don't Break in Wednesday's Fifth Round
Taking a page from the Brad Gilbert book on strategy, sixteen-year-old Kellen Damico, the tenth seed, used a softball strategy to steal the first set from Donald Young, the 18s top seed and number one ranked junior in the world.
?He surprised me by the way he came out,? said Young, also 16, of the usually hard-hitting Damico. ?I was sure it was his strategy not to go for too much.?
After the animated Damico took the first set by breaking Young at 4-5, the large lunchtime crowd began to sense an upset and provide the underdog with its support. And when Damico saved a break point at 4-5 with a scintillating forehand, it looked as if that momentum might suffice. But Young regrouped, and using his deft touch and anticipation, he broke Damico and held to even the match with a 7-5 second set.
Damico, serving much less effectively than he had in the first half of the match, lost his first two service games in the final set and Young never looked back, taking it 6-0, and setting up a quarterfinal match with his doubles partner Alex Clayton on Thursday.
Clayton, the sixth seed, methodically outrallied fifteen-year-old Michael McClune, who had given him fits in the 16s quarterfinals in 2004, beating the Californian 6-4, 6-1.
?He probably should have beat me last year,? said Clayton, who went on to gain the finals after barely escaping the upset. ?So I was really focused this year."
Giant killer Clancy Shields, seeded 18th, was unable to capitalize on his win over third seed Timothy Neilly on Tuesday and lost to 12th seed Jamie Hunt 6-2, 6-2.
Shields had reinjured an already tender ankle in the Neilly match, and Hunt recognized the impact Shields lack of mobility had on the contest.
?I was expecting him to move a little better, but I know he had an ankle problem,? said the seventeen-year-old Texan, now training with John Roddick at the Roddick-Moros Academy in San Antonio, twelve minutes from his home.
?I knew he was struggling a little, and I had a better shot of beating him than Neilly, who hits such a big ball.?
Hunt will take on Brett Helgeson in the other top half quarterfinal match on Thursday. Helgeson, the 31st seed, defeated unseeded Jason Jung 6-3, 6-1. The eighteen-year-old took his inspiration from older brother Travis, who won the 16s championship in 2002.
?He loved this tournament,? Brett said of Travis, who was All-American in 2005 as a freshman at the University of Texas. ?I?ve talked to him this week, and he?s played some of the guys I might be facing.?
His advice? ?Don?t think too much,? said Brett, who will attend the University of Notre Dame this fall.
Second seed Sam Querrey overcame a determined challenge from 13th seed Matt Bruch, taking a 7-5, 6-3 victory, which he will be able to savor until he plays again on Friday.
?Today I served great, I thought,? said last year?s 16s singles and doubles champion. ?I don?t think I had a break point against me.?
Querrey will face eighth seed Denis Zivkovic in the quarterfinals, in their first meeting ever. Zivkovic outlasted 19th seed Marc Spicijaric 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in a battle of one-handed backhands. Zivkovic, who has not played Kalamazoo since 2002, said that he never felt the match slipping away, even after dropping the second set.
The other quarterfinal on Friday will be a rematch of the 2005 Wimbledon Junior quarterfinal, when Tim Smyczek defeated Jesse Levine.
Seeded fourth, Smcyzek earned his spot with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over 2003 16s champion Gary Sacks, and earned some measure of revenge in the process.
?It was the same court we played on then,? said Smyczek of the semifinal match he lost to Sacks. ?I hadn?t seen him play this year, and I?d forgotten how much he served and volleyed. But the match was much closer than the score would indicate,? said the seventeen-year-old Wisconsin native.
Levine cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 win over Michael Johnson on court four and he was happy to finally exorcise some demons from that location at Stowe.
?My last two years, I?ve lost on that court, and when you sent me out there again, I was mad,? joked the lefthander from Boca Raton Florida.
?I think Mike was fatigued from yesterday,? Levine said of Johnson?s marathon win over Marcus Fugate, after which he was admitted to the hospital. ?He wasn?t himself today.?
In the 16s, top seed Dennis Lajola lost the first set against ninth seed Jared Pinsky and went down a break in the second set before digging himself out that hole en route to a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory.
Lajola will face sixth seed Dennis Nevolo in one of Thursday?s quarterfinal matches. Dramatic victories are commonplace for the fifteen-year-old righthander, but his 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 win over Nicolas Meister was especially memorable.
Down a set and a break, Nevelo forced a third set and took a 5-2 lead before cramps began to hinder his movement. Going for a ball, he fell and needed a medical time out that included a sports drink and ice.
But he regained his feet, to applause from the late evening fans still remaining and somehow managed to hold on to win the match despite showing obvious signs of inhibited movement.
?I went for some big shots, and I made them. It was actually one of the better games I played in the third set,? said the USTA?s top ranked 16 and under player. ?I haven?t cramped all summer, and I?ve cramped twice here.?
In the other quarterfinal on Thursday, third seed Steve Forman will take on Ryan Lissner, the 32nd seed. Lissner disposed of Joey Burkhardt 7-5, 6-3 and Forman dismissed Jarmere Jenkins 6-3, 6-3.
?I thought I played pretty well,? said Forman, 16. ?He?s really athletic and puts a lot of balls in play and can hit shots you don?t expect,? Forman said of his fourteen-year-old opponent.
Lissner and Forman have played twice and Forman has won both matches.
In Friday?s quarterfinals, Nate Schnugg will take on Mateusz Kecki. Schnugg, the fifth seed, beat 10th seed Johnny Hamui 6-3, 6-3 and Kecki, the fourth seed, continued to roll through opponents, topping 25th seed Brennan Boyajian 6-3, 6-0.
Second seed Wil Spencer had no difficulty with unseeded Abraham Souza, cruising to a 6-0, 6-1 win Wednesday morning. Spencer will take on Andy Magee, the 19th seed, who surprised eighth seed and 16s Clay Court champion Tyler Hochwalt 6-4, 6-2.
There was also an upset in 18s doubles quarterfinal action Wednesday evening as the eighth seeded team of Dylan Arnould and Jamie Hunt eliminated Alex Clayton and Donald Young, the second seeds, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
For complete doubles results, click here
Source: Colette Lewis (Tournament Office)