Three Hour Matches Highlight Tuesday's Fourth Round
Long matches were common during fourth round action at Stowe Stadium Tuesday but 18s top seed Donald Young and the 16s No. 1 Brennan Boyajian steered clear of any such complications, continuing their straight-set strolls through their draws.
Young eliminated 19th seed Chris Racz 6-0, 6-3, while Boyajian took care of 17th seed Frank Carleton 6-3, 6-2, but other results were not nearly as routine. Despite clear skies and temperatures in the 70s, cramping was a theme in many of the matches that went three sets.
In the 16s, second seed Ryan Thacher, exiled to a back court for the first time in the tournament, lost five straight games after taking a 5-2 first set lead to fall behind 31st seed Waylon Chin. But Chin began cramping and had several medical timeouts and changeover treatments after the second set, with Thacher prevailing 5-7, 6-3, 6-0.
Meanwhile on Court Two, 29th seed Daniel Moss and 14th seed Kayvon Karimi battled for two and a half hours before Moss came through with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 victory. Casey Watt and Bo Seal also had a lengthy battle, both cramping late in the the third set before Seal fell to the court with loud moans. Leading 5-3, he lost that game, took a medical timeout and after losing the next, retired, giving the equally fatigued Watt the 5-7, 7-5, 5-5 (ret.) victory.
Tenth seed Denis Lin and No. 21 Walker Kehrer went the full distance before Lin squeaked by with a 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5) win, while the day's biggest upset in the 16s was another marathon match--Isamu Tachibana's 6-3, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (4) nail-biter over seventh seed Austin Krajicek.
In the second set tiebreak, Krajicek fell behind 3-0 but reeled off seven straight points to even the match, momentum that did not spill over into the third set. After more than two hours of play, the outcome was still very much in doubt, but when Krajicek saved four match points serving at 5-6 nearly an hour later, destiny appeared to be on his side.
"He came up with some big serves," said Tachibana, the 26th seed. "There was nothing I could do about it."
Showing no sign of disappointment at failing to convert those chances, Tachibana instead took a commanding lead in the tiebreak. After losing both his serves at 1-4, Krajicek tossed his racquet, prompting the chair umpire to cite him for racquet abuse, a point penalty that would have given Tachibana the match.
"He threw his racquet across the court," said Tachibana, 16. "The chair umpire called point penalty racquet abuse, but the referee came out on the court and rescinded the code violation so it wasn't match."
"It definitely upset me," said the soft-spoken Texan, who is playing in his first Nationals at Kalamazoo. "I was walking up to the net to shake his hand. That's never happened to me. I talked to the chair umpire--she did the right thing; he'd been throwing his racquet and had gotten a warning before."
A shaken Tachibana proceeded to lose his next two serves and when Krajicek won the next point to bring it to 6-4, the tension mounted. But Tachibana was determined not to go meekly. "I knew to put the pressure on him, try to get to the net and put it away." He did just that to record the biggest win of his junior career.
Of the 16 players remaining in the 16s division, four are unseeded and all eliminated seeded players Tuesday. Ty Trombetta has yet to lose a set in four matches, and on Tuesday easily took out 20th seed Drew Courtney. Ravi Yegya-Raman rebounded to oust 16th seed Devin Britton 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 and Reese Milner bounced Clay Court finalist and 13th seed Andrew Kells 7-6 (1), 6-1. Daniel Nguyen had no trouble with 28th seed Michael Sicora, winning 6-3, 6-1.
Battles of attrition were not confined to the 16s division, as both third seed Tim Smyczek and fourth seed Marcus Fugate needed to come back from first set losses to claim their places in the round of 16. Smyczek spotted 31st seed Cory Parr a set before reversing the trend, winning 5-7, 6-3, 6-3.
"He came out swinging for the fences and was making his shots," Smyczek said. "He put the pressure on me early. But I was able to turn it around pretty quick and get up a break in the second." From there the 18-year-old from Wisconsin took control of the match, often finishing at the net if he sensed Parr back on his heels.
Fugate needed three sets for the second straight day, with Jason McNaughton on the short end of the 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-3 score.
Wil Spencer, the fifteenth seed, and Rhyne Williams, the 29th seed punished each other for three hours and fifteen minutes before Spencer finally wore down the 15-year-old from Tennessee 7-6 (5), 6-7 (2), 6-3. Williams had a 5-1 lead in the second set, but Spencer battled back to 5-3 when Williams called a trainer for what appeared to be heat exhaustion. The lengthy delay did not appear to help Williams halt Spencer's momentum, and although Williams brought himself even, he could not get in front in the final set. Spencer appeared able to play another hour if necessary and showed no signs of the fatigue that seemed to pervade the air.
Other long and exciting 18s matches featured 20th seed Davey Sandgren outlasting unseeded Brad Mixson 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (5), and in the day's last singles contest, 12th seed Clint Bowles overcoming a 5-2 third set deficit to defeat 23rd seed Dylan Arnould 6-3, 6-7 (6), 7-5.
After three hours of tennis, Arnould glimpsed his first match points when serving at 5-4 in the third.
But Bowles, a lefthander from Tampa, didn't relent, and continued firing away despite a cramp in his right quad. He saved one match point by nicking the sideline, leaving Arnould with nothing to do but give the "good" sign.
The lengthy match produced some very tired legs.
"It wasn't like a full cramp, but I've experienced it before, and when it happens it's going to get worse after that," said Bowles. "So I didn't put any legs into my serve and played one point at a time and went for my shots."
Last year's 16s champion Nate Schnugg, the 10th seed in the 18s this year, fell to 17th seed Jason Jung 7-6 (4), 7-5. The oft-injured Jung has a history of playing well in Kalamazoo; last year, unseeded, he upset 7th seed Nikita Kryvonos, reaching the round of 16.
"To win this tournament is a really big deal," said the Torrance Calif. resident. "All the focus is on you. It brings up the level of your game, because you really want it."
The 18s doubles fourth round was completed Tuesday evening, and there was one major surprise, as the unseeded team of Steve Forman and Parr upended third seeds Kellen Damico and Dennis Lajola 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (2). The other seven teams advanced as predicted to tomorrow's quarterfinals.
Source: Colette Lewis (Tournament Office)