Aug. 9, 2006
August 2006
Aug. 9, 2006
August 2006

Domijan Ousts Third Seed in 16s; Top Seven Seeds Advance to Quarterfinals in 18s

Fourteen-year-old Alex Domijan is making his Kalamazoo debut a memorable one. In Wednesday's Round of 16 match against third seed Bradley Klahn, Domijan didn't play like a rookie, coming from behind in his 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 upset.

The gangly righthander from Florida admitted he is still maturing when it comes to playing big matches.

"Normally when I play the top players in these type of tournaments, I lose the match before I even go on the court," he said.

But after dropping the first set, Domijan, the No. 12 seed, decided it was time for a change, and he began to play less tentatively, using his serve and forehand more confidently.

"At the beginning, I was waiting for him to miss, and he really never misses." said the native of Gainesville, who trains at Saddlebrook. "In the second and third sets I felt I was more aggressive and caused him to miss and I dictated more of the points."

When Klahn doublefaulted on game point at 3-4, Domijan seized his opportunity and served out the match as if he'd been doing it for years.

"It's something you have to learn with experience," said the 5th place finisher at the 2006 Clay Courts. "You can't just say you believe you can win and then go out there and win."

Domijan will face 26th seed Isamu Tachibana in Thursday's quarterfinals. Tachibana, of Austin Tex., ended the run of unseeded Ravi Yegya-Raman of Cherry Hills NJ, 7-5, 6-2. The other 16s quarterfinal being played on Thursday will pit top seed Brennan Boyajian against sixth seed Drew Daniel. Boyajian continued his National-level winning streak, (he has not lost a set in eighteen consecutive matches,) defeating Thousand Oaks California's Denis Lin 6-4, 6-3. Daniel, for the third match in a row, needed to rally from a first-set loss, this time overwhelming 29th seed Daniel Moss 1-6, 6-1, 6-1.

In the bottom half of the draw, second seed Ryan Thacher quickly dispatched unseeded Daniel Nguyen of Oxnard Calif., 6-3, 6-1, but the other three matches were lengthy and tense.

Fourth seed Jarmere Jenkins was down 4-0 in the third set to unseeded Reece Milner of Los Angeles, Calif. before he woke up and began pressuring the underdog. With the crowd solidly in his corner, Milner, who beat the 25th and 13th seeds Monday and Tuesday, couldn't win the crucial points down the stretch, giving Georgia's Jenkins a berth in the quarterfinals against Adam El Mihdawy.

El Mihdawy, the fifth seed, dropped the first set, just as he had in his Tuesday victory, but managed to play nearly flawless tennis when it counted and defeated 12th seed JT Sundling of Thousand Oaks, Calif. 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (1).

"I started a little slow; I double-faulted three times in one game to get broken, but I got it going in the second set and finished strong," said the New Yorker who turns 17 next month. "The kid (Sundling is 15) had a good forehand and he kept hitting to my backhand and I really didn't get any forehands to attack."

But in the tiebreak, El Mihdawy eliminated his errors and coaxed several from Sundling to come away with the win.

"He made a few errors and I kept the ball deep, didn't really let him hit his forehand," El Mihdawy said.

The only unseeded player in either draw is 16-year-old Ty Trombetta of Hallandale Fla. Trombetta lost his first set of the tournament to 24th seed Casey Watt of Gibsonia Pa. on Wednesday, but nearly three hours later he had secured his quarterfinal spot, outlasting Watt 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4). Trombetta will meet Thacher on Friday.

The 18s division couldn't match the 16s for third set tiebreaks or upsets on Wednesday. The top seven seeds advanced to the quarterfinals, with 15th seed Wil Spencer joining them. Spencer, the third place finisher in the 16s last year, found himself down 4-0 in the second set to 25th seed Reid Carleton of Naples Fla., but battled into a tiebreaker, which he won to earn a 6-2, 7-6 (6) victory and a Thursday matchup with fourth seed Marcus Fugate. Fugate, who had needed three sets to complete his Monday and Tuesday matches, took care of business quickly on Wednesday, defeating Tampa Fla.'s Clint Bowles, the 12th seed, 6-1, 6-3.

Fifth seed Alex Clayton struggled in the first set against 17th seed Jason Jung of Torrance, Calif, but found his rhythm for 6-4, 6-1 win and will face third seed Tim Smyczek in a Friday quarterfinal. Although Smyczek said he was a little surprised by the relentless serve-and-volley attack of 16th seed Houston Barrick of Brentwood Tenn., Smyczek effectively counteracted it, earning a 6-2, 6-4 win. Second seed Jesse Levine has lost only ten games in four matches this week, and Wednesday he gave 15-year-old Chase Buchanan of New Albany Ohio a few lessons in consistency and depth during his 6-2, 6-0 victory.

Top seed Donald Young had no struggles with 2006 18s Clay Court champion Michael Venus, counter-punching his way to a 6-3, 6-3 decision over the New Zealand native and setting up a Thursday meeting with another Michael---McClune.

McClune, the sixth seed, could not shake 14th seed Johnny Hamui even after capturing the first set 6-4, losing a tiebreak in the second (5) before cruising to a 6-1 in the third win.

"I was up 5-3 (in the tiebreak) and just lost focus," said the 2004 and 2005 consolation tournament winner in Kalamzoo. "I was serving at 5-4 and he played two good points--I missed one short forehand--and I think it was focus that I lost."

"He played well, we were having a good match," said McClune, who turns 17 in less than two weeks. "I can't really get mad over that."

The longest match in the 18s on Wednesday saw 20th seed Davey Sandgren of Gallatin, Tenn. and No. 7 seed Kellen Damico blast serves and groundstrokes for over three hours before Damico claimed a 4-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4 win, saving a match point in the second set tiebreak.

Sandgren had saved three set points at 6-3 in that tiebreak, but didn't get his first serve in at 7-6 and after his second serve was returned, blasted a forehand several feet wide. A few more errors later and Damico evened the match, but cramping began inhibiting his movement in the third and he was tended by the trainers after the match.

"I couldn't jump up or land on my serves," said the 17-year-old from Parker, Colo. who was unable to climb the stairs to the media tower. "Moving lateral was fine, but no up and down movement. I'm glad I could fight through it."

Damico was elated when told he was not playing until Friday, giving him time to relax and rest before his contest with Jesse Levine on Friday. "I usually hit twice (on a day off), but I probably won't leave the hotel room tomorrow."

After having defeated Sandgren easily in the third round of Kalamazoo last year, Damico commented on the contrast between the two matches.

"His serve was big last year, and it's bigger this year." Damico said of Sandgren, who is a freshman at University of Tennessee. "He's not missing as much and he's hitting his forehand better."

The quarterfinals in 18s doubles were played on Wednesday evening and top seeds Alex Clayton and Donald Young survived a scare before defeating the sixth seeds Matt Allare and Justin Kronauge 3-6, 7-5, 6-1. They will face the unseeded team of Steve Forman and Cory Parr who eliminated their third consecutive seeded team under the lights Wednesday night. Forman and Parr split tiebreaks with the seventh seeds Dylan Arnould and Johnny Hamui before pulling away for a 7-6(6), 6-7(6) 6-1 win. The other semifinal on Friday will feature second seeds Jamie Hunt and Nate Schnugg against fifth seeds Chase Buchanan and Marcus Fugate. Hunt and Schnugg defeated eighth seeds McClune and Tyler Hochwalt 6-4, 6-3 while Buchanan and Fugate beat fourth seeds Ryan Lipman and Rhyne Williams 6-2, 6-3.

The 16s doubles quarterfinals are scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Source: Colette Lewis (Tournament Office)