Boyajian and Domijan Reach 16s Semis; Young and Fugate to Meet in 18s; Top Seeds in 16s Doubles Fall Thursday
Both top seeds were challenged in the first set but cruised through the second in Thursday's quarterfinal action at Stowe Stadium.
Brennan Boyajian, the No. 1 seed in 16s, stumbled briefly in his match with sixth seed Drew Daniel of Shawnee Mission Kan. on an overcast day in Kalamazoo. Serving for the first set at 5-4, Boyajian failed to finish, but won the next eight points to take the set 7-5. The Weston Fla. resident carried that momentum throughout the second set, breaking Daniel three times, the final break ending the match by a 6-1 score.
Even though Boyajian has crafted a nineteen-match winning streak at the 2006 National level tournaments, he admitted to some concern against Daniel, who like Boyajian, turns 17 next month.
"I was actually worried at 2-1 in the first, when I was down," Boyajian said. "But at five-all, I knew it was just back on serve and it would be fine." Raising his game to put Daniel away, Boyajian then encountered a familiar problem.
"Then I started that letting up thing again," said Boyajian. "I was up 2-0 in the second and then at 2-1 he was up 40-0, and I was thinking, no, not again." His focus sharpened, Boyajian didn't lose another game.
In Saturday's semifinal, he will face 12th seed Alex Domijan, the 14-year-old taking the tournament by storm in his first appearance. After his upset of third seed Brad Klahn on Wednesday, the 6-foot 4-inch Gainesville native suffered no letdown, defeating Isamu Tachibana of Austin Tex. 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-1.
"I thought I was going to win easier today," Domijan said, "but you can't take anybody for granted. I almost panicked a little bit after I lost the first set, but luckily I kept it together."
Tachibana was serving for the first set at 5-3, lost that game and the next two, but Domijan couldn't finish when he had the chance at 6-5. The ensuing tiebreak was also a seesaw affair, but despite two double faults, Tachibana prevailed. In the second and third sets Domijan quickly took 3-0 leads, and he credited his serve and his service return as primary reasons for his win.
"I think my serve really helped me and my return I kept deep in the court, and really didn't give him an advantage on his serve."
With two years difference in their ages, Domijan and Boyajian have not played recently even though both compete regularly in Florida and on the National circuit. In Saturday's semifinals in Kalamazoo, the battle of Florida will be decided.
In the 18s quarterfinal on Thursday, top seed and defending champion Donald Young wriggled out of a tough spot in the first set, downing sixth seed Mike McClune of 7-6(3), 6-1. After each player held three times to start the match, then traded breaks to 4-4, McClune got another break, and was serving for the first set. But Young broke McClune at love and seized control of the tiebreak that soon followed when the 16-year-old Californian dropped both his serves at 2-3.
"The game plan was I wanted to come in and attack more," said the 17-year-old from Atlanta Ga. "But I started out a little tentative, a little nervous, and he was playing well, hitting deep and hard."
In the second set, McClune couldn't locate his first serve and failed to hold even once; the game he won was a break of Young's serve to even the set at 1-1.
"In the beginning he served pretty well," Young said. "and then all of a sudden he started throwing in a couple of double faults. Maybe he was a little tired, I don't know what it was but I'm happy it happened."
Young has not lost a set in his five matches in 2006, and has won 12 matches in a row on the Stowe Stadium courts. In Saturday's semifinal he will face fourth seed Marcus Fugate, who won their last meeting in straight sets, in a January Pro Circuit Futures event in Florida.
Fugate, who had needed three sets to claim his third and fourth round wins, won only one set on Thursday, when 15th seed Wil Spencer retired trailing 7-5. With Fugate serving at 3-4 30-40, Spencer rolled his ankle and immediately fell to the ground in pain. Although he received treatment, first on the court and then at the sidelines, and continued play, he was unable to use the speed that fuels his game. Spencer held serve for 5-4, and even had a set point during Fugate's next service game, but his movement was inhibited.
"At the time when he fell over, and I saw him rolling around, I thought he hurt it, but I didn't think he hurt it as bad as he thought he did," Fugate said. "I expected him to come out banging the ball and moving just as well as he had before."
Fugate was wary of letting up, and even though he admitted to "shanking about five balls" after Spencer's injury, he was determined put it out of his mind. For his part, Spencer was willing to continue, even if it was just pounding balls that came his way, but felt that the pain and swelling might be a sign of further damage. He is returning to his home in Florida for x-rays, while Fugate will be preparing for his match with Young.
"I beat him this year, so I feel confident going into the match," said the 18-year-old from Fairport New York. "We have similar styles of game, I just think that I'm just a bit bigger than he is, that's all."
The 16s doubles quarterfinals followed the singles quarterfinal matches, and there was one big upset, as top seeds Boyajian and partner Zach Hunter lost to Nicholas Andrews and Jamie Hutter 6-4, 6-2. Andrews and Hutter, an unseeded team from California, had no trouble with the recent Clay Court champions and on Friday will face the third seeded team of Jarmere Jenkins and Austin Krajicek. Jenkins and Krajicek defeated the 13th seeds Daniel Nguyen and Aba Omodele-Lucien 6-4, 6-2. In the bottom half, second seeds Devin Britton and Waylon Chin will meet fifth seeds Adam El Mihdawy and Brad Klahn. Britton and Chin rolled over unseeded Chris Reiman and Bryan Swartz 6-1, 6-1, while El Mihdawy and Klahn rebuffed fourth seeds JT Sundling and Ryan Thacher 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
Source: Colette Lewis (Tournament Office)