Rain Spreads Fourth Round Matches Over Two Sites Tuesday
The heavy showers on Tuesday morning made for some difficult choices for tennis fans in Kalamazoo, as the 32 main draw singles matches were played on both the Western Michigan Sorensen courts and Stowe Stadium.
Under ideal weather conditions, the third and fourth round main draw matches are all scheduled for Stowe Stadium, while the consolation matches take place at WMU, but to keep the tournament on schedule with two mornings lost to rain in the past three days, the back draw matches were moved indoors to three local sites.
The top four seeds in each division played at Stowe, and their matches varied in difficulty.
Tennys Sandgren, the 16s top seed, was once again on the verge of elimination, this time against unseeded Erik Blumenkranz of Portola Valley, CA, but again the Tennessean prevailed, taking a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 victory. Lawrence Formentera, the second seed in 16s, took out unseeded Taylor Albrecht of Sarasota, FL 6-2, 4-1 ret. ill, one of many matches on the very warm and humid afternoon that featured an illness or injury.
Third seed Evan King and unseeded Daniel Whitehead engaged in a fierce battle in the first set, but King hit a pinpoint forehand winner that caught both lines at set point in the tiebreaker, and Whitehead didn't recover, falling 7-6 (6), 6-0.
Top seed Michael McClune struggled early with No. 19 seed Luke Marchese, but once the Californian found the range with his ground strokes, he took control for a 6-3, 6-1 win.
Third seed Ryan Thacher and No. 29 seed Adam El Mihdawy were point for point in the first set, but when Thacher came back from 3-4 0-40 on his serve, it marked a change of momentum in the 2006 16s finalist's favor and he won that game and the next eight for a 6-4, 6-0 win.
Nate Schnugg, the fourth seed, and No. 17 seed Houston Barrick engaged in a rematch of their No. 5 singles battle in Athens Georgia in May, when Schnugg, a University of Georgia freshman, and Barrick, a University of Virginia freshman, were playing in the NCAA team semifinals. Schnugg took that match in three sets; on Tuesday he needed only two, but Barrick was undoubtedly lamenting his missed opportunities as he served for the first set twice, and had a set point in the tiebreak. But it was Schnugg advancing to the round of 16 by a 7-6 (6) 6-4 score.
Schnugg's friend and doubles partner Kellen Damico also had a grueling test Tuesday at Stowe, although it didn't start out that way against No. 31 seed Jason Jung of Torrance, CA. The first set, which went to Damico 6-0, was over very quickly, as Jung couldn't find his usually consistent ground game. He asked for a bathroom break, and it certainly helped him, as he took the second set 6-2. But Damico reasserted himself to take the third set 6-2, although he didn't appreciate Jung's tactics.
"I have a problem with people doing this stalling thing," said Damico. "When you get beat 6-0 in fifteen minutes, you could have taken a bathroom break before you even went on the court."
Even with the bagel in the first set, Damico wasn't happy with his play.
"I wasn't playing that well even in the first," Damico, 18, said. "He didn't play that well in the first. Then I just stayed the same and he got better. I'm going to have to do a lot better than that . I'm not really happy with the way I played, but I am happy with the way I fought though."
At the Western Michigan courts, there were more surprises. Unseeded 15-year-old Ryan Harrison took down No. 13 Dennis Nevolo 6-4, 6-3 and unseeded Zach Nichols ended 2006 16s champion Brennan Boyajian's Kalamazoo winning streak at nine with a 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory. It was the second seeded player to fall at Nichols' hands, as the Texan took out No. 24 seed Ryan Lipman in the second round.
Going by seeding, No. 26 Clint Bowles' 6-3, 6-0 rout of No. 7 Bradley Klahn was an upset, but Bowles had taken a similarly lopsided victory in the Clay Court finals just over two weeks ago, so the result was not shocking.
In doubles action Tuesday evening, the top five seeded teams advanced in the 18s, with the unseeded Nichols and partner Chris Price pulling off the biggest upset, saving three match points en route to a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) victory over the No. 6 seeded team of Devin Britton and Adam El Mihdawy.
The 16s lost their No. 4 seeded team, as Chris Camillone and Raymond Sarmiento, the 11th seeds took out Denis Kudla and Junior Ore 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Source: Colette Lewis (Tournament Office)