Top Four in Both Divisions Move On to Quarterfinals
The top four seeds in both 16s and 18s singles moved through to the quarterfinals, but it was a couple of lower seeded Southern Californians who provided the most dramatic moments on the Stowe Stadium courts on Wednesday.
First it was Thousand Oaks Calif.\'s JT Sundling, the 18th seed in the 16s, coming back from a 5-0 third set deficit to defeat No. 7 seed Mousheg Hovhannisyan of Los Angeles 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 in a contest that took nearly three hours to complete on a hot and sticky morning that became afternoon before the match was finished.
Then on the same court--number 4--16th seed Steve Forman, who played college tennis this past season at Wake Forest, ousted No. 8 seed Austin Krajicek of Brandon, Fla., 6-4, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (2). Forman, from Del Mar, Calif., credited his five months of college tennis and his history in Kalamazoo as reasons for his success this year.
"It gives me an edge in experience," said Forman, who started college in January of 2007. "I played a few (college) matches that were 3-all, and clinching a few matches really puts things in perspective, because you have a whole team that you have to pull through for, not just yourself. And I\'ve always done pretty well here. Last year I went out to Jesse Levine, but was in the quarters (2004) and finals (2005) and am in the quarters again. I hope I can keep it going."
Forman will meet third seed Ryan Thacher, who also hails from Southern California, although the two have not met in over a year. Thacher used a strategy change to outlast a very stubborn Zach Nichols of Austin, Tex. 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-1.
"I felt horrible in the first set," said the left-hander from Studio City. "Last night after the doubles my legs just weren\'t there at all. Then in the second, because of the way I was feeling, I just tried to change the game plan a little bit, put a little pressure on him, serve and volley a little bit more--going for more because I couldn\'t run around the court."
In the other quarterfinal match in 18s scheduled for Thursday, Mateusz Kecki, the No. 6 seed, will face No. 2 seed Kellen Damico. Kecki bounced No. 18 seed Wil Spencer 6-3, 6-2 while Damico advance when unseeded Oscar Fabian Matthews retired trailing 6-3, 3-2.
Top seed Michael McClune got past No. 21 seed Steve Johnson 6-2, 6-4 to advance to a meeting Friday with 15-year-old Ryan Harrison, who outclassed Daniel Gliner 6-1, 6-2. Harrison, like Gliner, is unseeded, but he was confident his game was mature enough to challenge those in the older division.
"When I saw the draw, I knew I could beat everyone I was playing against, it was just a matter of getting ready to play and playing well. In the second round I had a tough match against (Tyler) Hochwalt--I felt he should have been seeded higher than he was, he\'s a much better player than his seed (28)--and I was down a set and a break against him...and after that I\'ve been playing well and my confidence is up."
The other Friday quarterfinal will find Nate Schnugg, the No. 4 seed, who downed No. 10 Dennis Lajola 6-3, 6-4 Wednesday, against No. 30 seed Ty Trombetta. Trombetta eased pass 2007 Clay Court champion Clint Bowles 7-6 (4), 6-4 to equal in the 18s the quarterfinal showing he managed last year in the 16s.
For the third match in a row, 16s top seed Tennys Sandgren was extended to three sets, this time by unseeded Chris Cha of Overland Park, Kan. Leading 6-2, 5-2, Sandgren looked to be heading for a routine win, but dropped five straight games before emerging in the third set with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 victory.
Third seed Evan King and second seed Lawrence Formentera also went the distance, although Formentera didn\'t need the entire third set to advance, defeating Matt Kandath, the No. 16 seed 4-6, 6-2, 3-1, ret. inj. Formentera was up 3-0 in the first set, but his serve deserted him and he lost six of the next seven games.
"I couldn\'t make any first serves at all," said the 2007 Easter Bowl 16s champion, who sheepishly admitted that he did watch the radar gun occasionally, but termed his numbers "horrible."
"But then I remembered what my coach said about serving and I just began popping them in, and then everything was going fine."
Like Formentera, King faced an opponent who hits two-handed on both sides, but in King\'s case it was complicated by Billy Federhofer\'s being a lefty like himself. King eventually prevailed 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-2, but it was a long, tough test of his game.
King will face No. 8 seed Walker Kehrer who advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-1 win over unseeded Max Stevens, while Sandgren meets No. 14 seed Frank Carleton, a 6-2, 6-0 winner over unseeded John Collins. Carleton has been the opposite of Sandgren; the Naples, Fla. resident has lost only 14 games in four matches.
The bottom half of the 16s will play their quarterfinals on Friday. Sundling meets No. 4 seed Bo Seal, a 7-6 (1), 6-0 winner over Sekou Bangoura (13). Formentera will play No. 5 seed Ryan Noble, who dismissed No. 12 seed Spencer Wolf 6-2, 6-4. Noble upset Formentera in the quarterfinals of the recent 16s Clay Courts in Delray Beach.
The 16s did not play doubles on Wednesday, but the 18s semifinalists in doubles have been determined. No. 1 seeds Kellen Damico and Nate Schnugg advanced with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over the unseeded Nichols and Chris Price. They\'ve earned their contest against No. 3 seeds Bradley Klahn and Dennis Nevolo, who defeated No. 15 seeds Joey Burkhardt and Spencer 6-2, 6-1.
In the bottom half, No. 2 seeds Jarmere Jenkins and Krajicek will square off against the fifth seeded team of Hochwalt and McClune. Jenkins and Krajicek beat No. 7 seeds Mateusz Kecki and Dennis Lajola 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, while Hochwalt and McClune handled No. 4 seeds Brennan Boyajian and Zach Hunter 6-1, 6-4.
The doubles semifinals in both divisions are Friday.
Source: Colette Lewis (Tournament Office)